Oh, sorry were you hoping your TBR might actually be under control this year? Yeah, probably not going to happen. So, let’s just lean into it and talk about all the amazing new books coming out this year. Because there are a lot. So let’s start with these 50 YA books that should be added to your 2019 TBR ASAP!
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing (February 5, 2019, from HarperTeen)
Sera has never felt entirely at home among her people in their city about the sky. She’s always questioning everything and longs for the day when the tether connecting them to the world below will be severed and they can move on to a new planet. But then Sera is chosen as the sacrifice who must throw herself off the edge of the city, giving up her own life so her people can move on. Except she survives the fall and discovers that the stories about the humans below were all true and that her life is in more danger than she ever could’ve imagined. If she ever hopes to return to her people she’ll have to discover the magic within and rely on strength she didn’t know she had.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (February 5, 2019, from Balzer + Bray)
As the daughter of a late rap legend who died before he could make it big, aspiring rapper Bri has big shoes to fill. Especially since her mom lost her job and the bills are piling up. Now, Bri’s dreams of making it could mean the difference between her family having dinner and a roof over their head or living on the streets. Angie Thomas, the breakout author of The Hate U Give, goes back to her hip-hop roots in this novel about fighting for your dreams, becoming who you are in spite of other people’s expectations, and the harsh realities of poor and working-class black families.
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (February 5, 2019, from Salaam Reads)
Unlike most sixteen-year-olds, Melati Ahmad fears that she harbors a djinn inside her. This manifestation of her OCD threatens her with horrifying images of her mother’s death if she doesn’t maintain strict rituals of counting and tapping. But there are outside dangers that Mel has no control over. On May 13th, 1969, racial tensions between the Chinese and Malay in her hometown of Kuala Lumpur boil over into violence. It will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all the courage she has to cross the city in flames and get back to her mother in time.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (January 15, 2019, from Wednesday Books)
Paris of 1889, a city on the cusp of industry and power and full of secrets. And no one keeps track of secrets better than Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the powerful Order of Babel asks for his help in tracking down an ancient artifact, he can’t refuse. Along with a band of experts, including an engineer, a historian, a dancer with a dark past, and an almost blood brother, Séverin must hunt down the artifact in the glittering heart of Paris. The artifact has the potential to change the world… if Séverin and his friends can survive the hunt.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson (February 19, 2019, from Simon Pulse)
The bestselling author of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza and We Are the Ants is back with another wonderful YA novel. When death is the family business, you get used to spending time with the dead. But when Dino’s best friend July dies—and then comes back to life—the family business gets a little more complicated. As Dino and July try to figure out what’s going on, they also have to confront why their friendship ended so badly and discover some new things about themselves—and each other—in the process.
An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley (February 26, 2019, from Page Street)
After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, Mirabelle realizes the secretive Shadow Society aren’t the heroes she thought they were. To make amends, she brews simple curatives, but no amount of headaches tonics can make up for what she’s done. The bastard son of the Sun King, Josse de Bourbon, never expected to be any kind of royalty, but when half the court is assassinated he has no other choice. He finds an unexpected ally in Mira, the very poisoner who killed his father. But how can a bastard and a deadly poisoner unite the classes against the Shadow Society and reclaim Paris?
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (February 26, 2019, from Crown Books for Young Readers)
The author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days is back with what is sure to be another heartbreaking YA hit (okay, I’m just making an assumption on the heartbreaking part based on his track record—but he does have a strong track record). High school seniors Delia and Josie host a creature feature show on their local cable channel. But with graduation fast approaching and Delia holding tight to the show while Josie hopes to pursue her dreams of a TV career, they somehow seem farther away from each other than ever. Does growing up and moving on inevitably mean growing apart?
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (February 26, 2019, from Katherine Tegen Books)
The Medio School for Girls polishes young women into wives suitable of their future husbands, keeping them far from the frequent uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is one of the school’s top student, but she’s hiding a potentially devastating secret: her pedigree was faked. Her parents gave everything to obtain the false papers that got Dani into the Medio School. With her marriage to the son of a important politician fast approaching, her life and future seem set. But when a resistance group approaches her on graduation night, asking her to spy for them, she has to make a difficult choice: stay the course her parent’s sacrificed everything to put her on or risk it all to fight for a free Medio.
The Afterward by E.K. Johnston (February 19, 2019, from Dutton Books for Young Readers)
A book about a band of female knights with women of color front and center on the cover—what’s not to like? Ever since the godsgem ushered in a new golden age of peace and prosperity, the heroes who brought it back have been the stuff of legends. But not all of them are handling the fame well. Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart’s newfound fame doesn’t pay her bills, and she worries that she might have to betray her heart to provide a stable future. Olsa Rhetsdaughter was just a common thief before she was pulled into Kalanthe’s orbit. Now she’s so well-recognized she can’t even make a living the only way she knows how—and there’s not much choice between the noose and a life on the streets.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (March 5, 2019, from Henry Holt and Co. (BYR))
If you read (and fell in love with) Children of Blood and Bone, then you’re probably awaiting the sequel just as anxiously as I am. Zélie and Amari brought magic back to Orïsha, but it comes with a cost. Magic has been reignited not just in the maji, but in the nobles of magical ancestry too. Civil war brews on the horizon, with Zélie struggling to untie the maji of Orïsha and secure Amari her rightful place on the throne.
Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera (March 5, 2019, from Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Sixteen year old Nalah may lead the baddest girl gang in Mega City, but she’s started to grow tired of that life. She dreams of getting off the streets and starting a new life in Mega Towers. But getting into Mega Towers is no easy feat. To prove her loyalty to the city’s founder and secure her place, she must cross the border and track down the mysterious Ashé Ryders. It’s a dangerous mission, and Nalah may have to do unspeakable thing to reach her goal.
The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton (March 5, 2019, from Freeform)
The Everlasting Rose picks up where The Belles left off, with Camille, Edel, and Remy on a race against time and imperial forces to find the lost Princess Charlotte. With the help of an underground resistance movement that rejects beauty treatments entirely and an alternative newspaper, Camille and her friends will do everything in their power to return Charlotte to the throne and restore peace to Orleans.
Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck (March 12, 2019, from Swoon Reads)
Life on the island of Belladona is peaceful…as long as the citizens worship the sun which protects them from harm. Veda knows that the sun will protect her from the Night, the people who snatch sleeping citizens from their beds in the dead of night. But when her grandfather is offered up as the next sacrifice to keep the sun’s favor, Veda begins to wonder what price they should have to pay for safety—and if the Night is even the thing they should really fear at all.
When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry (March 12, 2019, from Razorbill)
Stranger Things meets The Serpent King. When the local steel mill in Splendor, Ohio exploded, everyone was affected in one way or another. In the wake of the accident, Seventeen-year-old Franny found solace with The Ordinary, a group investigating local legends. It was just something to do for fun. But when they stumble across something real—a bright light hurtling out of the sky—the group of teens and their hometown will never be the same.
Internment by Samira Ahmed (March 19, 2019, from Little, Brown)
In a horrifying near-future where Muslim American citizens are forced into camps, Layla is determined to fight back against the system. With the help of her new friends in the camp and her boyfriend on the outside, she leads a rebellion against the camp’s director and guards.
Samira Ahmed is coming out with so many amazing books. First Love, Hate, and Other Filters last year, now Internment, and then Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know in 2020. She’s truly a literary force to be reckoned with.
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (April 2, 2019, from Albert Whitman)
After the murder of her father, Princess Hesina suddenly finds herself queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to uncover her father’s killer, she breaks the cardinal rule of a land where magic is outlawed: enlisting the help of a soothsayer. Not knowing who she can trust, and armed with illegally obtained information, Hesina turns to an investigator who also happens to be a convicted criminal. But with so much at stake, the question remains: will Hesina be able to find justice for her father or will the cost be too high even for the queen to pay?
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (April 2, 2019, from Disney-Hyperion)
Moving from the city back to the rural, New York town one of her ancestors founded isn’t exactly Violet Saunder’s idea of a good time—especially when the other townspeople treat her with a respect bordering on fear. Then she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, other descendents of the founding families. Seeing the otherworldly destruction they’re capable of, she suddenly understands the locals’ fear. Maybe they should be afraid. When bodies start appearing in the woods, can the teenagers solve the mystery and figure out their own part in it before things escalate even further?
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow (April 9, 2019, from Delacorte Press)
It’s always been Tiger and her mom. But when her mom dies unexpectedly, suddenly it’s just Tiger. It’s a day like any other, but now everything is dark. The sky, the room, Tiger’s heart. It seems like the only way to move forward at all is to figure out how to make friends with the dark.
The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown (April 16, 2019, from HarperTeen)
This new book by the author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit tells the story of Jessica before and after life with Vivi. Before, she was angry all the time. During, Vivi encouraged Jess to pursue her talent with art. But after Vivi passes away unexpectedly, Jess pushes everyone away, gives up her dreams, and lets herself be consumed by her new work study program. An unexpected new friend helps her find a new way to channel all her creativity and emotions. Life may never be the same without Vivi, but maybe she can still find a way forward.
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala (April 23, 2019, from Katherine Tegen Books)
Esha is an assassin determined to avenge what she lost in the royal coup. Kunal is a soldier and the nephew of the general Esha has been assigned to kill. When their paths cross, they both think they’re the ones calling the shots–but the truth is there is far more going on than either of them really knows. The first book in a new fantasy trilogy draws on Indian history and Hindu mythology to weave together a tale of romance and adventure.
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (April 30, 2018, from Putnam)
When Lou finds out that Magic Castle Playland might be closing, she’s got some schemes in mind to make sure it won’t be their last summer there. But she has other plans in motion, too, like her plan to set up her best friend Seeley with the perfect girl and to get closer to Nick. One way or another, she’s determined to get this summer back on track. Even if Seeley isn’t on board with her plans for the first time ever.
Considering this one comes recommended by Becky Albertalli, I am very, very excited to read it.
Nocturna by Maya Motayne (May 7, 2019, from Balzer + Bray)
Finn Voy is a gifted shapeshifter. It’s been years since she’s even seen her own face. But when she’s caught by a powerful mobster she’s forced into an awful situation: steal from the palace or lose her powers forever. Prince Alfehr is next in line for the throne after his brother’s murder.…but what he really longs for is a way to bring him back. When his best friend is almost killed in the crosshairs of Finn’s heist, he accidentally unleashes a deadly magic that could consume the world. Now, Finn and Alfie are in a race against time to put a stop to the magic they both set in motion.
With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (May 7, 2019, from HarperTeen)
Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X, is back with a new novel about finding your passion even amongst the harsh realities of life. Emoni Santiago doesn’t have the luxury of just enjoying her senior year of high school. With a daughter to take care of and her abuela to support, there’s little time or money left to spend on herself. Especially not for things like culinary art classes or the school trip to Spain. But that doesn’t stop Emoni from making magic every time she gets to cook. It doesn’t seem right to still be dreaming of working in a real kitchen with all the responsibility on her shoulders, but when Emoni starts cooking there’s no stopping her talent.
The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (May 14, 2019, from Scholastic)
The city of Noor is a thriving stop along the Silk Road, but it bears the wounds of its recent past when the Shayateen djinn slaughtered everyone save for Fatima and two other humans. Now, Fatima is protected from the new maharajah by the Ifrit, an order of djinn ruled by reason. But when one of the most powerful of the Ifrit die, Fatima is changed in ways she never could’ve expected and suddenly finds herself drawn into the intrigue of the maharajah and his sister.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (May 14, 2019, from Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame tells the tale of two people trapped by their circumstances in the kingdom of Arawiya. Zafira is a hunter disguising herself as a boy. She braves the cursed forest to feed her people, but if anyone uncovered her disguise, all her accomplishments would mean nothing. Nasir is the son of the king and the assassin sent out to enforce his autocratic rule. Any hints of compassion would not be tolerated. But when they are each sent on a mission to retrieve a powerful, ancient artifact, their paths cross amidst the stirring of an ancient evil.
Kingsbane by Claire Legrand (May 21, 2019, from Sourcebooks Fire)
The second book in the Furyborn series tells the story of two Sun Queens living several centuries apart. Rielle has recently been anointed Sun Queen, but faces incredible temptation from the angel Corien—who may also be the only hope of finding some way to stop the other angels from breaking free of the Gate. And Eliana, the real Sun Queen, whose fears of becoming another Rielle are keeping her from reaching her full potential. The fate of her friends and her world may rest on her taking up a crown she never wanted in the first place.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (May 28, 2019, from Razorbill)
Welcome to modern day Salem, where real witches like Hannah are still alive and kicking. Of course if she’s ever caught using magic in front of a Reg (read: regular person) she could lose it for good. Which is why she spends most of her time hanging out with her best friend, selling crystals to tourists, crushing on the cute new ballerina, and trying to avoid her ex, Veronica. But when a blood ritual interrupts the end of year bonfire and dark magic starts popping up everywhere, Hannah has to team up with Veronica to try to convince the other witches that the Blood Witch is back—and she means business.
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (May 2019, from Simon Pulse)
This companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi is all about Ashish Patel (younger brother to Rishi Patel) and Sweetie Nair, both of whom have something to prove. Ashish is feeling disillusioned with the whole idea of love and challenges his parents to set him up–like they could do better. Sweetie is tired of her traditional parents acting like she’s lacking just because she’s fat. But as the two get to know each other, they realize this is more than just about proving anyone else wrong. In fact, they might actually like each other. But can they be together while trying to find their true selves? Or will this just wind up being another heartbreak?
Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao (June 4, 2019, from Delacorte Press )
This dark Anastasia retelling follows Anastacya Mikhailov, a girl born with a horrifying affinity for blood magic. She’s always believed she was a monster, and that prophecy seems to come true when her father, the emperor, dies in the middle of the night and she is charged with his murder. Alone and on the run, Ana makes a deal with a dangerous crime lord to help clear her name in return for her allegiance. But new monarchs are plotting for the empty throne and if Ana wants to save her kingdom, she’ll have to come to terms with her powers and with the role she was always destined to play.
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi (June 11, 2019, from Feiwel and Friends)
Sana and Rachel don’t get along. It’s been that way ever since Sana asked Rachel out–and Rachel thought it was a prank. And why wouldn’t she when Sana is the overachieving cheerleader to her aspiring director? They couldn’t be more different. But when Rachel realizes Sana is the perfect lead for her senior film project, the two suddenly find themselves having to work together. And this time, there may be no denying the chemistry between them—no matter how much they might want to.
Gumiho by Kat Cho (June 25, 2019, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Most people don’t believe in fairy tales anymore, which makes modern day Seoul the perfect place for Gu Miyoung to hide in plain sight. Miyoung is a Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, who eats the souls of men to survive. She only eats the souls of guilty men who have gone unpunished. But when she kills a goblin to save the life of a human boy, they develop a tenuous friendship that forces Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and her new friend.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (August 27, 2019, from First Second)
Rainbow Rowell is no stranger to comics; her current run of The Runaways is still going strong, but Pumpkinheads will be her first foray into graphic novels. Josiah and Deja come together every fall to work at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world (right here in Omaha, Nebraska). They’re used to saying goodbye every Halloween. But this year they’re both seniors, which means this will be the last goodbye—and Deja is determined to make it one to remember.
Hollow Crown by Zoraida Córdova (September 5, 2019, from Hodder & Stoughton)
The author of Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born is back with a new book loosely inspired by 15th century Spain. When the Puerto Leones’ set out on a inquisition to destroy out all magic, memory-thief Renata takes it upon herself to kill the prince. It’s either that, or lose magic forever. For Renata, it’s an easy choice.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (October 1, 2019, from Random House Trade)
When the author of the Grishaverse (and my favorite, Six of Crows) has a new book coming out, you take note. And when it’s a book about a high school dropout with a criminal past charged with monitoring Yale’s secret societies—societies that seem inexplicably linked to the occult–you take even more note.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco (October 15, 2019, from HarperTeen)
In a world ruled by goddesses and divided between scorching day and unending night, two twins learn that they are destined to cross the divide and rule a world reunited. Okay look, if you tell me a book is Frozen crossed with Mad Max I am intrigued, a bit confused, and very, very on board.
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney (2019, from Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Based on the author’s experiences growing up as a Muslim-American girl, this is a coming-of-age story about feeling caught between two cultures and the difficulties of being a Muslim teen in America today.
The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate Williams (2019, from Delacorte)
If Buffy (you know, of vampire slaying fame) was a member of The Babysitter’s Club, you’d be well on your way to The Babysitter’s Coven. Esme Pearl and Cassandra Heaven may be witches, but they’re also babysitters who split their time between taking care of kids and protecting their small, Kansas town from evil.
Children of the River Ghost by Alexandra Aceves (2019, from Tu Books)
Sixteen-year-old Katie is still reeling from her last relationship and the bullying that followed when she moves to New Mexico. But when she falls for a mysterious girl who might just be the ghost of La Llorona, things get even more complicated.
Dread Nation #2 by Justina Ireland (2019, from Balzer + Bray)
Okay, so we know almost nothing about the second book in the Dread Nation series, except that it presumably picks up where the first book leaves off with Jane McKeene just having saved the town from a zombie horde and finding out the truth about her mother. Either way, I’m very eager to see more of this zombie-filled alternate history of the Civil War–era U.S.
Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (2019, from Putnam)
A new book from the author of Warcross, Legend, and The Young Elites based on the childhood of Mozart and his sister Nannerl. When an imp from the “imaginary” kingdom of Back offers to fulfill Nannerl’s secret wish to always be remembered, she makes a terrible pact that could change everything–but maybe for the worse.
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah (2019, from Disney-Hyperion)
In a future where the world is submerged under a thousand feet of water, sixteen-year-old British Muslim Leyla is a regular teen who loves blasting music and racing in her submersibile. When her papa is wrongly arrested, she has to put her racing skills to good use in the London Submersible Marathon for a chance to win his freedom. But things aren’t as they seem, and when Leyla learns the truth, she’ll have to venture outside of London for the first time if she has any hope of rescuing her father.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (2019, from Kokila)
Jay Reguero doesn’t expect to spend the last semester of his senior year playing detective, but then his Filipino cousin Jun is killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs. None of his family wants to talk about it, but Jay is determined to find out the truth. But as his trip to the Philippines uncovers all sides of Jun and the horrible story of his death, Jay has to reckon not only with difficult truths, but with the role he may have played in his cousin’s death.
Untitled (Phoenix Fire Book) by Adam Silvera (2019)
Adam Silvera’s books usually have a touch of sci-fi or fantasy (see: More Happy Than Not and They Both Die At The End), but this will be his first book wholly diving into that world. And literally all we know about it is that it’s fantasy and somehow involves phoenixes. That’s it. And yet it’s by Adam Silvera, so I’m incredibly excited nonetheless.
Untitled Loki YA by Mackenzi Lee (2019, from Marvel)
The author of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is tackling Loki in her new YA book set to come out this year. We now it’s going to be heavily influenced by comicverse Loki (since it’s being published by Marvel) and that Loki will be gender fluid sooo…go ahead and add this one to your TBR.
Here is what I can say:
Loki is a canonically pansexual and gender fluid character.
— Mackenzi Lee (@themackenzilee) December 7, 2017
Untitled by Melissa Bashardoust (2019, from Flatiron Books)
A new fairy tale from the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass and inspired by ancient Persian/Zoroastrian mythology. According to the Goodreads page, this is the basic premise: “A princess is cursed to be poisonous to the touch and explores what inherent power might lie in such a curse.” It’s enough to get me excited, especially since I loved Bashardoust’s first fairy tale inspired book.
Untitled Alternate History by Caroline Tung Richmond (2019, from Scholastic)
An alternate history of the Cold War where the race isn’t for space but for superior robot technology. The book focuses on a sixteen-year-old leading a group of cyborgs which may be America’s last hope of evading a Soviet takeover.
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (2019, from Wednesday Books)
Carry On is finally getting a sequel! This new book by Rainbow Rowell (which was originally slated for 2020—see the cover confusion) will continue the magical love story of Simon and Baz. And I don’t know about you, but I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power (2019, from Delacorte Press)
A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends at the Raxter School for Girls which was put under quarantine eighteen months ago. The teachers all died ages ago and the girls don’t dare travel beyond the fence, holding out hope for the cure they’ve been promised.
When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey (2019, from Simon Pulse)
When a magical accident results in the death of a boy on prom night, a group of girls has to face up to the consequences of their actions. If you’re a fan of the River of Teeth duology by Sarah Gailey then you’re probably just as excited as I am to see her delving into the world of YA. She also has two adult books coming out this year, as well, including a fantasy novel, Magic for Liars, and a new alternate history, Upright Women Wanted.
When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk (2019, from Delacorte)
I have been anticipating the second book from Ashley Woodfolk ever since I read her first one, The Beauty That Remains. And let me tell you When You Were Everything sounds like an excellent follow up. It’s the story of two best friends and how their friendship fell apart, told in alternating timelines. Sign me up!
For more ideas on what to add to your 2019 TBR check out these gorgeous book covers from the first half of 2019, these 140+ YA books hitting shelves in the first quarter of the year, these 2019 YA books featuring queer girls, and this list of anticipated new releases from Book Riot’s By The Book podcast.