January boasts a bunch of enthralling books—including two titles from ourMost Anticipated Young Adult Books list—proving that 2017 is a kick ass year for reading right out of the gate. You can expect thrilling debuts, magical prose and stories guaranteed to make you cry. There’s even an X-Files novel in the mix!
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1. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Release Date: January 3rd from Clarion Books
Why You'll Love It: If you read Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything or John Corey Whaley's Highly Illogical Behavior, you'll want to get your hands on Louise Gornall's debut novel. Under Rose-Tainted Skies follows an agoraphobic teenager, drawing from the author's own experience for the story. This novel of young love and mental illness proves to be a must-read, and Gornall is an exciting new voice in the genre.
Description: Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can't step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He's sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.
Norah can't leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn't so screwed up.
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2. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 3rd from Disney-Hyperion
Why You'll Love It: Pirates! Time travel! Music! Romance! There's a lot to love in Alexandra Bracken's Passenger duology, which wraps up with Wayfarer. Reading like a blend of Victoria Schwab's This Savage Song and Heidi Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere, Bracken's series introduces readers to a musical prodigy with the gift of time travel, thrust into world (and a past!) she had no idea existed. These are delightfully thick books with some expert world building from Bracken (if you've ever read her other series, The Darkest Minds, you'll know she pens creative settings). Pick up both and enjoy!
Description: All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was forced into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master's heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta's past could put them both at risk.
Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.
As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.
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3. The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia
Release Date: January 3rd from Imprint
Why You'll Love It: All I really need to say here is "teen Mulder," right? Kami Garcia, coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series, breathes even more life into the X-Files franchise with this YA novel. Agent of Chaos reveals how Mulder grew into the character we all know and (sometimes frustratingly) love.
And if you also want to read Scully's origin story, check out The Devil's Advocate by Jonathan Maberry.
Description: In the spring of 1979, 17-year-old Fox Mulder has bigger problems than applying for college. Five years ago, his younger sister disap¬peared from their home and was never heard from again. Mulder blames himself, and his mother blames his father, who has retreated into his top-secret work for the State Depart¬ment.
In Fox's senior year, his dad has moved him to Washington, DC?away from his friends on Martha's Vineyard. While Mulder doesn't mind the fresh start and not being known as "that kid with the missing sister," he's still obsessed with finding Samantha. So when a local boy turns up dead and another child is abducted, Mulder can't stop himself from getting involved. Could there be a link to his sister's case?
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4. The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett
Release Date: January 10th from Tor Teen
Why You'll Love It:Kim Liggett wrote one of my favorite books of 2015, a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque tale with a Children of the Corn twist. And now she's returned with another YA horror novel. Set on a seemingly quiet farm in Oklahoma, The Last Harvest unveils a secret world of cults, murderous secrets and horrifying rituals.
If you're a fan of authors like Dawn Kurtagich (The Dead House) or Courtney Alameda (Shutter), you're going to adore Liggett's latest. Just read it with the lights on, please.
Description:"I plead the blood."
Those were the last words golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered the man dying on the barn floor of the Neely Cattle Ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest. Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who's behaving like they're old friends.
Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity...or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.
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5. Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Release Date: January 10th from Tor Teen
Why You'll Love It: The second novel in Susan Dennard's Witchlands series is here, introducing even more characters and diving deeper into saga's richly developed world. If you've yet to start the series, first pick up Truthwitch. Dennard's novels are perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Alexandra Bracken, weaving magic, high stakes and friendship into stunning adventures.
Description: After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister's treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.
When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?
After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife's edge—especially when the pirates' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
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6. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Release Date: January 17th from Soho Teen
Why You'll Love It:One of our most anticipated YA books of 2017 is also written by the author who wrote our pick for the best YA book of 2015, Adam Silvera. Now he's back, and he's come for your tears.
History Is All You Left Me follows a teen who loses his first love in a tragic accident, chronicling his attempts to put his life back together. Expect Silvera's writing to tug at your heartstrings in this powerful LGBTQ+ story that's perfect for fans of Robin Talley, David Arnold and Becky Albertalli.
Description: When Griffin's first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he's been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin's downward spiral continues. He's losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he's been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
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7.After the Fall by Kate Hart
Release Date: January 24th from FSG
Why You'll Love It: Kate Hart's debut novel is finally here, and you should be rejoicing. After the Fall introduces a teen protagonist with too much on her shoulders, from complicated relationships to assaults to tragedy. How she manages to juggle it all makes for a captivating story that promises heartache between the pages.
If you're a fan of Courtney Summers (Lies About the Truth) or Ashley Blake (Suffer Love) and emotional rollercoasters, you'll want this book.
Description: Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt's bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn't even seem to realize she's a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family's eviction and the dream of college slipping out of reach.
Matt tries to help, but he doesn't really get it… and he'd never understand why she's fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up—and which ones are worth putting back together.
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8. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Release Date: January 31st from Flat Iron Books
Why You'll Love It: There's been a lot of hype surrounding this book. Why? Well, when it's pitched as a YA take on The Night Circus, it's going to be a hit—especially since it delivers on its magical promise. Perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern's fantasy novel, as well as The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore, Caraval is a story about family that's guaranteed to be one of your favorites of 2017.
Description: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett's long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped. It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over and her sister disappears forever.
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9. Exo by Fonda Lee
Release Date: January 31st from Scholastic Press
Why You'll Love It: I've been waiting for another book from Fonda Lee ever since I inhaled her debut, Zeroboxer, which was a sci-fi sports thriller about boxing in anti-gravity. Lee weaves more of her creativity into her new book, Exo, set on an Earth that has been colonized by aliens. Readers are thrust into a story of rebellion that's great for readers who loved Melissa Lander's Alienated and Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave.
Description: It's been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose alien rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn't one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan's high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable alien technology fused to his body) guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. That is, until Donovan's abducted by the human revolutionary group Sapience, determined to end alien control.
When Sapience realizes whose son Donovan is, they think they've found the ultimate bargaining chip. But the Prime Liaison doesn't negotiate with terrorists, not even for his own son. Left in the hands of terrorists who have more uses for him dead than alive, the fate of Earth rests on Donovan's survival. Because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. And Earth didn't win the last one.
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10. Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Release Date: January 31st from Harlequin Teen
Why You'll Love It: Robin Talley's inclusive, LGBTQ+ contemporary novels are among my favorites. Her latest, Our Own Private Universe, is set at a youth mission camp and introduces readers to a bisexual teen girl who falls for another girl. If you're a fan of books by Adam Silvera, Dahlia Adler or Alison Cherry, this one is for you.
Description: Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex. No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.
Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try. So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.
But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.