We’re so thrilled about this year when it comes to Young Adult books. Some of January’s best YA books include exciting debuts, new series from beloved authors and the latest installments in epic sci-fi and fantasy series. And lucky for you, two of our top picks for this year’s most anticipated Young Adult books are coming out this month.
So dig into this list, especially if there’s snow keeping you cooped up indoors.
1. Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Release Date: January 2nd from Random House Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: We were beyond thrilled when Wonder Woman landed in the hands of the brilliant Leigh Bardugo, and now we’re being gifted another kickass YA DC Icons novel from Marie Lu. If you loved the Gotham series, well, here’s the book for you. It tells the story of Batman before he was Batman—when he was just a teenage Bruce Wayne.
For Fans of: YA comic-related novels like Hero by Perry Moore and other DC Icons books, like Bardugo’s Wonder Woman.
Description: The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning 18 and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
2. Chainbreaker by Tara Sim
Release Date: January 2nd from Sky Pony Press
Why You’ll Love It: We adore Tara Sim’s Timekeeper series, and we promise you will, too. The second novel in Sim’s trilogy, Chainbreaker takes the story from the steampunk-filled streets of London to India, and this book is just as compelling as the first. We even named it one of our most anticipated YA reads of 2018, and you won’t want to sleep on this series.
For Fans of: YA novels with alternate worlds and magical gifts, like books by Victoria Schwab and Aditi Khorana.
Description: Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.
After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path—one from which they may never return.
3. A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
Release Date: January 2nd from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: After two adult sci-fi novels, Olivia A. Cole makes her YA debut with an absolute bang. A Conspiracy of Stars is a thrilling sci-fi/fantasy blend with gorgeous world building and lush landscapes. We can’t wait to read more from her!
For Fans of: Novels by authors like C.J. Redwine and Marie Rutkoski.
Description: Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.
But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.
With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.
4. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Release Date: January 2nd from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Holly Black’s latest series, The Folk of the Air, kicks off with The Cruel Prince. It’s another enthralling story in Black’s fantasy catalog, promising treachery, Fae and political turmoil.
For Fans of: Authors like Cassandra Claire, Eva Darrows and C.J. Redwine.
Description: Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him-and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
5. Everless by Sara Holland
Release Date: January 2nd from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Sara Holland’s debut is already on the New York Times bestseller list—and with good cause. Everless is a thrilling fantasy novel where time is used like money and can extend lifespans to hundreds of years. This proves that Holland’s utterly gripping duology is one to watch.
For Fans of: YA fantasy involving time mechanics, like Timekeeper by Tara Sim and Loop by Karen Akins.
Description: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
6. Meet Cute
Release Date: January 2nd from HMH Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: This charming collection of short stories boasts a serious roster of talent, including some of our favorites. Nina LaCour? Katie Cotugno? Dhonielle Clayton? Yes, please. Meet Cute is an awesome bundle of stories to enjoy slowly piece by piece or to inhale all at once.
For Fans of: Anthologies that collect breezy YA short stories, like the recently released Three Sides of a Heart, collected by Natalie C. Parker, or collections from Stephanie Perkins (My True Love Gave To Me).
Description: Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. Meet Cute is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.
7. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
Release Date: January 16th from Del Rey
Why You’ll Love It: YES! Make way for another novel in Pierce Brown’s amazing Red Rising world. Iron Gold picks up after the original trilogy, exploring Darrow’s continued exploits and introducing new characters and intrigue.
For Fans of: The original Red Rising series, of course. And brutal YA novels like The Hunger Games.
Description: A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?
And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:
A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.
An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.
And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.
8. Zenith by Sasha Aslberg and Lindsay Cummings
Release Date: January 16th from Harlequin Teen
Why You’ll Love It: The first novella in Sasha Aslberg’s and Lindsay Cummings’ sci-fi space opera already hit the New York Times bestseller list. And now, Zenith marks the first full-length novel set in their universe of space pirates and thrills. A book that earns the “epic” in the description (seriously this novel is huge), it’s sure to give you hours of entertainment and leave you hungry for the next installment.
For Fans of:
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Bezella and The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.
Description: Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.
But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.
Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.
Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.
9. Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Release Date: January 23rd from Razorbill
Why You’ll Love It: Sarah Glenn Marsh, who released a gripping debut novel titled Fear the Drowning Deep, is releasing the first book in a new fantasy duology. An LGBTQ+ epic about necromancers, Reign of the Fallen is a novel brimming with thrills and swoons, and it’s unlike anything you’ve read before.
For Fans of: Epic YA fantasy by authors like Susan Dennard, S.J. Maas and Kendare Blake.
Description: Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised—the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead—and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?
10. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Release Date: January 30th with Flatiron Books
Why You’ll Love It: Another one of our most anticipated YA reads of 2018 is here, and you had better believe the hype. A beautiful, lyrical novel of fairy tales coming true and dark family secrets, The Hazel Wood as stunning as its cover. Melissa Albert is poised to become your new favorite author; don’t say wef didn’t warn you.
For Fans of: Lyrical fantasy novels by authors like Holly Black.
Description: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away?by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began?and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.