Your niece is obsessed with all things YA (that’s “young adult” lit, for the uninitiated). But you got her the Divergent series last year, and she’s already read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before three times. What’s next? Here are the best young adult books to put in her stocking this year, Best Aunt Ever.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
This romance-fantasy mash-up tells the story of Lou, who left her coven to live an under-the-radar, magic-free existence in Cesarine, where witches are hunted. But when she pulls a stunt and ends up being forced into marriage with Reid Diggory, a witch hunter, things get complicated (and…steamy). Dark magic? Witches? Star-crossed lovers? Sign us up.
Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
What would happen if Regina George and Gretchen Wieners rewrote Macbeth? Funny you should ask. In Capin’s bloody thriller, the popular guys of St. Andrew’s Prep make Jade a target...so she gets revenge by destroying each boy, one by one.
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
Everything is going to be different at Simone Garcia-Hampton’s new school. Well, as long as her secret doesn’t get out: She’s HIV-positive. But when she starts falling for Miles, she gets an ominous note in her locker that could ruin everything. This ultimately uplifting story will inspire teens and adults alike.
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Grab a scone, because the second book in Rowell’s fanfic-inspired Simon Snow universe is finally here. This time, Simon is coming to America, with Penny and Baz in tow. Plus, dragons! Vampires! Skunk-headed things with shotguns! This is going to be a wild ride.
Slay by Brittney Morris
At school, Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor and one of the few black kids in her classes. By night, she plays a secret online role-playing game called Slay along with hundreds of thousands of other black gamers. Oh, and did we mention she developed the game? She manages to keep it a secret…until both worlds start to get more complicated than she ever imagined.
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
Yesss, a new trilogy by one of our favorite fantasy authors. It’s set in the world of the Raven Cycle, but you don’t have to have read The Raven King for the new books to make sense. Call Down the Hawk features Ronan, a dreamer; Jordan, a thief; and Carmen, a hunter.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (Dec. 3)
Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone was one of our favorites of 2018, so we’re psyched that we can get our hands on this stunning sequel just in time for the holidays. Zélie is back, and now, with a civil war looming on the horizon, she struggles to figure out a way to keep the kingdom together. Can’t wait.
American Royals by Katharine McGee
Calling all Royally Obsessed listeners: Have you ever wondered what it would be like if America had royals? McGee imagines a world where the U.S. is a monarchy and the Washington family continues to rule the country. (Oh, and there’s a handsome prince, too.)
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
Ava lost everything in the fire: her parents, her best friend, her home and her face. But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to realize she doesn’t have to suffer through her nightmare all alone.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Jam and her best friend Redemption live in Lucille, a seemingly perfect city where all the monsters were driven away many years ago…or so they thought. When a creature emerges from one of her mother’s paintings, Jam learns it’s here to fight a monster lurking in Redemption’s house. With timely themes and a trans protagonist, Pet is the unique and fresh page-turner for the modern age.
Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
Fantasy buffs are obsessed with Dao’s first book, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and her newest tale doesn’t disappoint. Lan, a rich nobleman’s daughter, rejects Bao, a poor physician’s apprentice…but later regrets doing it. So when she discovers Bao’s flute (oh, and his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, no big deal), she vows to help break the spell.
Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman
Alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan uses a dating app to hook up with an older guy. After a nap, he wakes up to find the man is dead. Aiden is unexpectedly whisked into the dark world of a domestic terrorist network that targets anti-gay groups and politicians. He’s forced to go on the run—from the authorities, the people who are trying to kill him and from his own troubled past.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
When she comes out to her Puerto Rican family as a lesbian, 19-year-old Juliet Palante gets mixed reactions. Her precocious little brother will love her no matter what, her grandmother tells her, “You are what you are,” and her mother goes to her room and doesn’t come out. Juliet Takes a Breath is an enlightening lesson on intersectional feminism for readers of any age. And hey, when Roxanne Gay calls a book “f*cking outstanding,” we pay attention.
War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
Set in war-torn Nigeria in 2172, soldiers have bionic arms and legs and artificial organs to protect them from the radiation in the air. But sisters Onyii and Ify dream of peace and hope, and they’re willing to fight a war to make it happen.
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Rewind back to New Orleans in 1872. This is the setting of The Beautiful, which tells the story of Celine Rousseau, a 17-year-old girl who is forced to flee her life as a Parisian dressmaker. When she’s taken in by the sisters of a convent, Celine becomes a part of the city’s glamorous underworld, La Cour des Lions.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Did you adore The Baby-Sitters Club? Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer was rad? New York Times best-selling author Kate Williams combines them both into one can’t-put-down novel for teens. (And you’ll want to give it a read, too.)