Must-Read YA Books for Fall: Feminism, Dragons, and Social Anxiety

Must-Read YA Books for Fall: Feminism, Dragons, and Social Anxiety

Between school, extracurriculars, and having a social life, teen readers are stretched thin when it comes to finding time to settle down with a book. Plus, with so many books piled on as required reading, the precious free time given to reading for pleasure makes the books selected by choice even more important. Thankfully, this fall has no shortage of thrilling and addictive reads. Whether you’re looking for diary entries on blooming sexuality and Latina identity, or if you prefer star-crossed lovers of the dragon/dragon slayer variety, we have your reading tastes covered!

Hands off
Caddie’s struggled with anxiety since her parents divorced, convinced that if she doesn’t touch another person’s skin her dad may come back. Harmless at first, the obsession becomes a problem when her crush Peter is cast opposite her Ophelia in her high school production of Hamlet. With her dreams of becoming an actress and her growing feelings for Peter on the line, Caddie must find a way to battle her fears and take back control. Rachel M. Wilson’s debut sheds light on how the stigma of mental illness can hurt teens seeking help, and readers who struggle with anxiety of their own are sure to find understanding and solace in Caddie’s story.
On shelves: September 2

Living outside the box
Comic artist Liz Prince grew up feeling as though she just didn’t fit in. She didn’t like anything she perceived as being girly, but the coach of her Little League team also proved she couldn’t seamlessly fit in with the boys either. Tomboy is Prince’s graphic memoir of her years of challenging the stereotypes others attempted to put on her, while attempting to pin down her own identity within the confines of a society that prefers for boys and girls to be neatly defined. Relatable, hilarious, and insightful, Tomboy is a must-read for anyone who feels like a square peg in a round hole.
On shelves: September 2

 

Stranger than fiction
Ever wish your life was like the books you read? Finn Easton doesn’t. He shares a name with a character in his father’s sci-fi novel, and most of his real life is spent attempting to convince himself that he’s more than a subpar version of a novelization. When the only girl he’s ever loved moves away, Finn and his best friend Cade embark on a journey that proves he is worthy of his own story. Penned by Winger author Andrew Smith, 100 Sideways Milespresents the high school dramas of friendship, love, and academia with sly humor and genuine heart.
On shelves: September 2

 

It seems like years since you’ve been here
Once-inseparable twins torn apart by betrayal each share their story in Jandy Nelson’s shining second novel. Noah reveals their early years of close friendship, inside jokes, and secret language. It was a time when Jude did most of their talking and he’d prefer to draw and daydream about their handsome next-door neighbor. Three years and one unspeakable incident later, the twins are strangers. Jude takes the reigns of the later story, giving the reader deep-seated emotion where Noah gave artistic visuals. While the twins pass the narration back and forth like ball, Nelson brilliantly guides the reader through the tragedy that ripped them apart.
On shelves: September 16

 

Eliminate the impossible, believe the improbable
Season 4 of Sherlock is still a long way off (2016 can’t come soon enough), but fans of the series may find William Ritter’s Jackaby can help to pass the time. Supernatural investigator R.F. Jackaby has an eye for seeing what others miss. When it’s revealed that a serial killer is on the loose, police suspect an ordinary man, though Jackaby’s convinced that there’s something more going on. With the help of his new assistant Abigail Rook, Jackaby sets off to solve the case and save the good people of New Fiddleham.
On shelves: September 16

 

 

Light ‘em up, up, up
What to read, what to read now that Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy has ended? Perhaps it’s time to start a new fantasy series about a girl who can start fires with her mind? A member of a magical mafia, Ava refuses to use her powers to kill a family friend and soon finds herself on the run from her former boss. Set in a vivid magical world filled with adventure and danger, the snarky Ava finds herself surrounded by a cast of strong characters that help to flesh out Lish McBride’s fantastical new world.
On shelves: September 23

 

 

Pulled apart, put together
In this debut novel, a young girl chronicles her life and the struggles she experiences during her senior year of high school. From body image and coming out to addiction and rape, Gabi transcribes the world around her through diary entries that reveal a raw portrait of a teen struggling to figure out how she fits into the turbulent world around her. Through authentic prose and poetry, Isabel Quintero gives readers a glimpse of a girl discovering ways to embrace her modern desires and stay true to her Latina identity.
On shelves: September 23

 

 

Got a hook on me
A deadly virus is sweeping across America and national security is convinced that Emily Bird, the daughter of two black scientists, knows something about the disease that she shouldn’t. After an encounter with Roosevelt David, a security agent, leaves her without memory of the night she met him, Bird knows that something is wrong. The only person she finds she can trust is Coffee, a diplomat’s son and conspiracy theorist who believes that Bird is right. A perfect blend of suspense and science fiction, the novel also delves effortlessly into topics of race and class at Bird’s elite D.C. prep school. Fans of the cyberpunk The Summer Prince will devour Alaya Dawn Johnson’s latest.
On shelves: September 30

I need feminism because…
As high school comes to a close, most seniors begin thinking of the future. Glory can only focus on the past. After her mother’s suicide, she’s been haunted by the idea that she might one day go down the same route. Then one night she discovers she has the power to see a person’s infinite past and future, and the future looks bleak. As she watches women’s rights disappear and war breaking out, Glory has to find a way to change the world’s future, even when she can’t see her own. With women’s rights never far from the media, curious and passionate feminists alike will find strength in A.S. King’s heartbreaking and powerful novel.
On shelves: October 14

Slayers and dragons and drama—oh my!
A new Julie Kagawa series? Yes please! Filled to the brim with her usual mix of supernatural and romantic elements, fans old and new are sure to sink their claws into Talon. After dragon slayers drove them to near extinction, dragons began hiding in human form to escape the slaughter. Dragons Ember and Dante are siblings destined to help the dragons of Talon take over the world, though everything Ember has ever thought or known is thrown into question when she meets Garret, a deadly dragon slayer. October seems too long to wait to meet these fiery star-crossed lovers.
On shelves: October 28

 

Baptism by fire
The fall is off to a flaming start with the release of Talon, Firebug, and True Fire. While all share fantasy elements, 16-year-old Megan’s story is far different from Ember and Ava’s. Focused on telling her family that she’s pregnant, Megan never sees the attack on her village coming. When her twin sister Gwyneth is taken by witches, she sees no other choice but to set out to rescue her. A prophecy that seems to connect to her unborn child looms over Megan, as she teams up with new friends Damon and Eleanor to face down certain peril, save her sister, and discover the truth.
On shelves: November 4

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