The year is coming to a close, and the final batch of Young Adult titles is hitting bookshelves everywhere. This may be a slower season for publishing, but we still found a handful of standout novels that you’ll want to check out.
From fantastic debuts (Erica M. Chapman’s Teach Me to Forget) to anticipated sequels (E.K. Johnston’s Spindle), get ready to update your reading stack. And remember, a lot of great YA books came out just last month, each perfect for gifting to that special reader in your life.
Here we go!
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1. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
Release Date: December 2nd from Merit Press
Why You'll Love It: Writing about suicide and mental health isn't easy, but Erica M. Chapman's debut embraces the challenge. Teach Me to Forget is the story of a young girl who plans to take her own life—and the tragedies that get in her way. An emotional read, this book is perfect for fans of My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga and Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang.
Description: Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place. Now all she has to do is die.
When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she has to get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows—the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.
Colter quickly uncovers what she's hiding and is determined to change her mind. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she's faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether her love for one boy is more important than a lifetime of pain.
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2. Black Moon by Romina Russell
Release Date: December 6th from Razorbill
Why You'll Love It: Get your fill of space operas from the third book in Romina Russell's bestselling Zodiac series. If you're unfamiliar with this particular saga, it's set in a universe inspired by astrology with houses dedicated to respective signs. Fans of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff or Red Rising by Pierce Brown will love the adventure, political upheaval, and galaxy-spanning battles.
Description: Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.
But Rho is suspicious. When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden Master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth–but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.
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3. Spindle by E. K. Johnston
Release Date: December 6th from Disney-Hyperion
Why You'll Love It: A new audience was introduced to E.K. Johnston this year with her bestselling Star Wars novel, Ahsoka. And this delights me to no end, as Johnston is one incredible writer. From her moving contemporary stories to her lush fantasy novels, I'm always eager to see what she's working on next!
A companion novel to 2015's A Thousand Nights, Spindle takes readers into the same world again—long after the Storyteller Queen's tale. But the world isn't as safe as it once was…
Description: It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained.
But the prison is crumbling. Through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with the final blow: a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.
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4. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Release Date: December 27th from HMH Books for Young Readers
Why You'll Love It: If you enjoyed recent fantasy novels like this year's A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess or The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins, this novel of family ties and heartbreaking betrayals is right for you. Ever the Hunted blends magic, politics, and revenge into an exciting read from a fantastic new voice.
Description: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now an outcast with no rights to her father's land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods.
When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father's killer. However, it's not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father's former apprentice. The only friend she's ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows.
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5. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
Release Date: December 27th from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You'll Love It: Focusing on a teen who has the ability to mix powerful potions to help people fall in love, The Secret of a Heart Note is an imaginative story from one of my favorite YA authors. It's easily one of the most magical books about falling in love you'll read this year, taking the sweetness of a Lauren Morrill novel and blending it with the lyrical magical realism of Nova Ren Suma and Laura Ruby.
Description: As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, 16-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent.
Still, Mimosa doesn't want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman's son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn't always a choice you can make.