What's Up in YA

Your Favorite 2016 YA Books & Under-The-Radar Picks

Hey YA Fans!


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One of my favorite things is hearing about your favorite reads and the reads you think deserve more attention. It’s interesting not just because it means hearing about the books that you loved, but it’s interesting because what I see or have seen as a “big book” isn’t always the case with readers. I saw this play out a couple of times in your lists which is neat to see.

Since many of us are in a holiday seasonal quiet time, let’s get in and get out with this one. Here are your top 16 books from 2016. They are in no particular order, since I didn’t bother ranking and counting; the clear favorites were very clear. I’m linking straight to the Amazon descriptions so you can see what the books are about if you want more details — I don’t want to spoil any of the details for the books here that aren’t first in a series.

I hope some of these are surprise favorites, like they were to me! As much as I love seeing your top picks, it’s interesting to see what titles that did really well this last year didn’t end up on this list.


the-girl-from-everywhere-by-heidi-heiligA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Exit, Pursued By A Bear by EK Johnston (also scored high on the “deserves more attention” list)

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (also scored high on the “deserves more attention” list)

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Reader by Traci Chee

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

summer-days-and-summer-nightsSummer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (also scored high on the “deserves more attention” list — this one was and continues to be a big New York Times Bestseller, so that was surprising to see!)

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

When The Moon Was Ours by Anne Marie McLemore


I noted above some of the titles that also scored high on the “needs more attention” list. I’m keeping those titles above and not replicating them here, since we should see 16 fresh titles on this list. And, like above, links go to Amazon for description purposes.

This list is fascinating, from both the perspective of what titles made it, which titles I saw so many readers rave about over the last year, and more, how this list features more inclusive titles than the favorites list. That doesn’t surprise me, given how we know about publicity and marketing and how often it’s the diverse titles which fall under the radar.

But alas, this is a great reading list! Again, not in any order except alphabetical by title.


art-of-holding-on-and-letting-goThe Art of Holding On and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 2 by Daniel Kraus

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

the-smaller-evilMy Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

Still A Work in Progress by Jo Knowles

Up To This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
A few more under-the-radar picks from your newsletter editor: Emily Hainsworth’s Take The Fall (super Twin Peaks-like!), Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss, Break Me Like A Promise by Tiffany Schmidt (start with the first book in the duology, Hold Me Like A Breath), Cherry by Lindsey Rosin, and A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry.


Thanks for hanging out this year with “What’s Up in YA.” Hopefully, you’ve found some really great reading, and more, that you spend your next week curled up with a book that ends the year in the best way possible. We’ll be back next week with a special edition of the newsletter, featuring the most anticipated 2017 books from a variety of awesome YA authors (prepare your TBR, for real!).

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