18 YA Books You Need To Add To Your Must-Read List

*Pulls out library card*

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

1. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Balzer + Bray

 

Release date: Feb. 14

What it’s about: Fabiola travels from Haiti to live in Detroit with her aunt and cousins. However, trouble arises when her mother is detained in New Jersey. Fabiola will do anything to help her mother, including using a bit of manipulation to get what she wants. Zoboi writes a stunning story about the immigration experience, family, and love that’s raw, emotional, and remarkably honest.

Buy it here.

2. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Dutton Books

 

Release date: Feb. 14

What it’s about: Marin leaves her old life in California to attend college in New York sooner than expected. When her best friend, Mabel, comes to visit her over the holidays, we slowly learn the truth and heartbreak behind her decision. Mabel and Marin have a beautifully complex relationship, and Marin’s story is real, raw, and achingly emotional, with flecks of hope, love, and the meaning of friendship.

Buy it here.

3. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Clarion Books

 

Release date: March 7

What it’s about: This coming-of-age story follows Sal and his two best friends, Samantha and Fito, through their senior year. Sal is adopted, and the only father he’s ever known is his gay, nonbiological father who’s shown him nothing but love and kindness. Sáenz crafts a memorable story from Sal’s point of view as he navigates friendships, loss, identity, and love in different forms.

Buy it here.

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray

Anissa Hidouk / angiethomas.com

 

Release date: Feb. 28

What it’s about: Thomas’s brilliant debut is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. When Starr witnesses her good friend, Khalil, being shot and killed by the police for doing nothing wrong, she has to decide if she can gain the courage to stand up for justice. Thomas eloquently breathes life and importance into each character while wisely addressing police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and privileged perspectives on race not just from a fictionalized point of view, but from an honest one. This story will stay with you long after you finish.

Buy it here.

5. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Razorbill

 

Release date: Feb. 7

What it’s about: When Rhee, the only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, is attacked, the one blamed for her assassination attempt is Aly — star of a DroneVision show. The two are forced into hiding as a war in space arises, but soon learn they must work together to overthrow the threat to their galaxy. Belleza’s dual-POV YA combines action and adventure with strong characters and intricate world-building.

Buy it here.

6. A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

Viking Children's Books

Craig LaCourt

 

Release date: Feb. 28

What it’s about: When Finn’s best friend, Betty, disappears, no one is certain what happened. Her ex-boyfriend comes forward, admitting to drowning her, and Finn’s small town in Maine believes the story, choosing to let it go. But Finn can’t. When she comes back home for the summer, she slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind Betty’s death that everyone else seems to want to put to rest. A chilling mystery set in the ’90s that errs on the side of noir, this story will leave you captivated and intrigued.

Buy it here.

7. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Flatiron Books

MATTHEW MOORES / stephaniegarberauthor.com

 

Release date: Jan. 31

What it’s about: Scarlett has always been captivated by Caraval, a yearly magical traveling performance where attendees can choose to observe or attend as players in the game. When Scarlett and her sister have the opportunity to attend, she’s thrilled. But when she realizes her sister, Tella, has been kidnapped as part of the game, she must keep a clear mind between magic and reality to find her before any of the other contestants — and before the five nights of the game are up. Garber creates a dreamy, dark, and mystical world in this spellbinding debut.

Buy it here.

8. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Soho Teen

Margot Wood / Via therealfauxtographer.com

 

Release date: Jan. 17

What it’s about: After Theo’s death, Griffin — his ex-boyfriend — finds himself drawn to Jackson, the guy Theo was dating when he died. The more they get to know each other, the more they realize they both have different perspectives on Theo’s history. Told from Griffin’s point of view, this story juxtaposes flashbacks of Griffin’s relationship with Theo with the present-day reality of his passing. Silvera takes sensitive topics — grief and mental health — and handles them graciously, respectfully, and honestly.

Buy it here.

9. City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Karina Hathaway / Via karinahathaway.com

 

Release date: Jan. 24

What it’s about: Tina and her mother came to Kenya to start a new life. When her mother is murdered by the business leader she worked for, Tina vows to seek revenge. Surviving alone on the streets of Sangui City, Tina learns thievery and vice from the Goondas, a local city gang. But when she enters Greyhill estate to gain her revenge, Michael, a friend from her past, catches her, and she must re-evaluate her plans and learn the truth. Anderson’s captivating thriller will have you quickly turning pages until the very end.

Buy it here.

10. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Thomas Dunne

 

Release date: Feb. 7

What it’s about: Liesl grew up hearing tales of The Goblin King, but when her sister, Käthe, is kidnapped by the goblins, Liesl doesn’t hesitate to attempt to save her. In order to get her back, Lisel must trade her life for her sisters by marrying The Goblin King — but it’s nothing like she expects. With gorgeous world-building and breathtaking writing, this magically dark fantasy will leave you entranced.

Buy it here.

11. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Katherine Tegen Books

 

Release date: Jan. 24

What it’s about: Mary allegedly killed a 3-month-old baby when she was 9 and has been punished ever since, leaving “baby jail” for a group home. At the time it happened, Mary was under the care of her unstable mother. The news and media assume they know the whole story, but Mary has never fully provided a confession from her point of view. And as the story progresses, we learn what, exactly, happened that night. This suspenseful, engaging, hauntingly brilliant YA is a blend between contemporary and thriller and is perfect for those who highly enjoy both.

Buy it here.

12. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Sourcebooks Fire

 

Release date: March 7

What it’s about: Tea is a bone witch, one with great powers to rise others from the dead. With these powers, Tea leaves to apprentice under Lady Mykaela, who teaches her how to become an asha, someone who can control elements and beasts. With war on the horizon, Tea must learn how to harness her powers to protect the people she loves. Chupeco delights us with a fascinating world and a rich atmosphere for a story that is exceptionally written from beginning to end.

Buy it here.

13. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

 

Release date: March 7

What it’s about: Carver Briggs blames himself for the text message that killed his three best friends in a crash. While dealing with the guilt and anxiety of it all, he attempts to navigate his senior year and his own grief. When one of his best friends’ grandmother suggests remembering his friend’s life with a “goodbye day,” Carver uses the concept to try to remember, heal, and forgive. Evocative, heartbreaking, and beautifully written, Zentner’s book is packed with strong emotions and memorable characters for a story that’ll stay with you long after you finish reading.

Buy it here.

14. Frostblood by Elly Blake

Little, Brown

 

Release date: Jan. 10

What it’s about: As a Fireblood, Ruby must hide her powers of heat and flame from the Frostblood Kingdom. When her mother is slain trying to protect her, Ruby is captured and locked up. But Arcus, a Frostblood, frees her from her prison, and she trains with him and fellow rebels. As she attempts to navigate her feelings toward Arcus, she’s discovered and brought to the king, who forces her to compete in deadly competitions as he attempts to destroy her before she can destroy him. Blake’s dazzling fantasy is the perfect combination of action, adventure, and romance.

Buy it here.

15. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

St. Martin's Griffin

Aman Sharma

 

Release date: March 28

What it’s about: In this fascinating companion to The Star-Touched Queen, Gauri, princess of Bharata, is a captured prisoner by her kingdom’s enemies. But Prince Vikram of her enemy kingdom makes her an offer: win back her kingdom by helping him win the Tournament of Wishes — a dangerous competition where a wish is given to the winner. It’s gorgeously written and exceptionally intriguing, and Chokshi’s lush world is one you won’t want to leave.

Buy it here.

16. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Bloomsbury

 

Release date: Jan. 31

What it’s about: In Montana, Zoe and her brother, who are trying to comprehend their father’s sudden death, are rescued from an attack on their cabin by a bounty hunter called X. X’s mission is to claim the soul of Zoe’s attacker, and Zoe is quickly swept up in his world. A thrilling adventure with the perfect amount of humor and romance, Giles’ debut is one you won’t be able to get enough of.

Buy it here.

17. Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Amulet Books

Pam Lary / Via pamlaryphotography.com

 

Release date: Jan. 10

What it’s about: In this Phantom of the Opera retelling, Rune, cursed by her own voice, is sent by her mother to a Paris music conservatory that was once an opera house. But once she arrives, she discovers strange and unworldly happenings. With its hauntingly beautiful world-building and mysterious atmosphere, this eloquent story is one you won’t want to miss.

Buy it here.

18. Windwitch by Susan Dennard

 

Release date: Jan. 10

What it’s about: In this sequel to Truthwitch, Prince Merik is presumed dead after the explosion of his ship, but silently makes his way to the royal capital. Meanwhile, Iseult makes a deal with the Bloodwitch Aeduan — find Safi and she will return money stolen from him. And while Safi and the Empress of Marstok have escaped with their lives, they find themselves in grave danger in the land of pirates. Told through multiple points of view, this complex YA adventure will give you a rush of adrenaline.

Buy it here.

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