There’s only one month left until we unveil the best Young Adult books of 2017, and November has some compelling novels in the running. From new hits (Renegades) to highly anticipated sequels (hello, Retribution Rails), this month is packed with a ton of enthralling reads. Let’s dig in.
Release Date: November 7th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: A debut that’s as stunning as it is powerful, Aceves’ novel is a story is a complex story about family and friendships. Don’t sleep on this one.
For Fans of: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Description: Marcos Rivas wants to find love. He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.
Release Date: November 7th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: We’ve been anxiously awaiting Warga’s follow up to My Heart and Other Black Holes, named on of Paste’s best YA books of 2015. A diverse novel of music and family, Here We Are Now is another sweeping, gorgeous story about figuring out who you are and what you want out of life—the sort of story Warga is just masterful at telling.
For Fans of: Road trip music novels like The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, and beautiful lyrical contemporary prose like Mosquitoland by David Arnold.
Description: Despite sending him letters ever since she was 13, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense—kinda—because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.
Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father—her grandfather—who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.
With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.
Release Date: November 7th with Entangled: Teen
Why You’ll Love It: First, can we talk about how Kang published three books this year? A nonfiction title about bad cures (Quackery), an adult novel (A Beautiful Poison) and now her latest YA Novel (The November Girl).
If you read and loved Kang’s Control duology, her dive into magical realism with The November Girl is an exciting genre leap featuring a character who is literally a storm. This book is so unique and utterly captivating.
For Fans of: The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan and The Vicious Deep trilogy by Zoraida Cordova.
Description: I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.
Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.
Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.
Release Date: November 7th from Feiwel & Friends
Why You’ll Love It: I mean, it’s a book by the writer of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series. Meyer is back with a new story that blends sci-fi and action like a Young Adult X-Men novel, asking what it means to be a hero and what it means to be a villain.
For Fans of: Hero by Perry Moore and I’m Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee.
Description: The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
Release Date: November 7th from HMH for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: If you missed out on Bowman’s Vengeance Road last year, now is the perfect time to make up for it. Because the companion novel, Retribution Rails, is out in the world, and it’s just as gritty and raw as the first book. Written like a modern YA take on True Grit, this duology is not to be missed. (And it’s worth checking out the audiobook, because the narration is spectacular.)
For Fans of: Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson and Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.
Description: When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist.
But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.
Release Date: November 7th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: The sequel to the New York Times bestselling smash The Reader, Chee’s The Speaker is the second novel in her Sea of Ink and Gold series. Boasting a story within a story, it’s a novel full of fantasy, pirates and epic wilderness adventures.
For Fans of: Hunted by Meagan Spooner and A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess.
Description: Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.
With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.
Release Date: November 7th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It: This sci-fi novel isn’t just about hacking into technology…it’s about someone who can hack people. That’s right, the protagonist can alter DNA in this unique sci-fi thriller.
For Fans of: Warcross by Marie Lu.
Description: Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race. Now Cat must decide who she can trust.
Release Date: November 14th from Sky Pony Press
Why You’ll Love It: The highly anticipated sequel to Beyond the Red is finally here. Into the Black picks up where Jae’s first novel left off—on a planet on the verge of total war. Full of politics in a sci-fi world, it’s a light space opera that tackles serious themes. (Bonus: If you’re an aspiring YA author, I highly recommend looking up Ava’s website and YouTube channel. Ava dishes out extraordinary advice, and you’ll want to listen in.)
For Fans of: Alienated by Melissa Landers and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright.
Description: The world ruler is dead, technology foundational to their society destroyed, and Safara is on the brink of collapse. Half-human, half-alien Eros is the rightful heir to the world throne, but before he can return to the capital, he’s abducted by a rebel group of humans who call themselves The Remnant—and won’t release him until he swears to help them overthrow the very government he’s inheriting.
With Eros missing, ex-queen Kora is determined to stave off mad grabs for the throne. But as royalty from across the territories flock to the capital, and a new charismatic candidate takes the spotlight, Kora sets off into the desert with a skilled prince-turned-bounty hunter to find Eros before it’s too late for both the future king and his kingdom.
Release Date: November 14th from Soho Teen
Why You’ll Love It: A reimagining of In Cold Blood, Brashear’s stunning YA novel is as spectacularly written as it is researched. This is definitely one of the most unique YA novels you’ll read this year.
For Fans of: YA novels centered around history, like books by Stacey Lee, Anne Blankman and Meg Medina.
Description: November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.
New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.
Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right
Release Date: November 21st from Wednesday Books
Why You’ll Love It: Anderson’s debut novel, The Only Things Worse Than Me Is You, was one of Paste’s best YA novels of 2016. It draws inspiration from Much Ado About Nothing, and now Anderson’s new book takes a page from The Importance of Being Earnest. Because Anderson knows book lovers adore classic retellings.
For Fans of: Books by Lauren Morrill (particularly The Trouble with Destiny), the Lauren Gibaldi’s upcoming This Tiny Perfect World and any YA novel that deals with theater/arts kids getting into trouble.
Description: Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?