Fall 2019’s Can’t-Miss Young Adult Books

Fall 2019’s Can’t-Miss Young Adult Books

must-read young adult

Prepare to hit the books, readers. School is back in session, and we’ve got your first reading assignment. Below you’ll find this season’s must-read young adult novels. This fall, historical fiction readers will be transported to Madrid in 1957, while gamers can dive into the world of SLAY. There are unforgettable tales of love, of loss, and of finding yourself. The best part? No book reports necessary, just read and enjoy.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Told through letters, diary entries, and emails, this epistolary novel from sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite follows a 17-year-old on her journey from Miami to Haiti. Alaine Beauparlant’s plan to study journalism at Columbia is in jeopardy after an incident at school nearly results in expulsion. Thankfully, the school agrees to a suspension under the condition that Alaine spend two months volunteering in Haiti at her aunt’s nonprofit. And there is a bright side to all of this: Alaine gets to spend more time with her journalist mother, she gets to know a cute intern working at the nonprofit, and she learns more about the country her family came from. As she begins to explore Haiti, she uncovers secrets about her family that she never could have imagined.

On shelves: September 3

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Frank Li watched his Korean immigrant parents disown his sister for marrying a man who wasn’t Korean, and he worries if they learn he’s falling for a white classmate that they’ll do the same to him. Luckily, Frank has a plan: He’ll fake a relationship with Joy Song, a Korean American classmate who is also crushing on someone her parents won’t approve of. David Yoon’s debut takes a close and nuanced look at racism, classism, and prejudice through the eyes of a teen trying his best to make his parents proud without sacrificing his own dreams.

(Psst: Read an excerpt of the book here!)
On shelves: September 10

His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

Have you been counting down the days until you can start hanging up Halloween decorations? If so, we’ve got the perfect book for you. Dahlia Adler’s latest anthology collects retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories from YA horror authors like Tiffany D. Jackson, Kendare Blake, Caleb Roehrig, and more. If you think fall reading can’t get any better than that, think again: Poe’s tales are all included as well, so you get double the scares. Readers looking for thrills and chills this season won’t want to miss out on this haunting collection.

On shelves: September 10

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

One moment Audre is in the arms of the pastor’s granddaughter, and the next her religious and homophobic mother is putting her on a plane from Trinidad to Minneapolis to live with her father. Once there, Audre meets Mabel, the daughter of a family friend who’s begun to examine her own sexuality. There’s an instant spark between the two girls, but they’re barely given a chance to enjoy the butterflies they feel around each other before Mabel receives an unexpected diagnosis. With touches of magical realism, this coming-of-age story is sure to put readers under its spell.

On shelves: September 17

SLAY by Brittney Morris

Ever wish you could live in Wakanda? Brittney Morris does, and that’s what inspired her debut YA novel. Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a hardworking student, a loving girlfriend, and a respectful daughter. No one in her life would guess that she spent years developing and building an online game called SLAY, which celebrates black excellence and offers a safe haven for black gamers around the world. SLAY is an underground hit, but it becomes a household name after a teen player is killed over a disagreement in the game. Suddenly the media is demanding to hear from the creator of SLAY and racist trolls are attacking the game. Kiera must figure out how to protect the gaming community that’s come to rely on her and decide how to reveal her identity as SLAY’s creator.

On shelves: September 24

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

With her parents in New York for counseling and her brother Sam at a treatment center in Vermont after a suicide attempt, party girl Violet Larkin is shipped off to live with her uncle Toby in Lyric, Maine. Violet’s family used to spend summers in Lyric, a town founded by her ancestor Fidelia. Returning now brings back memories of hunting with Sam for the long lost wreck of the ship Fidelia arrived on. When Violet decides to go searching for the boat, she teams up with Liv Stone, a cute local historian. Loosely inspired by William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, this exploration of family dynamics, mental health, and love is sure to sweep readers away.

On shelves: October 1

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Historical fiction fans will be counting down the days until Ruta Sepetys’ latest. Set in 1957, the book transports readers to Madrid at a time when Spain was controlled by the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. Eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson arrives in Spain with his trusty camera in hand, preparing to capture the beauty of his mother’s home country on film. But the pictures he takes reveal a darker side of Spain, one locals warn him to stay far away from. Along the way he crosses paths with Ana, the daughter of anti-Fascists working at his hotel. Together the two discover secrets about Madrid that change them forever.

(Psst: Read an excerpt of the book here!)
On shelves: October 1

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon

Kekla Magoon returns to the Underhill neighborhood from How It Went Down in this follow-up. The novel, which can be read as a stand-alone, follows the aftermath of the shooting of Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old black girl, by a white police officer. Through multiple points of view, transcripts, and social media posts, readers experience the events through the eyes of Shae’s family, the one witness to the shooting, the daughter of the officer, and more. This YA book takes a close look at the impact of institutional racism on policing and media, leaving readers with a story they won’t soon forget.

On shelves: October 22

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

An HIV-positive teen navigates friendship, sexuality, and dating in this moving YA novel. Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school and hopefully leaving the bullies of her past behind. So far, things have been great: She’s been named the student director of the school’s production of Rent, she’s making new friends, and Miles, who she has a crush on, seems to be interested in her. But things take a turn when she begins to receive threatening notes in her locker from someone who claims to know her diagnosis. Readers will root for Simone every step of the way in this sex-positive YA novel.

On shelves: October 29

Sick Kids In Love by Hannah Moskowitz

With the tagline “They don’t die in this one,” Hannah Moskowitz’s latest is bringing readers all of the feels with none of the heartache. Sixteen-year-old Isabel Garfinkel receives monthly infusions to treat her rheumatoid arthritis. During one of those sessions she meets Sasha Sverdlov-Deckler, who has Gaucher disease. Unlike the rest of her friends, Sasha truly understands what it means to be sick every single day. Isabel doesn’t date as a rule, but the more time she spends around Sasha, the more she considers bending her rule for him. Moskowitz explores life with chronic invisible illnesses with nuance while offering up a romance sure to tug on readers’ heartstrings.

On shelves: November 5


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