The Young Adult genre is growing. With readers ranging from middle school to adults, this genre is characterized by quick reads, powerful stories, progressive ideas, themes, and characters, social issues, and an ever growing selection. As someone who tends to read sci-fi and fantasy, I’m excited for the coming additions by some of my favorite authors. At the same time, I’m trying to branch out into new genres and find YA reads to be a great way to do that.
Here is a list of my Top 10 most anticipated releases of this year.
1. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Released in January, this is the newest addition to Bardugo’s Grisha universe with returning characters, new enemies, and a new power. Nikolai Lantsov has survived Ravka’s civil war and is now trying to act as king while fending off enemies along his borders, yet a dark magic is growing and Nikolai goes on a journey to kill the legacy he is a part of. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. Anyone who is a fan of the Six of Crows will be excited for this new duology from one of the queens of YA fantasy.
2. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. Released in February, this is the second book from Thomas, the author of The Hate U Give. On the Come Up follows 16-year-old Bri as she dreams of becoming a rapper like her father and escaping her neighborhood. But with unemployment and homelessness looming over her and her family, she has no choice but to succeed.
3. Enchantee by Gita Trelease. Released in February, this is a historical fantasy and the first in a new series. Set during the French Revolution but with magic, Camille Burbonne uses her magic to transform scraps into money in order to buy food and medicine for her and her siblings but when things go wrong, she decides to use her magic in another con, this time in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Love, loyalty, democracy and aristocracy, freedom and magic mesh in this retelling of the Revolution.
4. Watch Us Rise by Renee Warson and Ellen Hagan. I’ve already read this book (released in February) and found it amazing. Watch Us Rise follows best friends Jasmine and Chelsea as they look for a way to make their mark during their last year in high school. After each have encounters of racism and sexism in their progressive NYC high school, they think they’ve found their calling. They start a Women’s Rights Club and start a blog that includes essays, poems, and personal experiences. The blog gains support as well as hate and the girls and their friends have to find a way to save their club and make their voices heard.
5. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. Released in March, this contemporary sci-fi romance follows Jack King as he finally thinks he’s free of his curse of almost being good enough after he meets Kate. But after she dies, Jack is sent back in time to the first time they met and he thinks he has another chance. Every time he goes back to try again, he still fails, until his actions turn deadly for someone else and Jack has to decide who he’s going to save and what he has to let go.
6. Internment by Samira Ahmed. Released in March, this book is a contemporary dystopian that follows 17-year-old Layla as she and other Muslim Americans are forced into internment camps. While trapped, she and her new friends search for freedom that turns into a revolution. This book takes a look at complicit silence within society and what it’s like for those affected by it. This book promises to be a tough read but also timely.
7. Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell. This book was released at the end of March and is most often described as Les Miserables ... in space! This sci-fi retelling of the classic follows a girl growing up in the streets as a thief, disguising herself as a boy in order to avoid trouble, a young military officer who needs to prove he isn’t a traitor like his father, and a girl spending her whole life hiding underground who may hold the key to saving the society. I’ve read this book and can say it is an amazing re-imagining of Victor Hugo’s classic masterpiece.
8. The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos and translated by Hildegarde Serle. This book will be released at the end of April. The Missing of Clairdelune is the second book in the Mirror Visitor series. Originally published in French, this Beauty and the Beast meets Pride and Prejudice with a little magical post-apocalypse thrown in is an amazing fantasy series about Ophelia as she is forced to marry a man from another Arc. While there, she has to prepare for her unhappy marriage, survive the cold winters, the dangers of court, and discover why she was chosen for this role. Book two takes off with her finding some safety under the eye of the ARC’s Spirit, Farouk, but as courtiers begin disappearing, she must use her gift of reading the history of objects in order to find the truth. I loved the first book in this series and cannot wait to read the second.
9. Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. Due to be released in May, this is a new series from the creators of the Illuminae Files. Aurora Rising follows Tyler Jones, star graduate of the Aurora Academy, as he gets a rag tag team of losers and misfits for his first assignment. Shortly after, they pull a girl from interdimensional space, a girl who’s been asleep for two centuries, a girl who is the catalyst for a war. Tyler and his team are the last hope for the galaxy. They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. I love the Illuminae Files series and I’m excited to see what new mischief Kristoff and Kaufman are bringing our way.
10. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. This book will be released in December. The sequel to Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, Children of Virtue and Vengeance follows Zelie and Amari right after the ritual that brings magic back to Orisha. But it’s not just the maji who regain their powers, anyone with magic ancestry gains them to. Now Zelie and Amari must keep a civil war from breaking out and find a way to get Amari back on her throne. I loved Adeyemi’s first book, especially its origins in West African mythology with a bit of influence from Avatar the Last Airbender. I cannot wait until this book comes out!
Seeing the list of new YA books being released this year is daunting and exciting. So many stories and worlds and characters to get to know. If only there were more hours in the day for reading.
Two Weeks by Karen Kingsbury
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
Large Print Fiction
The Last Second by Catherine Coulter
The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
The Oath & the Office by Corey Brettschneider
The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed
Scars of Independence by Hoger Hoock
Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison
Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick
Complete Writings by Phillis Wheatley
Don’t Disturb the Dinosaurs by Ada Hopper
March of the Mini-Beasts by Ada Hopper
Robots Rule the School by Ada Hopper
The Sky is Falling by Ada Hopper