2016 isn’t quite dead yet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from grasping at any kind of good that will come in the new year. If the 2017 books I’ve read so far are any indication, at least YA novels are in for some good shelf and mind space. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming out, especially when there is so much discussion happening in the community now about race/diversity, queer stories like more bi voices, etc. So I want to give you guys a little taste of some books that are coming out in January and February for you to use all your holiday gift cards on – just say, hey, these books are making me feel a little bit better about the world!
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (out January 3)
I’m so pleased that I’ve had the pleasure of reading this already, though I’m already hoping I can read it again soon! For fans of Everything, Everything and Finding Audrey, Under Rose-Tainted Skies takes a fascinating look at OCD and anxiety that I felt sounded genuine and from an interesting perspective. Norah’s OCD/agoraphobia keeps her trapped in her home, she can’t even reach outside for groceries on the porch without distress. She’ll crumble to the ground if she’s taken outside to go to therapy. But then there’s the boy next door, pop-punk sweetheart Luke, who just moved in and instantly was drawn to Norah when he saw her through the window. Besides enjoying how cute their crushes on each other are, I was so interested in Norah’s account of what goes through her mind. Louise Gornall’s writing shoves you right into it. I felt like I learned more about OCD from this book, which I really appreciate. To see so closely how the walls of your mind can keep you between physical walls, to recognize triggers, to see how it affects relationships, it’s all great. Stay tuned for a longer post on the book from me soon!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (out February 28)
Angie Thomas’ Black Lives Matter-inspired novel is so hyped up right now, and rightfully so. I plan on reading it soon! Starr is stuck between the poor neighbourhood in which she was raised and the posh suburb where she attends high school. The two settings of her life don’t fit together, and it becomes even more of a danger to Starr when she witnesses her best friend, unarmed, killed by a police officer. This novel will be a welcomed powerful force in the YA community, and I hope will inspire discussions and more books that will further raise awareness of the horrible injustice against black people and how much of an impact it makes on younger people. And the movie rights have already been acquired, with Amandla Stenberg in the starr-ing role!
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (out February 14)
If you guys are as hooked on the tv show Pitch as I am, and are itching for more, you are in for a treat with A Season of Daring Greatly. Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty, her high school’s star pitcher, has become the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. As expected, though talented and deserving of being there, Jill faces the opinion that baseball should be an all-male sport, and has to take on the role of defying conventions. Even though she has support from coaches and some teammates, she’s still trailed by the media and touted as a big role model for young women, all the while struggling with being away from home for the first time and unsure of the direction her life has taken. Now is the perfect time to read this too to get us through this dark non-baseball patch!
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (out January 3)
Hawthorn doesn’t like herself very much. As a loner who pushes away her friend (yeah, singular), she doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset when her school’s former prom queen, Lizzie Lovett, goes missing. But as she tries to figure out the public’s woe, she falls fast into her own fascination with Lizzie, ending up taking Lizzie’s job at a diner and hanging out with her boyfriend, Enzo. Hawthorn and Enzo are both lonely and sad, and end up depending on each other in unhealthy ways. Plus, Hawthorn’s convinced herself that Lizzie is actually a werewolf. I’ll share more when I’m part of the blog tour for the book in a couple weeks!
Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (out January 3)
I read this book this past weekend, and let me tell you, it is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in quite a while! At times it seems so dark for YA, but then I think about The Hunger Games, and I’m like okay, pretty much everything goes. There is so much packed into this novel, but it kept me hooked all the way through. Fifteen-year-old Jackie’s father realizes he has a brain tumor, with only a few months left to live. In his panic about how his family will survive without him, he decides to auction off his life on eBay. And that’s just the start of the bonkers story. You meet the people who are interested in bidding on his life (and boy are they characters), and you even read from the point of the tumor. The winning bid ends up being a television executive, who gets Jared to agree to signing his life away to a reality show. With cameras installed all over the house, quiet Jackie is trapped, with no way to really communicate with her family, all while watching her father wither away. She has to find a way to fight back. I told you it was dark! I really recommend it!
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (out February 7)
I love a good YA book about mental health, so I hope that I’ll love A Tragic Kind of Wonderful! Sixteen-year-old Mel is diagnosed bi-polar, which makes her life pretty unpredictable. Even though she’s falling into a new relationship, she still feels like she needs to keep everyone at arm’s length away from her. And when a former friend confirms why their friendship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and make things even worse. Mel fears that her friends will abandon her if they learn what she’s hiding. I’ll be reading this one soon so I’ll keep you guys updated! It definitely sounds intriguing.
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (out January 3)
I just finished this book, and I adored it!! It was so innocent, sweet, funny, and raw. Will has grown up blind. He’s never seen anything. It hasn’t exactly been a blast, but he’s smart and able to get by. When he switches to a public high school from a boarding school for blind kids in order to gain some real life experience, he doesn’t expect to make new friends so suddenly, and to find someone who could teach him so much about sight. That someone is Cecily, and Will is drawn to her beautiful voice and love of photography. They develop a lovely friendship, while not admitting they like each other. But everything could change when Will gets a surgery that can give him eyesight. Turns out Cecily’s been hiding something… I will post more about this book soon, but I really, really suggest picking it up!
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (out January 17)
This one sounds like quite the emotional read! When Griffin finds out his first love, his ex, Theo, has drowned, his life is turned upside down. Griffin’s always believed that they would find each other again. And the only one who understands is Jackson, who was Theo’s current boyfriend. But Griffin’s grief and secrets of the past tears him apart, sending him into a downward spiral of submitting to obsessive compulsions and destructive actions. If he wants to move forward, he has to confront his past. This one is my next read, so I’ll share more thoughts soon!
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough (out February 7)
Erin Blake’s name is forever going to be tied to a horrible crime. As a toddler, she survived three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case remains unsolved. Though she’s grown up a relatively normal life under the care of her mother’s best friend, Erin once again finds herself in tragedy when she discovers the body of her murdered biology teacher. She doesn’t voice it, but Erin secretly suspects the two homicides are linked, and inspired by her FBI agent uncle, she decides to dive into the investigation herself. But as she comes closer to evidence, somehow the authorities are pointed towards her, and she must figure out what’s happening before it’s too late. This book sounds so dark and along the lines of the grip lit craze, and I’m really excited to read it!
Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (out January 31)
Fifteen-year-old Aki knows that she’s bisexual, but up until now has only dated guys. But when she goes on a month-long youth group mission to a small town in Mexico, a girl named Christa catches Aki’s attention. There isn’t much more information on this book out yet, but I’m interested in reading more! I expect it will contribute to the recent discussions of bisexuality that were sparked by Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue, which will be out later in the year. I say keep that momentum going! It’s important to show teens that being bisexual is more than okay.
Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt (out February 28)
I think this book will perk up a lot of people’s ears. Nes has always been a city girl, living comfortably in Brooklyn. But when her mother ends a relationship and moves them to a small Southern town, Nes’ life throws her many changes. Besides being homesick and heartbroken of a boy left behind, Nes finds herself pitted against her new school’s reigning belle and the principal. Good start! And when she starts to fall for ‘the golden boy’ named Doyle, she discovers that her town is actually pretty racist. In fact, her high school holds two proms… a white prom, and a black prom. Nes and Doyle start a group to run an alternative prom, but when the hate crimes start, Nes realizes the danger she’s in and what it takes to stand up for something so important.
So much goodness coming out in just two months!! That’s only the beginning of 2017! What are you guys excited to read next year?