Spring break is right around the corner and we are ready to take that va- or stay-cation (we know ours is a staycation … so all you people going places, we are envious and at the same time living vicariously. Take us away with you!!)
Then again, we ARE going places … many, many places in fact… because one of the trillion and one reasons we love books is because they give us the ability to travel to different countries (or, uh, galaxies) we’d frankly never have the opportunity, capacity or sanity to visit in one week, or even one lifetime!
*insert cliché quote about reading books = seeing the world from one place*
We stand behind this sentiment. So this spring break, no matter where you’re reading from, there are SO MANY amazing books coming out to bring with you on your journey! So slick on some sunscreen, crack open a new book (or five), and get ready to lose yourself in the pages of these books until you wake up one morning and it’s summer.
16 Must-Have YA Books
YOU NEED TO READ THIS SPRING
1. Lovely War by Julie Berry
Four tragically beautiful star-crossed lovers whose stories are narrated by Greek gods and a tale that touches on intrigue, war, prejudice, trauma and music? We’re already crying into our hands and probably won’t recover for a long, long time. And 500% unrelated to the book’s content, but can we steal that pink blazer on the cover?
It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep—and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.
On-sale: March 5, 2019
2. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
A boy and a girl meet, speak about their favorite cereals, fall in love … only the story doesn’t end there. Throw in an untimely death, time loops of living the same month over and over again, our main character Jack trying to solve the various mysteries of why his life has suddenly been thrown so catastrophically off-course, and you have Justin A. Reynolds’ debut novel. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it’ll make you fall into a spiral of What-If’s about your own life … tbh, if you just read this one book over and over again this break you’ll be good.
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.
But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.
Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.
Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
On-sale: March 5, 2019
3. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
The courageous, brilliant, and critically acclaimed author of Speak, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, has penned an equally important body of work, but this time, it’s even more personal. Shout is a memoir written in verse, as hyper-vulnerable as it is a call-to-arms that’s been a long time coming. Laurie has always been at the forefront of speaking up for the necessity of having these critical conversations, and after reading Shout you will feel both chilled and whole, and more awakened to the world and whose voices we need to put front and center.
A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless.
In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice—and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.
On sale: March 12th, 2019
4. Internment by Samira Ahmed
History informs every facet of present-day life, which can be good (we print books now because of the invention of printing presses!) and bad (the literal enslavement, colonization and deaths of millions of innocent lives.) And unless we take the proper actions and precautions, history has a way of repeating itself, sometimes for the worst. Internment follows a Muslim-American teenager as she enters a fictional America that sends its Muslim citizens to internment camps, much like America really did send Japanese-Americans to internment camps after World War II. Samira’s book is all about resistance against the coils of injustice and hatred, and the necessity of fighting to ensure the future is brighter than the past—for everyone.
Rebellions are built on hope.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
On sale: March 19, 2019
5. Sherwood by Meagan Spooner
It’s no secret we love retellings, no matter the tale being (re)told. And tbh, we’d rather read about Maid Marian taking over as Robin Hood than about Robin Hood himself, because hello, badass heroines are the new pretty and we cannot wait what twists and turns are in store for us in this new classic!
Robin of Locksley is dead.
Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.
Who is there to stop them?
Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.
On-sale: March 19, 2019
6. Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi
We’ve been REALLY READY to tackle this fifth installment of the Shatter Me series ever since the last page of Restore Me. We need to hear from the POVs of Warner, Juliette—although let’s be real, the voice we’ve been absolutely DYING to hear from is Kenji’s. We’ve been waiting to see what’s going through his head since book one, and it’s finally here, with all the drama, promise and plot twists we were expecting. And this cover? Those eyelashes could literally cut us.
Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the thrilling fifth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.
Juliette Ferrars isn’t who she thinks she is.
Still reeling from the explosive events of the Continental Symposium and the secrets Warner has been keeping, Juliette has nowhere to turn and doesn’t know who she can trust.
She’s desperate for answers, but to get them, she’ll have to face the nightmares that have been chasing her for a lifetime.
On-sale: April 2, 2019
7. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
We’ve been looking forward to this one since, oh, forever. A magical Chinese-inspired fantasy with expertly developed characters, impeccable writing and a killer plot? And a sexy/smart/kinda-dangerous love interest we can’t take our eyes off of? Need we say more??? There are SO many amazing fantasy books, but this one truly stands out. And you need to read it ASAP, so we can discuss.
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
On-sale: April 9, 2019
8. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
Speaking of big book, diverse fantasy books… luckily, The Tiger at Midnight is the first in a trilogy, so excitement times ten, because the only thing better than a fantastic new fantasy world is a series of it so we can binge it all at once! This first book in a brand-new Indian-inspired fantasy trilogy is full of heart-pounding romance, action, and a message of love to the environment that rules us all. And have you seen the incredible book trailer?? Watch it. Now.
Esha lost everything in the royal coup—and as the legendary rebel known as the Viper, she’s made the guilty pay. Now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has only been growing more volatile.
When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.
As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.
On-sale: April 23, 2019
9. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
We don’t need much more than meet-cute flirty eyes in an airport (swoon), an interracial romance, and a Muslim love story front and center to have major heart eyes. And with two main characters who are trying their best to be certain things to certain people, but realize it’s only with each other they can be themselves … we know we’re not the only ones ~flying high~ over this one!
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are. But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.
Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs… Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
On-sale: April 30, 2019
10.With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Start with powerhouse author Elizabeth Acevedo of The Poet X award-winning fame. Add in a whip-smart heroine with some downright magical cooking skills, a fight for the chance at a culinary arts trip to Spain, one of our fave contemporary romances of recent memory, and language that is pure poetry, even when it’s written in prose. Sprinkle with love and a bit of cinnamon dust. Serve sizzling hot!
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
On-sale: May 7, 2019
11. Nocturna by Maya Motayne
Are you guys ready to enter a brand new, Latinx-inspired fantasy world?! Lush fantasy worlds are our reason for living (see above and every other post we’ve ever written, ever). Add in a crazy-talented debut author ready to serve up a whole new world, and we are ready to devour it. The stakes are high, the magic is higher, and the slow-burn potential romance? To die for.
To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.
On-sale: May 7, 2019
12. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
We’d do anything to relive a day in the life/era of The Princess Diaries. Luckily, we have a brand new princess tale to immerse ourselves in! In this story, we’re headed to Scotland, and we’re ready for all the beautiful scenery (and royal drama) that’s sure to follow. Because you know that with a cover and premise like this, it’s gonna be a wild journey.
Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.
Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.
The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.
She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.
At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?
On-sale: May 7, 2019
13. Finale by Stephanie Garber
THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE END. When we left off in Legendary, we were already counting the days until Finale came out, but now that we’re here…we have to admit this is super bittersweet. While we cannot wait to see how this tricky and magical series wraps up, we’re just not ready for the greatest circus of all time to be over.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .
On-sale: May 7, 2019
14. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Let’s be honest, love stories by the sea will never get old. And ancient rumored family curses (often only bestowed on the women in the family … hmmm…) will also never get old. Add these two glittering premises together and you get Nina Moreno’s debut contemporary standalone, which explores Cuban-American culture, cute ocean boys, and girls who have always stayed away for fear of falling in love … until it’s too late.
Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that’s what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat.
But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.
As her college decision looms, Rosa collides-literally-with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?
On-sale: May 14, 2019
15. Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
‘90s Brooklyn and hip hop references galore? Check. A group of friends who try to pull of the ultimate heist – pretending their murdered friend is still alive so they can turn him into a famous rapper? Check. We LOVE a good heist story, and this one just happens to come with the bonus of a killer soundtrack! (No pun intended.) A must-read from the acclaimed author of Monday’s Not Coming and Allegedly.
Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph’s music lie forgotten under his bed after he’s murdered—not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.
With the help of Steph’s younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.
As the pressure of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only, each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.
On-sale: May 21, 2019
16. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
*screaming* We love all things witchy, witchy, and witchy. Did we say witchy? And a brand-new story following four witches in Salem, MA who are just trying to deal with normal high school drama (and some juicy love triangles and mishaps) with a supernatural crisis on the loose? Witch, please. You already know we’re there.
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
On-sale: May 28, 2019
What books are you most excited to read this spring? Tell us in the comments below!