Teen and YA fiction has consistently been one of the most exciting areas of publishing, and the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram have led to an explosion of recommendations via social media movements such as Bookstagram and BookTok. Rather than waiting for recommendations to filter in from more traditional publicity sources, teens can now recommend books peer-to-peer, using their channels to rate, review, and share their love of their latest reads. The start of a new year means a whole host of new popular teen books and recommendations, with the buzz building for spring and summer releases, and anticipation for sequels and series installments skyrocketing.
There are a multitude of popular teen books coming out in 2022; some standalones or debuts that young readers have been posting about for months, others continuing beloved stories that have already built up a dedicated fanbase. With a mix of fantasy, contemporary, romance and thriller, 2022 will see the publication of a wide variety of books that will appeal to teen readers of all tastes. Read on for a small sampling of the many brilliant books that are due to be released this year – our to-be-read piles will be even taller once 2022 is done.
Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor
The third in Okorafor’s acclaimed Africanfuturist series, Akata Woman sees Sunny Nwazue continuing to balance the mundane and magical worlds that she inhabits, using her powers to deal with legendary figures while negotiating everyday life. In this installment, Sunny must go deep into a magical world to retrieve a powerful object, and face countless dangerous challenges along the way.
Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
A sweet contemporary romance by the author of Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits, Once Upon a K-Prom is an ideal read for K-Pop and YA fans alike. High schooler Elena is overwhelmed when her childhood best friend Robbie – now an internationally famous K-pop star – comes back to fulfill a promise he made to her many years ago: taking her to prom.
Beasts of Ruin by Ayana Gray
Readers are waiting on tenterhooks for news of the follow-up to Beasts of Prey, and while the cover release hasn’t happened yet, the book will launch in July 2022, telling the further story of young magic user Koffi. Following the events of the first book, Koffi is separated from her love Ekon, and in even greater danger than before as she works for the god of death.
Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
Emezi’s novel Pet was one of my favourite reads of…well, probably ever, and I’ve been waiting to read the companion novel Bitter ever since it was announced. Telling the story of Pet’s mother, Bitter, this novel looks at the role of teens and young people in social justice and revolutionary movements, through the eyes of a young artist who is finding her way in a complicated world.
Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram
The latest novel from the author of the Darius the Great books, Kiss and Tell is a contemporary YA romance about Hunter, the only gay member of a popular boy band. After a painful and public breakup with his first boyfriend, Hunter has to contend with executives wanting to market him as “the perfect gay teen role model”, the pressures of life in the public eye, and a new romance.
The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim
DNA tests have become increasingly popular in the last few years, and The Noh Family is a teen contemporary that uses the heroine’s 23andMe test result as a springboard for a journey into self-discovery and an understanding of her extended family. Chloe Kang discovers that her late father has family in Seoul, and travels there from Oklahoma to meet them; however, as she gets to know the Noh family, she begins to understand why her mother was anxious about her visit.
Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll
Elle McNicoll’s first fantasy novel, Like a Charm is set in a version of Edinburgh filled with magical creatures that are only visible to one girl, Ramya Knox. As Ramya goes deeper into the world of the Hidden Folk, she soon realises that these creatures can be dangerous as well as fantastical.
TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo
Teen fiction is already better on body positivity than many other areas of literature, but stories that celebrate women’s body hair are still few and far between – luckily, TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is addressing that lack. After a hurtful meme featuring her and her cousin Simran is posted, TJ makes a resolution to stop shaving and waxing, to prove a point to her high school, the rest of the world, and ultimately herself.
Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone
Live, Laugh, Kidnap is an ideal read for teens who love true crime and YA thrillers. Three teens, Genesis, Holly and Zoe, live in the town of Violet, Montana, and their lives are intertwined with a local cult, Hope Harvest Ministries. As the new religious movement grows ever more threatening, the three girls band together to take Hope Harvest down, with an audacious plan that involves kidnapping the leader’s son.
Game On Edited by Laura Silverman
Anthologies are a fantastic way to get a taste of multiple writers’ styles and stories, and Game On features short fiction from 15 great YA authors. As the title suggests, the short fiction in this collection is focused around games of all kinds, from sports to tabletop gaming by way of video games and virtual reality.
Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury
Following on from the devastating events of Blood Like Magic, young witch Voya Thomas must use all of her newfound powers to protect her family and the other Toronto witches from a new and dangerous threat. At the same time, she has to mend some broken relationships, convince her family that she’s able to lead, and deal with her own bruised heart.
There are many more fantastic teen reads coming out in 2022, along with a whole host of gripping stories for readers of all ages. For personalised recommendations, check out Book Riot’s TBR service, where our expert bibliologists will use their knowledge to point you towards the perfect book for your next read.