What's Up in YA

081417 What’s Up in YA: Contemporary YA Takes On Jane Austen, The Most Popular YA Books Last Year, and More YA Book Talk

Hey YA readers!

This week’s edition of “What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by PageHabit — use code “RIOT” for 10% off your first box. 

PageHabit is offers a monthly YA book box curated and annotated by authors for the most diehard bookworms. Each box comes with an exclusive, author-annotated new release, a written letter from the author, a bonus short story, fun bookish goods and membership into an active online book community of over 18,000 members. For every box purchased, PageHabit makes a donation to support children’s literacy around the world, so you can read well and do good. Readers can choose from seven genres including Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Horror and more. Get 10% off your first box with code “RIOT”.

Let’s take this lazy, hazy mid-late summer day to catch up on the latest YA talk from Book Riot over the last month. Grab your TBR or pop open your favorite bookish app and get ready to scribble down a ton of titles you’ll want to read.


Want a good YA book deal? I dug through Kindle’s monthly deals to find a few worth picking up.

Note that you may need to toggle your format to “ebook” when you click the links below.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a whopping $1.99.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown is $1.99. This has had so many tremendous positive reviews that if it weren’t already sitting on my shelf, I’d one click so fast.

Entwined by Heather Dixon is $1.99 and a retelling of “Twelve Dancing Princesses.”


Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you again next week. Perhaps we’ll even talk about one of my favorite things: microtrends. AKA, the weird coincidences that keep popping up in books that aren’t enough to constitute a full-on trend but that are too odd not to talk about.


–Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars

currently reading The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed and just finished (and adored!) Like Water by Rebecca Podos.



Kissing Books

What You Missed at RWA, Romance Recs, and More

Happy August! How’s your reading life!

Happenings in Romancelandia

So much has happened since our last talk. The RWA conference concluded, the RITAs were announced, and Beverly Jenkins, Slayer of Words, made us all bawl on our computers if we were relegated to watching the live stream of her Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech from home.

Sponsored by Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

After his father’s stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his longtime friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea. . . . But not kissing Max is easier said than done.

Will Jill follow her heart, and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Also, Andrew Grey got the Centennial award for publishing one hundred novels. He’s the first m/m and also the first male author to have received it. How awesome is that! (Have you read his work? I’ll admit I haven’t yet, but man, I’ve got some reading to do!)

One thing we got as RWA-left-behinders was constant access to #notRWA. There were some awesome threads and conversations happening on twitter. These included:

For the complete list of #notRWA threads.conversations, check out this blog post by the fabulous Olivia Dade.

And for a little bit of the fun side of Twitter, this exchange leaves us…wanting. Wanting all the things.

Have you seen the cover reveal for Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory? I can’t stop looking at it. Wanna know something else? You can buy that dress. AND IT HAS POCKETS.

Speaking of cover reveals…Sanctuary is coming, and man. Drool. Droooooooool.

Over on Book Riot

Kate included an “ugly cry-o-meter” in her list of favorite friends-to-lovers romance.

Read about Susan Mallery’s thoughts on small town settings and more.

Do you like Jane Austen retellings? Read about a new Persuasion retelling.

How about some book recs?

One True Pairing
Cathy Yardley

You know what kinds of books I love? Books featuring super dorky characters. Books where one of the protagonists is a famous person and the other is not. Books that take place around fan conventions. Books where the connection is fast and intense, but still believable. You know what One True Pairing is? ALL OF THESE. While it’s the second book in Yardley’s Fandom Hearts series, this can still be read as a standalone (and man, I still haven’t read Level Up). Hailey and Jake are one of my favorite couples of recent recollection. Jake is a sweetheart who just loves his stupid Supernatural-reminiscent cable fantasy show and wants to be a part of it, but he needs something to keep him interesting to the public and the producers. Good thing Hailey is there offering to be his pretend-girlfriend, and their chemistry is already off-the-charts hot. Hailey comes equipped with some of the greatest friends and family around, which makes this adorable read even better.

Beyond the Rules
Anna Del Mar
(August 14)

I finally stopped ignoring the call of Opal Carew’s ridiculously punny titles and read Drilled the other day, which was fun in its own way, even though occasionally it felt like it was originally written as a two-person relationship and then Carew decided to split her billionaire into two. After that few hours of fun, I was still in poly mode, and decided to try an author I hadn’t read before.

Enter three ex-Navy SEALs and a hacker. The three military men, Zar, Tanner, and Aiden, live in a gorgeous, secluded home in the wilds of Montana, and Nina has just crashed her plane trying to escape some baddies. She’s pretty banged up, and the three nurse her back to health, all the while agreeing that she might be the one they’ve been waiting for. They made a pact while still in the military, and sharing every aspect of their lives is the central part of that pact. And well, it looks like Nina might be the one they could all fall for. Her commitment issues might have something to say about that. This book is long, but characters are well developed, and relationships are as well. I tend not to connect as well with polyamorous relationships in which everyone involved isn’t one big puppy pile of love, but the three men have a different kind of relationship, and I could appreciate that (and they’re not brothers, if that’s one of your squicks).

(I’d also like to include the fact that as I started reading this, my husband and I started rewatching The Last Ship and the Zar in my head is a yummy combination of Eric Dane and Adam Baldwin. The others I had to create on my own.)

Currently reading:
Illegal Contact
Santino Hassell
(August 15)

I’m not very far into this one, but so far, it’s got pure Hassell quality going for it. So far, it’s got the same feel as the Five Boroughs books as far as set in real life. But gosh, I hope it’s not going to be as real. (Legit: I was sobbing in the middle of Interborough the other day. Sobbing.) Even a book that starts with a star athlete in an ankle bracelet can be fun, right? Or at least a little light?

We’ll see.

And for some recent and upcoming releases:

Within a Captain’s Soul, Lisa A. Olech

Heat WaveElyse Springer

The Scandal of it All, Sophie Jordan

Permanent Ink, Avon Gale

Two Dukes and a Lady, Lorna James (8/14)

Unexpected, Jenny Frame (8/15)

King of Code, CD Reiss (8/21)

The Duchess Deal, Tessa Dare (8/22)

Okay, that’s it for me! Happy reading! (I know I’ll be.) In the meantime, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!


Badass Broads of Science Fiction and Fantasy T-Shirt Giveaway!

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty into our newest Badass Broads of SFF t-shirt. This week, we’re giving one away!

The giveaway is open internationally, one entry per email address. Winner will be notified via entered email.

Ok, go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image below!

Unusual Suspects

The Best “Past is Gonna Get’Cha” Mysteries & Kindle Deals!

Hi my fellow mystery fans! I realized that many of the books I was recently reading had a similar theme where a character(s) past had come back to get them–dun dun dun!– so I rounded-up some of my favorites from recent releases for you.

Sponsored by Penguin Books

The year is 2037. The Soviet Union never fell, and much of Europe has been consolidated under the totalitarian Union of Friendship. On the tiny island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a forty-eight-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. THE DYING GAME is a masterly locked-room mystery set in a near-future Orwellian state—for fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Dave Eggers’ The Circle, and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

When You’ve Run From Your Past and it Catches Up Via a True Crime Podcast:

Are You SleepingAre You Sleeping cover image: yellow sky wtih silhouette of trees and corner of house by Kathleen Barber: Josie Buhrman isn’t living the most honest life. For starters, that isn’t her birth name, nor does her boyfriend know that her mother is in fact alive and that she has a twin sister. So when her mother does really die, she has to pretend her aunt died to go back home after ten years for the funeral. Why all the lies? Her father was murdered and it destroyed her family. Now there’s a true crime podcast about her family, even though the case was solved years ago. Josie returns home to face the twin she hasn’t spoken to in a decade, now with new questions posed by the podcast. Smart and suspenseful, this takes an interesting look from the point of view of the victim’s family as to what it feels like to have a true crime podcast obsess over the tragedy in your life, and whether they do more harm than good.

When the Baby You Put Up for Adoption Goes Missing As a Teen:

The Lost OnesThe Lost Ones cover image: a foggy landscape with city skyscrapers on top and a bridge and forest at the bottom by Sheena Kamal: Nora Watts has carved a tiny life for herself: she works as a receptionist and research assistant at a PI firm that also rents out space to a journalist; lives in the basement of the building with neither of her bosses knowing; and has only recently allowed a stray dog to be the only thing in her personal life. And then her past shows up in the form of the couple who adopted her daughter years ago. The daughter who is missing. The police are treating it as a runaway, but Nora, clearly with a past, sets out across Canada to find the missing girl. A mystery that turns thriller with an intense ending and another “unlikable” woman that I found myself liking a lot–especially her ability to always know when someone is lying.

A Suspenseful “Who did I marry?!”

UndertowUndertow cover image: Bright blue water with silhouette of flowing hair by Elizabeth Heathcote: Carmen is still in the honeymoon stage of marriage with Mark until a stranger’s comments throw her into a state of questioning. Years before, Mark had left his wife and kids for his mistress Zena–and all the clichés of married-man-and-younger-woman. Then Zena died. She drowned while swimming in the ocean, a story that Mark himself told Carmen when they first started dating. But it turns out the locals don’t think it was an accident, and as Carmen starts to ask questions and snoop through Mark’s things, it looks like maybe the locals know more than Mark told Carmen. This places you inside Carmen’s thoughts and actions in a way that’ll have you questioning what you would do in this situation. Is Mark’s past going to sink them (sorry, not sorry), or does Carmen need to reign in her imagination?

A Missing Woman is Found 18 Years Later, Murdered:

The Lost WomanThe Lost Woman cover image: Blue sky wtih a corner of a house and a woman standing in the window (Louise Rick #9) by Sara Blaedel, Mark Kline (translator): Detective Louise Rick’s colleague (who is also her boyfriend) disappears, leaving Rick frantic. While trying to locate him, she learns things about him that she wasn’t aware of, which seem like a big deal until she finds Eik and learns he’s under suspicion of murder. Now on the case of a murdered missing woman, Rick must unravel years of questions while also questioning her relationship with Eik. Great read if you like your mysteries to take on current social issues with weight. Reads as a standalone and Christine Lakin (from Step by Step!) does a great narration on the audiobook

Over on Book Riot Tirzah Price has YA novels that actually have earned a Veronica Mars comparison.

On the newest Read or Dead podcast episode Rincey and Katie talk about James Patterson and former President Bill Clinton pitching their 2018 book to Hollywood and two of my favorite mysteries: A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee and A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas!

Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jean-Marc Vallée, Alexander Skarsgård discuss HBO’s Big Little Lies (adapted from Liane Moriarty‘s novel) at Deadline’s Emmy FYC event.

I Poked Around The Kindle Summer Deals and Found You These Great Reads!

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada, Translated by Ross MacKenzie, Shika MacKenzie for $1.99 (My review)

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia for $1.99 (My review)

Still Midnight (Alex Monrow #1) by Denise Mina for $2.99


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And if you like to put a pin in things here’s an Unusual Suspects board.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime come talk books with me on Twitter and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canaves.

In The Club

In the Club Aug 9

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

cover of Impossible Views of the World by Lucy IvesThis newsletter is sponsored by Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives, published by Penguin Press.

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in free-fall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.

Let’s talk about the canon: specifically, some books by women of color that should be added to it, plus their current-canon read-alikes. I love this list and these picks, and can imagine a ton of great discussions around them. Highly recommended reading!

Does your book group need more murder? (We’re not here to judge.) Here are 5 crime must-reads out this month that might just fit the bill, including a science-fictional murder mystery, a new female detective in Stockholm, a stand-alone from Karin Slaughter, and a debut from the show-runner of Bones.

Related: how about some murderesses? Here’s a list of 10 female killers, ranging from Medea to Misery.

Let’s flip this script. What about ladies who solve the crimes, specifically sassy teen ladies? Here’s a list of Veronica Mars read-alikes (for real, though). Tirzah has specific comparisons for you, including some Logan GIFs, which I am sure you will be as delighted by as I was.

Read like Gabourey Sidibe! The actress and newly-minted author is a book nerd, and here’s a collection of her picks from Instagram to prove it. What I love about this is that it’s primarily nonfiction and true crime.

Need help finding trans authors in your favorite genre, whatever that might be? We’ve got a post for that. Constance has assembled recommendations across kids books, nonfiction, sci-fi, mystery, travel writing, poetry — it’s very extensive, and very handy!

Does your book group need more sharks? (What book group does not, I ask you.) Live/read every week like it’s Shark Week, with this round-up of everything from encyclopedias to memoir to an alterna-Western.

How about some fiction from South Africa? Rabeea has three recommendations for you, including an homage to Mrs. Dalloway that I could not add to my TBR list fast enough.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Flatiron Books.

The New York Times bestseller from Stephanie Garber follows two sisters as they take part of a legendary competition, not knowing what is real and what is magic. With adventure, romance, and suspense, you’ll have a hard time not getting caught up in this game…!

The Goods

Back to School – 25% Off Tees

Build a literary wardrobe and be the BROC (big reader on campus) with 25% off all tees! Already out of school? We won’t tell if you don’t.

In the mood to make a statement? Snag a new 1984-inspired Down With Big Brother tees.



Get Epic! New Spots Open TODAY!

Hey, Novel subscribers! Ready to join us at the Insiders Forum to banter about books with your fellow Insiders and chat with Book Riot staff and contributors? You’ve got first dibs: get your Epic spot now!


Win a Copy of A PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet!


We have 10 copies of A PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet to giveaway to 10 Riot Readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

“Cat” is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny. Although up for the fight, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

Go here to enter, or just click the cover image below. Good luck!


New Books

Dark Family Legacies, A Buffy Readalike, and More New Books!

Hellooooooooooo! It’s time for another newsletter full of good stuff to read! That’s the best kind of newsletter, IMO. I have a few fantastic titles to tell you about today, and as always, you can also hear about several more great books on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about a few amazing upcoming fall books we are excited about, such as Little Fires Everywhere, What Happened, and Sing, Unburied, Sing. (PS – Because we didn’t cover August 8 new releases on this week’s episode, I’ve included a few more titles here today. Because I love you.)

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel Wilson.

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past…

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar’s loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning.

eat only when you're hungryEat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter

An unhappy middle-aged man goes on a trip to find his missing son, but along the way, as he fills his aching heart with roadside junk food, he faces up to harsh truths about his own existence. Hunter is one of today’s smartest writers and she has written a powerful, sharp look at addiction and America.


little & lionLittle & Lion by Brandy Colbert

After a school year away at boarding school, Suzette flies home to California to help support her stepbrother, Emil, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But things take a complicated turn when they both fall for the same girl. Little & Lion is a compassionate, honest examination of integrity and love.


the good daughterThe Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter

When she was a teen, Charlotte Quinn’s family were the victims of a horrific crime. Twenty-eight years later, she is witness to another tragedy that will tear her town apart, and unleash long hidden memories about her own experiences three decades before. HOLY CATS. This was my first time reading Slaughter and it was SO INTENSE. This book was fantastic – what an incredible writer! – but please be aware that its realistic depictions of violence are very graphic and can be hard to read at times.


you play the girlYou Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano

A fantastic book of essays using depictions of women in popular culture to explore how these images shape women, and what it is like to raise a daughter in the shadow of all the mixed messages about what it means to be a girl. Perfect for fans of Roxane Gay and Rebecca Solnit.


life in codeLife in Code: A Personal History of Technology by Ellen Ullman

Ullman has spent almost four decades working with computers, beginning in San Francisco in the 1970s as a woman in an almost entirely male-dominated field. Her 1997 book, Close to the Machine, chronicled the rise of technology, and now twenty years later Life in Code covers her thoughts on its mainstream use in everyday life and how life with computers has changed us. It’s a fascinating book!


bibliomysteriesBibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores by Otto Penzler

Penzler has rounded up some of today’s best mystery writers, including Laura Lippman and C.J. Box, for a fun collection of original book-related mysteries. This anthology is an epic nerdpurr!


the epic crush of genie loThe Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

CALLING ALL BUFFY FANS. 16-year-old Genie Lo thought she had a lot on her plate trying to get into a good college. Then she discovers she’s a celestial spirit made for fighting demons. Now she and her BFF are fighting demons between filling out applications – but is Genie going to be able to save the town on her own? Two words: WHAT FUN.


to lay to rest our ghostsTo Lay To Rest Our Ghosts by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Summie has written ten quiet but powerful stories about family bonds, loss, and what unmoors the human spirit. From rural Minnesota to flashy New York City and more, these are memorable tales that will bring reflection after they have ended.


the talented ribkinsThe Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

I couldn’t pass up a novel blurbed by Toni Morrison! Johnny Ribkins is 72 and facing doom: he has one week to return the money he stole from his mobster boss or he’ll sleep with the fishes. But Ribkins comes from a long line of people with unusual powers. Once used for good, they now mostly use them for personal gain. And Ribkins is hoping these talents can help him get out of his predicament. What an original, delightfully odd book!


rebellionRebellion by Molly Patterson

A multigenerational debut novel following four women and their various “rebellions” throughout in their lives. At the heart of the book is a mystery about Addie, an American missionary who goes missing during the Boxer Rebellion. Rebellion is a powerful story of family, fate, that explores the women’s hidden secrets and their determination to take control of their own destinies.


darkansasDarkansas by Jarret Middleton

Jordan is a flailing country musician who can never seem to get out from under the shadow of his legendary father. When a wedding brings him back to his hometown in the Ozarks, he learns a dark secret: In his family, every generation of men have been twins, and it is customary for one twin to kill their father. Jordan and his brother must fight to escape the family legacy as they are pursued by a mysterious hill dweller. This dark, original tale is perfect for fans of Donald Ray Pollock and Harry Crews. It also has my vote for best title of the year.


the localsThe Locals by Jonathan Dee

Mark Firth is a down-on-his-luck contractor who seeks a chance to repair his lost finances and support his family by buying up local properties in debt. But his investment decisions and partnerships will lead him down a path of greed and class division, and force Mark to confront the man he has become.The Locals is a timely look at wealth and inequality in a small town, as captured by the always amazing Dee.

That’s it for me today – time to get back to reading! If you want to learn more about books new and old (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, or books you think I should read (I HEART RECOMMENDATIONS!), you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

Stay rad,