Hey YA Fans: Let’s check out some awesome 2019 YA to the TBR.
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As the calendar pages on 2018 become fewer and fewer, it seems appropriate to highlight a few more YA books hitting shelves next year to get excited by. Find below a range of titles from well-known, highly acclaimed writers, as well as debuts and emerging voices across a range of genres.
Descriptions come from Goodreads, since my TBR has had many of these added, too.
Awake In The World by Jason Gurley (February 12)
A boy, a girl, an impoverished oil town, and a star-crossed romance saved by the fight for survival.
As the sun sets off the coast of the small California town of Orilla del Cielo, you can see the silhouettes of the oil rigs. Their shadows look jarring against the serene backdrop, their sharpness a reminder of unfulfilled promises. To Zach, they are a reminder of loss—his father, an oil worker who drowned years before. With a poor family struggling to make ends meet, Zach’s future feels equally bleak. Until he meets Vanessa, an optimistic girl whose sights are literally set on the stars. Inspired by her idol, Carl Sagan, she plans to study astronomy at Cornell. But as oil prospectors in search of black gold know, the future is uncertain . . . and fortunes can always be flipped.
Forward Me Back To You by Mitali Perkins (April 2)
Katina King is the reigning teen jujitsu champion of Northern California, but she’s having trouble fighting off the secrets in her past.
Robin Thornton was adopted from an orphanage in Kolkata, India and is reluctant to take on his future. Since he knows nothing about his past, how is he supposed to figure out what comes next?
Robin and Kat meet in the most unlikely of places — a summer service trip to India to work with survivors of human trafficking. As bonds blossom between the travel-mates, Robin and Kat discover the healing superpowers of friendship.
At turns heart-wrenching, beautiful, and buoyant, Mitali Perkins’ new novel explores the ripple effects of violence — across borders and generations — and how small acts of heroism can break the cycle.
The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart by R. Zamora Linmark (August 13)
Readers of Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X) will pull out the tissues for this tender, quirky story of one seventeen-year-old boy’s journey through first love and first heartbreak, guided by his personal hero, Oscar Wilde.
Words have always been more than enough for Ken Z, but when he meets Ran at the mall food court, everything changes. Beautiful, mysterious Ran opens the door to a number of firsts for Ken: first kiss, first love. But as quickly as he enters Ken’s life, Ran disappears, and Ken Z is left wondering: Why love at all, if this is where it leads?
Letting it end there would be tragic. So, with the help of his best friends, the comfort of his haikus and lists, and even strange, surreal appearances by his hero, Oscar Wilde, Ken will find that love is worth more than the price of heartbreak.
Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan (May 7)
It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.
In The Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen (April 9)
Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira’s grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it’s now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.
As if fighting with her parents weren’t bad enough, Nira finds herself navigating a new friendship dynamic when her crush, Noah, and notorious mean-girl, McKenzie “Mac,” take a sudden interest in her and Emily, inserting themselves into the fold. So, too, does Nira’s much cooler (and very competitive) cousin Farah. Is she trying to wiggle her way into the new group to get closer to Noah? Is McKenzie trying to steal Emily’s attention away from her? As Farah and Noah grow closer and Emily begins to pull away, Nira’s trusted trumpet “George” remains her constant, offering her an escape from family and school drama.
But it isn’t until Nira takes a step back that she realizes she’s not the only one struggling to find her place in the world. As painful truths about her family are revealed, Nira learns to accept people for who they are and to open herself in ways she never thought possible.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (June 18)
A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.
Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.
Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.
As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.
Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights by Randall Platt (July 23)
In this vivid, entertaining, and authentic historical novel set in the world of a traveling carnival in 1896, two fourteen-year-old girls—one a giant and the other a dwarf—start out as enemies but soon come to depend on one another to escape the clutches of an evil carnie owner who wants to kill and stuff their beloved animals. For fans of The One and Only Ivan and Water for Elephants.
The year is 1896, and Fern “Babe” Killingsworth is fourteen years old, six-foot-nine inches, and weighs 342 lbs. When her father sells her for a hundred dollars to Professor Phillipe Renoir, Babe has nothing to lose. She’s hoping she’ll find something worthwhile working alongside the other “freaks” in Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights.
When Babe meets Carlotta, the tiny performer seems like nothing more than a spoiled diva. “I’m a dwarf, not a midget!” says the diminutive dancer—but soon the two are partners in crime, eventually disgusted by the conditions and treatment they experience in carnie life, and especially afraid of Renoir’s threats to kill and stuff their beloved animal companions, an elephant, a chimp, and a bear. When the two girls get good news in a letter, they run away from Renoir and find themselves in a much better situation at the home of Carlotta’s aunt—but will it be the last stop for Babe?
The Spaces Between Us by Stacia Tolman (July 23 — no link yet!)
Two outcast best friends are desperate to survive senior year and break away from their rural factory town in this unforgettable YA debut.
Serena Velasco and her best friend Melody Grimshaw are dying to get out of their shrinking factory town. Until now, they’ve been coasting, eluding the bleakness of home and the banality of high school. In a rebellious turn, Serena begins to fixate on communism, hoping to get a rise out of her blue-collar factory town. Her Western Civ teacher catches on and gives her an independent study of class and upward mobility—what creates the spaces between us. Meanwhile, Grimshaw sets goals of her own: to make it onto the cheerleading squad, find a job, and dismantle her family’s hopeless reputation. But sometimes the biggest obstacles are the ones you don’t see coming; Grimshaw’s quest for success becomes a fight for survival, and Serena’s independent study gets a little too real. With the future of their friendship and their lives on the line, the stakes have never been so high.
Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you again next week. In the mean time, get some good reading in your life.