September is packed with fantastic Young Adult releases from some of the brightest, boldest voices. From new trilogies by Heidi Heilig and Alex London to continued series by Marie Lu and Kendare Blake to an astonishing debut by L.L. McKinney, this month’s best novels promise captivating stories.
Here are our picks for 10 must-read books this month:
1. A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: September 4th from Algonquin Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Nova Ren Suma writes spectacularly dark, twisty novels that will stick with you long after you’ve finished the last chapter, like The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls. And her latest, A Room Away from the Wolves, is another masterpiece from the haunting writer.
For Fans of: Literary YA authors like Laura Ruby (Bone Gap) and A.S. King (Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future).
Description: Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.
Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave.
2. Sadie by Courtney Summers
Release Date: September 4th from Wednesday Books
Why You’ll Love It: Earlier this year, we revealed an episode from the podcast inspired by Courtney Summers’ book. It was an innovative way to promote a book, and the novel is just as unique as the true crime podcast inspired by it. If you’re a fan of Serial, you’ll want to read this novel.
For Fans of: YA thriller authors like Caleb Roerhig (Last Seen Leaving) and Stephanie Kuehn (When I’m Through With You).
Description: Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
3. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 4th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Kendare Blake writes spectacular fantasy novels, and her Three Dark Crowns series is a must-read. The third book in the series is finally here, and it promises a gripping read (just check out the excerpt we revealed last month).
For Fans of: YA high fantasy authors like Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Curse).
Description: Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.
Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but they’re in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.
Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.
This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.
4. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Release Date: September 11th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It: We named Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Starfish our favorite YA debut of 2017, and now she’s returned with her sophomore novel. Summer Bird Blue boasts Bowman’s gorgeous prose and heartbreaking storytelling in a novel of music, family, love and death. Don’t miss this book (or any book) by Bowman.
For Fans of: Literary YA authors like Jeff Zentner (The Serpent King).
Description: Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.
Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an 80-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.
5. Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Release Date: September 18th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: It’s a Pride and Prejudice remix! An Austen retelling with characters of color from the author of the National Book Award finalist American Street, Pride is not to be missed.
For Fans of: Authors like Nic Stone (Dear Martin) and Tiffany Jackson (Monday’s Not Coming).
Description: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape or lose it all.
6. Wildcard by Marie Lu
Release Date: September 18th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: The sequel to Warcross is here! Reading like a YA Ready Player One with a diverse cast and intense stakes at a gaming competition, Warcross was absolutely thrilling. And now Marie Lu is back with the sequel we all need.
For Fans of: YA sci-fi authors like Claudia Grey (Defy the Stars) and Amie Kaufman (Unearthed), and novels that explore video game worlds like The Leveller by Julia Durango.
Description: Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems—and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?
7. Black Wings Beating by Alex London
Release Date: September 25th from Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: It’s been too long since we had an Alex London novel. Released five years ago, Proxy was brilliant, bold and beautiful work of YA dystopian fiction. And now London is back with the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy full that’s sure to be your new favorite series.
For Fans of: Authors like Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly) and Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are Ants).
Description: The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.
Brysen strives to be a great falconer—while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.
Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.
8. A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
Release Date: September 25th from Imprint
Why You’ll Love It:
Pride isn’t the only retelling releasing this month! Alice in Wonderland reimagined as urban fantasy, A Blade So Black is a brilliant twist on a classic from L.L. McKinney.
For Fans of: Authors like Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper).
Description: The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head…literally.
9. For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Release Date: September 25th from Greenwillow Books
Why You’ll Love It: If you’re familiar with Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere debut duology, you know that she creates lush, imaginative worlds with stunning prose to match. Now Heilig’s kicking off a new trilogy with For a Muse of Fire, which boasts a spectacular protagonist: a girl who controls shadow puppets using the souls of the dead. Read. This. Book.
For Fans of: Authors like Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes) and Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows).
Description: Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell.
Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.
10. Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
Release Date: September 25th from Razorbill
Why You’ll Love It: Because it’s a new novel from Beth Revis? We’ve adored Revis’ novels ever since Across the Universe, so we’re thrilled to see her tackle the fantasy genre in Give the Dark My Love. She’s an expert at genre jumping, and this one promises another brilliant story.
For Fans of: YA fantasy by authors like Victoria Schwab (This Savage Song).
Description: When 17-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.
All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life—and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens—on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.
Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners—and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.