Scope out the must-read Young Adult titles hitting shelves this month! We’ve got debuts, sequels and books that are far into established series. Fantasy, sci-fi, romance … there’s a little bit of everything in this month’s roundup, book lovers. Enjoy!
1. Tracked by Jenny Martin
Release Date: May 5th from Dial Books
Why You’ll Love It: If you only order one book on this list, make it Tracked. An action-packed thrill ride, it’s a Fast & the Furious-style sci-fi romp that is as exciting as it is original.
Description: On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that 17-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father mysteriously disappeared, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble.
When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 5th from Bloomsbury
Why You’ll Love It: A new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series? YES. ACOTAR takes on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, with Maas’ fantastic spin on it. Packed with magic, faeries and romance, what more do you need?
Description: When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
3. City of Fae by Pippa DaCosta
Release Date: May 7thfrom Bloomsbury Spark
Why You’ll Love It: An imaginative fantasy novel, City of Fae whisks readers away to London, where tensions mount between fae and humans. This one’s more New Adult, but it will definitely appeal to YA readers. Plus, this is a digital-first book, so it only costs $5 or so.
Description: From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate—and the fae—close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem—Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … and to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12th from Putnam Juvenile
Why You’ll Love It: Another spin on a classic tale, Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn is a reinvention of the classic One Thousand and One Nights. With a twist-filled plot, diverse characters and a beautiful world, it’s a must-own in your YA library.
Description: Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the 18-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise, so it is a suspicious surprise when 16-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all
5. Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Release Date: May 12th from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: Yes! Another book from the author of OCD Love Story! Haydu writes compelling characters and knows how to tell a gripping story about love and friendship.
Description: Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.
With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.
In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?
6. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 19th from Greenwillow Books
Why You’ll Love It: When you learn that this book “will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar,” you should want it immediately. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, with a main character battling mental illness. Books that deal with mental illness well are rare, and this is one of those novels that does it well.
Description: Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
7. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Release Date: May 19th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Practically written for fans of Veronica Mars, Latham’s debut novel introduces readers to a young private eye. There’s a lil’ bit of paranormal thrown into the mix, too, creating one unique, fun mystery.
Description: Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, Muslim-American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks—and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.
8. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Release Date: May 26th from Harper Teen
Why You’ll Love It: Ballet! Revenge! Backstabbing! Drawing comparisons to Black Swan, Tiny Pretty Things boasts a diverse cast of characters and a plot packed with drama. Charaipotra and Clayton are on the incredible We Need Diverse Books team, and you can check out the awesome campaign here.
Description: Gigi, Bette and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate and backstab to be the best of the best.
9. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Release Date: May 19th from Bloomsbury
Why You’ll Love It: The author of entertaining reads like Send Me a Sign and Bright Before Sunrise is debuting a new series, Once Upon a Crime Family, this month. The first novel is a fairy tale retelling that involves crime syndicates and illegal organ smuggling—that is a badass way to revamp a classic story.
Description: Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.
All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.
10. The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Release Date: May 19th from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: Two teens falling in love at a sci-fi convention? Yes. Get your hands on this pixilated book right now.
Description: It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip. If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.
Now, teaming up with Zak is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.
But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana—and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks.
11. The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Release Date: May 26th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: A blending of The Maze Runner and Beyond Our Stars, this new series from the author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy looks hard to resist. Expect incredible landscapes and an epic, sci-fi alien-kidnapping.
Description: When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.
Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.
12. Charmed by Michelle Krys
Release Date: May 26th from Delacorte Press
Why You’ll Love It: The highly-anticipated sequel to Krys’ debut novel, Hexed, mashes high school drama and witchcraft. This is far more entertaining than The Craft.
Description: Indie has spent the last few weeks frantically searching for Paige. She’s tried every spell imaginable, but witchcraft has gotten her nowhere, and she’s going crazy with guilt. Despite what her warlock boyfriend, Bishop, tells her, Indie knows it’s her fault her best friend was kidnapped by the Priory. And with the Priory destroyed, finding Paige feels more hopeless than ever-especially when Indie discovers that Paige isn’t even on Earth. She’s trapped in Los Demonios, an alternate dimension of Los Angeles filled with evil paranormals. No one who has gone there has ever come out.
Fueled by terror and loyalty, Indie is desperate to find a way into the underworld prison. She’ll worry about getting out later. But facing the dark world’s most dangerous witches and warlocks on her own means keeping her plan hush-hush-and forging alliances with some sketchy people, including a seriously sexy sorcerer.
Bonus: Krys just released an eBook novella, Blackwood, that serves as a prequel to the first book, Hexed. It’s just $1.99 on most eReaders.
Looking or more reading recommendations? Check out the best YA books of April!