2018’s Top 15 Unputdownable YA Reads
There’s something about a captivating YA novel that takes us on an unexpected and grand adventure. If you’re looking to get caught up in the newest and best young adult releases of the year, look no further.
1. When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer
If you loved Water for Elephants, this new YA novel will take you right back to that beloved story of love and loss. Scarred by a traumatic event from her childhood, T. Lily Decker can’t help but be consumed by the idea that, like her mother, she could develop schizophrenia and try to hurt the people she loves too. When her senior year internship brings her attention to a baby elephant whose mother tried to kill it, she’ll bond with the creature in unexpected ways and do everything she can to save it from suffering an early death. A heartwarming read, When Elephants Fly tells the story of a young girl’s journey to healing and self-discovery.
2. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give comes her latest YA release about following your dreams no matter what the circumstance. Bri may only be 16 but she has big dreams of making it as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Following in her father’s footsteps, she’s committed to reaching her goal but when her mother loses her job, Bri knows her quest to stardom is now more important than ever. A new novel about sacrifice, family and following your dreams, On the Come Up is the highly anticipated YA novel you’ll want to get your hands on this summer.
3. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
For those who can’t get enough classic literature in their life comes My Plain Jane, a fantastical twist on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. When Mr. Brockelhurst is murdered, friends Jane and Charlotte suddenly find themselves mixing with Alexander Blackwood from the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Alexander wants to hire Jane to help with the case and with her ability to see ghosts, she seems like the perfect fit for the job. But Jane has other ideas about her future that don’t include becoming a Beacon for Alexander and his crew. This spooky murder mystery is an enthralling adventure you’ll want to get lost in this year.
4. Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Life is hard enough at 17-years-old but in Love, Hate and Other Filters, Maya Aziz will have more to worry about than hormonal acne and finding the perfect prom date. Raised by strict Indian parents in America, Maya can’t help but feel caught between two worlds: obeying her parents’ wishes and following her own dreams. Just when she seems to get a handle on her future, one traumatic event will rock the entire country and forever change the community she’s a part of. An important read about cultural divides and bigotry, this debut novel centers around a young girl who won’t let her dreams be put on hold due to the hatred that surrounds her.
5. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
When Evie lost her best friend, it took all of her strength to not fall apart but when she meets an enigmatic young girl who reminds her of her late friend, she’ll begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Embarking on a new friendship, the two girls happen upon two handsome princes who promise them the happily ever after that Evie has always dreamed of. But the new girl has secrets and if Evie wants to keep her in her life, she’ll have to use her magic to save her and risk the love she has with her Prince Charming. In a cross between Wicked and The Little Mermaid, this debut novel will surely capture your heart.
6. Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
For fans of John Green, Down and Across is the new YA novel you can’t miss. Scott Ferdowsi never liked the idea of commitment and when he goes against his parents wishes, running off to Washington D.C., he’ll learn more about himself on the haphazard trip than he ever could in a college classroom. After meeting charismatic Fiora Buchanan, Scott will find himself in a new place with a new lease on life, doing all that he can to find his true self along the way. This exciting coming of age novel will have you feeling youthful and hopeful that in the end, everything eventually works out.
7. When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker
Mira trades in her trumpet and laid-back summer for a new world of dance music, DJing and a whirlwind romance in Anna Hecker’s When the Beat Drops. With the promise of a steadfast career, Mira can’t help but get caught up in a new life of stardom but when a personal crisis arises, everything she thought she knew about herself and those around her will prove to be a lie. With no clear direction, Mira must decide if the glamorous life of dance music and promoters is right for her. As she begins to question how well she really knows herself, the young musician will find that life is a bit more complicated than it seems and that one summer can change your life forever.
8. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman, the bestselling author of If I Stay, is back with another heartbreaking coming-of-age story. Three young strangers who seem to have lost their way will all be brought together in their hour of need. Freya has just lost her voice while recording her debut album as Nathaniel arrives in New York City with nothing but a backpack, and Harun plans to run away from his life altogether. Realizing that they’ve been brought together for a reason, the three new friends will find that all they really needed to solve their problems is each other and the unique perspectives they bring with them.
9. Above the Star by Alexis Marie Chute
When Archie sets out to find his missing son in the Spanish Canary Islands, he never imagined that it would take him on a life-altering journey to the enchanting and horrifying island of Jarr-Wya. Realizing that he could obtain a cure for his granddaughter’s illness, Archie takes a trip through a portal-jumping device, unknowingly bringing said granddaughter and her mother with him. Stumbling upon a new wicked place as a three-way battle ensues, this family will have to unleash their inner heros and unlock the magic that will heal young Ella. This fantastical YA novel takes readers on an adventure unlike any other.
10. Lifelike by Jay Kristoff
Eve is far from an ordinary seventeen-year-old and in Lifelike she’ll have to face deadly enemies if she wants to save herself and her grandfather. On the run from multiple parties who want her dead, Eve stumbles upon an android she can’t help but feel attached to—leaving her to question everything she thinks she knows about her world. With the help of her best friend and her robot sidekick, the young girl will travel through the most exhausting terrains in order to keep her family alive and to find the answers about the unpleasant past she can’t seem to remember. A mash-up of Romeo and Juliet and Terminator, this novel has a little something for everyone.
11. Who Are You, Trudy Herman? by B.E. Beck
Trudy Herman has always been taught by her grandfather to be strong and in this coming-of-age novel, she’ll have to rise to the challenge if she wants to protect someone close to her. Sentenced to a stay in a German-American Internment Camp in Texas in 1943, Trudy and her family go through a harrowing experience that Trudy can’t seem to fully recover from. Once released from the camp years later, the family moves to Mississippi where Trudy will learn of a new horror: racism. Growing close to the family’s housekeeper, the young girl will have to find her inner strength in order to stand up for the black woman or continue to watch her suffer through the social injustice thrust upon her.
12. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
Zarin Wadia is the teenager that parents warn their children to stay away from but 18-year-old Porus can’t seem to keep his distance no matter how hard he tries. When the two are found dead in a car wreck together, it will force everyone around them to really look at the kind of person Zarin was and how the young couple tragically died. A story told from multiple perspectives, A Girl Like That wrestles with the dangers of judging a book by its cover and putting false labels on an innocent teenager. This debut novel takes on important issues from race to religion and everything in between.
13. Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
Branwen has always been loyal to her kingdom, devoted to her hatred of the country that killed both of her parents. Now led by the guidance of her best friend and lady-in-waiting, the young princess spends her days protecting her land. But when she saves the life of a man from enemy territory, she’ll begin to feel an ancient healing magic brewing within her. As she opens her heart to this man and begins to see that peace between the two nations is possible, she’ll have to make tough choices that will drive away those closest to her. A story of unrequited love, magic and friendship, this fantasy read will take you to a whole new world this summer.
14. Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
For fans of historical fiction, this is the YA book you’ll want at the top of your #TBR pile. It’s 1939 and 15-year-old Sarah is stuck in Germany after her mother is brutally murdered at a checkpoint. Still grieving her loss, a strange man approaches Sarah with an opportunity to help take down the Nazi regime. With this offer she jumps into a dangerous scheme at a new school with classmates who are less than welcoming, forcing Sarah to be the strong woman her mother always wanted her to be. In this thrilling novel, a young girl transforms into a force to be reckoned with as she seeks revenge on those who have ruined her family.
15. The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
In this touching YA debut, Ashley Woodfolk brings readers on a journey through grief and healing. Autumn, Shay and Logan have always relied on music to get them through their tough times but when individual tragedies strike the three teenagers, they’ll find that music is no longer enough to keep their lives on track. All struggling to find their way in the world now that their hearts have been broken, these friends will stumble upon a new band who has the power to bring them back together and inspire hope that their hardships will not last forever. Blurbed by YA bestseller Angie Thomas, The Beauty That Remains is an inspiring read for anyone going through a tough time.
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