Young Adult Literature

10 of the Best New YA Books of December 2023

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Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

We made it to the end of the year, book nerds! It hardly seems possible that December is here, but we’re in the home stretch. Now, I know a lot of us are getting hyped about all of the amazing new releases that 2024 is sure to bring, but before we get too focused on the goodness of the new year, I want to make sure that we are all celebrating the book releases at the end of the year. These December 2023 YA releases often get overlooked in best-of-year lists, and they might not make your holiday wishlists because they aren’t out quite yet — but you definitely don’t want to miss them!

Usually, December is when the publishing machine slows its roll when it comes to new releases, often in preparation for launching new books in the new year, but we have some not-to-be-missed releases for December, including the much anticipated fifth volume in Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series! Plus, if you’re an Oseman fan, look for a re-release of Radio Silence with a brand-new, gorgeous cover. Those books are probably already on your radar, so this list is a compilation of great books that might not be on your lists. They include great new thrillers, exciting debuts, long-awaited sequels and series finishers, and more! Let’s dive in!

every time you go away book cover

Every Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson (December 5)

Ethan and Rebecca grew up together, but Ethan was always going away, pulled by a mom who struggled with addiction. It’s been four years since he left to take care of her and two since the car accident that claimed Rebecca’s dad’s life. Now Ethan is back, and it’ll be up to them to decide if their friendship and the spark of something more can withstand the years of distance and the hardships they’ve both faced.

cover of Caught in a Bad Fauxmance

Caught in a Bad Fauxmance by Elle Gonzalez Rose (December 5)

Devin’s family always goes to Lake Andreas, where they are in a feud with their next-door neighbors. When that feud leads to an ill-advised bet that Devin is worried his family won’t win, he’s all too happy to fake date the enemy’s son in the hopes of gaining some important intel. But neither are prepared for when fauxmance turns to romance.

Make Me a Liar cover

Make Me a Liar by Melissa Landers (December 5)

In this speculative mystery, Tia has the ability to jump into other people’s bodies, and she’s turned that into a nice side hustle that involves solving her classmates’ problems — she has no qualms about doing people’s dirty work for a nice payout and the chance to enjoy food her own weak stomach can’t handle. But when she’s on a job, and her body commits a murder, she has to team up with an ex in order to clear her name.

Missing cover

Missing by Savannah Brown (December 5)

Mona arrives on the small resort island of Sandown, determined to record a podcast that gets at the heart of why singer Roxy Raines disappeared from there 30 years earlier. The island’s residents have famously refused to speak to outsiders about the case, but Mona plans to become one of them and learn the truth…except she’s unprepared for the surprising connections to her own life.

Tag, You're Dead cover

Tag, You’re Dead by Kathryn Foxfield (December 5)

Anton Fraser is an influencer who has just announced a high-stakes game of tag that requires all players to be outfitted with body cams, trackers, and pressure sensors. The winner of this game gets to be Anton’s live-in assistant, and his fans go wild. But four contestants have ulterior motives for entering, and it becomes clear that this is no simple game of tag.

The Ruined cover

The Ruined by Renée Ahdieh (December 5)

In this final installment in Ahdieh’s The Beautiful series, past truces have been broken, and Celine is in the Summer Court. War is imminent, and she is trying her best to find a way to stop it before it’s too late…but if she can’t succeed, they’ll all have to be ready for a fight.

Our Cursed Love cover

Our Cursed Love by Julie Abe (December 12)

Remy has loved her best friend Cam for years and is working up the courage to tell him about her feelings when she receives a magical tea leaves reading and discovers that he’s not her soulmate. Upset and heartbroken, she leaps at a chance to take a magical love potion that will lead her to her soulmate, but when doing so backfires, she’ll have to race against the clock to save her friend and find out what is truly meant to be.

seven minutes in candyland book cover

Seven Minutes in Candyland by Brian Wasson (December 12)

Kalvin has a great side hustle going as the underground hook-up for all sorts of candy, but when his crush crashes his storage closet, he discovers a new gig: relationship therapist. As his reputation grows, Kal must face the fact that his own parents are separating, and his side hustles may be getting out of control.

Where There's Smoke cover

Where There’s Smoke by E. B. Vickers (December 19)

The day after Cali buries her father, she finds herself alone on her property, and that’s when she discovers a mysterious, silent girl who has been beaten and is terrified. Cali immediately begins to take care of her and even names her Ash. But when certain people begin to ask questions, Cali has to wonder who Ash really is and what she’s been through.

Lucero cover

Lucero by Maya Motayne (December 26)

In this final book in the Nocturna trilogy, Finn and Alfie have found that everyone they love has been replaced by Sombra’s shadows and war is imminent. In order to prevent violence and restore balance, they must set out on a journey to find all of the relics from Sombra’s body before their enemy can.

Want more great book recommendations? Check out November’s new YA releases! And don’t forget that you can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors and organized by genre and release date.