This was a tough one. How do you choose just ten YA books for an entire year? With so many interesting titles, stunning book covers, and promising blurbs, it seemed impossible to narrow it down to ten. And I’m not going to lie, it was brutal. I tossed aside perfectly enticing books for even better ones.
And then it hit me.
I could just do this in two parts and call this Part 1. So that’s exactly what I’ve done. Below, you’ll find my Top Ten YA Releases for 2017 from January to July. I’ll add Part 2 in the summer for the fall releases.
But, for now, let’s get into new YA releases for the first half of the year. I’ve listed them chronologically because I didn’t want to put myself through any more pain by ranking them. So, without further ado:
1. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti
Release Date: January 3rd by Sourcebooks
Hawthorn Creely, teenage misfit inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. She goes as far as to take over Lizzie’s life, which includes taking Lizzie’s job and boyfriend. I’m curious to read how that one’s going to end. Can you imagine Lizzie coming back and discovering someone’s taking over her life? Also, Hawthorn – I’m not crazy about the name by the way – seems irresistibly passionate, a fun character to immerse yourself in.
2. A List of Cages – Robin Roe
Release Date: January 10th by Disney-Hyperion
I’ve seen many, many Instagram pictures about this one already and I don’t blame anyone. The cover is simple, yet stunning. And then you haven’t seen the best part yet. The blurb. In short, A List of Cages is about a friendship between Adam and Julian, who’re reunited after five years. The boys are four years apart – you don’t see friendships with big age differences often, so that’s a plus – and I imagine the characters will be sending off big brother-little brother vibes as we get to know them. Be aware that it’s not a cutesy story. The book deals with heavy topics such as abuse and packs a big, emotional punch. A List of Cage is recommended for older teens.
3. History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
Release Date: January 17th by Soho Teen
This book centers around its characters – Griffin, Theo, Wade and Jackson – as they deal with Theo’s death. Griffin is the main character of the story and is impacted the most as Theo was his best friend and first love. Jackson, Griffin’s new boyfriend from California, is introduced later on while Wade was the third member of their friendship group. Together, they deal with their confusion and grief and try to move on without Theo. An LGBTQ cast? No homophobia, just positive representation? Supportive parents? Yes, please. Give me. This book also deals with mental illness, specifically OCD.
4. Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
Release Date: February 1st by Usborne Publishing Ltd
This book celebrates fandom and loving things deeply without shame. Lexi’s life is thrown into a disarray when she meets author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – at an event run by her father. This meeting forms the set-up for a endearing romance filled with late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies.
5. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Bernard
Release Date: February 12th by Macmillan Children’s Books
Steffi is a selective mute – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But then Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. This is the set-up of what I think will be a beautiful love story.
6. We Are Okay – Nina LaCour
Release Date: February 14th by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Ugh. Look at the cover. How can you resist?
The story takes place in winter, on an abandoned university campus and centers around Marin, who hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since she left everything behind and moved to New York. But then her best friend Mabel comes to visit and she has to confront her past.
7. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Release Date: February 28th by Balzer + Bray
The movies rights to this book have already been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (Rue from The Hunger Games. Also, Maddy from Everything, Everything. Her career sure is taking off, isn’t it?) being cast as the main character, “Starr”. Starr is a sixteen-year-old who struggles to find a balance between her two worlds: her poor neighbourhood and her posh high school. Then, one day, her unarmed best friend, Khalil, is shot by a police officer and she is the only witness. Her struggle for justice is a clear nod to the Black Lives Matter, so I’m interested to read how it plays out.
Quick note: isn’t it wonderful how many of these books feature characters that are POC and / or part of the LGBTQ community? Yay, YA fiction! This is how it’s supposed to be.
8. Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner
Release Date: March 7th by Crown Books for Young Readers
This is one of those stories that could easily happen to anyone, especially teenagers. Main character Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, but it did and it killed his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Weighed down by guilt, Carver is reluctant but eventually starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve. But not everyone is willing to forgive, Carver himself being one of them. Can the goodbye days help him cope?
9. The Secret Science of Magic – Melissa Keil
Release Date: April 1st by Hardie Grant Egmont
This story is about two people who’ve never fitted into school. They’re completely different from each other, too. Sophia is a child prodigy, has an eidetic memory and is a mathematical mastermind. Joshua is a quiet boy who’s fascinated by magic. He’s been interested in Sophia for years, she’s never thought twice about him. Until, naturally, life throws them together.
10. Release – Patrick Ness
Release Date: May 4th by Walker Books
It’s a new Patrick Ness book. What else is there to say?
The Goodreads summary is a bit vague, but still enticing: “Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…”
Which books are you looking forward to?