An anthology of horror from some of YA’s most celebrated writers. A debut from an author who got her start as a Wattpad superstar. A 700-page sequel you’ll lose sleep trying to finish. Here’s a cornucopia of exciting reads from a month that’s brimming with eclectic books.
August kicks off with exciting Young Adult debuts by bright new voices before wrapping up with hotly anticipated sequels from big names in the genre, including Libby Bray and David Levithan. Get your To-Be-Read lists ready, Paste readers. Summer’s almost over, and you’ve got precious time left for long days on the beach with a good book.
1. Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Release Date: August 4th from Harlequin Teen
Why You’ll Love It: Like the rest of the YA world, I absolutely adored Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost, a book that shifted perspectives, weaving together a moving, creatively-told story. Now Alsaid’s back with Never Always Sometimes, another novel exploring the complexities of friendship and love. Two best friends make a list of rules that they promise they’ll never break during their senior year of high school… and then proceed to ignore every single one.
Description: Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own “Never List” of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school. Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.
When Julia suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.
2. The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
Release Date: August 4th from Sourcebooks Fire
Why You’ll Love It: A popular book in the Wattpad community (seriously, this one pulled in around 35 million views before it was scooped up), The Heartbreakers is a sweet teen romance between a rock star and a girl who hates his music. If you’re a fan of Ashley Poston’s The Sound of Us, this is definitely a book for you. It’s a fast paced, hilarious romance that makes for the perfect summer beach read.
Description: Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD … for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.
But Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song, because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry—lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life? But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver—dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band—when her sister could be dying of cancer?
3. Not After Everything by Michelle Levy
Release Date: August 4th from Dial Books
Why You’ll Love It: What happens when you have everything going for you, and it all comes crashing down? That’s the premise of Michelle Levy’s gritty debut. With the loss of his mother and his increasingly unpredictable and abusive father, Tyler’s story is one that’ll stick with you. Keep some tissues on hand.
Description: Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself, and Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money).
Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?
4. Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlich
Release Date: August 6th from All Ages Press
Why You’ll Love It: You might recognize Brenna Ehrlich from her work writing for MTV. Her debut novel explores what happens when a romance blossoms between a fan and a famous musician. A road trip novel full of heart and angst, Placid Girl is a gritty story for fans of punk rock.
Description: Punk was created for the malcontents, something that loner and aspiring drummer Hallie understands all too well. Trapped in a boring suburban life—dysfunctional parents included!—Hallie drowns her angst in the angry songs of Haze, a masked musician who has not been heard from in five years. So naturally she’s surprised—and more than a little skeptical—when someone who appears to be Haze starts flirting with her via her favorite photo-sharing app. Is he who he says he is? What does he want from her? The questions only multiply when Hallie—along with bandmate Sarah and aspiring music journalist Steve—travels to Haze’s comeback gig to unmask the reclusive musician once and for all.
5. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke
Release Date: August 18th from Dial Books
Why You’ll Love It: If you’re having a busy week and can’t find time to get lost in a book, picking up anthologies like this one is the perfect way to get your reading fix. A collection of short stories from celebrated YA authors, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is packed full of thrills and chills from some of the best and brightest of YA. Get under your covers, breakout a flashlight and prepare to be scared.
Description: A host of the smartest YA authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke. Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.
6. A History of Glitter & Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: August 18th from Chronicle Books
Why You’ll Love It: With her knack for telling gritty, heartrending stories, Hannah Maskowitz is a prolific YA writer who’s hard to miss. Her latest novel dives into fantasy, introducing readers to a world where fairies and gnomes are at war. So if you’re looking for a thrilling fantasy read, this one is for you.
Description: Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies. But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace and a love she never expected.
7. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: August 18th from Dial Books
Why You’ll Love It: Here’s your next great cry. An emotional read that touches on alcohol and drug abuse, The Boy Most Likely To is a companion novel to 2012’s My Life Next Door. Pick up My Life Next Door (which you will love and devour in a day or two), and then get started on this one in a Netflix-esque marathon of YA awesomeness. You’ll have a hard time not getting utterly sucked into the story, following along through the shifting perspectives.
Description: For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be … and Alice is caught in the middle.
8. Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
Release Date: August 18th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: There’s a good chance you’re already quite familiar with Kate Elliott, what with her other fantasy series like Crown of Stars and the Spiritwalker trilogy. Court of Fives marks her debut into YA fiction, and after you’ve savored each page, you can look forward to two more books this new trilogy.
Description: Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’ family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
9. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Release Date: August 25th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Libba Bray’s sequel to her incredible 2012 bestseller, The Diviners, packs a 700-page punch. But this Bray, and you’re going to love every single page. Set in the 1920’s, an era of speakeasies and jazz, the books introduce an alternate-history New York City. Packed with the supernatural and genre mash-ups, you’ll want to immerse yourself in The Diviners series.
Description: After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?
10. Another Day by David Levithan
Release Date: August 25th from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Another Day is the follow up to the bestselling Every Day, the story of A, a teen who wakes up in a new body every morning. A makes peace with this life … until A arrives in the body of a boy named Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. It’s an astonishing book, and the companion novel tells the story from Rhiannon’s perspective. If you’ve never read a Levithan novel, this would be a great series to start.
Description: Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.
Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.
Check out Paste’s picks for the best YA books of 2015 (so far)!