The Top Teen Books of 2016

Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare
Clare kicks off her hotly anticipated new Dark Artifices series, set in the world of the Mortal Instruments, with Lady Midnight, centering on the Los Angeles Shadowhunters and bringing in characters old and new. Bound Nephilim warriors Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, grieving the tragedies of their pasts, must navigate both new supernatural challenges and old grudges in a deadly, alluring world readers are itching to return to.

The Last Star, by Rick Yancey
This month, Yancey’s bestselling Fifth Wave trilogy concludes with The Last Star. At the start of book one, The 5th Wave, four waves of alien attack—from pestilence to mind control—have left over 90 percent of humans dead. Orphaned survivor Cassie, separated from her brother while waiting for the fifth wave, sets out on a deadly trek to retrieve him. In follow-up The Infinite Sea, she joins forces with a hardened group of fellow survivors, including mysterious, deadly marksman Ringer. In The Last Star, the remnants of Earth’s population have a choice, between holding onto their humanity and doing whatever it takes to survive.

The Crown (The Selection series #5), by Kiera Cass
Across four books and two storylines, Cass has created the world of the Selection, in which American Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, married, and had daughter Eadlyn, the first princess to choose her husband in a Selection of her own. Eadlyn’s story began in last year’s The Heir, and concludes with fifth and final book The Crown, in which Eadlyn must select her husband from among the remaining contendors—a choice that becomes more difficult than she could have imagined.

Glass Sword, by Victoria Aveyard
In Red Queen, 17-year-old Mare Barrow’s red blood made her a member of the powerless peasant class, in a world where the silver-blooded have both position and supernatural powers—until she’s revealed to have immense abilities of her own, despite the red in her veins. Aveyard’s sequel picks up right where its predecessor left off: reeling from a brutal betrayal and covered in the blood of battle, Mare Barrow sets out to recruit an army of her own, to fight back against her people’s Silver oppressors.

This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp (January 5)
The world can change in a minute. Nijkamp’s taut debut covers 54 of them, from just before a school shooting begins to its harrowing aftermath. Narration is shared among four students, both in and outside of the auditorium where the shooting occurs, all of whom have some link to the shooter. The cast is diverse, and their lives realistically tangled, in a story that combines almost painful tension with flashbacks that ground the sadly topical drama in an attempt at answering the question everyone asks: Why?

United as One (Lorien Legacies #7), by Pittacus Lore
The Lorien Legacies series kicked off with I Am Number Four, and concludes with United as One. Only the Garde, earth’s alien protectors, stand between humanity and the invasion of the evil Mogadorians. As earth stands by, bracing for impact, the Garde join forces first with the U.S. military—and then, in a shocking twist, with teens from all over the world, who are suddenly developing supernatural gifts of their own. Don’t miss the final chapter of this alien adventure series.

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
In 2015 series starter A Court of Thorns and Roses, a huntress trying to feed her starving family becomes key to saving the faerie realm of Prythian. After Feyre kills a wolflike beast in the woods bordering Prythian and the human world, a frightening fae comes to collect: her life for the life she took. But living with gorgeous faerie lord Tamlin isn’t the doom she thought it would be—nor is Prythian as settled as she once believed. In follow-up A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre is more powerful than ever, but has sacrificed much to return to the Spring Court. The dark deal she made with the Night Court still hangs over her head, and the safety of herself, her love, and her two-realm world are far from secure.

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
In Sepetys’s hands, a footnote of World War II history—the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the biggest and perhaps most undersung naval tragedy in history—becomes a moving tapestry of lives and voices, of four people whose fates will converge onboard the doomed ship. Joana is a nurse and Lithuanian refugee attempting to outrun horrible guilt. Florian is a German art restorer with a secret, bent on avenging one small corner of the Nazis’ atrocities. Emilia is an orphaned Polish teen who carries her worst memory on her body, and who sees Florian’s heroic qualities even if he doesn’t. And Alfred is a Nazi sailor whose moral disease runs deeper than his uniform. After a headlong race across the frozen East Prussian landscape in the twilight days of the war, the three refugees believe passage on the Gustloff means salvation. But the worst is yet to come, and some scars never fade. Sepetys finds moments of grace, humanity, and sacrifice amid tragedy, while never eliding the costs of war or the brutal truths of the survival instinct.

Stars Above, by Marissa Meyer
Meyer’s best-selling Lunar Chronicles ended last year with Winter, but fans can get their steampunk fairytale fix with this collection of stories from the series’ vast world. Its nine tales, including five previously unpublished, explore the origins, transformations, and becoming of beloved characters including Cinder and Winter. And a bonus for readers who can’t wait to see what Meyer does next: the collection includes an excerpt of forthcoming Wonderland-set tale Heartless.

Calamity (Reckoners series #3), by Brandon Sanderson
When David was six, the Epics were born, people granted superpowers following a mysterious celestial event. When he was eight, and Epic named Steelheart killed his father. In the third installment of the Reckoners series, set in a world in which ordinary people cower before the unpoliceable Epics, David has lost a superpowered friend to the dark side…but is willing to do whatever it takes to bring him back.

The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Yoon’s stupendous sophomore novel takes some of the themes she introduced in her best-selling debut Everything, Everything—the power of human connection, love’s ability to both save and destroy—and expands on them to tell the fast-burning, possibly doomed love story of Daniel, a dreamy Korean American teen on his way to an alumni interview, and Natasha, a girl on a last-minute mission to save her family from deportation to Jamaica. The two meet in a record store and have an epic stop-and-go romance all stuffed into a single day that might be Natasha’s last in New York. Told in alternating narration, the book also makes room for a whole chorus of other voices and perspectives, transforming it into a big compassionate tapestry of New York City, life, and everything. It’s an absolute knockout.

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