Regardless of how old you are, there’s no better way to unwind than with a glass of wine and a good young adult novel. If you feel like you’ve indulged in every YA title out there already, think again! Several gems are out this year for you to get completely lost in. From novels that explore racism in America, to modern meet-cutes, to life-or-death games, you literally won’t be able to stop reading these YA books, despite your self-declared 10 p.m. bedtime.
This Is My America, by Kim Johnson
In this novel that explores racism in the American justice system, seventeen-year-old Tracy’s dad is an innocent Black man on death row and her brother, a promising track star, is accused of killing a white girl. She attempts to save both of them while their Texas town’s racist history bets against her.
Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord
This rom-com was made for the Twitter generation that can’t get enough of social media wars between food brand accounts. On the outside, it’s a Twitter war between a fast-food chain and a deli about a stolen grilled cheese recipe. Behind the scenes, a completely unexpected romance escalates between the classmates who run the accounts. Yup, love can be found in places you’d absolutely never expect!
A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrow
Love mermaids? Go underwater with Bethany C. Morrow’s tale about two Black mermaids–one who is forced to hide her siren powers and the other who battles literal demons from her past. It merges fantasy with modern issues relating to racism and sexism.
They Wish They Were Us, by Jessica Goodman
What if you found out the person who you thought killed your best friend didn’t actually do it? That’s what Jill—who goes to a seemingly perfect prep school on Long Island—finds out in this thriller. She has to get to the bottom of it, even if it means risking it all. Think the glamour of Gossip Girl meets the murder mystery of Pretty Little Liars with the friendship complications, secrets, and lies of both. Fair warning, we’re pretty biased about this book. It’s by Cosmopolitan op-ed editor Jessica Goodman.
You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson
When her financial aid falls through, Liz has to find another way to attend her dream school, play in its orchestra, and become a doctor. Unfortunately, her next best option is the school’s prom king and queen scholarship. She fears the spotlight, but has to do what it takes. When she falls for the competition, the new girl in school Mack, winning the crown might become a bit trickier.
The Gravity of Us, by Phil Stamper
Debut author Phil Stamper’s romantic tale follows social media journalist Cal as his life is uprooted by his father’s NASA mission to Mars. He falls in love with another teen in the same sitch. When secrets about the mission are revealed, Cal must grapple between the truth, family, and his newfound love. That’s a totally easy “I moved here because of my parent’s job” scenario, right??
All Your Twisted Secrets, by Diana Urban
A Breakfast Club–esque group of classmates finds themselves locked in a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note. They have exactly one hour to choose who to kill or everyone will die. As the clock ticks and panic ensues, they try to figure out who could want the seemingly unconnected lot of them dead. Time to connect the dots, people!
One of Us Is Next, by Karen M. McManus
In this sequel to One of Us Is Lying, it’s been a year since Simon’s death. People have tried and failed to fill the void his gossip app left…that is, until now. But this time, it’s a hazardous game of truth or dare. Sounds like a route the Gossip Girl reboot could take.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Roseanne A. Brown
Fantasy, kidnapping, mutiny, murder, and attraction–this book has it all! Inspired by West African folklore, a princess and refugee find themselves on a path to murder each other in this page turner. But when sparks fly between them, will they be able to carry out their murderous plans?
The Ballad of Songs and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins
In this Hunger Games novel, Suzanne Collins takes us into the past of President Snow. Pre-Katniss and her love triangle, 18-year-old Snow was a mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games with a mission to make his family proud by mentoring the winning tribute. The odds are clearly not in his favor when he’s assigned a tribute from the worst district. I guess we’ll root for him in this one?
This Train Is Being Held, by Ismée Williams
Anyone who’s ever locked eyes with a sexy stranger on the subway knowing they’ll likely never see them again will obsess over this fate meeting on public transport. Alex and Isa’s romance isn’t easy though. It celebrates poetry, dance, and baseball while dealing with mental health and racism.
Of Curses and Kisses, by Sandhya Menon
As the first in a series, this novel puts a contemporary twist on a classic tale: Beauty and the Beast. It involves an elite boarding school, ancient curse, centuries-old family feud, and rose-shaped ruby pendant. The princess attempts to get revenge on the soon-to-be beast and his family by making him fall in love with her. Then she’ll break his heart. It’s quite the risky plan, no?
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Jennifer De Leon
In this gripping novel, Liliana Cruz is a first-gen American LatinX who attends a mostly white school, where racial tensions are high. While trying to survive in that environment, she learns a family secret that puts her in a position where she needs to take a stand and speak her truth.
This Is All Your Fault, by Aminah Mae Safi
On their first day of summer, three young women find out the indie bookstore they work at is closing. They’ll all have to join forces to save it. Oh, and they really only have one day to come up with something. If you’re looking for a story with a noble mission, this is it.
We Used to Be Friends, by Amy Spalding
It’s a tragic tale all too familiar: a friendship breakup. As two childhood besties navigate their senior year in high school, they start to grow up and grow apart. It’s always painful, sometimes bittersweet, and consistently astounding how two people can go from BFFs to complete, total strangers. But c’est la vie!
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