Katsa is used to being feared. She travels all over the Middluns, killing and maiming for King Randa to frighten his subjects into submission. Her Grace for fighting makes the tasks easy physically, but not emotionally. That’s why she started the Council and began sneaking around between official assignments, using her Grace to do good. It is on a Council mission that her life gets complicated. She rescues the Lienid grandfather, like she was supposed to, but she never expected his grandson, Prince Po, to be there. She didn’t expect to be recognized. And she definitely didn’t expect the complicated feelings she would develop toward this fellow Graceling. As she gets swept into the mystery of the Lienid kidapping, Katsa also finds herself getting swept up in a complicated friendship with Po, one that will have her questioning her choices, her identity, and the very nature of her Grace.
In this character-driven fantasy, a good vs. evil plot is just along for the ride as the main characters explore their identities as individuals and as a couple. With a cast of well-developed characters, and a genuinely disturbing evil to fight, this book is engaging and thought-provoking. A great read for YA fantasy fans.
Princess Lu has known for years that her father plans to name her as his heir. She has spent those years training, enthusiastically learning swordplay, riding, hunting–all the skills she will need as emperor. But when her father instead names her cousin Set as his heir, betrothing Lu to him in the process, Lu knows it is her mother’s doing. Her mother has always hated her and favored her younger sister Min, the princess who desperately tries to do whatever is expected of her, no matter how much anger boils inside of her. Lu devises a plan to take back the throne, but when it goes wrong, she finds herself on the run with a boy from her past, one of few survivors of a genocide perpetrated by Lu’s father. And Min finds herself married to Set, an unlikely empress, with her mother, Set, and an unnerving monk all trying to influence and claim her surprising power as her own.
There is a lot going on in this series starter, set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world. The world building is rich, with themes of ethnic conflict, identity, morality in politics, and the use and abuse of power–to name a few–adding depth to a whirlwind plot. A fun read for fantasy fans!
Ever since the chilling tragedy that shattered her world, Kennedy has been trying to keep her brother, Elliot’s, work alive. She sneaks back to her old house (the one her uncle and now guardian Joe is intent on selling) and takes the readings from Elliot’s radio telescope, continuing his search for messages from extraterrestrial beings. But she isn’t the expert that Elliot was, and when she gets a strange reading–a negative frequency that shouldn’t exist–she has to turn to the Internet message boards to ask for advice on how to interpret the results. The consensus is that there must be something wrong with the telescope or the computer program. The frequency cannot exist. But one other user has somehow detected the same pattern of negative frequencies. Nolan has been searching for his older brother ever since he mysteriously disappeared. Although his parents have turned their house into a call center to search for missing children, Nolan is convinced that the explanation for Liam’s disappearance is not so simple. After all, Nolan had a strange premonition the night before that Liam would disappear. And there was that night when Nolan had the high fever that he was so sure he saw Liam in the living room–like he was trying to communicate with Nolan from another dimension. That was when Nolan got the EMF meter and started taking readings in the woods where Liam disappeared. When his path crosses with Kennedy, they realize that the two tragedies that took their brothers might be connected, and that the frequency they’ve discovered might hold the key to solving both of the mysteries.
I would classify this book as a truly character-driven thriller. While the tantalizing mysteries thread through the story, it is the emotional plot of these two teens finding one another and helping each other process the tragedies that truly drives the book forward and makes it impossible to put down. It is a masterful piece of writing that will appeal to fans of thrillers, mysteries, and even realistic fiction. (The sci-fi elements actually turn out to be very light.) Highly recommend it! The audiobook is very good, as well.
A lot of great YA Fiction is slated for release in 2019! Here’s a preview of some books to expect. As always, publication dates and summaries are based on the info publishers have made available thus far and may be subject to change.
Continuing Series and Sequels
UNDYING by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (1/8)
An Unearthed novel
THE WICKED KING by Holly Black (1/8)
The Folk of the Air, Book 2
YOU WON’T SEE ME COMING by Kristen Orlando (1/8)
Black Angel Chronicles, Book 3
FIRESTARTER by Tara Sim (1/15)
Timekeeper, Book 3
IMPRISON THE SKY by A.C. Gaughen (1/22)
The Elementae series
SONG OF THE DEAD by Sarah Glenn Marsh (1/22)
Reign of the Fallen, Book 2
THE VANISHING STAIR by Maureen Johnson (1/22)
Truly Devious, Book 2
RANSACKER by Emmy Laybourne (1/29)
Sequel to BERSERKER
CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE by Tomi Adeyemi (3/5)
Legacy of Orisha, Book 2
THE EVERLASTING ROSE by Dhonielle Clayton (3/5)
The Belles, Book 2
GRAVITY’S PULL by Marinaomi (3/5)
Life on Earth, Book 2
RUSE by Cindy Pon (3/12)
Sequel to WANT
THE FALL OF CRAZY HOUSE by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (4/8)
Sequel to CRAZY HOUSE
ALL FOR ONE by Melissa de la Cruz (4/9)
Alex and Eliza, Book 3
THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (4/9)
A Shadowhunters Novel
FINALE by Stephanie Garber (5/7)
Caraval, Book 3
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins (5/7)
Royals, Book 2
NEXUS by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings (5/7)
The Andromeda Saga, Book 2
THE CLOCKWORK GHOST by Laura Ruby (5/14)
York, Book 2
SPLINTERED by Jon McGoran (5/14)
Spliced, Book 2
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon (5/14)
Companion to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI
BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo (5/21)
Follow-up to IF I WAS YOUR GIRL
STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L. Armentrout (6/11)
The Dark Elements, Book 4
#MURDERFUNDING by Gretchen McNeil (8/6)
#MurderTrending, Book 2
Fantasy & Sci Fi
THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover (1/1)
When six clones of current and former students enroll at her boarding school, a teen finds herself in the uncomfortable position of interacting with the clone of her dead best friend.
THE GIRL KING by Mimi Yu (1/8)
When their father bypasses succession customs to name a distant male cousin as his heir, two sisters must embrace an ancient magic and combine forces to reclaim the empire as their own.
WHITE STAG by Kara Barbieri (1/8)
After being kidnapped by goblins and pressed into service by the King’s nephew, a girl finds her humanity slipping away as she begins to feel at home with her captors.
THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi (1/15)
An elite secret society enlists a diverse group of desperate people for a dangerous treasure hunt.
PRETTY IN PUNXSUTAWNEY by Laurie Boyle Crompton (1/15)
A teen must relive the first 24 hours as a new senior in high school until she finds her one true love.
STAIN by A.G. Howard (1/15)
After being raised in exile by a witch, a mute princess returns to her kingdom to claim it as her own.
CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by Evelyn Skye (1/22)
Two apprentice warrior-sorceresses engage on a secret spy mission in an enemy camp in an attempt to prove themselves to their superiors.
THE COLD IS IN HER BONES by Peternelle van Arsdale (1/22)
A teen must undertake a dangerous journey when her only friend is possessed and kidnapped by a demon.
COME FIND ME by Megan Miranda (1/29)
Two teens who both survived tragic events and the disappearances of their brothers discover a mysterious radio signal that seems to be summoning them.
A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer (1/29)
A random act of kindness causes a girl with cerebral palsy to be transported to the world of a cursed prince.
KING OF SCARS by Leigh Bardugo (1/29)
To keep his kingdom together, a young king must defeat the dark magic rising inside himself.
THE WILD LANDS by Paul Greci (1/29)
In post-apocalyptic Alaska, two teens must undertake a harrowing journey in order to survive.
STOLEN TIME by Danielle Rollins (2/5)
An early 20th century con artist’s path collides with a late 21st century time traveler.
THE WANING AGE by S.E. Grove (2/5)
Although she’s already reached the age when most people have completely lost their emotions, a teen finds that she still loves her brother so fiercely that she is driven to rescue him when he is kidnapped.
AN AFFAIR OF POISON by Addie Thorley (2/12)
After unknowingly helping her mother assassinate a king, a 17th century teen decides to help a bastard prince reclaim his throne.
CROWN OF FEATHERS by Nicki Pau Preto (2/12)
A war orphan flees her controlling sister, disguising herself as a boy to become a Phoenix Rider.
SPECTACLE by Jodie Lynn Zdrok (2/12)
A young morgue columnists begins having visions of a serial killer’s victims, from the murderer’s perspective, and gets swept up in the hunt to stop him from killing again.
THE AFTERWARD by E.K. Johnston (2/19)
An apprentice knight and a thief find that their country’s “golden age” isn’t quite what it was supposed to be.
TAROT by Marissa Kennerson (2/19)
The bastard daughter of a magician discovers her ability to create new worlds in tapestries.
MIKE by Andrew Noriss (2/26)
A young rising tennis star wonders why he is the only one who is able to see his new, strange friend, Mike.
THE LAST 8 by Laura Pohl (3/5)
One of few human survivors after an alien attack of Earth, a teen joins a group of other survivors but uncovers a dark secret.
THE MANIC PIXIE DREAM BOY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT by Lenore Appelhans (3/5)
Although he knows he is supposed to stay on script, a stock character in a novel goes off-book and finds himself in therapy.
THE OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS by Justin A. Reynolds (3/5)
When his girlfriend dies, a teen finds himself somehow transported back in time to the moment they first met.
BLOODLEAF by Crystal Smith (3/12)
A princess flees the pressures of the crown and practices magic disguised as a commoner.
WHEN THE SKY FELL ON SPLENDOR by Emily Henry (3/12)
After a tragic accident leaves her brother in a coma, a girl and her friends devote themselves to pursuing signs of the supernatural.
BETWEEN THE WATER AND THE WOODS by Simone Smith (3/19)
After using forbidden magic to save her younger brother, a girl must undertake a dangerous journey to warn the king of the dark powers that have been awakened.
GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS by Suzanne Young (3/19)
Teens at an elite boarding school for beautiful, accomplished young women, discover they are being trained to be auctioned off upon their graduation.
INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed (3/19)
In a future where Muslims have been forced into internment camps, a teen girl starts a rebellion from inside the camp.
NEVER-CONTENTED THINGS by Sarah Porter (3/19)/
After dark faeries entrap two foster-siblings, the teens must fight for their freedom.
THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE by Ally Condie (3/26)
The young captain of a mining ship discovers a traitor among her crew and a routine voyage becomes treacherous.
ONCE AND FUTURE by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta (3/26)
King Arthur is reincarnated as a teen girl and teams up with a teenage Merlin to break the curse of reincarnation.
SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (3/26)
Three teens get swept up in a rebellion against the elite controlling classes that rule their planet.
THE ACCIDENT by Glasko Klein (4/2)
After a serious car accident, a teen gets a mysterious text message offering him the chance to go back in time for a “do-over.”
THE CHEAT by Sarah Richman (4/2)
After failing a test, a teen accepts the offer in a mysterious text message to go back in time and cheat on the test.
DESCENDENT OF THE CRANE by Joan He (4/2)
A princess embraces illegal magic to find her father’s murderer.
THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman (4/2)
When one of them accidentally releases an ancient monster, three teens are forced to overcome their differences to save their town from the curse of darkness.
WICKED SAINTS by Emily A. Duncan (4/2)
A prince and a girl with the power to communicate with gods plan to assassinate the king.
LOVE AND OTHER CURSES by Michael Thomas Ford (4/9)
When a teen finds himself falling in love with the new boy in town, he is in danger of suffering from his family’s ancient curse, which might cause the boy he loves to die.
THE RAVEN’S TALE by Cat Winters (4/16)
Young Edgar Poe’s life turns awry when he is haunted by a shadowy muse named Lenore.
THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT by Swati Teerdhala (4/23)
A soldier and a rebel find their loyalties tested when they fall in love.
AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (5/7)
After graduating from the Academy that prepared him for interstellar missions, a teen is assigned to lead a less-than-desirable squad, which includes a cryogenically frozen girl from the past.
CASTLE OF LIES by Kiersi Burkhart (5/7)
An army of invading elves traps an ambitious noblewoman in the castle and threatens her plans to seize power herself.
FOUR DEAD QUEENS by Astrid Scholte (5/7)
A young thief and a boy she robbed become suspects when their country’s four queens are murdered.
NOCTURNA by Maya Motayne (5/7)
A face-shifting thief and a grieving prince join forces to fight an ancient evil.
LAST BUS TO EVERLAND by Sophie Cameron (5/14)
A group of misfits find an entrance to a magical world where their problems seem much smaller, but when the doors to their fantasy world start to close, they must chose where to stay permanently.
THE KINGDOM by Jess Rothenberg (5/28)
An android programmed to work in a fantasy-themed amusement park begins having romantic feelings for one of the park employees.
THE BEHOLDER by Anna Bright (6/4)
The daughter of a political leader is sent by her stepmother on a dangerous journey with strict instructions to find a suitable husband.
BLOOD HEIR by Amelie Wen Zhao (6/4)
After being framed for her father’s murder, a princess turns to the country’s seedy underworld for help tracking down the true murderer.
THE HAUNTED by Danielle Vega (6/4)
When her family moves into a haunted house, a teen must take down the ghosts before they get her first.
WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN by Preston Norton (6/4)
Two teens who have spent years antagonizing each other, somehow switch bodies and use the opportunity to help each other woo their respective crushes.
STRONGER THAN A BRONZE DRAGON by Mary Fan (6/11)
Although she is dismayed that her village chose her as the bride to convince a powerful ruler to serve as their protector, she decides to track down the thief who stole the other half of the village’s payment: an enchanted jewel.
ALL OF US WITH WINGS by Michelle Ruiz Keil (6/18)
Although she thinks she has escaped the dysfunction of her past and started a new life as a governess, a teen accidentally summons demons that want to seek vengeance on those who wronged her.
THE EVIL QUEEN by Gena Showalter (6/25)
A girl with the ability to commune with mirrors discovers that she is destined to become the Evil Queen in the story of Snow White.
WICKED FOX by Kat Cho (6/25)
An immortal, soul-eating fox-girl falls in love with a human boy.
THE STORM CROW by Kalyn Josephson (7/9)
After a devastating attack on her kingdom, a princess hopes to hatch a magical crow to restore balance to her kingdom and avoid an arranged marriage.
THE MERCIFUL CROW by Margaret Owen (7/30)
When a prince fakes his own death, a young mercy-killer becomes his unlikely protector.
VOYAGES IN THE UNDERWORLD OF ORPHEUS BLACK by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick (8/13)
When his brother is killed in WWII, an artist wounded in the London blitz loses his grip on reality and begins a journey into the Underworld in search of his brother.
INVENTING VICTORIA by Tonya Bolden (1/8)
In the post-Reconstruction South, a young black woman wrestles with her identity when she is offered the chance to join “high Black society” in the nation’s capital.
ALL IS FAIR by Dee Garretson (1/22)
After receiving an encoded telegram, a young woman escapes an English boarding school to become a World War I spy.
SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY by Rachel Dewoskin (1/22)
When her mother disappears, a Jewish teen and her family flee to Shanghai from Nazi-occupied Poland.
THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY by Hanna Alkaf (2/5)
Separated from her mother in a violent race riot, a teen must fight against her OCD and rely on an unlikely ally to find her way back home.
ANGEL THIEVES by Kathi Appelt (3/12)
A teen who is forced to steal angel grave markers to pay his room and board stumbles upon a connection to a slave mother desperate to get her daughters to safety and a caged ocelot starving near the bayou.
SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner (3/19)
After Robin Hood’s death, Maid Marian takes on his dangerous mission.
A PLACE FOR WOLVES by Kosoko Jackson (4/2)
Two teen boys fall in love as they attempt to fight their way back to their families during a terrifying war in Kosovo.
WHITE ROSE by Kip Wilson (4/2)
A girl and her friends begin resisting the Nazi regime by circulating anti-Nazi propaganda.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE by Susan Kaplan Carlton (4/9)
A Jewish girl tries to hide her religion when her family moves to the deep South and encounters prejudice and hate crimes.
PLANET EARTH IS BLUE by Nicole Panteleakos (5/14)
A nonverbal girl struggles in her new foster home without her older sister, but hopes to see her again for the launch of the Challenger space shuttle, with which they are both obsessed.
DEATH PREFERS BLONDES by Caleb Roehrig (1/29)
A young socialite and her drag queen friends moonlight as cat burglars and find their lives in grave danger.
THE LONELY DEAD by April Henry (1/29)
A teen who can speak to ghosts becomes a suspect in her best friend’s murder and must track down the real killer.
THE DECEIVERS by Kristen Simmons (2/5)
After being accepted to an elite school, a girl gets swept up in the administration’s secret agenda to con the city’s officials.
IF YOU’RE OUT THERE by Katy Lautzenheiser (3/5)
When her best friend moves across the country, bizarre social media posts lead a teen to believe that her friend may be being held against her will.
KILLING NOVEMBER by Adriana Mather (3/26)
A teen becomes a suspect in the murder of a fellow student at an elite boarding school for spies and assassins.
THE LOST by Natasha Preston (4/2)
Two teens trying to figure out what happened to the girls who have disappeared in their town find themselves imprisoned with a series of challenges designed to keep them from escaping.
KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan (5/7)
After losing his best friend, a teen gets wrapped up in the hunt for the serial killer who murdered him.
LAST THINGS by Jacqueline West (5/7)
When strange things start happening in the woods, a metal band performer finds himself in danger and a teen fan claims to be able to protect him.
THE LOVELY AND THE LOST by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5/7)
A teen who spent her childhood alone, lost in the woods, is enlisted to help search the wilderness for another missing child and begins to uncover some unsettling truths about her adoptive family.
THE THINGS SHE’S SEEN by Ambelin and Ezekial Kwaymullina (5/14)
A dead teen tries to help her detective father solve the mystery of another girl’s death.
ALL EYES ON US by Kit Frick (6/4)
When an anonymous stalker begins texting them, a secretly gay teen and the actual girlfriend of her fake boyfriend team up to find out who is threatening them and why.
WHEN WE WERE LOST by Kevin Wignall (6/4)
After their plane crashes in the jungles of Costa Rica, a small group of teen survivors fight for their lives.
THE ME I MEANT TO BE by Sophie Jordan (1/1)
A teen finds herself caught between a solemn pact and her heart when she falls in love with her best friend’s ex, whom she promised never to date.
MATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Tiana Smith (1/8)
Even though her best friend is a match-making expert, a teen tries to set up her own date for Homecoming but winds up in a complicated love triangle.
A SKY FOR US ALONE by Kristin Russell (1/8)
A teen searching for answers after his brother’s death must face some hard truths about his small hometown, even as he finds a kindred spirit and falls in love.
WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS by RuthAnne Snow (1/8)
When a suicidal teen goes missing after prom, her three best friends try to find her while confronting struggles of their own.
96 WORDS FOR LOVE by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash (1/15)
Overwhelmed by her upcoming transition from high school to college, a teen travels to India on a soul-searching journey.
FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN by Emma Mills (1/15)
In an attempt to get funding for a marching band trip, a teen tries to convince her small town’s only famous resident, a country singer, to come back and headline a fundraiser.
LET’S GO SWIMMING ON DOOMSDAY by Natalie C. Anderson (1/15)
In order to save his family from jihadists, a boy is forced to become a child soldier and attempts to mitigate the horrors he experiences by undertaking the dangerous role of a double agent for the Americans.
OUR YEAR OF MAYBE by Rachel Lynn Solomon (1/15)
After a teen donates a kidney to her best friend (and secret crush), their relationship becomes unexpectedly complicated.
THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU, AND ME by Olivia Hinebaugh (1/22)
A straight-laced teen takes a stand against abstinence-only education, handing out sex information and contraception in the bathroom of her high school.
THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER by Ben Phillipe (1/22)
A Canadian teen tries not to get too involved in the complex social scene at his new Texas high school.
ONLY A BREATH APART by Katie McGarry (1/22)
To escape her dark home life, a teen must rekindle a friendship with the former best friend who broke her heart.
THE LOVE AND LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI by Sabina Kahn (1/29)
When a teen’s conservative Muslim parents discover that she is gay, they derail her future by sending her to Bangladesh where she must struggle to stay true to her identity.
A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS by Alyssa Sheinmel (2/5)
Although she believes her confinement in the mental institution is a mistake, a teen must confront the terrible events that led the doctor and the judge to send her there.
FLIGHT OF A STARLING by Lisa Heathfield (2/5)
Two circus-performer sisters find their relationship strained when one sister enters into a forbidden romance with a non-circus boy.
NO ONE HERE IS LONELY by Sarah Everett (2/5)
After her best friend and her crush die in a car crash, a teen turns to her late crush’s online persona for comfort.
WATCH US RISE by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan (2/12)
Two young activists start a Women’s Rights Club, despite the opposition they face from their school administration and others in their community.
THE YEAR I DIDN’T EAT by Samuel Pollen (2/12)
As a boy struggles with anorexia, his family life begins to fall apart and someone discovers his secret journal.
THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason (2/19)
A teen finds out that her boyfriend has been hooking up with her younger sister, but is consumed by guilt after her sister ends up in a coma as a result of a drunk driving accident.
THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS by Bill Konigsburg (2/26)
Two teen boys, each with a secret to keep, fall in love over an unusual summer.
RAYNE AND DELILAH’S MIDNIGHT MATINEE by Jeff Zentner (2/26)
Two teens try to deal with difficult decisions their senior year while hosting a local TV show with B-Rated horror movies.
SORRY, NOT SORRY by Jaime Reed (2/26)
A teen faces a difficult decision when her former best friend needs a kidney donation.
BARELY MISSING EVERYTHING by Matt Mendez (3/5)
Two Latino teens struggle to realize their dreams despite the obstacles posed by the endemic racism of the culture around them.
CHICKEN GIRL by Heather T. Smith (3/5)
A teen tries to regain her optimism after experiencing online bullying.
FAT ANGIE: REBEL GIRL REVOLUTION by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (3/5)
After her sister is killed in Iraq, an LGBT teen decides to escape her school bullies and intolerant mother by going on a road trip inspired by her sister’s last letter.
FIELD NOTES ON LOVE by Jennifer E. Smith (3/5)
After his girlfriend dumps him, a teen places an ad looking for a stranger to take her place on the road trip they had planned.
THE ISLAND by D.A. Graham (3/5)
A boy jumps at the chance to be on an island survival reality show until he realizes he is in way over his head.
THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY by Laura Steven (3/8)
When private photos of her appear on a slut-shaming website, an aspiring comedian takes a stand against sexism.
A COLD DAY IN THE SUN by Sara Biren (3/12)
The only girl on the ice hockey team becomes the center of attention when the team is featured on TV.
HEROINE by Mindy McGinnis (3/12)
After a devastating accident, a teen athlete struggles with a growing addiction to prescription pain killers.
IZZY + TRISTAN by Shannon Dunlap (3/12)
Two teens from different backgrounds fall in love and embark on an epic romance.
THE SOUND OF DROWNING by Katherine Fleet (3/12)
Although she is desperate to stay in her relationship with her first love (even though it must stay a secret) a teen falls for the new guy in her small OBX town.
TIN HEART by Shivaun Plozza (3/12)
After receiving a life-saving heart transplant, a girl struggles with her identity in her second-chance life.
DIG by A.S. King (3/26)
Five teens struggle to make ends meet while trying to live up to their wealthy grandparents’ expectations.
XL by Scott Brown (3/26)
A short teen who has always longed to be tall finds his relationships strained when he has an unexpected and extreme growth spurt.
THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE by Ria Voros (4/2)
After her famous mother’s mysterious disappearance, a teen starts a new friendship and begins to uncover secrets about her mother’s past.
EVERY MOMENT AFTER by Joseph Moldover (4/5)
Two teens are still struggling with grief and guilt from a horrifying incident of gun violence in their elementary school years.
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK by Kathleen Glasgow (4/9)
A teen’s world turns dark with grief after her mother dies.
THIS BOOK IS NOT YET RATED by Peter Bognanni (4/9)
When their beloved movie theater is slated for destruction, one teen and his fellow cinema employees hatch a plan to save it.
THE MEANING OF BIRDS by Jaye Robin Brown (4/16)
When her first girlfriend dies, a teen finds herself struggling to process her grief without the help of her love.
IF I’M BEING HONEST by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (4/23)
A teen with a justified reputation for being horribly mean tries to change herself in order to get her crush to like her.
BRIEF CHRONICLE OF ANOTHER STUPID HEARTBREAK by Adi Alsaid (4/30)
A teen advice columnist who writes an eMag about love fears that she can’t go on with her writing when she has her own heart broken.
HOW TO BE LUMINOUS by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (4/30)
When her eccentric single mother disappears, a budding artist finds herself only able to see the world in monochrome as she processes her grief.
DEPOSING NATHAN by Zack Smedley (5/7)
A teen must come to terms with his complicated relationship with his best friend when he is called to testify against him in court.
HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES by Julie Buxbaum (5/7)
Two teens whose lives were each affected by the tragedy of 9/11 meet at a summer camp and have a chance to help one another heal.
LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME by Mariko Tamaki (5/7)
When a girl begins to question whether her on-again-off-again relationship with her seemingly perfect girlfriend is healthy.
SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW by Maurene Goo (5/7)
A K-pop star falls in love with a tabloid reporter over a midnight cheeseburger.
WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo (5/7)
A high school student balances her aspirations for becoming a chef with her need to care for her young daughter.
DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS by Nina Moreno (5/14)
When she falls in love for the first time, a teen wonders if there is anything to the stories her grandmother tells about the family curse that destroys all the Santos women’s relationships.
AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE by Erin Gough (5/21)
Two teen girls begin a secret campaign to expose their swim coach’s pattern of sexual harassment, and in the process they fall in love with each other.
BRIGHT BURNING STARS by A.K. Small (5/21)
A fierce competition and mutual love interest strains the friendship of two dancers at the Paris Opera Ballet School.
GOING OFF-SCRIPT by Jen Wilde (5/21)
A TV writing intern is furious when the show’s head writer steals her script and rewrites her lesbian character as straight.
SYMPTOMS OF A HEARTACHE by Sona Charaipotra (5/21)
After graduating from med school at age 16, a girl struggles with her career as a doctor, especially after she falls in love with a patient.
THE VOICE IN MY HEAD by Dana L. Davis (5/28)
When her terminally ill sister decides to pursue medically assisted suicide, a teen hears a voice in her head compelling her on an insane road trip that the voice claims will save her sister’s life.
IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY by Claire Kann (6/4)
A girl is dismayed when she is crowned Summer Queen and swept up in a series of publicity obligations, including the expectation that she’ll fall for the Summer King.
THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT by Misa Sugiura (6/4)
A teen finds a cause to fight for when her mom tries to sell the family business to the same family who exploited her grandparents during the Japanese Internment during WWII.
TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL by Aminah Mae Safi (6/11)
Two teen girls from different social classes who hate each other find themselves falling in love.
SOMETHING LIKE GRAVITY by Amber Smith (6/18)
A transgender boy and a girl grieving the loss of her sister find their paths colliding after a near-fatal car crash.
THE VIRTURE OF SIN by Shannon Schuren (6/25)
With the prospect of being forced to marry someone against her will, a teen finally finds the courage to try to break out of the cult in which she lives.
WE WALKED THE SKY by Lisa Fiedler (7/2)
Although her grandmother found freedom from her dysfunction family when she joined the circus, her granddaughter’s life is turned upside down when she is forced to leave it so that her mom can pursue a normal job.
PAST PERFECT LIFE by Elizabeth Eulberg (7/9)
When a teen sends in her college applications she discovers that she has been living her life under an assumed identity.
THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE by Sandy Hall (7/9)
A new college freshman expects to start life with a clean slate, but is dismayed when a boy she hated in high school winds up in most of her classes.
THE UNDOING OF THISTLE TATE by Katelyn Detweiler (7/23)
When a famous bestselling teen novelist falls in love, she is tortured by the secret she keeps from everyone, including the boy she loves—that she didn’t really write her books.
TRULY, MADLY, ROYALLY by Debbie Rigaud (7/30)
An American teen’s life gets complicated when she falls in love with a European prince.
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Katy Upperman (8/6)
After her sister’s death, a teen’s life falls apart and she begins to wonder if her sister is haunting her.
PUMPKINHEADS by Rainbow Rowell (8/27)
Two friends who only see each other one season a year when working at a pumpkin patch decide to make their last season together a memorable one.
Nor just wants to live a normal life. Or at least as normal of a life as you can have when you’re the youngest in a long line of cursed witches on quirky, touristy island. The Blackburn women have managed to live fairly quietly for the past several generations, their witchcraft mostly explained away as just another local oddity–unusual talents of the islanders. But when Nor’s estranged mother begins selling witchcraft on the mass market, the quiet equilibrium of the island is immediately threatened. Not only will the Blackburn secret be exposed, but dark magic comes at a bloody price. To save her world and the friends and neighbors she loves, Nor will have to face her mother and embrace the power inside herself that she has always tried to hide.
An engaging new fantasy novel focused on a teenage girl’s complicated relationship with an abusive mother. The ending is left open for a sequel. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy dark, character-driven fantasy.
Hester has resigned herself to a life without love. Her mother died days after giving birth to Hester, as her grandmother died days after giving birth to her mother, and her great-grandmother. . . . All Hester knows is that for the women in her family, love kills. But when Hester meets a mysterious young man at the beach, she begins to uncover a dark tale from the past–a story of love and loss, of humans and sea-folk, the living and the lingering dead. And something in this past may have an important connection to Hester’s future. In her desperation to learn more about the past and free herself from her curse, Hester overlooks the very real danger lurking in the present.
Based on the jacket summary, I had expected this novel to be a paranormal romance. It is definitely not! Although there are some romantic moments in the book, the focus of the novel is on the journey of a young woman to uncover her ancestral past, break a curse, and find the strength to free herself from the weight of past tragedies and forge her own destiny. It is suspenseful and powerfully written with a rich, history-inspired fantasy woven into a quaint, contemporary, small town. Fama’s extensive research shows in the realism of her past and present settings and the authenticity of her characters without ever leading to copious explication. I highly recommend this novel to historical fiction readers and fantasy readers who enjoy gripping, character-driven stories. I had trouble putting it down!
The audiobook is phenomenal. I highly recommend it.
Xar, the son of the wizard king, is known for being a troublemaker–disobedient, destructive, leading his ragtag entourage of sprites and snow cats into all kinds of danger. And the fact that at thirteen his magic still hasn’t come in makes him even more unruly. Wish, the warrior princess, is downright weird. Her limp, her eyepatch, and her odd interests make her hardly fit to call herself a warrior. But the mischief of these two sworn enemies reaches new heights when two forbidden errands collide in the Badwoods. Xar has come to set a trap for a witch, the darkest, most evil magic creature ever to exist, which everyone believes are extinct, but whose magic Xar hopes to steal. Wish enters the Badwoods chasing her pet, an iron spoon that must be magic and is therefore thoroughly forbidden (much to her young Assistant Bodyguard’s anxiety). She also has a magic sword she found near her mother’s dungeon that has an inscription claiming that it kills witches. And unfortunately for both Wish and Xar, that sword may be blood-curdlingly necessary.
As much as this novel is the thrilling start to a creative and engaging new fantasy series, it is a coming of age tale for two very different protagonists, each struggling to find a place in their respective society and to work through a complicated relationship with their respective intimidating parent. I suspect that the cheeky omniscient narrator would have annoyed me had I not been listening to the brilliantly performed audiobook. But otherwise, I loved everything about it. Can’t wait for the next installment!
I highly recommend the audiobook (performed by David Tennant), a well-deserved Odyssey Award Honor recording.
Lots of new books and sequels have been announced for 2018! Here’s a quick rundown of upcoming YA titles. (Summaries and age ranges are based on publisher information and release dates may change.)
YA Continuing Series
True Queen by Sarah Fine (1/2)
Book 3 of Imposter Queen. Ages 12 & up.
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff (1/9)
Book 2 of The Red Abbey Chronicles. Ages 14 & up.
You Won’t Know I’m Gone by Kristen Orlando (1/16)
Book 2 of The Black Angel Chronicles. Ages 13 & up.
Poison’s Cage by Breeana Shields (1/16)
Sequel to Poison’s Kiss. Ages 12 & up.
Purple Hearts by Michael Grant (1/30)
Final book of Front Lines. Ages 14 & up.
Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (2/6)
Sequel to Wintersong. Ages 12 & up.
Daughter of a Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller (2/27)
Book 2 of Daughter of the Pirate King. Ages 12-18.
The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro (3/6)
Book 3 of Charlotte Holmes. Ages 14 & up.
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (3/18)
A new arc of Shatter Me. Ages 14 & up.
The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin (3/27)
Sequel to The Call. Ages 14 & up.
Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith (4/1)
Sequel to Children of Icarus.
Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly (4/24)
Book 3 of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine. Ages 13 & up.
The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I by Carolyn Mackler (5/29)
Sequel to The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things. Ages 14 & up.
City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts (6/5)
Sequel to Royal Bastards. Ages 16 & up.
The Merciless IV: Last Rites by Danielle Vega (6/12)
Final installment of The Merciless. Ages 14 & up.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (9/5)
Book 6 of Throne of Glass. Ages 14 & up.
YA Historical Fiction
Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk (1/16)
An enslaved warrior princess of Thrace and a young gladiator join forces in a rebellion against the Roman Empire. Ages 13-17.
What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper (2/20)
The only member of her family too survive the Holocaust, a girl searches for connection to her Jewish identity and the people around her. Ages 14 & up.
Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen (3/6)
During the Holocaust, Polish twins are subjected to horrific tortures and preserve the memory of their experience through poetry. Ages 12-18.
Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey (4/24)
A young lady finds herself in a difficult position when she falls in love with her suitor’s younger brother. Ages 12-18.
Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Candace Fleming, et al. (5/1)
Seven stories by seven YA authors paint a picture of the drama of the Tudor court. Ages 12-18.
She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood (6/26)
In the throes of the tumultuous 1960s and a disappointing year at school, a girl hopes that a whirlwind roadtrip to see the final world tour of the Beatles will set her life back on track. Ages 14 & up.
YA Fantasy & Sci Fi
Ink by Alice Broadway (1/2)
After her father’s death, a girl discovers that one of his tattoos brands him a criminal, and her world turns upside down. Ages 12 & up.
A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole (1/2)
A teen discovers a startling truth about her family and the secret government experiments that threaten to unravel a tenuous peace with an indigious population. Ages 13 & up.
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely (1/2)
After the second Civil War, a skilled teen sharpshooter makes a name for herself in the new West. Ages 15 & up.
The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Gläser (1/2)
A girl discovers a magic book, and everything she writes in it comes true. Ages 12 & up.
Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking (1/2)
One of Odin’s Valkyrie must decide whether or not to help a mortal boy exact revenge. Ages 12 & up.
Everless by Sara Holland (1/2)
A teen must return to the dangerous city of her birth in order to steal more time for her dying father’s lifespan. Ages 13 & up.
As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti (1/2)
As his eighteenth birthday approaches, a boy must figure out what his one wish in the world would be since it is guaranteed to come true. Ages 14-17.
Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (1/9)
Two scholars follow a message from an alien race to a temple of riches and danger on a strange planet. Ages 14 & up.
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (1/23)
A necromancer must join forces with an alluring and irritating mage to defeat the bloodthirsty Shades. Ages 12 & up.
Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen (1/30)
After marrying into a rival kingdom to broker a peace deal, a young woman discovers her own magical abilities which threaten the tenuous peace and her own safety. Ages 14 & up.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (2/6)
A girl with the power to bestow beauty on the otherwise gray people of her world finds her values challenged when she gets a glimpse at the true nature of the elite class to which she belongs. Ages 12 & up.
Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (2/6)
The daughter of a virgin mother discovers she has the ability to perform miracles and must try to prevent the end of the world. Ages 14 & up.
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (2/13)
A teen criminal escapes jail time by accepting an interstellar exploration mission on a sentient spaceship. Ages 13 & up.
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare (2/20)
After spending her whole life in a world that her mother wrote into existence, a girl must cross over to the real world to find her kidnapped mother. Ages 12-18.
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (2/27)
A girl with unconventional ideas escapes being sent to a nunnery and tries to find her place in a world where she is expected to be a damsel in distress. Ages 13 & up.
The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2/27)
A young noblewoman refuses to let herself be a political pawn when she is captured by rebels who oppose the cruel king whom her father serves. Ages 14 & up.
Mind Over Matter by R.T. Martin (3/1)
A boy gains telekinetic abilities on his sixteenth birthday. Ages 12-18.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (3/6)
The daughter of a slaughtered maji must tame the power inside of her to bring down the oppressive regime that outlawed magic. Ages 14 & up.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (3/6)
A viscious siren princess is transformed into a human and must cut out the heart of a siren-hunting prince to break the spell. Ages 14 & up.
Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (3/6)
When three long-dead witches send their spirits to inhabit the bodies of young women and exact revenge on the male ancestors of the townspeople who executed them, a girl tries to rescue the new boy in town. Ages 14 & up.
Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (3/13)
The youngest in a line of cursed witches struggles with her limited abilities when a book offering prices for various spells is published in her hometown. Ages 14 & up.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (4/3)
In the wake of the rising of the dead soldiers that halted the Civil War in its tracks, a young woman of color is being trained to fight the dead while a more dangerous political battle simmers around her. Ages 14 & up.
Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby (4/3)
After her mother’s shocking death during a circus performance, a teen girl is plagued with visions as she attempts to uncover the dark secrets of the circus and the boy she loves. Ages 14 & up.
Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake (4/10)
Two teens from opposing clans share a dark vision of the future and must join forces against the evil that threatens them all. Ages 14 & up.
Rewind by Carolyn O’Doherty (4/10)
A girl who can rewind time to solve crimes must decide whether to accept a medication which will allow her to live longer but interfere with her abilities. Ages 14 & up.
The Fandom by Anna Day (4/24)
At Comic Con, a girl and her friends are transported into the world of their favorite book and she must take on the role of the heroine to insure that the story isn’t destroyed. Ages 14 & up.
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (4/24)
After a decade in captivity, a princess vows to destroy the regime that killed her mother and stole much of her life. Ages 14 & up.
Ride On by Gwen Cole (5/1)
In a sunless world, two teen outlaws seek sanctuary while being pursued by a vicious gang. Ages 12-18.
Whisper by Lynette Noni (5/1)
A prisoner whose voice has catastrophic power finds herself at the center of a twisted government plot. Ages 14 & up.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (5/8)
When her BFF allegedly commits suicide, a girl vows to find out what really happened, and winds up bring her BFF and a couple of other girls back from the dead to act as disoriented vigilantes. Ages 14 & up.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (5/22)
A prophesied queen and a young rebel bounty hunter are separated by centuries, yet their survival and the fate of the world depends on one another. Ages 13 & up.
The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas (7/10)
The younger sister of a superhero finds her worldview challenged when a supervillain rescues her from muggers. Ages 12-18.
Storm-wake by Lucy Christopher (7/31)
In a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a girl finds her worldview challenged when a she meets a “wild boy” and a shipwrecked stranger on the isolated, stormy island where she lives with her father. Ages 12 & up.
#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil (8/7)
A wrongfully-convicted teen finds herself in the midst of a social experiment where convicts are hunted and killed live on social media. Ages 14 & up.
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch (8/7)
Three teens from different regions are caught in a violent clash fueled by religious fervor and a fear of magic. Ages 14 & up.
Disasterland by James Patterson and Robison Wells (8/27)
Following a nuclear explosion, a teen discovers strange new abilities which he must use to uncover a government conspiracy. Ages 13 & up.
YA Mystery & Thrillers
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp (1/2)
When her best friend dies in mysterious circumstances, a girl won’t let the dark Alaskan winter stop her from finding out what really happened. Ages 14-17.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (1/16)
A teen enrolls in a boarding school with an infamous past only to discover that the legendary murders are repeating themselves and its up to her to solve the mystery. Ages 14 & up.
Losing Brave by Bailee Madison and Stefne Miller (1/30)
A girl uncovers a dark mystery as she searches for her missing sister. Ages 13 & up.
You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston (2/6)
Mysterious, anonymous letters lead to disappearances. Ages 14 & up.
I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter (2/27)
A girl’s first high school relationship turns abusive and ends with a viscious assault, which she then must watch happen to other girls while she waits for someone to find her. Ages 14 & up.
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig (4/24)
When his sister’s boyfriend is murdered–and she’s the one holding the knife–a teen has one night to figure out what happened and clear her name. Ages 14 & up.
Blink by Sasha Dawn (5/1)
A teen is obsessed with the mystery of the girl who was kidnapped from his community twelve years ago, and the new girl who just showed up may have the key to the mystery. Ages 14 & up.
The Lies They Tell by Gillian French (5/1)
With her father the scapegoat in a deadly fire, a girl tries to uncover the truth from a complicated web of secrets and lies. Ages 14 & up.
The Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (6/5)
Five teens gathered to unravel the details surrounding a friend’s shocking death receive a visit from a mysterious man and discover that time has stopped–and restarting it might cost someone their life. Ages 14 & up.
YA Realistic Fiction & Romance
Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Jennifer L. Armentrout, et al. (1/2)
A collection of short story romances featuring a diverse range of protagonists. Ages 14 & up.
Don’t Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci (1/2)
A girl finds a sense of freedom in pretending to be someone else when her family life and friendships seem to be out of control. Ages 12 & up.
Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle (1/2)
After witnessing a tragic accident, two teens start performing random acts of kindness and find themselves drawn closer to one another. Ages 14 & up.
Busted by Gina Ciocca (1/2)
A girl’s side business of spying on friends boyfriends to catch them cheating becomes a problem when she falls for one of the cheaters. Ages 14-17.
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (1/2)
Two twins who couldn’t be more different must find a way to connect when they learn that one of them has inherited the gene for Huntington’s Disease. Ages 14 & up.
A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen (1/9)
A novel of the complex, evolving relationship of two teens over a period of six years. Ages 13 & up.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (1/9)
A teen questioning the Christian faith in which she was raised finds herself expelled from high school and moves into a Big Brother-style reality show house at a local community college. Ages 14 & up.
Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard (1/12)
A mute girl with crippling anxiety finds her voice when she befriends a deaf boy and begins communicating in sign language. Ages 14 & up.
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (1/16)
After a violent attack in another part of the country, a Muslim-American teen faces racism and hatred as she tries to fit into her community. Ages 14 & up.
All That Was by Karen Rivers (1/16)
When a teen’s best friend’s body washes up on the beach, she must come to terms with the horrible fight they had the day before her death. Ages 12 & up.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi (1/23)
A refugee family faces a harrowing journey from Syria to Greece. Ages 12 & up.
The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (1/23)
The last surviving human hidden among the alien conquerers risks everything when she falls in love. Ages 12 & up.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (1/23)
Fearing that her asexuality might not be understood, a girl is horrified when she begins falling in love again. Ages 13 & up.
The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane (1/30)
After losing her memory in a plane crash, a teen girl tries to reinvent herself with the help of a handsome stranger. Ages 12 & up.
Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry (1/30)
A governor’s daughter falls in love with a juvenile delinquent who was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Ages 13 & up.
American Heart by Laura Moriarty (1/30)
A teen finds her preconceptions about Muslims challenged when she meets an immigrant desperate for freedom. Ages 13 & up.
This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell (1/30)
When her boyfriend who had been the target of violent bullying disappears, a girl must face the racism of her community as she tries to figure out what happened. Ages 14 & up.
The Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis (1/30)
Isolated in his strict Greek family, a boy tries to come to terms with his attraction to another guy. Ages 14 & up.
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos (2/1)
After her school labels her as “disturbed,” a girl begins creating a dictionary labeling everything else in her life–from her incarcerated father to her cheating mother to her best friend who no longer speaks to her. Ages 14 & up.
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi (2/6)
When an indecisive boy falls in love with an aspiring crossword puzzle writer, his life becomes an adventure. Ages 12 & up.
Broken Battered Hearts by Kami Garcia (2/6)
After her boyfriend’s physical abuse shatters her dreams of becoming a professional athlete, a girl must decide whether it is safe to fall in love again. Ages 14 & up.
All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson (2/6)
When a bridge collapses, a group of teens must confront emotional issues in their pasts and futures as they wait at the hospital for news of their loved ones. Ages 14 & up.
Layover by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer (2/6)
On an adventure-filled layover in L.A., two stepsiblings must confront their romantic feelings for each other. Ages 14 & up.
The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith (2/6)
A teen and her siblings pull their lives back together after their mother is arrested for killing their abusive father. Ages 14 & up.
When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. Steiger (2/6)
A neuroatypical girl is biding her time until her legal emancipation and trying to forget her painful past when she finds herself falling in love with a boy as physically fragile and she is mentally. Ages 14 & up.
Mercy Rule by Tom Leveen (2/20)
A toxic high school sports environment leads to a horrific incident of school violence. Ages 12 & up.
Where I Live by Brenda Rufener (2/27)
A homeless teen living in her high school finds her secret in jeopardy when she begins reaching out to another teen who may be a victim of abuse. Ages 14 & up.
Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart (3/1)
A girl with dreams of attending Harvard enrolls at an elite high school with sometimes uncomfortable social conventions and faces a moral dilemma when telling the truth about “the worst night of her life” seems like it may put her in conflict with the strict norms of the school. Ages 14 & up.
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (3/6)
A girl hopes to win a science competition and to use the prize money to help her mother overcome her depression. Ages 8-12.
The Place Between Breaths by An Na (3/6)
A teen helps tirelessly at her father’s genetic lab, searching for a cure for the schizophrenia that took her mother away from them, when she begins to fear the disease is taking hold of her as well. Ages 14 & up.
The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk (3/6)
When they each lose someone they love, three teen bandmembers turn to social media to process their grief. Ages 14 & up.
Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn (3/12)
A girl tries to piece her life back together after her father gets out of rehab for alcoholism. Ages 14 & up.
Fire Song by Adam Jones (3/13)
After his little sister’s suicide, a boy tries to face his feelings for his best friend as well as a future that looks nothing like he had hoped it would. Ages 14 & up.
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (3/20)
When a party turns violent, police are called in and shoot and kill an African American teen, leaving his twin brother to try to cope with the loss and understand police brutality. Ages 14 & up.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (3/20)
When her mother commits suicide, a girl believes she has turned into a bird and travels to Taiwan in search of her. Ages 14 & up.
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (3/27)
After a not-so-graceful first meeting, two teens communicate and fall in love via text message to avoid the awkwardness of in-person contact. Ages 14 & up.
And She Was by Jessica Verdi (3/27)
When she learns that her overprotective mother is transgender, a girl sets out on a roadtrip to learn about her family and come to term with her mother’s identity. Ages 14 & up.
Troublemakers by Catherine Barter (4/1)
A girl who was raised by her brother starts digging for information on her mother’s death and learns something about herself. Ages 13 & up.
Freefall Summer by Tracy Barrett (4/3)
When she falls for a college-age student of her father’s sky-diving drop zone, a teen lies about her age and soon finds her lies spiraling out of control. Ages 14 & up.
Folded Notes from High School by Matt Boren (4/3)
The most popular senior in school finds her worldview challenged when she falls for the freshman nobody who somehow got the lead in the school musical. Ages 14 & up.
Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion (4/3)
A girl from a financially unstable family in Trenton falls for a gifted (and privileged) teen violinist she hears play at Carnegie Hall. Ages 12-18.
Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher (4/3)
When her young nephew goes missing, a teen, her foster parents, and her social worker try to find him and keep him safe from her birth family. Ages 12-18.
As She Fades by Abbi Glines (4/3)
After a horrible car crash leaves her boyfriend in a coma, a girl finds herself falling for another boy as they spent endless hours in the hospital with their respective loved ones. Ages 14 & up.
Rebel with a Cupcake by Anna Mainwaring (4/3)
An unfortunate wardrobe malfunction leaves a girl feeling self-conscious about her weight and wondering if she should change herself to attract the boy of her dreams. Ages 12-18.
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert (4/10)
A teen boy discovers a box of secrets in his parents’ closet and learns shocking truths about his family and the life he thought he knew. Ages 14 & up.
Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (4/18)
Twins’ intense sibling rivalry brings plenty of drama to a blowout graduation party. Ages 14 & up.
A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall (4/24)
Five very different students have different experiences attending the same prom. Ages 14 & up.
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian (4/24)
When the feminist owner of the ice cream stand passes away, one teen must decide whether to continue working there under the new management (the owner’s nephew) with whom she butts heads. Ages 12-18.
The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford (5/1)
When she is kicked off the tennis team, a young athlete must figure out who she is outside of the sport that defined her. Ages 14 & up.
Ship It by Britta Lundin (5/1)
A fan-fiction writer and a TV actor clash at comic-con over whether the actor’s character might be gay and the fall-out is a growing experience for both. Ages 14 & up.
Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny (5/1)
A girl is conflicted when she learns that her summer romance has been with the son of the developer who is planning to turn the campground into a resort–until he offers to help her thwart his father’s plans. Ages 14 & up.
A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller (5/8)
The grandson of a famous novelist who disappeared in the last week of his life embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about his grandfather’s death. Ages 14 & up.
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch (5/8)
After stumbling upon a travel guide to Ireland, a teen embarks on a roadtrip to restore her relationship with her brother and mend a broken heart. Ages 14 & up.
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff (5/15)
A romantic vacation goes awry when a girl catches her boyfriend cheating and then winds up stranded at the airport with him. Ages 14 & up.
From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon (5/22)
Through letters to female filmmakers (her professional idols), a girl chronicles her creation of a film festival entry, and the unexpected romantic complications that come along with it. Ages 14 & up.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton (5/22)
After a near death experience, a jock decides to make his school a better place and enlists the aid of a bullied “nobody” to go after the people who are ruining it. Ages 13 & up.
Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth (5/29)
A teen desperate to move off of the reservation meets a girl who just moved back on and together they try to navigate the challenges of racism, finding an artistic voice, and of course, winning a rock band competition. Ages 14 & up.
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim (6/5)
To escape the wrath of one girl’s parents, three Pakistani-American teens embark on a spontaneous whirlwind of a roadtrip.
Save the Date by Morgan Matson (6/5)
A teen imagines that her sister’s wedding weekend will be a perfect reunion with her older siblings–just like old times–but instead, chaos ensues. Ages 13 & up.
Always, Forever, Maybe by Anica Rissi (6/5)
A girl starts keeping secrets from her best friend lest she judge her boyfriend as he gets increasingly possessive. Ages 14 & up.
Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone (6/5)
After a terrible fight in which they both said unforgivable things, two teens face a seemingly insurmountable rift in their friendship. Ages 13 & up.
The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (6/5)
On a post-high school roadtrip through Europe, five friends must confront secrets and tensions that threaten their friendships. Ages 14 & up.
The Year of Living Awkwardly by Emma Chastain (7/3)
Life gets awkward when a girl loses out on a part in the school musical and her former best friends are wrapped up in their own problems and hanging out with the most popular girl in school. Ages 12-18.
The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman (7/31)
After her brother is killed in Afghanistan, a girl coincidentally falls in love with an Afghan boy, to the discomfort of her family. Ages 14 & up.
Bethan wants nothing more than for Gran to teach her the magic of their Romani people. But knowing magic is dangerous among the gadjos in the neighboring town, and the birthmark on Bethan’s face seems to betray her as a witch to the fearful villagers who hesitate to buy Gran’s herbal cures. Only the young farmer, Martyn, and his father respect her. Bethan finds herself falling for Martyn, and he seems to have already fallen for her. But as if their cultural differences weren’t enough, Silas, the chieftain’s cruel son, wants Bethan and believes he deserves her body. A horrific violence leaves Martyn all but dead and Bethan empty and forever changed. But Gran knows it is time for Bethan to learn dark magic to save Martyn and exact her bloody revenge on those who wronged her.
After days of pondering this book, I still have strong, mixed feelings. The short review is that despite some flaws (a shallow depiction of gypsy culture and awkward and explication-heavy development of the relationship between Bethan and Gran), it is a gripping and deeply, lingeringly disturbing page-turner that fans of violent revenge stories may enjoy. But survivors of sexual violence should be aware that many scenes are graphic and could prompt flashbacks.
If you are a teacher or librarian planning to recommend it to teens, I recommend you read the long review below.
This novel devotes significant attention to the psychological effects of rape on the protagonist. In particular, Bethan wrestles with how the rape had impacted her identity. Who is she now? Who does she want to be? How can she regain control over ever aspect of her life and self–not just her physical body.
Intertwined with this complex exploration is Bethan’s contemplation of herself as a perpetrator of violence. Gran insists that Bethan herself commit the bloody tortures to complete the dark magic that will raise Martyn from the dead. As Bethan tortures her torturers, she sometimes feels satisfaction in her revenge in addition to a conflicting guilt and disgust at the acts of violence she commits.
Ultimately, for Bethan, the violence is worth it. The men who attacked her are far from innocent and despite their pleas for mercy and the tears in their mothers’ eyes as they see their sons tortured, sometimes to death, the end of resurrecting Martyn justifies the morally questionable means. On a broader thematic level, once her attackers are gone and Martyn is once again by her side, Bethan feels a weight lift and feels hopeful for her own emotional resurrection in the future. Reclaiming her own identity, she tells her village that she did what she needed to do and now she is done with violence and dark magic forever.
So here’s where I’m conflicted. It is a common enough trope for an act of evil to turn a victim to further acts of evil. But that isn’t what’s going on here. I believe we are supposed to like Bethan throughout and to approve of her decision to save her love (and herself) by torturing others. The author copiously records Bethan’s distaste and moral conflict about the tortures she commits, but Bethan’s rejection of violence came too late for me–only after she had used it to achieve her end. When she is uncomfortable with violence, Gran pushes her into yet–yet there is no condemnation of Gran. To Gran and Bethan, people who beat a man to death or rape a girl deserve to be burned alive in front of their mothers, have their eyes gouged out, etc. And on an allegorical level, perhaps they do, but given the sensitive and modern treatment of the other aspects of Bethan’s psychological recovery, her embracing of violence (and indeed the seeming necessity of that violence for her psychological recovery) seemed jarringly out of place and has lingered with me.
For that reason, I can’t decide whether I like this book or not. I certainly enjoyed reading it, but upon finishing, find myself still unsettled and not necessarily in a good way.
Ruby thought her life of running and hiding her powers was torture. That was before the real torture began–before the Frostblood king’s guards found her, killed her mother, and imprisoned her in a dungeon of ice. After six months in prison, even her fire powers can’t warm her. But when two mysterious figures with frost powers rescue her, she isn’t sure whether to be grateful or afraid. Surely a Frostblood would never help a Fireblood. They take her to a monastery and the older Frostblood, Brother Thistle, begins to train her to control her powers. He needs her to carry out a mission for him to destroy the cursed throne, and hepledges to keep her safe, no matter how suspicious the other monks may be. The younger Frostblood is definitely not a monk. A warrior with a scarred face and a surly disposition, Arcus initially infuriates Ruby, but soon earns her respect and maybe something more. But nothing–not even love–will get in the way of Ruby’s own mission. She will destroy the throne for Brother Thistle, but then she will finally avenge her mother’s death by killing the Frostblood king.
I am so glad I picked up this book! I hesitated since the plot seemed so tired (boy and girl with opposing magic powers fall in love and kill the king), but what it lacked in originality, it made up for in compelling characters, good pacing, and a complex picture of good, evil, and the human heroes and villains who fall somewhere inbetween. In many ways, the story reminded me of the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamara Pierce. The romance itself is very Elizabeth Bennett-Mr. Darcy. As the ending was left open for a series, it will be interesting to see how Blake keeps the relationship tension alive in subsequent books, since the romance was completed in the first.
Very highly recommended to teen fantasy readers!