To say that April is an eclectic month for the best Young Adult books is a bit of an understatement. From a historical romance that reimagines a notorious villain to a fresh take on the premise behind Stranger Than Fiction, there are many unique novels joining bookshelves this month. This list collects Paste’s 10 favorites.
Release Date: April 4th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: I’m not sure what it is about books that involve human-robot relationships, but if you hand me one, I’ll want to inhale it immediately. Gray’s new novel adds joins the ranks of these compelling stories, from the canceled-too-soon Almost Human to the graphic novel series Alex + Ada.
Description: Noemi Vidal is a 17-year-old soldier sworn to protect her home planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
Abandoned in space for years, Abel, a robot, has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator and to be free. To the people of Genesis, though, he’s an abomination.
Though Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, they are forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.
Release Date: April 4th from Quirk Books
Why You’ll Love It: Cinderella mashed up with nerd culture? Oh yes. If you’re a fan of geeky love stories like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Queen of Geeks by Jennifer Malone or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Geekerella is perfect for you.
Description: Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for ‘cons—back before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autograph signings and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
Release Date: April 11th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It:
Blacksouls, the second novel in Castroman’s Blackhearts series, is a unique historical romance full of action on the high seas. The book is perfect for fans of the Black Sails TV series, The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King and, of course, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Description: Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.
Release Date: April 11th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: McGinnis’ debut, Not a Drop to Drink, is easily one of my favorite YA books ever. And her recent releases, from The Female of The Species to the Edgar-award winning A Madness So Discreet, are just fantastic. She has a gift for writing hard-hitting YA stories, and Given to the Sea proves this.
Description: Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance—an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy—she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir, he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march and the rising sea calls for its Given.
Release Date: April 11th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It:
Literally is a YA take on the movie Stranger Than Fiction with a teen girl who discovers she’s just a character in a YA novel. The book gets even cleverer when you discover Keating isn’t just the author of this book—she’s also a character in it. Wonderfully meta, you’ll get a kick out of this novel that’s written just for book lovers.
Description: Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.
Annabelle, it turns out, is the creation of Keating. And Keating has a plan for her. But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Keating have the last word?
Release Date: April 11th from Freeform
Why You’ll Love It: Corrie Wang’s debut addresses online bullying and cyberattacks…but not in the way you’d expect. It’s set in a near-future New York City, but it isn’t necessarily sci-fi. After all, Internet trolls are an ever-present reality, and ours is a world where privacy no longer exists.
Description: Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club and a debate team champ—plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular.
Kyla’s managed to make it through high school completely unscathed—until someone takes issue with this arrangement.
A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible—take something off the internet—all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint.
Release Date: April 11th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: One of Paste’s most-anticipated books of the year is finally out! If you loved Albertalli’s debut, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, hang on tight. From its diverse cast to its themes of friendship, body image and sexuality, The Upside of Unrequited delivers a lot to love.
Description: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
Release Date: April 18th from Flux
Why You’ll Love It
The Edge of the Abyss is the sequel to the first book in Skrutskie’s series, The Abyss Surrounds Us. It follows a teen girl whose family raises genetically engineered sea monsters to defend trade ships from pirates. But when those pirates try to capture her and a sea beast of her own, the stakes run wild… especially when a certain pirate girl is capturing the teen’s heart. This is perfect for fans of the film Pacific Rim, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig or Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.
Description: Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.
But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?
Release Date: April 18th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It:
Fireworks follows two teen girls caught up in the boy band / girl band era of the ‘90s as they try to balance their dreams and real life realities. If you’re a fan of The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston or For the Record by Charlotte Huang, Cotungo’s latest is absolutely for you.
Description: It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group. To everyone’s surprise, Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.
Release Date: April 25th from Harlequin Teen
Why You’ll Love It: This book is as delicious as the premise. A teen who wants to be a chef? Actual recipes at the start of every chapter? Yes, please. Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes, writes lyrical YA novels. And his latest tackles love, loss and food with a literary flair you will adore.
Description: Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family where he attends an elite international school. His friends and fellow rich kid-peers have plans to attend college somewhere in the U.S. or Europe and eventually take over their parents’ businesses. Always a rule-follower and a parent-pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.
When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother’s voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father’s plan for him. Worrying about his mental health, but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the U.S. and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss’s daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what’s most important to him and where his true path really lies.