To say that April is an eclectic month for the best Young Adult books is a bit of an understatement. From a historical romance that reimagines a notorious villain to a fresh take on the premise behind Stranger Than Fiction, there are many unique novels joining bookshelves this month. This list collects Paste’s 10 favorites.
1. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Release Date: April 4th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: I’m not sure what it is about books that involve human-robot relationships, but if you hand me one, I’ll want to inhale it immediately. Gray’s new novel adds joins the ranks of these compelling stories, from the canceled-too-soon Almost Human to the graphic novel series Alex + Ada.
Description: Noemi Vidal is a 17-year-old soldier sworn to protect her home planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
Abandoned in space for years, Abel, a robot, has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator and to be free. To the people of Genesis, though, he’s an abomination.
Though Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, they are forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.
2. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Release Date: April 4th from Quirk Books
Why You’ll Love It: Cinderella mashed up with nerd culture? Oh yes. If you’re a fan of geeky love stories like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Queen of Geeks by Jennifer Malone or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Geekerella is perfect for you.
Description: Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for ‘cons—back before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autograph signings and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
3. Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
Release Date: April 11th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It:
Blacksouls, the second novel in Castroman’s Blackhearts series, is a unique historical romance full of action on the high seas. The book is perfect for fans of the Black Sails TV series, The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King and, of course, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Description: Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.
4. Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: April 11th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: McGinnis’ debut, Not a Drop to Drink, is easily one of my favorite YA books ever. And her recent releases, from The Female of The Species to the Edgar-award winning A Madness So Discreet, are just fantastic. She has a gift for writing hard-hitting YA stories, and Given to the Sea proves this.
Description: Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance—an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy—she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir, he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march and the rising sea calls for its Given.
5. Literally by Lucy Keating
Release Date: April 11th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It:
Literally is a YA take on the movie Stranger Than Fiction with a teen girl who discovers she’s just a character in a YA novel. The book gets even cleverer when you discover Keating isn’t just the author of this book—she’s also a character in it. Wonderfully meta, you’ll get a kick out of this novel that’s written just for book lovers.
Description: Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.
Annabelle, it turns out, is the creation of Keating. And Keating has a plan for her. But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Keating have the last word?