Winter is gearing up for its long stay here in the northern hemisphere, and whether that means heavy coats and snow or a light layer and less-blistering breezes, chances are you’re preparing to hunker down with a good read. There are so many great YA books that hit shelves this year, and there are so many to get excited about in the new one, too. But what about YA paperbacks? Let’s take a look at the winter 2020–2021 YA paperback books hitting shelves this winter.
Find below a roundup of some of the most exciting YA paperbacks hitting shelves this fall. Because publication dates can shift—and many have because of COVID-19 earlier this year—these are as current as can be expected. 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 from every genre in this collection of winter 2020–2021 YA paperbacks, so prepare to be swept away in a good book.
Descriptions come from the publisher because as much as I wish I’ve had time to read all of these, I haven’t. But believe me: my TBR just got bigger! Also note you may have to toggle to the paperback edition of the book when you click the link for the book title.
Winter 2020–2021 YA Paperbacks to TBR
*Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.
When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.
A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Alaine Beauparlant has heard about Haiti all her life…
But the stories were always passed down from her dad―and her mom, when she wasn’t too busy with her high-profile newscaster gig. But when Alaine’s life goes a bit sideways, it’s time to finally visit Haiti herself.
What she learns about Haiti’s proud history as the world’s first black republic (with its even prouder people) is one thing, but what she learns about her own family is another. Suddenly, the secrets Alaine’s mom has been keeping, including a family curse that has spanned generations, can no longer be avoided.
It’s a lot to handle, without even mentioning that Alaine is also working for her aunt’s nonprofit, which sends underprivileged kids to school and boasts one annoyingly charming intern.
But if anyone can do it all…it’s Alaine.
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.
Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.
Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on. . . .
*Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews
Tess and her opinionated older sister Lauren are spending the week after Christmas at the snowy Evergreen Lodge in Vermont and they aren’t happy about it. Their stern grandmother, who owns the holiday resort, is not known for her warmth and good humor. But when shy, straight-laced Tess meets Christopher in the lobby, things are suddenly looking up. And when she decides to get out of her comfort zone and create a bucket list of things to accomplish before the New Year-like singing in public and skiing a black-diamond slope-Christopher is happy to help, even as he keeps a secret that could turn everything upside down. When the ball drops, will Tess and Christopher share a magical kiss-or will Tess start the new year off alone?
*We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal
People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya―but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds―and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
What She Found In The Woods by Josephine Angelini
This is Magda’s last chance. Recovering from a scandal at her elite New York City private school that threw life into a tailspin, she is shipped off to live with her grandparents in the Pacific Northwest for the summer.
Medicated and uninspired, Magda spends her days in a fog wandering the forest behind the house. But then she stumbles upon Bo. He’s wild and free, and he can see the real her. Magda starts believing she might be able to move on from her past and feel something again.
But there’s more to this sleepy town than she thought. And what Magda finds in the woods near Bo’s forest home is the beginning of a whole new nightmare…
Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.
After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time―and then they’ll be free.
It’s the perfect plan – except that it turns out maybe Mia and Jake don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…
*Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.
Seventeen-year-old Piper knows that Father is a Prophet. Infallible. The chosen one.
She would do anything for Father. That’s why she takes care of all her little sisters. That’s why she runs end-of-the world drills. That’s why she never asks questions. Because Father knows best.
Until the day he doesn’t. Until the day the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers–even from Caspian, the boy she loves.
Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.
With a woman They claim is her real mother–a woman They say Father stole her from.
But Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape.
The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel by Moe Bonneau
Ours is an age-old tale of two betties, apple-Jacks forever, when suddenly one goes ace gorgeous and then, naturally, massive popular. Said popular betty ditches other unsaid, unpopular betty for superhit cool crowd. Girls don’t speak again for four years, until a chance meeting reunites them . . .
What do you do when Ms. Ancient History comes waltzing back into your life? If you’re Lu Butler, dodging sweet but clueless boys while secretly crushing hard on girls, you fall.
Intimate and raw, The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel is a story about friends, family, old habits you can’t quite shake, and first love you never see coming. Bursting with undeniable swagger and neo-beat slang, Moe Bonneau’s stunning debut novel has a language and rhythm all its own.
Switchback by Danika Stone
Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.
Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it’s going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone) Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.
Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
Adam’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a perfect home life. Then his oldest brother died. Now his mom cries constantly, he and his middle brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired moved out when they needed him most.
Aspiring director Jolene’s life is nothing like the movies she loves―not the happy ones anyway. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.
Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured quickly become the best part of their lives. Have Jolene and Adam found something real? Or is their connection doomed from the start?
They’ll find out…every other weekend.
*Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone–even the lowborn–a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
*King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Face your demons…or feed them. The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war―and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried―and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
A girl walks home from school. She’s tall for her age. She’s wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She’s hurrying.
She never makes it home.
In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed a thirteen-year-old girl. The community is thrown into upheaval, leading to unrest, a growing movement to protest the senseless taking of Black lives, and the arrival of white supremacist counter demonstrators.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
11 Paper Hearts by Kelsey Hartwell
Ella’s life was picture perfect. She had a circle of close friends, a jam-packed social life, and an amazing boyfriend. But then something completely unexpected happened: a car accident after a Valentine’s Day dance. When Ella woke up in the hospital, she couldn’t remember the accident . . . or anything about the weeks before it, including the reason she broke up with her boyfriend.
Now, a year later, she begins receiving paper hearts from a mysterious admirer who seems to have the answers she craves. Ella is intrigued. The hearts contain clues to help Ella remember her life before . . . and take her on a journey she never imagined. Following the paper hearts is the most spontaneous thing Ella has ever done . . . but will she find love?
The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan
After getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracized. She plans to keep her head down until she graduates. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing from a dealer, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is—and own it. The longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.
*City of Beasts by Isabel Allende, Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime. With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate — a fearless reporter with blue eyes ‘as sharp as daggers’ points’. Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon rainforest, but rather than change her plans, she simply takes Alex along with her. They set off with their team — including a local guide and his daughter Nadia, with her wild, curly hair and skin the color of honey — in search of a fabled headhunting tribe and a legendary, marauding creature known to locals only as ‘the Beast’, only to find out much, much more about the mysteries of the jungle and its inhabitants. In a novel rich in adventure, magic and spirit, internationally-celebrated novelist Isabel Allende takes readers of all ages on a voyage of discovery and wonder, deep into the heart of the Amazon.
The End and Other Beginnings by Veronica Roth
No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.
In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.
With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.
With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.
*A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Everyone in Fairview knows the story.
Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.
But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?
Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.
This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls―they know their luck is anything but.
Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings.
Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, Translated by Lilit Thwaites
As a young girl, Dita is imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken from her home in Prague in 1939, Dita does her best to adjust to the constant terror of her new reality. But even amidst horror, human strength and ingenuity persevere. When Jewish leader Fredy Hirsch entrusts Dita with eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak into the camp, She embraces the responsibility―and so becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
From one of the darkest chapters in history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.
Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno
It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .
Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright—and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.
But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?
When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.
But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies—and even romance—in the most unexpected people, like Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro.
As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.
In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel
The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But her classmates have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if Mike was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?
Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.
Girls Like Us by Randi Pink
Four teenage girls. Four different stories. What they all have in common is that they’re dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
It’s the summer of 1972, before Roe v. Wade. In rural Georgia, Izella is wise beyond her years, but burdened with the responsibility of her older sister, Ola, who has found out she’s pregnant. Their young neighbor, Missippi, is also pregnant, but doesn’t fully understand the extent of her predicament. When her father sends her to Chicago to give birth, she meets the final narrator, Susan, who is white and the daughter of an anti-choice senator.
Lucky Caller by Emma Mills
When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.
The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.
The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval.
Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control—but maybe control is overrated?
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.
Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.
A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.
But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.
Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley
Life changes forever for Liv when her older brother, Jonah, accidentally shoots himself with his best friend Clay’s father’s gun. Now Jonah needs round-the-clock care just to stay alive, and Liv feels like she’s the only person who can see that her brother is still there inside his broken body.
With Liv’s mom suing Clay’s family, there are divisions in the community that Liv knows she’s not supposed to cross. But Clay is her friend, too, and she refuses to turn away from him—just like she refuses to give up on Jonah.
This powerful novel is a stunning exploration of tragedy, grief, compassion, and forgiveness.
Get a Clue by Tiffany Schmidt
After Ms. Gregoire assigns the works of Sherlock Holmes in English class, a mystery deepens at Reginald R. Hero High. Huck and Win—Curtis’s younger brother—team up to solve the case . . . and while the sleuths gather clues, another swoon-worthy romance blooms in the school halls.
Layoverland by Gabby Noone
Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell.
At least, that’s what she believes. Her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most–her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed who knows where, she’s confused, to say the least.
Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: she’s in purgatory. If she ever wants to catch a flight to heaven, she’ll have to help five thousand souls figure out what’s keeping them from moving on.
But one of Bea’s first assignments is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. And as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of eating bad airport food and listening to other people’s problems, she can’t help but notice that he’s kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she’s totally falling for him.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with the lesson that the city is safe for everyone. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature who some might call monstrous but, in reality, is anything but, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has emerged from one of her mother’s paintings to hunt a true monster–and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. No one has encountered monsters in years, though, and Jam’s quest to protect her best friend and uncover the truth is met with doubt and disbelief.
This award-winning novel from a rising-star author asks: What really makes a monster, and how do you save the world from something if no one will admit it exists?
Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.
All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!
Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.
Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry
When a deadly shooting breaks out in a Portland shopping mall, a diverse group of teens ends up trapped behind a store’s security shutter. To her own surprise, seventeen-year-old Miranda finds the others looking to her as their leader. But she’s hiding a big secret―and she’s not the only one. The group has only three choices: Run, hide, or fight back. The wrong decision will have fatal consequences.
In her masterful style, April Henry crafts an unrelenting thriller with empowering teen heroes. For fans of the breakout YA mysteries This Is Where It Ends and One of Us Is Lying.
Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse by Shane Burcaw
From anecdotes about first introductions where people patted him on the head instead of shaking his hand, to stories of passersby mistaking his able-bodied girlfriend for a nurse, Shane tackles awkward situations and assumptions with humor and grace.
On the surface, these essays are about day-to-day life as a wheelchair user with a degenerative disease, but they are actually about family, love, and coming of age.
Shane Burcaw is one half of the hilarious YouTube duo, Squirmy and Grubs, which he runs with his girlfriend, now fiancee, Hannah Aylward.
*All The Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.
She will reign.
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer―the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder―and more peril―than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stowaway she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
The world is not tame. Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof.
So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine.
Morning brings the realization that she’s alone—and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive with the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani
This thrilling YA retelling of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai features a girl tasked with saving the world from eternal darkness. Perfect for fans of Six of Crows and Marie Lu.
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her parents ignore her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: She can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto.
But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.
Not exactly skilled at fighting anything, much less the dead, Kira enlists the aid of seven powerful death gods to help her slay Shuten-doji. They include Shiro, a kitsune with boy-band looks who is more flirtatious than helpful, and O-bei, a regal demon courtier with reasons of her own for getting involved.
As the confrontation with Shuten-doji draws nearer, the fate of Japan hangs in the balance. Can Kira save humankind? Or will the demon king succeed in bringing eternal darkness upon the world?
What I Carry by Jennifer Longo
Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she’s learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light. Carry only what fits in a suitcase.
Toothbrush? Yes. Socks? Yes. Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope! There’s no room for any additionalbaggage.
Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she’s free. One year to avoid anything–or anyone–that could get in her way.
Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean.
And everything changes.
White Rose by Kip Wilson
Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators. This debut novel recounts the lives of Sophie and her friends and highlights their brave stand against fascism in Nazi Germany.
The Wild by Owen Laukkanen
FROM THIS MOMENT ON, YOU’RE A BEAR CUB. YOU’LL LEARN RESPONSIBILITY AND RESPECT. HOW TO SURVIVE. IT’S EASIER IF YOU JUST ACCEPT IT.
Dawn isn’t a bad person–she’s just made some bad choices: wrong guy, wrong friends, wrong everything. But she wasn’t expecting her parents to pay a boatload of money to ship her off to OUT OF THE WILD, a wilderness boot camp with a bunch of other messed up kids to learn important “life lessons.” It’s true that Dawn and the other cubs will learn a lot–but it’s not what any of them expect. Because what happens in the woods isn’t what their parents planned. Sometimes plans go very wrong. And this is one of those times. Suddenly Dawn is more scared than she’s ever been in her life. And you will be too.
*The Afterlife of the Party by Marlene Perez
I didn’t even want to go to the party.
Seriously, I’d rather have stayed home with my librarian-witch grandmother and her mystical book club than go. But my best friend Skyler begged me. So I went.
And it was the worst party of my life. The last party of my life.
Not only was the band downright horrible, but the lead singer bit me afterward. And then stole Skyler.
Now I’m chasing down a band of angry vamps with my other best friend Vaughn in tow―and a boatload of feelings between us we can’t even begin to address. And worse, I’m changing into something else…
Let the afterlife begin.
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
Allie Abraham has it all going for her―she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating popular, sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock, and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret. It’s just that her parents don’t practice, and raised her to keep it to herself.
But as Allie witnesses Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she decides to embrace her faith―study, practice it, and even face misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl?
*All That Glitters by Gita Trelease
Paris is a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren’t…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome young inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible.
But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose―love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality or magic―before Paris burns.
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Caggie never wanted to be a hero, but some things are decided for us. Growing up among Manhattan’s social elite, Caggie always had everything a girl could want, including a storied last name. But after saving a girl from the brink of suicide, Caggie becomes infamous, and now all she wants is to be left alone.
After all, she’s still reeling from the recent death of her younger sister, the subsequent destruction of her relationship with high school boyfriend, Trevor, and the way in which her family has since fallen apart.
So when mysterious Astor appears on the Upper East Side, he just might be the rescue she needs. But what is he hiding? As life as she knew it begins to unravel, Caggie realizes Astor’s past may be as dark as her own. And in a world in which she’s been branded a hero, Caggie will soon discover that no one can rescue you…not until you save yourself.
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels–fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.
How To Build a Heart by Maria Padian
One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle.
All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.
How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.
The #MeToo movement has changed the way many people view the world, but how well do tweens understand it? Middle-grade readers are ready to learn about consent, harassment, and abuse, as well as healthy boundaries in all their relationships.
#MeToo and You includes essential terminology, from consent to assault, from just plain yes to just plain no. Author Halley Bondy explores the nuances of emotions, comfort, and discomfort in sexually charged and emotionally abusive situations. Detailed scenarios, both real and hypothetical, provide valuable examples of what’s acceptable and what is not, along with tools to help everyone treat others appropriately and to stand up for themselves and their peers.
The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto
Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic”.
But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.
Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.
Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go…she’ll make him.
*The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
Caledon Holt is the kingdom’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in speed, strength, or brains, which is why he’s the Hearthstone Guild’s most dangerous member. Cal is also the Queen’s Assassin, bound to her by magic and unable to leave her service until the task she’s set for him is fulfilled.
Shadow of the Honey Glade has been training all her life to join the Guild, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Cal. But Shadow’s mother and aunts expect her to serve the crown as a lady of the Renovian Court.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice. Even though Shadow’s life belongs to the court and Cal’s belongs to the queen, they cannot deny their attraction to each other. But now, with war on the horizon and true love at risk, Shadow and Cal will uncover a shocking web of lies that will change their paths forever.
*Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Hunted meets The Wrath and the Dawn in this bold fairytale retelling—where court intrigue, false identities, and dark secrets will thrill fans of classic and contemporary fantasy alike.
Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life, but when her mother betroths her to a powerful prince in a distant kingdom, she has little hope for a better future.
Until Alyrra arrives at her new kingdom, where a mysterious sorceress robs her of both her identity and her role as princess—and Alyrra seizes on the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But as Alyrra uncovers dangerous secrets about her new world, including a threat to the prince himself, she knows she can’t remain silent forever. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds, and ultimately must decide who she is and what she stands for.
Time Of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
A boy desperate to hold on, a girl ready to let go.
Fitz Holton waits in fear for the day his single mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s starts stealing her memory. He’s vowed to stay close to home to care for her in the years to come–never mind the ridiculous college tour she’s forcing him on to visit schools where he knows he’ll never go. Juniper Ramirez is counting down the days until she can leave home, a home crowded with five younger siblings and zero privacy. Against the wishes of her tight-knit family, Juniper plans her own college tour of the East Coast with one goal: get out.
When Fitz and Juniper cross paths on their first college tour in Boston, they’re at odds from the moment they meet– while Juniper’s dying to start a new life apart from her family, Fitz faces the sacrifices he must make for his. Their relationship sparks a deep connection–in each other’s eyes, they glimpse alternate possibilities regarding the first big decision of their adult lives.
Time of Our Lives is a story of home and away, of the wonder and weight of memory, of outgrowing fears and growing into the future.
Girlhood: Teens around the World in Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja
What does a teenage girl dream about in Nigeria or New York? How does she spend her days in Mongolia, the Midwest, and the Middle East?
All around the world, girls are going to school, working, dreaming up big futures—they are soccer players and surfers, ballerinas and chess champions. Yet we know so little about their daily lives. We often hear about challenges and catastrophes in the news, and about exceptional girls who make headlines. But even though the health, education, and success of girls so often determines the future of a community, we don’t know more about what life is like for the ordinary girls, the ones living outside the headlines.
From the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia to the South Pacific, the thirty teens from twenty-seven countries in Girlhood share their own stories of growing up through diary entries and photographs, and the girls’ stories are put in context with reporting and research that helps us understand the circumstances and communities they live in. This full-color, exuberantly designed volume is a portrait of ordinary girlhood around the world, and of the world, as seen through girls’ eyes.
Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce
After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.
When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in: If he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.
But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems . . . and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.
*Ink In The Blood by Kim Smejkal
Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.
Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.
To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.
The Last Confessions of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate
When band-geek Ivy and her friends get together, things start with a rousing board game and end with arguments about Star Wars.
Her older sister Autumn is a different story. Enigmatic, aloof, and tough as nails, Autumn hasn’t had real friends–or trusted anyone–in years. Even Ivy.
But Autumn might not be tough enough. After a drug deal gone wrong, Autumn is beaten, bound, and held hostage. Now, trapped between life and death, she leaves her body, seeking help. No one can sense her presence–except her sister.
When Autumn doesn’t come home, Ivy just knows she’s in trouble. Unable to escape the chilling feeling that something isn’t right, Ivy follows a string of clues that bring her closer to rescuing her sister… and closer to danger.
Autumn needs Ivy to find her before time runs out. But soon, both sisters realize that finding her also means untangling the secrets that lead to the truth–about where they’re hiding Autumn, and what Autumn has been hiding.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.
But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.
When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.
No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard
Salma Bakkioui has always loved living in her suburban cul-de-sac, with her best friend Mariam next door, and her boyfriend Amir nearby. Then things start to change. Friends start to distance themselves. Mariam’s family moves when her father’s patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Even trusted teachers look the other way when hostile students threaten Salma at school.
After a terrorist bombing nearby, Islamaphobia tightens its grip around Salma and her family. Shockingly, she and Amir find themselves with few allies as they come under suspicion for the bombing. As Salma starts to investigate who is framing them, she uncovers a deadly secret conspiracy with suspicious ties to her new neighbors–but no one believes her. Salma must use her coding talent, wits, and faith to expose the truth and protect the only home she’s ever known–before it’s too late.
The Perfect Date by R.L. Stine
Brady Karlin is getting on with his life. The memory of his girlfriend—killed in a gruesome sledding accident last year—is beginning to fade. Now he’s met Rosha Nelson, the girl of his dreams. And he’s never been happier. Until a strange figure with a terribly scarred face starts following him everywhere and horrible accidents start happening every time Rosha’s around. Has dating Rosha made Brady’s dreams come true? Or brought his worst nightmares back to life?
Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia L. Smith
It’s been six months since Cassidy Rain Berghoff’s best friend, Galen, died, and up until now she has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around Aunt Georgia’s Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again, with a new job photographing the campers for her town’s newspaper.
Soon, Rain has to decide how involved she wants to become in Indian Camp. Does she want to keep a professional distance from her fellow Native teens? And, though she is still grieving, will she be able to embrace new friends and new beginnings?
The Runaway by R.L. Stine
Shadyside sounded like such a nice town, the perfect place for a runaway like Felicia. Nobody here would know about her dark powers. Nobody would know what she had done. For once, she could be a normal girl. She could be safe. But someone in Shadyside discovered Felicia’s secret. Someone found out about the awful things her powers made her do. Felicia doesn’t want to run away again. But if she stays, she might lose control. And then people would start to die.
Secret Admirer by R.L. Stine
Selena has it all. She just scored the lead in her high school play, and everyone adores her. So when she starts receiving dead flowers from a secret “admirer” named The Sun, she just assumes it’s a harmless fan. But Selena soon realizes that The Sun is serious…dead serious. Selena doesn’t know what this psycho wants. All she knows is that her number-one fan has become her number-one nightmare.
*Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.
Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.
In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?
Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern
David Scheinman is the popular president of his senior class, battling cystic fibrosis.
Jamie Turner is a quiet sophomore, struggling with depression.
The pair soon realizes that they’re able to be more themselves with each other than they can be with anyone else, and their unlikely friendship starts to turn into something so much more.
But neither Jamie nor David can bring themselves to reveal the secrets that weigh most heavily on their hearts—and their time for honesty may be running out.
Miss You Love You Hate You Bye by Abby Sher
Zoe and Hank (short for Hannah) have been inseparable since they met in elementary school. The leader of the pack, Zoe is effortlessly popular while Hank hides comfortably in her shadow. But when Zoe’s parents unexpectedly divorce, Zoe’s perfect facade starts cracking little by little. Sinking under the weight of her broken family, Zoe develops an eating disorder. Now she must rely on Hank for help.
Hank struggles to help Zoe; after all, she is used to agreeing, not leading. How can she help her best friend get better before it’s too late?
Written partially in letters from Zoe and mostly in narrative from Hank’s perspective, Abby Sher’s Miss You Love You Hate You Bye is a poignant and eye-opening novel about friendship, mental health, and learning to put yourself first.
Of Silver and Shadows by Jennifer Gruenke
Ren Kolins is a silver wielder-a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she wont see a single coin until they overthrow the King.
Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the Kings Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made Kings Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted Kings Fang title.
But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.
*A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.
When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.
A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush, ancient North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.
Once a year, a road appears in the forest. And at the end of it, the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons. Lucy’s game isn’t for the faint of heart. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose….
Sara’s sister disappeared one year ago–and only Sara knows where she is. Becca went to find the ghost of Lucy Gallows and is trapped on the road that leads to her. In the sleepy town of Briar Glen, Lucy’s road is nothing more than local lore. But Sara knows it’s real, and she’s going to find it.
When Sara and her skeptical friends meet in the forest to search for Becca, the mysterious road unfurls before them. All they have to do is walk down it. But the path to Lucy is not of this world, and it has its own rules. Every mistake summons new horrors. Vengeful spirits and broken, angry creatures are waiting for them to slip, and no one is guaranteed safe passage. The only certainty is this: the road has a toll and it will be paid.
Sara knows that if she steps onto the road, she might not come back. But Becca needs her.
And Lucy is waiting.
Solstice by Lorence Alison
When Adri is offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the exclusive Solstice Festival, she throws caution, her prestigious summer internship, and her parents goodwill to the wind. She just wants to live a little before the first day of the rest of her life, planned and scheduled in accordance with her parents’ law school dreams.
But when she and a horde of affluent, entitled teen partiers arrive at the island paradise, it looks nothing like the luxury vacation they were promised. There’s barely any food, nowhere to stay, and not nearly enough porta-potties. Pretty soon, the festival is trending on social media for all the wrong reasons, and the music acts are cancelling left and right.
And then the first dead body washes up on the beach.
Adri has a front-row seat as everything devolves into chaos―and she’s in a prime position to put together the clues to who―or what―is killing off the helpless attendees. But even if she finds the killer, how can she hope to stop them?
Check your privilege at the door―before it gets you killed. This is one vacation you can’t escape.
Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus
Liv Fleming’s father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he’s dead, though that doesn’t mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him.
But Liv is done with childhood fantasies. Done pretending she believes her father’s absurd theories. Done going through the motions for Doug’s sake. However, on the very day she chooses to destroy the traps, she discovers in one of them a creature so inhuman it can only be one thing. In that moment, she’s faced with a painful realization: her dad was telling the truth. And no one believed him.
Now, she and Doug have a choice to make. They can turn the alien over to the authorities…or they can take matters into their own hands.
On the heels of the worldwide success of The Shape of Water, Daniel Kraus returns with a horrifying and heartbreaking thriller about the lengths people go to find justice and the painful reality of grief.
The How and The Why by Cynthia Hand
Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for; they’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—but she has questions, too. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.
But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.
Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who placed her for adoption, this emotionally resonant narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.
Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.
Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.
Rebelwing by Andrea Tang
Things just got weird for Prudence Wu.
One minute, she’s cashing in on a routine smuggling deal. The next, she’s escaping enforcers on the wings of what very much appears to be a sentient cybernetic dragon.
Pru is used to life throwing her some unpleasant surprises–she goes to prep school, after all, and selling banned media across the border in a country with a ruthless corporate government obviously has its risks. But a cybernetic dragon? That’s new.
She tries to forget about the fact that the only reason she’s not in jail is because some sort of robot saved her, and that she’s going to have to get a new side job now that enforcers are on to her. So she’s not exactly thrilled when Rebelwing shows up again.
Even worse, it’s become increasingly clear that the rogue machine has imprinted on her permanently, which means she’d better figure out this whole piloting-a-dragon thing–fast. Because Rebelwing just happens to be the ridiculously expensive weapon her government needs in a brewing war with its neighbor, and Pru’s the only one who can fly it.
Set in a wonderfully inventive near-future Washington, D.C., this hilarious, defiant debut sparkles with wit and wisdom, deftly exploring media consumption, personal freedoms, and the weight of one life as Pru, rather reluctantly, takes to the skies.
The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.
Her dad is drowning in grief. He’s also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she’s got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he needs to reconnect with the living.
The case takes them to a remote Australian town, where there’s been a suspicious fire. All that remains are an unidentifiable body and an unreliable witness found wandering nearby. This witness speaks in riddles. Isobel Catching has a story to tell, and it’s a tale to haunt your dreams–but does it even connect to the case at hand?
As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town.
*The Truth App by Jack Heath
Jarli likes to think he’s an honest guy. He’s a big believer in telling the truth, no matter what. So he develops The Truth App, a mobile application that listens in on your conversations and can tell when someone’s lying. Then his app goes viral and, suddenly, Jarli is an internet sensation.
But, soon enough, Jarli realizes that being famous can be dangerous—especially when you’ve just exposed everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets. Now his entire town is out to get him; kids at school, teachers, the police, even his own family.
Also, an underground network of criminals has just added Jarli to their hit list. Sometimes, exposing the truth comes with a price…
While you’re adding more books than you can read in a lifetime to your TBR, how about some more? You’ll love this look at the fall 2020 YA books, which take you through the end of the year.