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What's Up in YA

Book Cover Design Trends, Adaptation Extravaganza, and More YA News

Welcome to May, YA lovers!

Let’s kick off the new month talking about one of the most fascinating elements of the YA world: book covers. Without question, book covers, especially in YA, are extremely important. They’re the first impression of a book, setting the story’s tone and feeling to readers who might not know anything about what the book is about. Sure, we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s face the fact that we all do look at it and make a snap judgment. Either it’s appealing or it’s not. Having worked with teens, I know they do the same thing.

Covers sell the story, but they also serve as a really great tool for those who are trying to talk about books or recommend them to other readers. You kind of know when a book is going to be a romance or a science fiction read based on the design elements on a cover. And there’s no question that covers that do well and sell a book can and do set off trends.

How about a quick look back at some YA cover trends in recent memory?


Stephenie Meyer’s best selling series seemed to spark the big idea of cover trends in YA in a way that was more obvious than before the series hit. Dark backgrounds, a spot of color, and images that evoke drama became all the rage in books published during the years the series reigned supreme.

First: recovered classics.

Then there was the cover makeover for LJ Smith’s “The Vampire Diaries” series, in addition to new books in the series being written after a long hiatus:


And a couple of other YA series, among so many others with a similar cover scheme, that hit shelves during the height of Twilight’s success:

beautiful creatures


alyson noel books

Of course, it’s impossible not to see the influence of the cover design in the series inspired by Twilight for adults:


Following this trend was the one where pretty white girls wore pretty dresses, often while looking sad (image snagged from this blogger who pulled these covers together from the top of her head alone).

Girls in Dresses

We saw books with big faces on the covers — again, almost always white — around this same time, along with book covers where girls were dead or dying or drowning or floating.

And then John Green and Rainbow Rowell’s 2012 books changed the game.

TFIOS and E&PNo longer were book covers obviously geared toward teen readers; they were instead geared toward young adult readers who may — or perhaps may NOT be — teens themselves. Green’s book featured a blurb from Jodi Picoult, a well-known adult author with tremendous crossover appeal. Adults know her work, and many teens do, too. Her blurb on Green’s book signified a shift of shorts, but perhaps not more than the cover itself.

It’s simple: it’s a single iconic image and driven by the title. No faces, no people, no symbols or dead girls (on the cover, that is).

Rowell’s book, which earned a powerful and game-changing review from Green in the New York Times, took cover design in a bit of a different direction, too. This was an illustrated cover. Again, it was simple, with clean lines, and offered an iconic image that readers knew and identified immediately. It’s a cover that doesn’t scream teenagers at all, and in many ways, it’s a cover packed with nostalgia value. The book being set in the 80s probably influenced that to some extent.

And now, post-Green and Rowell, we see YA book covers looking more and more similar to those two in ways that aren’t necessarily obvious but do point to a growth in font-driven and originally-illustrated covers:
Cover designs 1 Cover Designs 2 Cover Designs 3

There are so many more that could be included here, but one look through these covers, as compared to the covers earlier, shows a marked difference, doesn’t it? Of course, there are still covers with stock images and with girls in dresses, but they are not the trend of choice anymore.

Why all of the cover talk, you ask? It’s because I read two fabulous pieces on recent cover designs in the last few weeks, and I couldn’t wait to share them. As outsiders, we can look at the cover designs and make a judgment or see the trends, but rarely do we get the opportunity to peek beneath the covers (heh) and learn about what went into making them. Eric Smith has been doing a series called “By The Cover” about cover designs at Book Riot, which, if you haven’t checked out, I highly recommend doing after you check out these two:

  • The designs of the covers Wekerman talks about fall into the sorts of cover design preferences seen during the height of font/illustration-driven looks, but how about a recent book with a cover that sort of feels like one you’d have seen a few years ago? CJ Redwine’s recently-released book The Shadow Queen has a very dark fairytale-esque look to it, with an apple dripping what looks like black blood. At first glance, I wasn’t expecting much from the design-side of the cover. I thought it was clever text placement on a great stock image. But it’s not. Those letters were carved into actual apples. Check out the behind-the-scenes on this one. That is commitment.
  • Though it’s not a behind-the-scenes of a cover design, per se, I had to share the cover reveal for Nicola Yoon’s forthcoming The Sun is Also a Star. It’s a title-driven cover made out of colorful yarn that’s reminiscent of books like Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun (huh, “Sun” is in both of those). Immediately upon seeing Yoon’s book cover, I was reminded of adult author Aimee Bender’s The Color Master, which utilized a similar technique on the cover. And that reminder may be because it’s the same cover designer for both. Kind of neat!


I could probably write ten more pages just on cover design thoughts alone, but there’s been some other worthwhile news in the YA world over the last couple of weeks, including a huge round of adaptation announcements:


  • IW Gregorio’s debut novel None of the Above, about an intersex teen girl, is under development as a Lifetime film. From the same announcement, Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is being adapted as well.
  • Stephenie Meyer (hey, there she is again!) is set to adapt Kendare Blake’s popular Anna Dressed in Blood. There’s been a cast announcement, too. It might be worth noting that as exciting as it is to see a book like this being adapted, it is disappointing to see such a white cast. Cas is never outright described as white, but looks like he will be in the film.
  • Asking for It by Louise O’Neill is being adapted for the small screen. It’s unclear whether this will be available outside the UK, but I know I’d love to see a female-driven story about rape culture on TV, so I hope we see it on this side of the pond.


And finally, some other pieces worth a read and a think:



* I disagree wholeheartedly with this, as someone who has worked with teenagers and YA books extensively in libraries and whose career is about this burgeoning field of literature. Is it a marketing label? Sure. But it’s also a real thing, with real aspects to it that differentiate it from adult books and middle grade books. The YA arm of the American Library Association has been talking seriously about the bullshit YA category since 1996, which would be roughly when Steifvater was in middle school or high school. Not to mention all of those books in the 1980s and 1970s and 1960s and 1950s. Or authors like Judy Blume or Robert Cormier or Maureen Daly (who wrote Seventeenth Summer, which many consider the “first” YA book, in 1942) or Paul Zindel.



  • I love writing for teenage girls. I think they are so smart and creative. But both teenage girls and the things they like so often get denigrated in our culture. You know, boy bands and girl fashion. There’s not a lot of respect for teenage girls, but they are so resilient. I think it’s awesome to center them in stories and show how powerful and interesting they are and that time of life is.” — this is a fantastic short interview with author Jessica Spotswood.


Thanks for reading “What’s Up in YA?” The next edition will hit your inboxes in two weeks. In the meantime, pick up a YA book or six, spend some time checking out the covers (you will never unsee these things now!), and then enjoy the read.


New Books

May New Books Megalist!!!

Happy Tuesday! Time for a new release mega-list! It is impossible to read all the books out today, but I did my best. And on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about some great new releases, such as The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, Sweet Lamb of Heaven, and Imagine Me Gone. I have a few more great titles for you below, and as always, you can find a big list in the All the Books! show notes. And I mean big – this is a HUGE day for new releases! I have shared a whole bunch below that I enjoyed.

unforgivable by amy reedThis week’s newsletter is sponsored by Unforgivable by Amy Reed. 

Unforgivable is Amy Reed’s sequel to Invincible. In Unforgivable, Marcus continues Evie’s story of their intense romance after saving her life only to find his life—and their relationship—falling to pieces.


heat and light by jennifer haighHeat and Light by Jennifer Haigh: Haigh returns to Bakerton with a moving drama about small town vs. big businesses.

Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens: A pregnant nurse in an ER helps a young woman who shows up alone and in labor.

The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem: A gripping noir, about a discovered body and subsequent investigation in Mecca. Alem is the first woman to win the international prize for Arabic fiction.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart: A powerful, brave story about Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder.

tasa's songTasa’s Song by Linda Kass: Based on true events, this is the extraordinary story of a young girl, and her family’s escape from the Nazis in Poland.

The Star-touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: A fabulous YA novel drawn from Indian folklore and mythology, about a seventeen-year-old queen.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ All-Time Greatest Hits by Mark Binelli: A fictionalized version of the life of Hawkins, one of rock and roll’s legendary madmen.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero: The OITNB and Jane the Virgin actress discusses the deportation of her parents and brother when she was 14 and her struggle to survive without them.

everybody's foolEverybody’s Fool by Richard Russo: Russo returns to North Bath with a sequel to his wonderful 1993 novel Nobody’s Fool!

Not Working by Lisa Owens: An insightful novel about a woman quits her job in the hopes of finding her real passion.

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman: Lu Bryant, the first female state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, prepares to make her name with a big murder case.

The Assistants by Camille Perri: A technical error in an expense report allows the assistant to a CEO to make some much needed changes to her finances.

the sport of kingsThe Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan: A grand, lush story of racism, prejudice, and wealth, revolving around horse racing.

The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel: A woman with a guilty past moves to a sleepy town in the Florida Keys after her brother’s death.

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann: A teenage girl must make big choices in this fantastic novel-in-verse. (I love love love Heppermann’s last book, Poisoned Apples, too!)

If I Was Your Girl by Melissa Russo: A contemporary coming of age novel about a young girl with a secret who moves to a new school.

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer: Dyer continues his search for answers in Beijing, White Sands, Los Angeles, and New Mexico


kay's lucky coinKay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y. K. Choi: A bittersweet coming of age novel about a young Korean girl in 1980s Toronto.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman: A socially awkward busybody must make her way alone in the world after she walks out on her cheating husband.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore: A look at twenty real-life tsars and tsarinas over the span of three centuries.

Sergio Y. by Alexandre Vidal Porto, trans. from the Portuguese by Alex Ladd: A renowned Brazilian therapist searches for a former patient, and discovers he is now a woman living in NYC.

the outliersThe Outliers by Kimberly McCreight: McCreight makes her YA debut with the suspenseful tale of a missing girl in the Maine woods.

Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table by Ellen Wayland-Smith: A fascinating look at how the successful flatware company started out as a free-love utopia.

Desert Boys by Chris McCormick: A series of interconnected stories revolving around a man named Daley Kushner and his acquaintances.

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh: A grieving mother struggles with a hit-and-run that leaves a young boy dead, and her survivor’s guilt.

everyone brave is forgivenEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave: A love story set at the beginning of World War II, based on the author’s own grandparents.

Beer Money: A Story of Privilege and Loss by Frances Stroh: Stroh’s memoir about her family, heirs to a beer dynasty, and the crumbling industry and decisions that led to its decline.

YAY, BOOKS! That’s it for me. If you want to learn more about books (and see lots of pictures of my cats), or tell me about books you’re reading, you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’! (OMG I am OBSESSED with Litsy.)

Stay rad!


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Last Day to Get Any Tote + Socks for $21

Looking for a last-minute gift for Mom, or just in need of a new tote for your constantly-growing TBR? We’ve got you covered. Today’s the last day to pick any tote + pair of socks for just $21 in the Book Riot Store.


New Books

New Books! – April 26, 2016

Happy Tuesday! I know there are a lot of happy people out there today because The Raven King, the fourth and final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, is now available! Congratulations and happy reading if you’re one of those people. On this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about some great new releases, such as Sleeping Giants, Real Artists Have Day Jobs, and Panther. I have a few more great titles for you below, and as always, you can find a big list in the All the Books! show notes. And stay tuned next week for another “First Tuesday” mega-list! Now, are you ready? LET’S DO THIS.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Liquid Cool by Austin Dragon.

The debut, action-packed (and funny) cyberpunk detective novel! It’s cyberpunk reimagined—sci-fi meets the detective thriller in an ever-raining Metropolis with dark skies, colossal skyscrapers, and hover-cars above, with grimy, flashy streets below. Uber-governments and mega-corporations fight for control of the fifty-million-plus super-city, but so does crime. So watch out for tech-tricksters, analog hustlers, and digital gangsters—psychos, samurais, and cyborgs aplenty. Welcome to the high-tech, low-life world of the Liquid Cool series.

5-STAR REVIEWS: “Lots of shooting, lots of crazy maniacs, lots of action and fun!”  “Cool and Smooth.”

Emperor of the Eight Islands: Book 1 in the Tale of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn
Hearn, the author of the awesome Tales of the Otori series, is back with a new fantastic series set in medieval Japan. At the beginning of the tale is a young future lord, sent into hiding with a mountain wizard by his scheming uncle who wants the boy’s land for himself. What follows is magical adventures on battlefields, and in forests and castles, involving both man and beasts. This story is a rich tapestry of magic, superstition, and ancient history, all wonderfully realized. And all four books in the series will be available over the next few months, so we won’t have to wait long to find out how it ends!

Backlist bump: Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1) by Lian Hearn.

The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories  by Joan Aiken
Joan Aiken stories handpicked by Small Beer Press and Aiken’s daughter and with an introduction by Kelly Link?!! I couldn’t read this fast enough! Aiken, probably best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, wrote over 100 books, including 28 story collections. HOLY CATS. These selected stories are wildly inventive, fantastical, and funny, and certainly for fans of Link. I am so delighted this exists.

Backlist bump: The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken

The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes by Frank Bures 
The title alone sold me on this book, but the insides are pretty great, too! Bures investigates “culture-bound” syndromes, which are cultural myths and superstitions leading people to believe things that other cultures might consider strange. This is a weird, fascinating look at some of those syndromes around the world.

Backlist bump: The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist’s Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic
by Wade Davis by Jim C. Hines

YAY, BOOKS! That’s it for me. If you want to learn more about books (and see lots of pictures of my cats), or tell me about books you’re reading, you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’! (OMG I am OBSESSED with Litsy.)

Stay rad!


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What's Up in YA

Sexual Assault Awareness Month and YA Lit, Upcoming Superhero Novelizations, and More YA News

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Future Shock.

Good April, YA fans!

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks in the YA bookternet. Maybe part of it has to do with this being a huge release season — we’re seeing tons of books hitting shelves each Tuesday (and sometimes Thursday) and will through the end of May — and it may have to do with some big industry-related trade shows happening now. There’s surprisingly little news to talk about, so this week’s newsletter will take a bit of a different approach, with a quick round-up of links at the end.

As you may or may not know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This is a topic that’s covered really well in the YA internet, and it’s a topic that not only generates worthwhile discussion in April, but it lingers throughout the year.

Here’s the out for anyone who needs it — and feel zero shame taking it: sexual assault and rape are the topic at hand for the bulk of this newsletter. If you want to skip to the round-up of other news, hop down to the *** below.

It’s been really difficult to grasp the importance of the topic of sexual assault lately, especially following the not guilty verdict of the Jian Ghomeshi case, wherein the victims of assault were called liars by the judge for not coming forward soon enough and not recalling specific details of the trauma they incurred. Of course, that is one case of hundreds each year, and it’s one case that highlights precisely why victims choose not to speak up or out. It’d be easy to name many more without even thinking too hard about it.

I’d like to take the opportunity with this newsletter to talk about and highlight some of the incredible young adult books that explore issues relating to sexual assault and rape culture. The only way that we’re able to make change as a culture is to talk about it, as well as make real effort in understanding the short- and long- term effects of such violence against victims. The bulk of these books are available now, though forthcoming titles have been noted with publication dates. All descriptions are from Goodreads and titles are listed alphabetically. This is a very white, straight list — which is worth an entire newsletter in and of itself — and the bulk of the books on this list involve female victims (though not all). Note that this is not comprehensive. Likewise, I highly recommend checking out this recent NPR piece about the value YA lit has in teaching teens about consent and sex.

All The Rage 
by Courtney Summers: The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

Asking for It 
by Louise O’Neill: Emma O’Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It’s the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the big party, but all eyes are on Emma.

The next morning Emma’s parents discover her in a heap on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there in a hurry. She remembers nothing from the party.

That day several devastating photos from the party are posted online and go viral, eventually launching a criminal investigation and sending the community into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma, whose life has been changed forever by an unthinkable and all-too-common act of sexual violence, but all she wants is to disappear.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear by E. K. Johnston: Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.

But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:

Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.

Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.

Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook: Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

Faking Normal by Courtney C Stevens: Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

The Gospel of Winter 
by Brendan Kiely: As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s.

by Chris Lynch: Keir Sarafian knows many things about himself. He is a talented football player, a loyal friend, a devoted son and brother. Most of all, he is a good guy.

And yet the love of his life thinks otherwise. Gigi says Keir has done something awful. Something unforgivable.

Keir doesn’t understand. He loves Gigi. He would never do anything to hurt her. So Keir carefully recounts the events leading up to that one fateful night, in order to uncover the truth. Clearly, there has been a mistake.

But what has happened is, indeed, something inexcusable.

by Joshua C. Cohen: The football field is a battlefield.

There’s an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on – and off – the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy – including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school’s salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.

Some Boys 
by Patty Blount: When Grace meets Ian she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But…Ian doesn’t. He’s funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country, written by a lovely author who promotes white-guilt in her free time.

The Way I Used To Be 
by Amber Smith: Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

What We Saw 
by Aaron Hartzler: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

Wrecked by Maria Padian (October 4 — get this on your radar!): Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

* I had the chance to read an early copy of this one, and it’s such a powerful look at rape culture, campus culture, and it allows space for growth, change, and learning — told from a male and female POV, it’s a nice look at the wide-ranging impact of a sexual assault.

I would be remiss in not highlighting this interview I had the privilege to do with Laurie Halse Anderson in 2014, where we talked about rape culture and YA books, on the 15th anniversary of her ground-breaking classic Speak.


The round-up of forthcoming YA titles in the second quarter of 2016 should hit Book Riot in the next week or so, which should explain why there are fewer stories to share in this newsletter (so many books are hitting shelves! Everyone is busy reading!). But here’s a look at some of the highlights:

And let’s wrap up with a few pieces from the Book Riot archive:

  • Dig into some YA books featuring …geeks!
  • A handy flowchart to YA books that are light on sex and violence, so they’re safe “green light” bets for any type of reader (some people might call them “clean reads,” but that’s a highly problematic label — books aren’t dirty or clean, but rather, they have different reader appeal).
  • This piece from 3 years ago (!!) about why YA lit matters to all readers is worth ending on, since it succinctly captures why the books named in this newsletter are important.

As always, thanks for rocking out with us at Book Riot, and keep YA-love in your heart. Thanks for your comments, your questions, and your feedback — see you again in two weeks!

New Books

New Books! – April 19, 2016

Happy Tuesday! It’s that time again: NEW BOOKS! On this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about some great new releases, such as The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, Into the Black, and The Lie Tree. I have a few more great titles for you below, and as always, you can find a big list in the All the Books! show notes. Ready? LET’S DO THIS.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry.

Some say she grants wishes. Some say her touch kills. One boy is drawn into her enchanted world.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives in Puerto Rico, where he’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, Isabel. When letters from Isabel begin appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers—and finds himself lured into her strange and magical world. But the more entangled Lucas becomes, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life. Nova Ren Suma, bestselling author of The Walls Around Us, calls A Fierce and Subtle Poison “a breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes may actually come true.”

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
This is a modern day retelling of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, with Liz as a magazine editor and Jane as a yoga instructor, who decide to return to their Cincinnati family home when their father becomes ill. At home, Mrs. Bennet wonders how to find her eldest daughters love, as the younger Bennet girls do CrossFit and study for college. And then they meet Chip, from the reality show Eligible, and neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy. You know how it goes from there: Brooders will brood, sparks will spark, and schemers will scheme. I found this book to be a delight.

Backlist bump: Go watch Clueless.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift 
A new Graham Swift novel is cause for a national holiday! He is such a phenomenal writer. This is a dazzling, sexy novella about Jane, a maid in an English country house and her affair with the heir of a neighboring home. It moves back and forth in time between the 1924 and Jane’s life at the end of the century, detailing all of Jane’s emotions and memories beautifully. Swift really is a marvel. He’s an absolute master with language. Fans of Ian McEwan will doubly love this.

Backlist bump: Waterland by Graham Swift

The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey
It’s 22000 B.C. And what does that angel have in his pocket? Oh, it’s just a doomsday box, a small cube that can bring about mankind’s utter destruction. Wait, scratch that – he had it in his pocket. But now it’s lost. Now jump back to 2015: A professional thief has been hired to retrieve a small box for a mysterious client. Any guesses as to what it is? Yep, it’s the doom box! Unfortunately, he doesn’t know what it does until after he delivers it. Good thing he’s a professional thief! Kadrey, of Sandman Slim fame, delivers a fun, apocalypse-looming romp, full of thrills and laughs.

Backlist bump: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

YAY, BOOKS! That’s it for me. If you want to learn more about books (and see lots of pictures of my cats), or tell me about books you’re reading, you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’! (OMG I am OBSESSED with Litsy.)

Stay rad!