YALSA List for Best New YA Fiction
The Poet X
Xiomara Batista struggles with, well, most things in her life- her mother, her twin, and her place in the Catholic church. In the past, she's used her fists to solve problems, as well as secretly writing poetry, but now it may be time to use those poems to fight back.
Children of Blood and Bone
Eleven years ago, magic was lost and Maji, Diviners blessed by the gods, were killed by the King, including Zelie's mother a once great Reaper. Now Zelie, with the help of her brother Tzain and the rogue princess Amari, must restore magic to Orisha before it is lost forever.
The Hazel Wood
Alice and her mom Ella, receive news that Alice’s grandmother, Althea, author of the gruesome Hinterland fairy tales, has died inside her estate, The Hazel Wood. When Ella is abducted from their home, Alice goes in search of The Hazel Wood and begins to wonder if Althea’s twisted stories are real.
Leah on the Offbeat
When it comes to music, Leah has it all together, but with other parts of her life, it's a totally different story. She's insecure about her drawing and hasn't been able to tell her best friends she's bisexual. Things get really complicated when she falls for someone she didn't expect.
Albertalli, Becky & Silvera, Adam
What if It’s Us
After the universe brings Arthur and Ben together outside the post office, neither make a move and both leave wondering if they missed a chance at love. What if they were meant to be?
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
After being hypnotized after a party, Noah Oakman wakes up to his world turned subtly upside-down. From his best friend Alan's switch from DC to Marvel fan, to an unexplained scar on his mother's face, Noah must navigate his new life while still dealing with problems from his old one.
The House of One Thousand Eyes
When Lena’s subversive uncle disappears without a trace in Communist East Berlin, she risks everything to find out what happened to him in this immersive historical mystery. Rife with well-crafted suspense and chilling period detail, this thrilling story will appeal to fans of dystopias and historical fiction alike.
The Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason
In Shakespearean England, Lady Katherine vows to complete her father’s failed plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I. To succeed, she dresses as the male actor and earns a part in Shakespeare’s new play- specifically re-written by Toby Ellis, spy to the queen, to lure Katherine’s fellow co-conspirators into the open.
The Cruel Prince
Violently taken from her human home, Jude has struggled to navigate the dark world of the Fae. Jaded from years of being viewed as inferior for being human, she publicly challenges the wicked Prince Cardan and his friends, unleashing the prince’s wrath upon her and her sisters.
Blake, Ashley Herring
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
After Ivy's home is destroyed in a tornado, not only does she have to rebuild her home with her family, but also grapple with romantic feelings for a girl and the missing notebook with drawings depicting those feelings.
Blake, Ashley Herring
Girl Made of Stars
After her twin brother is accused of rape by one of her best friends, high school junior Mara must grapple with her feelings about the who to believe, while reliving a similar incident of her own.
We’ll Fly Away
As kids Luke and Toby dreamed of escaping their lives of poverty and abuse in a rusty crop-dusting plane they discovered and spent a summer mending. Now Luke writes hopeless letters to Toby from death row where he awaits a fate from which there is no escape.
A Heart in a Body in the World
After a traumatic incident, Annabelle manages to finish her senior year with the support of her friends and family and the comfort of routine: school, work, cross-country. One night, she reaches her breaking point and she begins to run - across the US. Along the way she becomes a reluctant activist.
In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles possess the power to restore beauty to its cursed citizens. Camille covets the honor of being named the Queen’s favorite Belle, but she soon discovers that a darkness lurks beneath Orleans’ veneer of beauty, and that her position comes at a steep price.
Dao, Julie C
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Xifeng longs to fulfill her destiny to become empress, but the path leading to the throne may make her one of the most vicious villains in all of the stories ever told.
Under a brutal regime, Amani reads poems and dreams of a normal life. Until she is kidnapped and chosen as a body double for the ruling class's princess.
American Road Trip
Teodoro's family is sinking fast: his father lost his job, his brother returned from Iraq with PTSD, and his parents are struggling to cope. T’s sister spirits her siblings away on a road trip, taking them to reconnect with family, to heal and to find a way forward.
Gilbert, Kelly Loy
Picture Us in the Light
Danny knows his future holds a scholarship and a career as an artist. However, he doesn't know how his best friend will fit into that future, or why his father lost his job. When he starts digging into his parents' past, Danny discovers secrets that threaten his family and future.
Between the Lines
Aspiring journalist Darrian Lopez signs up to participate in a poetry slam at his school. Using their poetry, students piece together their stories and Darrian learns that though they may be different, they are all just trying to do their best with the life they have been given.
My Plain Jane
Jane Eyre sees ghosts which attracts the attention and a job offer from a supernatural investigator. However, Jane accepts a governess position with the mysterious Mr. Rochester which leads her best friend and aspiring author, Charlotte Bronte, to join in a mission to solve a mystery and save Jane.
A Skinful of Shadows
This dark historical fantasy pits a girl named Makepeace against her birth father’s ominous family and their strange birthright. The Felmottes harbor dark secrets, but Makepeace possesses a secret of her own: a ghost which suffuses her with the ferocity of spirit to flee them and fight for her life.
The War Outside
Held prisoners of war by the country they both love, two teenage girls, one Japanese-American and the other German-American, forge an unlikely and dangerous friendship. While World War II wages a world away, Haruko and Margot fight their own battles for survival inside a Texas family internment camp.
After the Fire
After a government raid on The Lord's Legion, a secretive religious commune in the Texas desert, 17 year-old Moonbeam finds herself in the outside world for the first time and must confront the destructive lies that tore apart her family.
Hutchinson, Shaun David
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza
Despite years as a social outcast due to her virgin birth, Elena believes the inanimate voices she hears foretells an extraordinary destiny. Even she could not have foreseen her healing a dying gunshot victim in the Starbucks parking lot setting her on a course to potentially save the world.
In post-Civil War America where the dead have refused to stay buried, Jane has spent her entire life training in a special combat school for African American children, preparing to save the lives of the wealthy. When entire families go missing, she learns her combat skills are incredibly useful- against both the dead and the living.
Jackson, Tiffany D
Monday’s Not Coming
When Claudia's best friend Monday suddenly disappears without a trace, Claudia knows something is up and will not stop until she uncovers the possible horrifying truth.
Murder mystery obsessed Stevie transfers to Ellingham Academy, a remote boarding school with its own unsolved crime that she intends to solve. But a tragic death on campus forces her to put all of her deductive power to work to discover if one of her classmates could be a murderer.
We Regret to Inform You
Rejected by every college she applied to, top student Mischa Abramavicius and her best friend Nate join forces with an eccentric trio of hacker girls to uncover what went wrong. This is a smart, entertaining, and hilarious romp through the politics of the college admissions process at an elite school.
Darius the Great is Not Okay
Darius is not okay with his impossible-to-please father, his mother and sister's shared Farsi sisterhood, and his "Fractional Persian" heritage. A family trip to his mother's homeland means learning more about his family, himself, and the many forms love can take.
Orphan Monster Spy
After her mother’s death, Jewish teen Sarah avoids capture by the SS thanks to a British spy named Captain Floyd. Jeremy obtains a false identity for Sarah and convinces her to help him infiltrate the home of one of Hitler’s nuclear scientists, Hans Schafer, by befriending Schäfer’s daughter.
After a public display of her robot-destroying abilities, Evie flees for her life. On the run, she stumbles upon a “Lifelike” android that holds the secrets to her past. When the fight of human versus machine ensues, she fights to survive, and to find the truth.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Felicity Montague wants nothing more than to enroll in medical school, but is limited by her gender. Therefore, she must obviously traverse the European continent, trust a mysterious young lady and a former best friend, and command a pirate ship, all in the name of following her dreams.
Local legend warns evil lurks on Sawkill Rock where girls vanish without a trace. As the disappearances escalate, three girls stumble into an ancient crusade. Loss of a loved one joins newcomer Marion and outsider Zoey in a search for answers which lead them to beautiful Val and her secrets.
Summer of Salt
Descendants of a magical family, twins Georgina and Mary, help their mother keep up the Inn. Business booms during the summer when the “Birdheads” come to watch the rare bird, Annabella, in her natural environment. When the bird doesn’t appear, the island erupts into chaos.
Isle of Blood and Stone
Old wounds are reopened when a mysterious map is brought to the royal palace, sending Elias, Mercedes, and King Ulises on a quest to try and solve the mystery of the kidnapping and murder of Ulises' two older brothers eighteen years earlier.
Blood Water Paint
Artemisia Gentileschi at 17 is already a brilliant painter. She wants to become better and escape her father's control. A man who she hopes will save her, instead is her worst nightmare. Artemisia must decide either to remain silent or to speak the truth, just as her heroines did.
Blanca and Roja
Two sisters fight to escape the magic of a family curse dooming one of them while two boys embrace the enchantment saving them from lives they can't bear. Steeped in Latino folklore, their heartbreaking stories entwine in this contemporary retelling of "Snow-White and Rose-Red' and "Swan Lake.”
A Lite Too Bright
Arthur Louis Pullman the Third, the troubled grandson of a famously reclusive Beat-generation writer, sets out on a cross-country train journey to discover to truth behind the last week of his grandfather’s life. Puzzles and poetry lead to self-discovery in this dynamic incarnation of the great American road trip novel.
Seventeen short stories written by different authors illustrate the experiences of queer teens throughout history.
Moore, David Barclay
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
Reeling from the shooting death of his older brother, 12-year-old Lolly finds solace in building fantastical, epic cityscapes out of Lego blocks. His Lego building attracts the attention of the kids in his Harlem after-school program and beyond, while the violence of the streets threatens to pull him in another direction.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
Aaron is the star of Happy Valley High School until he suffers a concussion after a boating accident, or receives a visit from God, depending on who you believe. God gives him a to-do list and tells him he will need the help of Cliff Hubbard (a.k.a. Neanderthal).
Oh, Ellen and Chapman, Elsie (editors)
A Thousand Beginnings and Ending
Fifteen young adult authors of Asian descent weave magical stories inspired by their favorite childhood Asian myths and legends. Ranging from traditional stories to contemporary to science fiction and populated with everything from goddesses to androids and vampires, there is something for everyone.
Five years ago Mia and Brynn were blamed for the ritualistic killing of their best friend. Now, new evidence has come to light that could solve the murder and finally clear their names.
City of Ghosts
After briefly dying, Cassidy can see ghosts, including her friend Jacob. When her parents receive a ghost hunting television job, the family go to Edinburgh, Scotland. There, Cassidy meets Lara, another person who can see ghosts. While learning about her abilities, Cassidy also runs into a ghost that eats souls.
Shusterman, Neal and Jarrod
When the water in the tap runs dry, Southern California is forced into a state of emergency. Neighbors turn on one another, and suburbia is a hot zone for “water-zombies.” When Alyssa’s parents go missing, she must do whatever it takes in order to survive the Tap-Out.
What the Night Sings
Saved by music and surviving Aushwitz as a member of the Women's Orchestra, liberated Gerta Rausch works to reclaim her voice and find a new life for herself, but is still haunted by what happened in the concentration camp.
Odd One Out
Courtney has been in love with his best friend Jupiter for years. When new girl Rae comes along, both friends find themselves interested in her, and confused about their feelings for each other.
Two sisters: one dead, one missing. This gripping thriller for mature readers unfolds in alternating chapters: one thread follows 19-year-old Sadie as she hunts down her sister’s murderer, while the other follows her trail via a true-crime podcast that attempts to uncover what happened before she herself disappeared.
Five years after the deaths of five Sunnybook cheerleaders Monica, the sister of one of them, decides to look further into their deaths. She uncovers information that leads her to believe there is a deeper, darker truth to what happened. What really transpired all those years ago?
Sky in the Deep
As a fierce Aska warrior, Eelyn fights an ancient blood feud against the enemy Rikki clan to honor her god and avenge her brother’s death at their hands. However, when Eelyn becomes a prisoner after spotting the presumed dead Iri fighting beside the Rikki, her world forever changes.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Elizabeth has spent her life changing herself to please others to survive. When she is offered as a gift the boy Victor Frankenstein, she believes her life will change for the better. But when a monster appears that begins to kill, Elizabeth's world begins to fall apart.
Six kids in a special school are sent to a room to talk to one another weekly. As the year goes on, they all open up their deepest fears, hopes, and dreams.
In this classic retelling, Zuri Benitez meets the handsome Darius Darcy, the rich boy who moved in across the street in her Bushwick neighborhood. Despite their good looks, Zuri sees the Darcys as a threat to her way of life and her beloved Bushwick.