Happy fall, y’all. This is the season of tossing a book in your tote and enjoying a book under a colorful tree in a hoodie, and what better array of titles to choose from than the fall 2023 YA paperback books hitting shelves. There is something here for nonfiction lovers, fantasy lovers, romance aficionados, and more.
I know I am a broken record at this point, but it is worth repeating again: what I don’t love about paperbacks, though, is their rising costs. It’s becoming too clear that even the “cheaper” option for buying books is becoming untenable for so many, especially teenagers (and if your first response to that is “they can use the library,” let me direct you to how this increase in prices in conjunction with the increase in book bans at school and public libraries doesn’t give this option). That said, it is not the fault of the author for price increases, and thus, it’s still important to highlight and champion these books. This roster of fall 2023 YA paperback books hitting shelves between October and the end of December is excellent.
Find below some of the most exciting YA paperbacks hitting shelves this fall. Because of the paper sourcing challenges still impacting publishing, some of these dates may shift or change, but this is the closest to accurate as possible, per publishing catalog information. Some of these books are paperback originals, meaning they’ll only ever release in paperback, while others are first releases in paperback of books that have already been published in hardcover. I’ve stuck to first books in a series only, so know there are additional paperback releases of series books that are not the start of those series. First titles in a series are marked with a *.
You’ll find something of every genre in this roundup, making your fall 2023 YA paperback books a wealth of choices. Descriptions for the titles below come from Amazon because, much as I wish I’d read all of them, I have not, and this is a sizable list. This is one of the rare times I do that, if only because of how lengthy the list is.
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Fall 2023 YA Paperback Books For Your TBR
Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty
Rising above the city of Collis is the holy Sanctum. And watching over its spires is Catrin, an orphan girl with unique skills―for she alone can spot the building’s flaws in construction before they turn deadly.
But when Catrin witnesses a murderer escaping the scene of his crime, she’s pulled into a dangerous chain of events where the only certainty is that the killer will strike again. Assigned to investigate is the mysterious and brilliant Simon, whose insights into the mind of a predator are frighteningly accurate.
As the grisly crimes continue, Catrin finds herself caught between killer and detective while hiding her own secret―a supernatural sight granted by the moon, destined to make her an outcast, and the only thing that might save her and those she loves from becoming the next victims…
Breathe and Count Back From Ten by Natalia Sylvester
In this gorgeously written and authentic novel, Verónica, a Peruvian-American teen with hip dysplasia, auditions to become a mermaid at a Central Florida theme park in the summer before her senior year, all while figuring out her first real boyfriend and how to feel safe in her own body.
Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her disability. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body.
Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition. But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor.
She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.
A Consuming Fire by Laura E. Weymouth
Weatherell girls aren’t supposed to die.
Once every eighteen years, the isolated forest village of Weatherell is asked to send one girl to the god of the mountain to give a sacrifice before returning home. Twins Anya and Ilva Astraea are raised with this destiny in mind, and when their time comes, spirited Ilva volunteers to go. Her devoted sister Anya is left at home to pray for Ilva’s safe return. But Anya’s prayers are denied.
With her sister dead, Anya volunteers to make a journey of her own to visit the god of the mountain. But unlike her sister, sacrifice is the furthest thing from Anya’s mind. Anya has no intention of giving anything more to the god, or of letting any other girl do so ever again. Anya Astraea has not set out to placate a god. She’s set out to kill one.
Down Comes The Night by Allison Saft
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend―the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Love makes monsters of us all
Eight Dates and Nights by Betsy Aldredge
New Yorker Hannah Levin is allergic to exactly two things, horses and tinsel. Unfortunately, she’s surrounded by both when she’s snowed in at her grandmother’s home in a small Texas town.
Super lonely, missing latkes and reliable Wi-Fi, Hannah wanders into an old deli where she meets the only other Jewish teen around, Noah, who happens to be equal parts adorable and full of annoying, over the top festival of lights spirit that he’s determined to share with Hannah one itchy Hanukkah sweater at a time.
As the days pass—and a spectacularly memorable kiss following Noah’s made up game of truth or dare dreidel takes place—Hannah begins to wonder if maybe there’s more to Hanukkah than she thought. . .
The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti
Harper Proulx has lived her whole life with unanswered questions about her anonymous sperm donor father. She’s convinced that without knowing him, she can’t know herself. When a chance Instagram post connects Harper to a half sibling, that connection yields many more and ultimately leads Harper to uncover her father’s identity.
So, fresh from a painful breakup and still reeling with anxiety that reached a lifetime high during the pandemic, Harper joins her newfound half siblings on a voyage to Hawaii to face their father. The events of that summer, and the man they discover—a charismatic deep-sea diver obsessed with solving the mystery of a fragile sunken shipwreck—will force Harper to face some even bigger questions: Who is she? Is she her DNA, her experiences, her successes, her failures? Is she the things she loves—or the things she hates? Who she is in dark times? Who she might become after them?
Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp
Aarón Medrano has been haunted by the onstage persona of his favorite DJ ever since his mother passed away. He seems to know all of Aarón’s deepest fears, like how his brain doesn’t work the way it should and that’s why his brother and father seem to be pushing him away. He thinks his ticket out is a scholarship to the prestigious Acadia School of Music. That is, if he can avoid blowing his audition.
Mia Villanueva has a haunting of her own and it’s the only family heirloom her parents left her: doubt. It’s the reason she can’t overcome her stage fright or believe that her music is worth making. Even though her trumpet teacher tells her she has a gift, she’s not sure if she’ll ever figure out how to use it or if she’s even deserving of it in the first place.
When Aarón and Mia cross paths, Aarón sees a chance to get close to the girl he’s had a crush on for years and to finally feel connected to someone since losing his mother. Mia sees a chance to hold herself accountable by making them both face their fears, and hopefully make their dreams come true. But soon they’ll realize there’s something much scarier than getting up on stage—falling in love with a broken heart.
I Rise by Marie Arnold
Fourteen-year-old Ayo who has to decide whether to take on her mother’s activist role when her mom is shot by police. As she tries to find answers, Ayo looks to the wisdom of her ancestors and her Harlem community for guidance.
Ayo’s mother founded the biggest civil rights movement to hit New York City in decades. It’s called ‘See Us’ and it tackles police brutality and racial profiling in Harlem. Ayo has spent her entire life being an activist and now, she wants out. She wants to get her first real kiss, have a boyfriend, and just be a normal teen.
When her mom is put into a coma after a riot breaks out between protesters and police, protestors want Ayo to become the face of See Us and fight for justice for her mother who can no longer fight for herself. While she deals with her grief and anger, Ayo must also discover if she has the strength to take over where her mother left off.
This impactful and unforgettable novel takes on the important issues of inequality, systemic racism, police violence, and social justice.
To Break A Covenant by Alison Ames
Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop–best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena–sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo*
For sixteen years, Selestra has been trapped in her tower on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as the King’s Witch, who foretells deaths in the Festival of Predictions. Outrunning your fate earns a wish and the chance to steal the King’s immortality. But die and your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.
A soldier in the King’s army, Nox is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but, driven by revenge, he is determined to steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra.
Yet when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, their fates become entwined, and death seeks to take both their souls. Only by working together can they survive long enough to escape the dark fate and the immortal King that now hunts them.
Hurricane Summer by Asha Ashanti Bromfield
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the heart of Jamaica, and into the soul of a girl coming to terms with her family, and herself, set against the backdrop of a hurricane – now in trade paperback!
Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.
When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise―all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic―and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.
Love From Mecca to Medina by S. K. Ali
Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart.
Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the Hijra, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina, and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation, making her miserable.
Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. Adam is thrilled; it’s the reboot he needs and an opportunity to pray for a hijra in real life: to migrate to Zayneb in Chicago. Zayneb balks at the trip at first, having envisioned another kind of vacation, but then decides a spiritual reset is calling her name too. And they can’t wait to see each other—surely, this is just what they both need.
But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s former love interest in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb when she’s supposed to be “spiritual.” As one wedge after another drives them apart while they make their way through rites in the holy city, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?
Reader, I Murdered Him by Betsy Cornwell
In this daring tale of female agency and revenge from a New York Times bestselling author, a girl becomes a teenage vigilante who roams Victorian England using her privilege and power to punish her friends’ abusive suitors and keep other young women safe.
Adele grew up in the shadows—first watching from backstage at her mother’s Parisian dance halls, then wandering around the gloomy, haunted rooms of her father’s manor. When she’s finally sent away to boarding school in London, she’s happy to enter the brightly lit world of society girls and their wealthy suitors.
Yet there are shadows there, too. Many of the men that try to charm Adele’s new friends do so with dark intentions. After a violent assault, she turns to a roguish young con woman for help. Together, they become vigilantes meting out justice. But can Adele save herself from the same fate as those she protects?
With a queer romance at its heart, this lush historical thriller offers readers an irresistible mix of vengeance and empowerment.
So, This Is Love by Tracy Andreen
Finley and Arthur are back at boarding school and neither quite knows where the other stands—are they couple? Are they not a couple? What does one magical Christmas Eve kiss in Oklahoma mean for their relationship status? This confusion isn’t helped by the re-entry of old enemies into their school lives, especially ones that may or may not be crushing on Arthur. Finley is at a loss when navigating the complexities of her new (maybe) relationship, which could very well turn into love. . . if she doesn’t blow it.
These Are The Words by Nikita Gill
From international poetry sensation Nikita Gill comes her highly anticipated YA debut These Are the Words: an empowering, feminist and beautifully illustrated poetry collection exploring all the things Nikita wished someone had told her when she was younger.
Reclaim your agency. Discover your power. Find the words.
Taking you on a journey through the seasons of the soul, in this collection Nikita gives you the words to help heal from your first breakup, to celebrate finding your family, to understand first love, to express your anger and your joy, to fight for what you believe in and to help you break some rules to be your truest self.
Gorgeously illustrated throughout by Nikita herself and featuring seasonal astrological poetry, this collection is an achingly beautiful, stunningly warm and fearless expression of truth from one of the most influential and well-known voices in modern poetry.
What The Fact? by Seema Yasmin
What is a fact? What are reliable sources? What is news? What is fake news? How can anyone make sense of it anymore? Well, we have to. As conspiracy theories and online hoaxes increasingly become a part of our national discourse and “truth” itself is being questioned, it has never been more vital to build the discernment necessary to tell fact from fiction, and media literacy has never been more important.
In this accessible guide, Dr. Seema Yasmin, an award-winning journalist, scientist, medical professional, and professor, traces the spread of misinformation and disinformation through our fast-moving media landscape and teaches young readers the skills that will help them identify and counter poorly-sourced clickbait and misleading headlines.
The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman*
Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya may be siblings, but they’ve never been close or even liked each other that much. Torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken, only one thing can bring them back together: the search for the Ivory Key, a thing of legend that will lead the way to a new source of magic.
Magic is Ashoka’s biggest export and the only thing standing between them and war with the neighboring kingdoms—as long as their enemies don’t find out that the magic mines are nearly depleted.
The siblings all have something to gain from finding the Ivory Key, and even more to lose if they don’t. For Vira, the Ivory Key is the only way to live up to the legacy of her mother, the beloved former maharani. Ronak plans to get out of his impending political marriage by selling the Ivory Key to the highest bidder. Kaleb has been falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, and this is the only way to clear his name. And Riya needs to prove her loyalty to the Ravens, the group of rebels that wants to take control away from the maharani and give it to the people.
With each sibling harboring secrets and conflicting agendas, figuring out a way to work together may be the most difficult task of all. And in a quest this dangerous, working together is the only way to survive.
The Luminaries by Susan Dennard*
Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.
Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie’s town―and the rest of humanity―from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night.
Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal―and restore her family’s good name. Or die trying.
But in order to survive, Winnie enlists the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.
Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.
Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken by Nita Tyndall
Charlotte Kraus would follow Angelika Haas anywhere. Which is how she finds herself in an underground club one Friday night the summer before World War II, dancing to contraband American jazz and swing music, suddenly feeling that anything might be possible.
Unable to resist the allure of sharing this secret with Geli, Charlie returns to the club again and again, despite the dangers of breaking the Nazi Party’s rules. Soon, terrified by the tightening vise of Hitler’s power, Charlie and the other Swingjugend are drawn to larger and larger acts of rebellion. But the war will test how much they are willing to risk—and to lose.
From the critically acclaimed author of Who I Was with Her, this beautifully told story of hope, love, and resistance will captivate readers of Girl in the Blue Coat and Last Night at the Telegraph Club.
Other Side of the Tracks by Charity Alyse
There is an unspoken agreement between the racially divided towns of Bayside and Hamilton: no one steps over the train tracks that divide them. Or else.
Not until Zach Whitman anyway, a white boy who moves in from Philly and who dreams of music. When he follows his dream across the tracks to meet his idol, the famous jazz musician who owns The Sunlight Record Shop in Hamilton, he’s flung into Capri Collins’s path.
Capri has big plans: she wants to follow her late mother’s famous footsteps, dancing her way onto Broadway, and leaving this town for good, just like her older brother, Justin, is planning to do when he goes off to college next year. As sparks fly, Zach and Capri realize that they can help each other turn hope into a reality, even if it means crossing the tracks to do it.
But one tragic night changes everything. When Justin’s friend, the star of Hamilton’s football team, is murdered by a white Bayside police officer, the long-standing feud between Bayside and Hamilton becomes an all-out war. And Capri, Justin, and Zach are right in the middle of it.
Rise Up!: How You Can Join The Fight Against White Supremacy by Crystal Marie Fleming
This urgent book explores the roots of racism and its legacy in modern day, all while empowering young people with actionable ways they can help foster a better world and become antiracists.
Why are white supremacists still openly marching in the United States? Why are undocumented children of color separated from their families and housed in cages? Where did racism come from? Why hasn’t it already disappeared? And what can young people do about it?
Rise Up! breaks down the origins of racial injustice and its continued impact today, connecting dots between the past and present. By including contemporary examples ripped from headlines and actionable ways young people can help create a more inclusive world, sociologist Crystal Marie Fleming shares the knowledge and values that unite all antiracists: compassion, solidarity, respect, and courage in the face of adversity. Perfect for fans of Stamped: Remix, This Book is Antiracist, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy, and The Black Friend.
Road of the Lost by Nafiza Azad
Even the most powerful magic can’t hide a secret forever.
Croi is a brownie, glamoured to be invisible to humans. Her life in the Wilde Forest is ordinary and her magic is weak—until the day that her guardian gives Croi a book about magick from the Otherworld, the world of the Higher Fae. Croi wakes the next morning with something pulling at her core, summoning her to the Otherworld. It’s a spell she cannot control or break.
Forced to leave her home, Croi begins a journey full of surprises…and dangers. For Croi is not a brownie at all but another creature entirely, enchanted to forget her true heritage. As Croi ventures beyond the forest, her brownie glamour begins to shift and change. Who is she really, who is summoning her, and what do they want? Croi will need every ounce of her newfound magic and her courage as she travels a treacherous path to find her true self and the place in the Otherworld where she belongs.
The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum
Hoodie Rosen’s life isn’t that bad. Sure, his entire Orthodox Jewish community has just picked up and moved to the quiet, mostly non-Jewish town of Tregaron, but Hoodie’s world hasn’t changed that much. He’s got basketball to play, studies to avoid, and a supermarket full of delicious kosher snacks to eat. The people of Tregaron aren’t happy that so many Orthodox Jews are moving in at once, but that’s not Hoodie’s problem.
That is, until he meets and falls for Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary—who happens to be the daughter of the obstinate mayor trying to keep Hoodie’s community out of the town. And things only get more complicated when Tregaron is struck by a series of antisemitic crimes that quickly escalate to deadly violence.
As his community turns on him for siding with the enemy, Hoodie finds himself caught between his first love and the only world he’s ever known.
Isaac Blum delivers a wry, witty debut novel about a deeply important and timely subject, in a story of hatred and betrayal—and the friendships we find in the most unexpected places.
We’re In This Together by Linda Sarsour
You can count on me, your Palestinian Muslim sister, to keep her voice loud, keep her feet on the streets, and keep my head held high because I am not afraid.
On January 21, 2017, Linda Sarsour stood in the National Mall to deliver a speech that would go down in history. A crowd of over 470,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, to advocate for legislation, policy, and the protection of women’s rights—with Linda, a Muslim American activist from Brooklyn, leading the charge, unapologetic and unafraid.
In this middle grade edition of We Are Not Here to be Bystanders, Linda shares the memories that shaped her into the activist she is today, and how these pivotal moments in her life led her to being an organizer in one of the largest single-day protests in US history. From the Brooklyn bodega her father owned to the streets of Washington, DC, Linda’s story as a daughter of Palestinian immigrants is a moving portrayal of what it means to find your voice in your youth and use it for the good of others as an adult.
What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri
Sometimes, lost things find their way home…
Yorkshire, North of England, 1786. As the abandoned son of a lascar―a sailor from India―Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Now he’s been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father’s language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.
Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that’s all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.
As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.
But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other―and indeed, loving themselves―is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?
As If On Cue by Marisa Kanter
Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on.
But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win.
Except Natalie and Reid.
Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them….
Here Lies Olive by Kate Anderson
Growing up in the dark tourism capital of the United States, sixteen-year-old Olive should be comfortable with death. But ever since an allergic reaction almost sent her to the wrong side of the grass, she’s been terrified that there is no afterlife. And after the death of her surrogate grandmother, Olive has kept everyone at arm’s length because if there’s Nothing after we die, relationships and love can only end in sorrow.
When she summons a spirit to answer her questions about death, Olive meets Jay, a hitchhiking ghost trapped in the woods behind the poorhouse where he died. Olive agrees to help Jay find his unmarked grave in exchange for answers about the other side and what comes next.
Meanwhile, someone―or something―is targeting Olive’s classmates, and the longer Jay lingers, the more serious the attacks become. Blaming herself for having brought Jay back, Olive teams up with maybe-nemesis, maybe-crush Maren, ex-best friend Davis, and new girl Vanessa to free Jay’s spirit before he’s trapped as a malevolent shade and the attacks turn deadly. But in doing so, Olive must face her fear of death and risk losing another person she loves to the Nothing.
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.
Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.
As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.
Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston
Ever since a vampire murdered her mother, Ava has been determined to get revenge. This all-encompassing drive has given her the fuel she needed to survive foster home after foster home.
But it’s been ten years since anyone’s seen a vampire, and Ava has lost hope that she’ll ever find one…until she stumbles across a hidden magic show where she witnesses impossible illusions. The magicians may not be the bloodsuckers she’s hunting, but Ava is convinced something supernatural is at play, so she sneaks backstage and catches them in acts they can’t explain.
But they’ve been waiting for her.
The magicians reveal they’re part of an ancient secret society with true magic, and Ava has the same power in her blood that they do. If she joins them, they promise to teach her the skills she needs to hunt vampires and avenge her mother. But there’s a catch: if she wants to keep the power they offer, she needs to prove she’s worthy of it. And to do so, she must put on the performance of her life in a sinister and dangerous competition where illusion and reality blur, and the stakes are deadly.
Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland
There’s no one Kelsie Miller hates more than Eric Mulvaney Ortiz—the homecoming king, captain of the football team, and academic archrival in her hyper-competitive prep school. But after Kelsie’s best friend, Brianna, moves across the country and stops speaking to her, she’ll do anything, even talk to Eric, to find out why.
After they run into each other—literally—at the last high school party of the summer, Eric admits he’s been ghosted by his girlfriend, Jessica. Kelsie tells him she’s had zero contact from Briana since she left their upstate New York town.
Suddenly, a plan is formed: they’ll go on a road trip to the University of Pennsylvania the following week when both Brianna and Jessica will be on campus. Together, they’ll do whatever it takes to win back their exes.
What could go wrong?
Used to succeeding in everything, Kelsie and Eric assume they’ll naturally figure out the details on the drive down. What they don’t expect is that the person they actually need may be the one sitting next to them.
The Feeling of Falling in Love by Mason Deaver
Just days before spring break, Neil Kearney is set to fly across the country with his childhood friend (and current friend-with-benefits) Josh, to attend his brother’s wedding–until Josh tells Neil that he’s in love with him and Neil doesn’t return the sentiment.
With Josh still attending the wedding, Neil needs to find a new date to bring along. And, almost against his will, roommate Wyatt is drafted.
At first, Wyatt (correctly) thinks Neil is acting like a jerk. But when they get to LA, Wyatt sees a little more of where it’s coming from. Slowly, Neil and Wyatt begin to understand one another… and maybe, just maybe, fall in love for the first time…
The Hunger Between Us by Marina Scott
There are some lines that should never be crossed―even in a city ruled by hunger. The black market is Liza’s lifeline, where she barters family heirlooms and steals whatever she can get her hands on just for enough food to survive. Morality, after all, has become a fluid thing since the Nazi siege has cut off her city from the rest of the world. Hope for a quick liberation is obliterated as the Soviet government focuses on sustaining the Red Army and not the city, subjecting its people to unimaginable cruelties at the hands of the secret police. When Liza’s best friend Aka proposes that they go to the same bullying officials, rumored to give young women food in exchange for “entertainment,” Liza thinks there surely must be some other way. Then Aka disappears and Liza resolves to rescue her no matter the cost, entangling herself in an increasingly dangerous web with two former classmates, one a policeman, the other forced to live underground.
The Hunger Between Us is an absorbing novel about being trapped with impossible choices and the bonds of love that are tested along dangerous paths.
A Face for Picasso by Ariel Henley
There was danger in the kind of beauty I was desperate to achieve.
At only eight months old, identical twin sisters Ariel and Zan Henley were diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome — a rare condition where the bones in the head fuse prematurely. They were the first twins known to survive it. Growing up, Ariel and her sister endured numerous medical procedures to keep them alive. Doctors expanded the twins’ skulls and broke bones to make room for their growing organs. After each surgery, the sisters felt like strangers to each other, unable to recognize themselves in the mirror.
Their case attracted international attention. A French fashion magazine said Ariel and Zan “resembled the works of Picasso,” as if they were abstract paintings, not girls just trying to survive.
Later, plastic surgeons cut and trimmed and tugged their faces toward a tenuous aesthetic ideal. The girls dreamed of appearing “beautiful” but would settle for “normal.” Fighting for acceptance was a daily chore. Between besting middle school bullies, becoming a cheerleader in high school, and finding her literary voice in college, Ariel learned to navigate a beauty-obsessed world with a facial disfigurement to become the woman she is today.
From a resonant new voice, here is an unforgettable young adult memoir about beauty, sisterhood, and the strength it takes to put your life — and yourself — back together, time and time again.
A Year to the Day by Robin Benway
IT’S BEEN A YEAR—A YEAR OF MISSING NINA
Leo can’t remember what happened the night of the accident. All she knows is that she left the party with her older sister, Nina, and Nina’s boyfriend, East. And now Nina is dead, killed by a drunk driver and leaving Leo with a hole inside her that’s impossible to fill.
East, who loved Nina almost as much as Leo did, is the person who seems to most understand how she feels, and the two form a friendship based on their shared grief. But as she struggles to remember what happened, Leo discovers that East remembers every detail of the accident—and he won’t tell her anything about it. In fact, he refuses to talk about that night at all.
As the days tumble one into the next, Leo’s story comes together while her world falls apart. How can she move on if she never knows what really happened that night? And is happiness even possible in a world without Nina?
Check and Mate by Ali Hazelwood
Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory’s focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.
Nolan’s loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What’s even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory’s victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can’t help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist….
As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren’t only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent…and infuriating…)
Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds
A sixteen-year-old girl is on a mission to find the perfect boyfriend this Hanukkah, but love might not go according to plan, in this charming winter romcom from the author of The Summer of Lost Letters.
Shira Barbanel has a plan: this Hanukkah, she’s going to get a boyfriend. And she has the perfect candidate in mind—her great-uncle’s assistant, Isaac. He’s reliable, brilliant, and of course, super hot. The only problem? Shira’s an absolute disaster when it comes to flirting.
Enter Tyler Nelson, Shira’s nemesis-slash-former-crush. As much as she hates to admit it, Tyler is the most charming and popular guy she knows. Which means he’s the perfect person to teach her how to win Isaac over.
When Shira and Tyler get snowed in together at Golden Doors, they strike a deal—flirting lessons for Shira in exchange for career connections for Tyler. But as Shira starts to see the sweet, funny boy beneath Tyler’s playboy exterior, she realizes she actually likes hanging out with him. And that wasn’t part of the plan.
Amidst a whirl of snowy adventures, hot chocolate, and candlelight, Shira must learn to trust her heart to discover if the romance she planned is really the one that will make her happiest.
Sugaring Off by Gillian French
Owl has always been her freest self in the mountains, tracking, hiking, and exploring the steep forested acres of her aunt and uncle’s maple sugar farm. They never speak of the childhood tragedy that left her partially deaf and sent her father to jail. All Owl wants is to stay safe at the farm, her favorite place in the world, her refuge from those who would treat her differently.
Owl’s sheltered existence is blown wide open by Cody—the magnetic, dangerous young man hired to help with the season’s sugaring off. Cody seems to see the real her, to look past her hearing loss in a way no one else does. Together, they find comfort in their similarities and exhilaration in their differences, and risk a romance their families are desperate to stop.
But then Owl hears her father will be released from prison, and a seemingly motiveless murder shakes the foundations of her small town. When the crime draws all eyes to Cody, Owl realized he is in far more serious trouble than anyone knows—and it’s followed him to her mountain.
Swarm by Jennifer Lyle
On a sunny September morning, the creatures first appear. Shur sees one of them hovering outside the window in history class: it looks like a giant butterfly, at first too beautiful and strange to seem like a threat. But when emergency alerts light up everyone’s phones around her, she realizes something very, very wrong is happening outside. These… things are everywhere.
By the time Shur makes it back to her house with her brother, Keene, and their two best friends, it’s clear they must face whatever comes next on their own. A terrifying species the world’s never seen before has suddenly emerged, and few living things are safe. As the creatures swarm and attack outside, life for Shur and her friends becomes a survival game. They board the windows, stockpile supplies, and try to make sense of the news reports for as long as the power stays on.
Yet nothing can prepare them for what follows. The butterflies are only the beginning. The next onslaught will be deadlier, and even closer to home.
Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry
Nell has always wanted to be an actor but doubts her ability. As a member of her school’s theater program, she prefers working backstage. On the way to a contest, an unexpected blizzard strands her acting troupe in a creepy motel. Soon they meet a group of strangers from another high school—including the mysterious and handsome Knox, who insists they play the game Two Truths and a Lie. When it’s Nell’s turn, she draws a slip of paper inked in unfamiliar handwriting:
I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.
Suddenly a night of harmless fun turns into a matter of life and death. As guests go missing, it becomes clear that a murderer is hiding in their midst ready to strike again. In a room full of liars and performers, the truth is never quite what it seems. Nell is going to have to act like her life depends on it—because it does.
Where He Can’t Find You by Darcy Coates
DON’T WALK ALONE, OR THE STITCHER WILL FIND YOU.
Abby Ward lives in a town haunted by disappearances. People vanish, and when they’re found, their bodies have been dismembered and sewn back together in unnatural ways. But is it the work of a human killer…or something far darker?
DON’T STAY OUT LATE, OR THE STITCHER WILL TAKE YOU.
She and her younger sister live by a strict set of rules designed to keep them safe―which is why it’s such a shock when Hope is taken. Desperate to get her back, Abby tells the police everything she knows, but they claim their hands are tied.
DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES, OR THE STITCHER WILL REMAKE YOU.
With every hour precious, Abby and her friends are caught in a desperate game of cat and mouse. They have to get Hope back. Quickly. Before too much of her is cut away. And before everything they care about is swallowed up by the darkness waiting in the tunnels beneath the home they thought they knew.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.
Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and it’s dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?
The breathtaking debut novel from Darcie Little Badger features an asexual, Apache teen protagonist — and combines mystery, horror, noir, ancestral knowledge, haunting illustrations, and fantasy elements, in one of the most-talked-about books in years.
How Not To Fall In Love by Jacqueline Firkins
Harper works in her mom’s wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who are more focused on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more.
Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date and he’s already dreaming of happily-ever-afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously.
When Theo’s shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. Theo agrees to the lessons, as long as Harper proves she can date without falling in love. As the lessons progress and Theo takes them to heart, Harper has a harder time upholding her end of the bargain. She’s also checking out her window to see if Theo’s home from his latest date yet. She’s even watching rom-coms.
If she confesses her feelings, she’ll undermine everything she’s taught him. Or was he the one teaching her?
If You Could See The Sun by Ann Liang
In this genre-bending , speculative YA debut, a Chinese American girl monetizes her strange new invisibility powers by discovering and selling her wealthy classmates’ most scandalous secrets.
Alice Sun has always felt invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she’s the only scholarship student among China’s most rich and influential teens. But then she starts uncontrollably turning invisible—actually invisible.
When her parents drop the news that they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, Alice hatches a plan to monetize her strange new power—she’ll discover the scandalous secrets her classmates want to know, for a price.
But as the tasks escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, Alice must decide if it’s worth losing her conscience—or even her life.
Tasting Light edited by A. R. Capetta, Wade Roush
What does the future hold? Ten speculative short stories by leading young-adult authors imagine what the world could be through the lens of technologies emerging today. When the modification industry transforms how humans look, sound, and interact, a nonbinary teen braves the “reinvention room” to accept a gift from the dead. In an accidental city in space, a young apprentice holds neighborhoods together with braided carbon filaments until distraction and inspiration arrive in the wake of a visitor. Entitlement-fueled drug use alters the landscape of white privilege, robots remember the Earth, and corporate “walkers” stroll for unknown subscribers—until one hacks the system. In tales buzzing with possibility, hope, innovation, anger, and tenderness, Tasting Light offers a dazzling challenge to connect with open minds, hearts, and senses in a fast-changing world.
The Secrets We Keep by Cassie Gustafson
High school freshman Emma Clark harbors a secret—a secret so vile it could implode her whole world, a secret she’s managed to keep buried…until the day her best friend, Hannah, accuses Emma’s father of a heinous crime.
Following her father’s arrest and torn between loyalty to Hannah and to her family, Emma is devastated to learn she must testify against Hannah’s word in order to keep her family together. As Emma wrestles with this impossible decision, her fractured past begins to resurface piece by painful piece—causing the line to blur between her present-day reality and the dark fairy tales she writes to survive, all of which threaten to expose Emma’s long-buried truths.
The Secrets We Keep explores the complex, powerful bonds of friendship and family, asking the difficult question: At what point does Emma’s loyalty to another become a betrayal of herself? And perhaps the toughest question of all: Can Emma find the strength to finally unbury her secret?
This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke
In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.
Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.
With queer representation, fabulist elements, and a pivotal but little-known historical moment, This Rebel Heart is Katherine Locke’s tour de force.
Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Nicola Yoon, Angie Thomas, and Ashley Woodfolk
Atlanta is blanketed with snow just before Christmas, but the warmth of young love just might melt the ice in this novel of interwoven narratives, Black joy, and cozy, sparkling romance―by the same unbeatable team of authors who wrote the New York Times bestseller Blackout!
As the city grinds to a halt, twelve teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen, in spite of the storm?
No one is prepared for this whiteout. But then, we can’t always prepare for the magical moments that change everything.
From the bestselling, award-winning, all-star authors who brought us Blackout―Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon―comes another novel of Black teen love, each relationship within as unique and sparkling as Southern snowflakes.
My Heart Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo
Corazon Tagubio is an outcast at the Catholic school she attends on scholarship. Her crush on her teacher, Ms. Holden, doesn’t help. At home, Cory worries that less-than-perfect grades aren’t good enough for her parents, who already work overtime to support her distant half-brother in the Philippines.
After an accident leaves her dad comatose, Cory feels like Ms. Holden is the only person who really understands her. But when a crush turns into something more and the secret gets out, Cory is sent to her relatives in Manila. She’s not prepared to face strangers in an unfamiliar place, but she discovers how the country that shaped her past might also redefine her future.
This novel takes readers on a journey across the world as Cory comes to understand her family, her relationships, and ultimately, herself.
The Project by Courtney Summers
BELIEVE HIM, BETRAY HER
1998: Six-year-old Bea doesn’t want a sister but everything changes when Lo is born early. Small and frail, Lo needs someone to look out for her. Having a sister is a promise, Mom says―one Bea’s determined not to break.
2011: A car wreck, their parents dead. Lo would’ve died too if not for Lev Warren, the charismatic leader of The Unity Project. He’s going to change the world and after he saves Lo’s life, Bea wants to commit to his extraordinary calling. Lev promises a place for the girls in the project, where no harm will ever come to them again . . . if Bea proves herself to him first.
2017: Lo doesn’t know why Bea abandoned her for The Unity Project after the accident, but she never forgot what Bea said the last time they spoke: We’ll see each other again. Six years later, Lo is invited to witness the group’s workings, meet with Lev, and―she hopes―finally reconnect with her sister. But Bea is long gone, and the only one who seems to understand the depths of this betrayal is Lev. If it’s family Lo wants, he can make her a new promise . . . if she proves herself to him first.
Powerful, suspenseful and heartbreaking, The Project follows two sisters who fall prey to the same cult leader―and their desperate fight back to one another.
Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao*
Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died.
The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life.
Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.
When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.
Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.
Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.
A Ruinous Fate by Kaylie Smith
Fate does not choose the weak. Fate chooses the ready.
Illustros is a cursed realm ruled by the ruthless Gods of Fate, and no one understands the Fates’ wrath more than Calliope Rosewood. Blessed with unspeakable powers that terrify even the most dangerous witches and fae, Calla hides her forbidden magic in shame and fear that one wrong touch could send her to her death.
With only her two best friends in tow, Calla deserted her coven and has been on the run ever since. Worse, Calla is concealing an even darker secret: fate has chosen her as the final prophesied Blood Warrior, the being destined to start the Fates’ War, which will decimate her people and eradicate their magic.
After a betrayal from her infuriating ex Ezra leads her one step closer to fulfilling that age-old prophecy, Calla is desperate to do whatever it takes to reset her fate. So when a mysterious and charming witch offers to help Calla do just that, she immediately agrees to his plan. Only catch? That plan includes journeying into the deadly Neverending Forest with Ezra and said witch, who just so happens to be Ezra’s tempting older brother.
Torn between her past desires and alluring new possibilities, Calla brings along her best friends to fight what lies ahead. As the group ventures into the enchanted woods together, they’ll all soon learn that choosing your destiny comes with dire consequences . . . and the Fates are not to be tested.
Calla believes the Fates have it out for her, while others believe they have chosen her for a reason. But in the end, Calla will have to fight to forge her own destiny and decide if the risk of choosing herself is worth the possibility of damning everyone else.
A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
When all is lost, look to the stars.
Vega has lived in the valley her whole life—forbidden by her mother to leave the safety of its borders because of the unknown threats waiting for her in the wilds beyond. But when Vega sees an omen in the sky—one she cannot ignore—she is forced to leave the protective boundaries of the valley for the first time. Yet the outside world is much more terrifying than Vega could have ever imagined. People are gravely sick—they lose their eyesight and their hearing, just before they lose their lives.
But Vega has a secret: she is the Last Astronomer—a title carried from generation to generation—and she is the only one who understands the knowledge of the stars. Knowledge that could hold the key to a cure. So when locals spot the tattoo on Vega’s neck in the shape of a constellation—the mark of an astronomer—chaos erupts. Fearing for her life, Vega is rescued by a girl named Cricket who leads her to Noah, a boy marked by his own mysterious tattoos.
On the run from the men hunting her, Vega sets out across the plains with Cricket and Noah, in search of a fabled cure kept secret by the astronomers. But as the line between friends and protectors begins to blur, Vega must decide whether to safeguard the sacred knowledge of the astronomers…or if she will risk everything to try to save them all.
Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet
Lit’s about to hit the fan. Jo Porter has had enough Little Women to last a lifetime. As if being named after the sappiest family in literature wasn’t sufficiently humiliating, Jo’s mom, ahem Marmee, leveled up her Alcott obsession by turning their rambling old house into a sad-sack tourist attraction.
Now Jo, along with her siblings, Meg and Bethamy (yes, that’s two March sisters in one), spends all summer acting out sentimental moments at Little Women Live!, where she can feel her soul slowly dying.
So when a famed photojournalist arrives to document the show, Jo seizes on the glimpse of another life: artsy, worldly, and fast-paced. It doesn’t hurt that the reporter’s teenage son is also eager to get up close and personal with Jo—to the annoyance of her best friend, aka the boy next door (who is definitely not called Laurie). All Jo wants is for someone to see the person behind the prickliness and pinafores.
But when she gets a little too real about her frustration with the family biz, Jo will have to make peace with kitsch and kin before their livelihood suffers a fate worse than Beth.
Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Seventeen-year-old Kiki Siregar is a fabulous gamer girl with confidence to boot. She can’t help but be totally herself… except when she’s online.
Her secret? She plays anonymously as a guy to avoid harassment from other male players. Even her online best friend—a cinnamon roll of a teen boy who plays under the username Sourdawg—doesn’t know her true identity. Which is fine, because Kiki doesn’t know his real name either, and it’s not like they’re ever going to cross paths IRL.
Until she transfers to an elite private school for her senior year and discovers that Sourdawg goes there, too.
But who is he? How will he react when he finds out Kiki’s secret? And what happens when Kiki realizes she’s falling for her online BFF?
The Do-Over by Lynn Painter
After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another nightmare V-Day.
Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.
How many days can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?
House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur
Taking inspiration from the author’s own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past.
Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents’ impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom’s latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world.
But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark.
How To Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow
It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.
Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break.
It could be going better.
But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.
Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?
Win Lose Kill Die by Cynthia Murphy
Failure is fatal…
At the historic Morton Academy, a school for high-achievers, everyone wants to be Head Girl and gain all the prestige and success that comes with the title. But when bodies start piling up, the students begin to worry that someone is too determined to take that crown.
Liz, Taylor, Kat, Marcus and Cole all set out to discover what exactly is going on. Is it the secret society that they have sworn allegiance too? The history of a cult that plagues Morton Academy? Or even a greedy teacher? They need to find the truth…and quickly.
This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede*
Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.
Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.
Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?
Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman*
Iselia “Seelie” Graygrove looks just like her twin, Isolde…but as an autistic changeling left in the human world by the fae as an infant, she has always known she is different. Seelie’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her to fit in—and draws her and Isolde into the hunt for a fabled treasure. In a heist gone wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unraveling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike.
Both sisters soon discover that the secrets of the faeries may be more valuable than any pile of gold and jewels. But can Seelie harness her magic in time to protect her sister and herself?
Waking Fire by Jean Louise*
Naira Khoum has only known life in Lagusa, a quiet village at the desert’s end. But to the rest of the world, Lagusa is a myth, its location shrouded in secrecy. While war rages to the north led by power-hungry Sothpike and his army of undead monsters called Dambi, Naira’s people live in peace.
Until the impossible happens—Lagusa is attacked by a Mistress sent to do Sothpike’s bidding with a hoard of Dambi under her control. The Mistress is looking for something, and she’s willing to let her Dambi destroy Lagusa to get it.
Desperate to protect her home, Naira convinces her twin brother Nez and handsome refugee Kal to join the newly formed resistance with her. Together, they’ll have to figure out what the Mistress wants—before there’s nothing left of Lagusa to save.
A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar
Josefa is an unapologetic and charismatic thief, who loves the thrill of the chase. She has her eye on her biggest mark yet—the RMS Titanic, the most luxurious ship in the world. But she isn’t interested in stealing from wealthy first-class passengers onboard. No, she’s out for the ultimate prize: the Rubiyat, a one of a kind book encrusted with gems that’s worth millions.
Josefa can’t score it alone, so she enlists a team of girls with unique talents: Hinnah, a daring acrobat and contortionist; Violet, an actress and expert dissembler; and Emilie, an artist who can replicate any drawing by hand.
They couldn’t be more different and yet they have one very important thing in common: their lives depend on breaking into the vault and capturing the Rubiyat. But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes.
While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer…
Missing by Savannah Brown
When promising young singer Roxy Raines vanishes from the tiny resort of Sandown, the island locals refuse to speak about it to anyone they deem outsiders, instead proclaiming Roxy a teenage runaway.
Thirty years later, seventeen-year-old Mona Perry comes to the island resolute in her search for the real reason behind Roxy’s disappearance. Armed with a suitcase and a microphone, Mona only has one hot summer to get to the bottom of Roxy’s story and record it all for her podcast and fans.
But as Mona gets drawn deeper into the strange, isolated community, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems―least of all Mona’s own past and the disappearance of someone close to her.
Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho
Trust neither thin-bottomed frying pans nor Molinas.
Lari Ramires has always known this to be true. In Olinda, Brazil, her family’s bakery, Salt, has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery across the street, Sugar, for generations. But Lari’s world turns upside down when her beloved grandmother passes away. On top of that, a big supermarket chain has moved to town, forcing many of the small businesses to close.
Determined to protect her home, Lari does the unthinkable—she works together with Pedro Molina to save both of their bakeries. Lari realizes she might not know Pedro as well as she thought—and she maybe even likes what she learns—but the question remains: Can a Ramires and a Molina truly trust one another?
Tag, You’re Dead by Kathryn Foxfield
When teen social media influencer Anton Frazer stages a live-streamed, citywide game of Tag where the prize is to become one of his live-in personal assistants, his fans go wild.
Outfitted with body cams, GPS trackers, and pressure sensors to keep tally of who’s disqualified, contestants are split into Chasers and Runners then let lose into the night-covered urban jungle to hunt each other down. While the whole world watches.
Four contestants, however, have alternative motives for joining the game, secret reasons to want to win despite the risk: money, obsession, fame…and revenge. One of them will stop at nothing to be the victor at the end of this adrenaline- and fear-fueled night.
The Vermilion Emporium by Jamie Pacton
It was a day for finding things…
On the morning Twain, a lonely boy with a knack for danger, discovers a strand of starlight on the cliffs outside of Severon, a mysterious curiosity shop appears in town. Meanwhile, Quinta, the ordinary daughter of an extraordinary circus performer, chases rumors of the shop, the Vermilion Emporium, desperate for a way to live up to her mother’s magical legacy.
When Quinta meets Twain outside of the Emporium, two things happen: One, Quinta is sure she’s infatuated with this starlight boy, who uses his charm to hide his scars. Two, they enter the store and discover a book that teaches them how to weave starlight into lace.
Soon, their lace catches the eye of the Casorina, the ruler of Severon. She commissions Quinta and Twain to make her a starlight dress and will reward them handsomely enough to make their dreams come true. However, they can’t sew a dress without more material, and the secret to starlight’s origins has been lost for decades. As Quinta and Twain search the Emporium for answers, though, they discover the secret might not have actually been lost—but destroyed. And likely, for good reason.
A powerful and romantic adventure set in a whimsically magical world. The Vermilion Emporium shines a light into the darkest spaces. It’s about healing in a world shrouded with despair and discovering a spark of magic when you need it most.
Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green
When their ex-boyfriends get together and start Instagramming a disgustingly perfect summer of love, Jack and Nate decide to concoct a mutual Insta-worthy summer adventure of their own to prove they’re just fine and everything’s great.
Of course, it’s hard to have an epic summer road trip when they’re stuck in a van with Nate’s mid-life crisis-bound parents and his annoying younger sister. And it’s been years since Jack and Nate have said more than a few sentences to each other. But their followers don’t have to know any of that.
How hard could faking the high life be? Posting as @TheHeartBreakBoys, the duo stumbles into one hilarious situation after another—and each discover that maybe the cure for heartbreak has been the boy riding next to him all along.
Her Dark Wings by Melinda Salisbury
For all of Corey’s life, it’s been Bree and Corey, Corey and Bree. Best friends, the girls are inseparable—until a devastating betrayal leaves Corey shattered and alone. Corey is sure nothing could hurt more, until Bree suddenly dies. Now Corey is heartbroken and furious. How can she mourn her one-time friend when she is still so angry at her?
Yet Corey and Bree’s tale is far from finished. When Corey accidentally catches a glimpse of Bree’s spirit passing into the afterlife, she finds herself face to face with a god pulled from the darkest myths of her girlhood: Hades, lord of the dead.
Turns out, the legends are real. But Hades is different from what Corey imagined—and so are the Furies, terrifying and beautiful creatures who encourage Corey to embrace her rage. The more Corey discovers about the Underworld, the more her own power stirs. But can she resist the lure of the darkness within?
This Is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua
At sixteen, Perla is the youngest graduating senior of the hypercompetitive Monte Verde High. Praised—and not-so-quietly bashed—as “Perfect Perlie Perez,” Perla knows all the late nights, social isolation, and crushing stress will be worth it when she gets into the college of her (and her parents’) dreams: Delmont University.
Then Perla doesn’t get in, and her meticulously planned future shatters. In a panic, she forges her own acceptance letter, and next thing she knows, she’s heading to Delmont for real, acceptance or not. Soon, Perla is breaking into dorm rooms, crashing classes, and dodging questions from new friends about her lack of a student ID. Her plan? Gather on-the-ground intel to beef up her application and reapply spring semester before she’s caught.
But as her guilty conscience grows and campus security looms large, Perla starts to wonder if her plan will really succeed—and if this dream she’s worked for her entire life is something she even wants.
Unequal by Michael Eric Dyson, Marc Favreau
The true story of racial inequality—and resistance to it—is the prologue to our present. You can see it in where we live, where we go to school, where we work, in our laws, and in our leadership. Unequal presents a gripping account of the struggles that shaped America and the insidiousness of racism, and demonstrates how inequality persists. As readers meet some of the many African American people who dared to fight for a more equal future, they will also discover a framework for addressing racial injustice in their own lives.
The Black Queen by Jumata Emill
Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends rehabilitating.
Tinsley McArthur was supposed to be queen. Not only is she beautiful, wealthy, and white, it’s her legacy—her grandmother, her mother, and even her sister wore the crown before her. Everyone in Lovett knows Tinsley would do anything to carry on the McArthur tradition.
No one is more certain of that than Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett. For Duchess, Nova’s crown was more than just a win for Nova. It was a win for all the Black kids. Now her best friend is dead, and her father won’t face the fact that the main suspect is right in front of him. Duchess is convinced that Tinsley killed Nova—and that Tinsley is privileged enough to think she can get away with it. But Duchess’s father seems to be doing what he always does: fall behind the blue line. Which means that the white girl is going to walk.
Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt. And to do that, she’ll have to get close to her.
But Tinsley has an agenda, too.
Everyone loved Nova. And sometimes, love is exactly what gets you killed.
Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson
Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.
Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.
The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.
Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.
On Top of Glass by Karina Manta
Karina Manta has had a busy few years: Not only did she capture the hearts of many with her fan-favorite performance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she also became the first female figure skater on Team USA to come out as queer. Her Modern Love essay “I Can’t Hate My Body if I Love Hers” was published in the New York Times, and then she joined the circus–Cirque du Soleil’s on-ice show, AXEL.
Karina’s memoir covers these experiences and much more. Attending a high school with 4,000 students, you’d expect to know more than two openly gay students, but Karina didn’t meet an out-lesbian until she was nearly seventeen–let alone any other kind of queer woman. But this isn’t just a story about her queerness. It’s also a story about her struggle with body image in a sport that prizes delicate femininity. It’s a story about panic attacks, and first crushes, and all the crushes that followed, and it’s a story about growing up, feeling different than everybody around her and then realizing that everyone else felt different too.
Ab(Solutely) Normal edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter, Rocky Callen
A teen activist wrestles with protest-related anxiety and PTSD. A socially anxious vampire learns he has to save his town by (gulp) working with people. As part of her teshuvah, a girl writes letters to the ex-boyfriend she still loves, revealing that her struggle with angry outbursts is related to PMDD. A boy sheds uncontrollable tears but finds that in doing so he’s helping to enable another’s healing. In this inspiring, unflinching, and hope-filled mixed-genre collection, sixteen diverse and notable authors draw on their own lived experiences with mental health conditions to create stunning works of fiction that will uplift and empower you, break your heart and stitch it back together stronger than before. Through powerful prose, verse, and graphics, the characters in this anthology defy stereotypes as they remind readers that living with a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you’re defined by it. Each story is followed by a note from its author to the reader, and comprehensive back matter includes bios for the contributors as well as a collection of relevant resources.
Queen Bee by Amalie Howard
Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed—when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined.
Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside.
With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London’s elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire.
In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?
Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant
Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?
The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.
Joanna Ho masterfully explores timely themes of mental health, racism, and classism.