December is a quiet month in the publishing world, but it still boasts fantastic Young Adult titles to add to your wish lists. From the conclusion to an exciting duology to one of the finest YA anthologies we’ve ever read, here are five of the month’s best YA books.
1. Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill
Release Date: December 5th from HMH Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Summerill’s excellent YA duology comes to a close with Ever the Brave, wrapping up the loose ends from Ever the Hunted. An expert blend of magic and romance, her Clash of Kingdoms series is perfect for enjoying a wintry weekend of non-stop reading.
For Fans of: Thrilling YA fantasy novels, like books by Susan Dennard or Wendy Higgins.
Description: After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady.
And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
2. The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy
Release Date: December 12th from Delacorte Press
Why You’ll Love It: This debut thriller follows two teen girls who are both having a rough time… and that’s putting it really lightly. One lives with her drug-addicted mother, and the other has to keep answering a burner phone, or something terrible is going to happen. Searcy’s novel boasts lots of tension, terrifyingly high stakes and a collision that’ll keep you guessing.
For Fans of: YA thrillers by authors like Caleb Roehrig, Paula Stokes and Lynn Weingarten.
Description: All Kayla Asher wants to do is run. Run from the government housing complex she calls home. Run from her unstable mother. Run from a desperate job at No Limit Foods. Run to a better, cleaner, safer life. Every day is one day closer to leaving.
All Betsy Hopewell wants to do is survive. Survive the burner phone hidden under her bed. Survive her new rules. Survive a new school with new classmates. Survive being watched. Every minute grants her another moment of life.
But when fate brings Kayla and Betsy together, only one girl will live.
3. Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles by Natalie C. Parker
Release Date: December 19th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Sixteen stars of YA come together to share their takes on one of my favorite YA tropes—the love triangle—and the result is one of the best Young Adult anthologies we’ve ever read. And for those of you eager to read Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (due out in April 2018), you’re in for a treat: Three Sides of a Heart includes a bite-sized teaser in the form of a short story.
For Fans of:
Diverse, eclectic YA anthologies, like those edited by Shaune David Hutchinson (check out Feral Youth).
Description: A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.
What do all these stories have in common? The love triangle.
This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir and Brenna Yovanoff.
4. Shadow Girl by Liana Liu
Release Date: December 19th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Liu’s genre-blending novel proves to be an exciting YA debut. It has contemporary elements (a teen girl is enjoying a summer away from her family, mentoring the daughter of some wealthy guy), plus splashes of the paranormal (the home she’s staying in might be haunted). Sign. Us. Up.
For Fans of:
Amity by Micol Ostow and The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood.
Description: The house on Arrow Island is full of mystery. Yet when Mei arrives, she can’t help feeling relieved. She’s happy to spend the summer in an actual mansion tutoring a rich man’s daughter if it means a break from her normal life—her needy mother, her delinquent brother, their tiny apartment in the city. And Ella Morison seems like an easy charge, sweet and well behaved.
What Mei doesn’t know is that something is very wrong in the Morison household.
Though she tries to focus on her duties, Mei becomes increasingly distracted by the family’s problems and her own complicated feelings for Ella’s brother, Henry. But most disturbing of all are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.
Mei is a sensible girl. She isn’t superstitious; she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Yet she can’t shake her fear that there is danger lurking in the shadows of this beautiful house, a darkness that could destroy the family inside and out…and Mei along with them.
5. The Young Queens by Kendare Blake
Release Date: December 26th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: This is the perfect gift to buy yourself the day after Christmas! A novella from the amazing Kendare Blake, The Young Queens is a prequel story set in the world of her Three Dark Crowns series.
For Fans of: Well, it’s certainly for fans of the series. But if you’re just getting into the series (a quality binge read for the holiday season), it’s great for fans of epic fantasy series full of political turmoil, like The Winner’s Curse trilogy.
Description: Three black witches, born to a descending queen. One would rise to become queen in her place. Perhaps the strongest of the three. Perhaps the cleverest. Or perhaps it would be the girl born under the best shield of luck.
Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella are three young queens born to fulfill their destiny—to fight to the death to win the crown. But before they were poisoner, elemental and naturalist, they were children, sisters and friends.