Fall 2015’s Unmissable YA Reads: Fairy Tale Revolutions, Rugby Scrums, and Beauty Pageants

Fall 2015’s Unmissable YA Reads: Fairy Tale Revolutions, Rugby Scrums, and Beauty Pageants

Winter is here. Yes, we understand that it is September, but the book Winter is finally hitting shelves! As are the latest from Rainbow Rowell, Sarah J. Maas, and Neil Gaiman. If fantasy isn’t what you’re craving, there’s also a tale of a beauty pageant contestant who shakes up everyone’s expectations (including her own) and a sequel to the rugby novel Winger. So start clearing room on your TBR shelves now: You’ve got a lot of reading to do.


Queen of Shadows

Long live the Queen

Celaena is returning and this time she’s taking no prisoners. The events in Heir of Fire changed her and she’s no longer the girl assassin who hid from her destiny. Once she sets foot in Rifthold, she is Aelin, rightful queen of Terrasen. The first thing she must do is rescue her cousin, a prisoner of the king. Then she has to find a way to free magic. Filled with twists and turns readers will never see coming, this fourth installment in the Throne of Glass series is one of the most highly anticipated books of the season. Fast readers who are eager to discuss spoilers can head over to our interview with author Sarah J. Maas where she talks about the biggest scenes in Queen of Shadows.

On shelves: September 1



Senior year syndrome

Junior year wasn’t exactly a piece of cake for Ryan Dean West; not after his best friend Joey was murdered for being gay. In this sequel to Winger, Ryan Dean returns to his Oregon boarding school for his senior year with the hopes that the year will be a quiet one. He’s out of luck, though. His rugby coach wants him to take Joey’s place as captain and stand-off—spots he doesn’t feel he’s earned. Plus he somehow got stuck rooming with a claustrophobic freshman (who can’t keep his eyes off of Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, Annie), and Joey’s younger brother seems convinced that Ryan Dean is avoiding him. Ryan Dean’s journey through grief is realistic and heartbreaking, though readers will find much delight in hilarious moments of levity that go along with his experiences as a high schooler.

On shelves: September 8



Big, blonde, and beautiful

Willowdean’s mother runs the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. A former beauty queen herself, this mom diets each year to fit into her old gown and pressures her daughter (who she nicknames Dumplin’) to do the same. Willowdean could not care less, though. She, a self-proclaimed fat girl, feels happy in her own skin. At least she thinks she does. After sharing a kiss with her hot coworker, Willowdean is devastated to find doubt lurking in her mind about whether or not she wants him to touch her body. Thankfully, the conclusion to this story does not lie in Willowdean dropping weight. Instead, she learns to get by and get confident with a little help from some new friends when she enters her mom’s beauty pageant.

On shelves: September 15


The Sleeper and the Spindle

Once upon a dream

Neil Gaiman tackling old fairy tales? Hell yes! Sign us up. The story is a mix of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, with enough fresh twists to allow this retelling to stand on its own. After spending a year asleep, the queen (read: Snow White) is one of the few immune to the sleeping curse that is sweeping across the land. She partners with three of her dwarf friends to rescue a familiar snoozing princess and stop the spell before it reaches her people. And don’t even get us started on the gorgeous artwork. Chris Riddell frequently illustrates Gaiman’s works in the U.K.—including Coraline and The Graveyard Book—and we are ecstatic to see his work coming stateside this season.

On shelves: September 22



Island living

Let the summer rage on with this tale set in Hawaii from the author of The Descendants. Even with her island roots, Lea Lane isn’t sure how she’ll fit in when her actress mother moves them from the mainland to the upscale neighborhood of Kahala halfway through the school year. They’re staying in the guest house of Eddie and Melanie West, the richest family on the island, and Lea is shocked when she hits it off with their children: the popular Whitney and the super hot and super taken Will. Aside from exploring the struggles of fitting in and growing up, Kaui Hart Hemmings gives readers a glimpse into Hawaiian life and culture—the kind you won’t get from a resort pamphlet.

On shelves: September 22


Six of Crows

The break-in club

A deadly heist with a once-in-a-lifetime payoff: Rescue a prisoner from the most secure prison in the world and earn 30 million kruge. Kaz Brekker can’t resist the offer, but he knows he can’t pull it off alone. He puts together a cunning and deadly team: a Grisha healer, an engineer, a sharpshooter, a talented acrobat, and a Grisha hunter. These outcasts all harbor secrets and motives of their own. If they can get along, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. If not, they may very well find themselves trapped in the prison they’re breaking into—or worse. Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy will recognize the world and magic, though new readers can easily use this as an entry point to her tsarpunk universe. If you’re having trouble waiting until late September to pick this up, you can get even more information about the series in our interview with Bardugo.

On shelves: September 29


The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Background characters with big stories

Ever wonder what Hogwarts was like for those students who were not Harry, Ron, and Hermione? Then this is the book for you. Patrick Ness’ latest focuses on what life is like for the background characters while the heroes are out saving the world. Mikey is a regular guy who goes to a small-town American high school. He isn’t the Chosen one, and he doesn’t want to be. Those kids are out battling soul-sucking ghosts and vampires. Those kids have the weight of the world on their shoulders. All Mikey wants or needs is to graduate, go to prom, and maybe make out with Henna. Sure the world may be ending around him, but at least he knows that’s not his problem. Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Ago) already has an impressive fan following. If you weren’t already on that bandwagon, you will be after this book.

On shelves: October 6


Carry On

Nothing equals the splendor

Rainbow Rowell gets meta in her latest book. As Fangirl readers know, Rowell’s protagonist Cath is obsessed with the fictional Simon Snow series and frequently writes fanfiction about two of the characters: Baz and Simon. This makes Carry On a bit of companion novel because it focuses on Simon Snow and his nemesis Baz. The two are mages-in-training and roommates who have a serious case of love/hate for each other. This is not meant to be the fanfiction that Cath was writing, though clearly the books pair together nicely. It’s also Rowell’s first fantasy and we’re eager to see how she tackles this magical world of ghosts and vampires.

On shelves: October 6


A Thousand Nights

Tell me a story

Move over, fairy tale retellings, there’s a new fable in town. Inspired by The Arabian Nights, this tale explores the power of the unnoticed, of creativity, and of women. The only character in the book with a name is Lo-Melkhiin, a desert spirit who has possessed the king and killed 300 girls in search of a wife. Our unnamed narrator bravely takes her sister’s place as his next victim, yet is surprised to find that her gift of stories keeps her alive night after night. All readers know that there is magic in a good story, but our narrator’s tales begin to take on a tangible magic, the kind that could defeat a demon and save the world.

On shelves: October 6


The House

Home sweet home

You’ve heard of children raised by wolves, but what about a boy raised by a house? The Piano taught Gavin to play music, the Fireplace warms each room he’s in, and the House watches over him always. Then he meets Delilah. She’s just returned from an East coast boarding school and she can’t resist Gavin or the mysterious house that he’s grown up in. But the House doesn’t like Delilah or her talk of Gavin going away to college. Together Gavin and Delilah hatch a plan for escape, but will the House let them leave alive? Kirkus warns readers not to read this at night, though we’d go as far to say you might want to steer clear of your own home when flipping through these pages. If you can’t get enough horror, pick up Amy LukavicsDaughters Unto Devils and lose even more sleep.

On shelves: October 6



The sky is falling

If this cover looks familiar, it’s probably because it was one of the biggest YA titles featured at this summer’s BookCon. This massive tome (over 600 pages) is far from your typical read. The story of an alien invasion is told through emails, military files, IM conversations, and interviews. Our guides through the attack are Kady and Ezra—who broke up that very morning and had planned on never speaking to each other again. You know what they say about the best-laid breakups… Evacuation, a deadly plague, and more threaten our two heroes, and readers will be on the edge of their seats for this first installment in a trilogy.

On shelves: October 20



Winter is here

Rounding out the season is a title that readers across the globe have been waiting for: Winter, the final volume in the Lunar Chronicles series. The series has followed a varied cast of fairy tale inspired characters from Cinder (Cinderella) to Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) to Cress (Rapunzel), and finally Winter (Snow White) is joining the party. Winter is the stepdaughter of the evil Queen Levana, a character we learned more about in the prequel Fairest. In this final volume we expect her to kick ass, take names, and maybe even help Cinder reclaim her title. And if there’s some kissing involved, we won’t complain. Clocking in at 800 pages, this title will certain keep readers satisfied.

On shelves: November 10


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