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.