On The Booked Shelf is a new feature called “This Week in YA #Booktok” to highlight the latest buzz surrounding Young Adult titles on the bookish side of TikTok (aka #Booktok).
While the platform is filled with a vast number of creators, this is just a slice of what the algorithm has pushed onto our feed when it comes to new or upcoming titles that’ve had Booktoker’s eager to read, purchase or add the book to their TBR!
Our hope with this new feature is to not only highlight newer YA titles, but also seek out backlist reads that’ve been getting attention from creators on the platform ― consider this also as a resource if you ever find yourself wondering what other titles aside from the “Popular Booktok” are pushed by the algorithm.
With the release of ‘Divine Rivals‘ by Rebecca Ross on April 4, 2023 throughout the month of May there were an average of 25+ videos ranging across the past couple weeks from Booktoker’s praising Ross’s newest YA Fantasy Romance for the “gritty and dark” themes, alongside the reader’s love for the “compelling” main characters of Iris Winnow and Roman Kitt ― who are rival journalists set among a fantastical world of warring gods.
As of May 24, the #DivineRivals hashtag currently has 1 million views.
Shadow and Bone meets Lore in this epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love.
When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever.
After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.
To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish—into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.
On May 22, Ross revealed through her Instagram the sequel cover to ‘Divine Rivals‘ which has been titled ‘Ruthless Vows’ slated for an April 30, 2024 release!
With the cover reveal of Gabe Cole Novoa’s upcoming YA retelling for Fierce Reads Remixed Classics Series on May 19 via Twitter as well as on TikTok the algorithm highlighted a couple videos with excitement for the Pride & Prejudice retelling. The 9th installment in the Remixed Classics Series will be a retelling in which “Darcy is gay & the second eldest Bennet is a gay trans boy”
With Booktoks garnering over 11k likes and over 53k views, Cole Novoa’s forthcoming novel had climbed up the Barnes & Noble ranks as a pre-order in the Teen & YA Bestsellers top 100 following the reveal.
A trans boy searches for a future—and a romance—in which he can live and love openly as himself in this heart-wrenching YA reimagining of Pride & Prejudice, the ninth book in the Remixed Classics series.
London, 1812. Oliver Bennet feels trapped. Not just by the endless corsets, petticoats, and skirts he’s forced to wear on a daily basis but also by society’s expectations. The world—and the vast majority of his family and friends—think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. He finds solace in the few times he can sneak out and explore the city dressed as a young gentleman.
During one such excursion, Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky, rude young man. But in private, Oliver comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart. And so Oliver will have to choose: Settle for safety, security, and a life of pretending to be something he’s not, or risk it all for a slim chance at freedom, love, and a life that can be truly, honestly his own.
‘Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix’ by Gabe Cole Novoa is set to be released January 16, 2024!
That concludes the round-up for This Week In YA #Booktok! What YA Books have you seen on your Booktok fyp?
As reported by The Booked Shelf last Spring, the long-awaited adaptation for Nimona had been picked up by Netflix for a release this year and as of May 18 the trailer has been revealed by the streaming service, slated for June 30, 2023!
Anchored by the tagline “A new kind of hero takes shape,” the teaser trailer highlighted Nimona’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) mischievous chaotic persona (shapeshifting of course) and the adventures that will be underway in the “techno-medieval landscape” alongside Knight Ballister (Ahmed) and Ambrosius (Eugene Lee Yang).
The full synopsis for the film reads: A knight framed for a terrible crime turns to a shape-shifting teenage girl to prove his innocence. But what if she’s the monster he’s sworn to destroy?
Initially scrapped by Disney at 75% completion, during April 2022 it was announced that Netflix acquired the project, with plans to stream in 2023.
The film’s poster has been revealed as well:
Nimona is set to stream with with Netflix June 30, 2023!
As of February 10, NYT Bestselling author Hafsah Faizal revealed the cover to her newest YA Fantasy duology via Instagram with the first novel titled A Tempest Of Tea ― slated for a Winter 2024 release!
According to Publishers Weekly the story is “Set in Ettenia, an amalgamation of 1920s and Victorian London with a dash of ancient Rome, the novel follows a gang of outcasts in a deadly heist led by Arthie Casimir to save her tearoom—which fronts an illegal blood house, where local vampires can purchase fresh blood.”
Cover artist is Valentina Remenar and art director is Aurora Parlagreco.
From Hafsah Faizal, New York Times–bestselling author of We Hunt the Flame, comes the first book in a hotly-anticipated new fantasy duology about an orphan girl and her crew who get tangled in a heist with vampires, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows.
On the streets of White Roaring, Arthie Casimir is a criminal mastermind and collector of secrets. Her prestigious tearoom transforms into an illegal bloodhouse by dark, catering to the vampires feared by society. But when her establishment is threatened, Arthie is forced to strike an unlikely deal with an alluring adversary to save it—and she can’t do the job alone.
Calling upon a band of misfits, Arthie formulates a plan to infiltrate the dark and glittering vampire society known as the Athereum. But not every member of her crew is on her side, and as the truth behind the heist unfolds, Arthie finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy that will threaten the world as she knows it. Dark, action-packed, and swoonworthy, this is Hafsah Faizal better than ever.
A Tempest Of Tea by Hafsah Faizal is set to be released February 20, 2024!
On The Booked Shelf today we’re in conversation with Margarita Engle, award-winning poet and author, to discuss her 2023 Young Adult release WINGS IN THE WILD, in which Kirkus Reviews said the novel contains “lucious verse and beautiful descriptions of the flora and fauna [bringing] attention to the impacts of the climate crisis and the urgent need for change.”
Engle’s novel published on April 18, 2023 and if you’d like to learn more about her environmental romance novel-in-verse, read below!
Can you share what WINGS IN THE WILD is all about?
Engle:WINGS IN THE WILD follows Cuban teen Soledia who comes from a family of artists who protest injustice through their secret sculpture garden. However, when they get into trouble Soleida has to flee for safety finding herself in Costa Rica, where she meets Cuban-American Dariel, a musician and the two slowly build a relationship. Together they use their talents to raise awareness over the imprisoned artists while also advocating for the environment!
Where did the idea for this novel come from?
Engle: The love story and environmental aspects came from my own emotions and my scientific background as a botanist who cares deeply about reforestation and rewilding. The aspect of artistic freedom emerged from repressive events in Cuba, as well as increasingly authoritarian censorship in the U.S.
As a poet and author you’ve written numerous novels in verse! What drew you to write in this style compared to traditional prose?
Engle: I used to answer this question with complicated reasons, but the simple truth is that poetry makes me happy. I love the musical language of verse. I find comfort in the rhythms and lyrical language of poetry. I’ve discovered that I can tackle difficult subjects in verse, without feeling overwhelmed, because poetry is such a gentle yet powerful refuge for emotions.
Your YA novels often explore points in Latin-American history, but more specifically Cuban history that are sadly overlooked or rarely discussed! What inspires you to tackle the specific moments you write about?
Engle: Usually, there is a family connection. In the case of Wings in the Wild, I have relatives who found refuge in Costa Rica. I feel empathy for the Cuban refugees who walk to the U.S. from South and Central America. I’ve also visited Costa Rica for my own reasons over several decades, to study rain forest botany, and most recently to research my new National Geographic nonfiction picture book, Destiny Finds Her Way, How a Rescued Baby Sloth Learned to be Wild.
Who are some of your literary inspirations?
Engle: As a child, I loved Versos sencillos by José Martí. As a grad student, Tomás Rivera was my creative writing professor, and a groundbreaking bilingual poet. Alma Flor Ada was the first Cuban American children’s author who inspired me with her memoirs. Dulce María Loynaz is one of my favorite twentieth century Cuban poets. Joy Harjo, Richard Blanco, Mary Oliver, and Ada Limón are some of my favorite U.S. poets who write primarily for adults. Established children’s/YA poets who now inspire me include Jacqueline Woodson, Padma Venkatraman, Nikki Grimes, Marilyn Nelson, Janet Wong, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jorge Tetl Argueta, and Laurie Halse Anderson. Younger poets whose work excites me include Elizabeth Acevedo, Aida Salazar, and Ari Tison.
WINGS IN THE WILD handles similar themes seen within previous novels but the focal point here is contemporary activism! Can you delve into how that plays a role in the story?
Engle: For decades, I have avoided any topics that might result in getting me banned from visiting Cuba. However, repression against artists and writers has reached such a drastic level that I feel the need to speak out. Censorship in the U.S. makes this need for freedom of expression especially timely.
Your main characters Soledia and Dariel are drawn to the arts. What did you enjoy the most about exploring their narrative arcs through art (painting and music) as part of who they are?
Engle: I grew up around artists, and I love listening to music. Even though poetry is my only form of expression, I feel linked to other arts through the music of words and the visual nature of metaphors. Artists, writers, and musicians can bring hope to people who feel despair. That is why authoritarian governments are so terrified of freedom that poets are often the first to be arrested under any repressive regime.
What made WINGS IN THE WILD a memorable writing experience for you?
Engle: It was a thrill to write the love story laced with scientific facts, climate activism, and a touch of magic realism. No matter how difficult a situation is, people still fall in love. No matter how devastated a habitat becomes, there is still hope for rewilding.
In reading poetry I often find that what stays with me after that last page is the imagery the author evokes in such few words. What are the memorable descriptions or images you enjoyed bringing to WINGS?
Engle: I really enjoyed writing about a magical guitar that attracts birds and animals. It’s easy to forget that musical instruments (and books!) are made from trees, but when we remember, there is a sense that we’re experiencing a timeless forest just by touching wood or paper.
What have you been recently reading? & Any YA releases you’re looking forward to picking up (either new or backlist)?
Engle: I’ve been searching for unique feminist poetry, rereading the equine images in How to Triumph Like a Girl by Ada Limón. I can’t wait to read Saints of the Householdby Ari Tison. I’m always looking for Indigenous voices from all over Latin America.
To conclude, any other writing projects you’re working on right now?
Engle: My next picture book is Water Day, about water delivery to rooftop tanks in a Cuban town where pollution, climate change, and deteriorating pipes have eliminated the luxury of running water in houses. It’s beautifully illustrated with paper cutouts by Olivia Sua. My next young adult verse novel continues themes from Wings in the Wild. It’s called Wild Dreamers, and it’s set in California, with a love story about high school kids who strive to create wildlife crossings for protection of mountain lions. Once again, it’s a STEM book that blends scientific facts and a lyrical touch of magic realism. The gorgeous cover art is by Gabi D’allesandro, who also did Wings in the Wild and Your Heart, My Sky.
Note: after the completion of this interview PW shared in their Rights Report for March 27 that an additional project from Engle is a picture book about “a music-loving girl in 1930s Cuba who discovers the melodies in the world outside her window” slated for a Fall 2024 release with S&S.
Author Bio: Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, memoirs, and picture books, including The Surrender Tree, Enchanted Air, Drum Dream Girl, and Dancing Hands. Awards include a Newbery Honor, Pura Belpré, Golden Kite, Walter, Jane Addams, PEN U.S.A., and NSK Neustadt , among others. Margarita served as the national 2017-2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate. Her most recent books are Your Heart, My Sky , A Song of Frutas, Light for All , Rima’s Rebellion and Singing with Elephants. Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives on the island. She studied agronomy and botany along with creative writing, and now lives in central California with her husband.
As of April 3 it was revealed via the author’s Twitter, the cover to the 2023 YA sapphic speculative thriller debut Gorgeous Gruesome Faces from Linda Cheng, slated for a Fall release with Fierce Reads!
Following a disgraced teen idol Sunny Lee, she comes face-to-face with the demons of her past and former bandmate in a workshop that brings about more questions than answers as competitors become injured and strangely mutilated, one by one.
Set in the cutthroat world of K-Pop, Cheng’s debut has been pitched as Yellowjackets meets She Is A Haunting, which also has a planned sequel.
Cheng has described her novel featuring elements of “terrible queer girls,” a “blood-soaked pop idol competition,” as well as “maybe the real treasure was the enemies we made along the way.”
Cover designer is Samira Iravani and letterer is David Milan.
After a shocking scandal that abruptly ended her teen popstar career, eighteen-year-old Sunny Lee spends her days longing for her former life and cyberstalking her ex-BFF and groupmate, Candie. The two were once inseparable, but that was then—before the tragedy and heartache they left in their wake.
In the here and now, Sunny is surprised to discover that Candie is attending a new K-pop workshop in her hometown. Candie might be there chasing stardom, but Sunny can’t resist the chance to join her and finally confront their traumatic history. Because she still can’t figure out what happened that horrible night when Mina, the third in their tight-knit trio, jumped to her death. Or if the dark and otherworldly secrets she and Candie were keeping had something to do with it . . .
But the workshop doesn’t bring the answers Sunny had hoped for, nor a happy reunion with Candie. Instead, Sunny finds herself haunted by ghostly visions while strange injuries start happening to her competitors—followed by even stranger mutilations to their bodies. In her race to survive, Sunny will have to expose just who is behind the carnage—and if Candie is out for blood once more!
Gorgeous Gruesome Faces by Linda Cheng is set to be released November 7, 2023!
We’ve reached April 2023, Spring is here and there’s quite an exceptional line-up of books from a romcom with a promposal business, fighting a powerful fae uprising in Shakespearean London, to time-travel contemporary à la “Back To The Future”, here’s 15+ YA Books headed to shelves!
On The Booked Shelf we’ll be featuring titles across contemporary, coming-of-age, romance, romcoms, fantasy, graphic novels and much more!
Prompsal by RaeChell Garrett Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: High school senior Autumn Reeves has been waitlisted at her dream school. Determined to move to the top of the list, she must find a way to stand out. When a promposal she planned for a friend has half the senior class asking for her help, a brilliant business idea that will look great on her application is born: Promposal Queen.
Autumn has no clue how to start a business, so she joins the Young Black Entrepreneurs group and finds herself face-to-face with Mekhi Winston, the boy whose unexpected freshman-year kiss—a kiss that meant everything to her and nothing to him—cost Autumn her best friend. He’s the only person with the experience to help her, but how can she possibly trust him?
With her dreams on the line, Autumn’s willing to risk it. After all, Mekhi could be a good business partner without being a guy she would ever let near her heart again.
But when working with Mekhi jeopardizes her only chance at rekindling a friendship with her ex–best friend and long-buried secrets threaten to ruin Promposal Queen, another broken heart may be the least of her worries—her entire future is on the line.
A Whole Song And Dance by Sarvenaz Tash Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: Nasrin Mahdavi is a Broadway triple threat—but she’s living a double life.
A freshman in NYU’s prestigious musical theater program, Nasrin spends her days prepping for auditions, sweating through dance classes, and belting her heart out for the viral streaming show she’s been cast in. But on calls with her maman and baba, she’s their jigar talah, the golden child who put her theater dreams aside to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps as a business major.
At least her whole life isn’t a lie—she is taking a single business course. Except she’s kind of failing it. Cue jazz hands?
Nasrin needs to bring her grade up fast if she’s going to keep her parents in the dark, so she grudgingly signs up for tutoring with the infuriatingly smug and annoyingly attractive Max. And yet…as the semester rushes by, the sparks of anger that first flew between them start to turn into a very different kind of spark. The kind she definitely does not have time for.
Except when Nasrin’s charming though devious cousin takes an interest in Max too, Nasrin has to figure out exactly what has been an act—and what’s for real. Can Nasrin decide what—and who—is truly worth fighting for, and find a way to step into the spotlight as her full self?
Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeau—the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family—are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick—she’s cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.
Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.
Cristina and Clement used to be each other’s most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other and their family’s magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city’s magical and non-magical communities. And if they don’t succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.
Queen Bee by Amalie Howard Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: A teen girl seeking retribution against her backstabbing former best friend finds her plans slightly derailed once she catches the eye of a familiar, handsome marquess. Bestselling author Amalie Howard delivers a delightful, anti-historical Regency-era romp that’s Bridgerton meets The Count of Monte Cristo!
Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed—when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined.
Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside.
With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London’s elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire.
In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?
Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever.
After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.
To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish—into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.
An Appetite For Miracles by Laekan Zea Kemp Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: Danna Mendoza Villarreal’s grandfather is slowly losing himself as his memories fade, and Danna’s not sure her plan to help him remember through the foods he once reviewed will be enough to bring him back. Especially when her own love of food makes her complicated relationship with her mother even more difficult.
Raúl Santos has been lost ever since his mother was wrongly incarcerated two years ago. Playing guitar for the elderly has been his only escape, to help them remember and him forget. But when his mom unexpectedly comes back into his life, what is he supposed to do when she isn’t the same person who left?
When Danna and Raúl meet, sparks fly immediately and they embark on a mission to heal her grandfather…and themselves. Because healing is something best done together—even if it doesn’t always look the way we want it to.
Not Here To Stay Friends Kaitlyn Hill Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: Two childhood best friends reunite in L.A. the summer before senior year—but when one of them ends up starring on a teen reality dating show, their feelings for each other get complicated. Perfect for fans of friends-to-lovers rom-coms and The Bachelor!
Sloane McKinney feels like a background character in her own life. But this summer will be different, because she’s spending it with her childhood best friend, Liam Daniels, in her dream city, Los Angeles. Sure, she’s surprised to find that Liam just happens to have had a Hot Guy glow-up since she last saw him, but so what? A little attraction won’t ruin her plans for their fun—and completely platonic—reunion.
What might, however, is that Liam has been roped into working for his producer dad’s new teen reality dating show, Aspen Woods’s Future Leading Lady. It turns out the show is one contestant short . . . and Sloane is the perfect last-minute addition.
But it’s behind the scenes where the drama really picks up. Because wanting to kiss your best friend? That’s a plot twist neither Sloane nor Liam ever saw coming.
Never Vacation With Your Ex by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka Release Date: April 4, 2023
Summary: Seventeen-year-old volleyball star Kaylee Jordan lives a life of player rankings, constant training, and a carefully curated social media full of followers watching to see if she’ll go pro out of high school like her famous mom. Her one refuge, and the thing she looks forward to every summer? The vacation her family spends in Malibu with the Freeman-Yus. This year, there’s only one problem: Kaylee and their son, Dean, dated for the past three months, and Kaylee just unceremoniously dumped him.
Hoping to spare them the worst summer ever, Kaylee comes to Dean with her unconventional solution: she’s going to walk him through her rules for getting over an ex. When Dean grudgingly cooperates, Kaylee’s got her work cut out for her. But helping Dean follow her own rules starts becoming difficult when the pressures of Kaylee’s family legacy and perfect life start to feel less like a plan and more like a prison…and amid warm California nights and stolen laughs, Kaylee feels herself falling for Dean for the same reasons and some new ones. With their trip coming to an end, Kaylee has to make the complicated choice between doing what’s expected and taking a (second) chance on love.
Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith Release Date: April 11, 2023
Summary: Deftly leading readers to the literary crossroads of contemporary realism and haunting mystery, Cynthia Leitich Smith revisits the world of her American Indian Youth Literature Award winner Hearts Unbroken. Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He’s excited to take part in the fun, spooky show—until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an “Indian maiden,” a ghost inspired by local legend, will headline. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House. A creepy man is stalking teenage girls and young women, particularly Indigenous women; dogs are fretful and on edge; and wild animals are behaving strangely. While Hughie weighs how and when to speak up about the bigoted legend, he and his friends begin to investigate the crossroads and whether it might be haunted after all.
As Moon rises on All Hallow’s Eve, will they be able to protect themselves and their community?
Gripping and evocative, Harvest House showcases a versatile storyteller at her spooky, unsettling best.
Throwback by Maurene Goo Release Date: April 11, 2023
Summary: Back to the Future meets The Joy Luck Club in this YA contemporary romance about a Korean American girl sent back to the ’90s to (reluctantly) help her teenage mom win Homecoming Queen.
Being a first-generation Asian American immigrant is hard. You know what’s harder? Being the daughter of one. Samantha Kang has never gotten along with her mother, Priscilla—and has never understood her bougie-nightmare, John Hughes high school expectations. After a huge fight between them, Sam is desperate to move forward—but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.
To her shock, Sam finds herself back in high school . . . in the ’90s . . . with a 17-year-old Priscilla. Now this Gen Z girl must try to fit into an analog world. She’s got the fashion down, but everything else is baffling. What is “microfiche”? What’s with the casual racism and misogyny? And why does it feel like Priscilla is someone she could actually be . . . friends with?
Sam’s blast to the past has her finding the right romance in the wrong time while questioning everything she thought she knew about her mom . . . and herself. Will Sam figure out what she needs to do to fix things for her mom so that she can go back to a time she understands? Brimming with heart and humor, Maurene Goo’s time-travel romance asks big questions about what exactly one inherits and loses in the immigrant experience.
Bianca Torre Is Afraid Of Everything by Justine Pucella Winans Release Date: April 11, 2023
Summary: Murder most fowl? In this sardonic and campy YA thriller, an anxious, introverted nonbinary teen birder somehow finds themself solving a murder mystery with their neighbor/fellow anime lover, all while falling for a cute girl from their birding group . . . and trying not to get murdered.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders from the birds to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor’s life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice—succumb to their long list of fears (including #3: Murder and #55: Breaking into a Dead Guy’s Apartment) or investigate what happened.
Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca’s crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13: Beautiful People, #11: Parents Discovering They’re A Raging Lesbian), the trio uncovers a conspiracy much larger—and weirder—than imagined. But when the killer catches wind of the investigation, Bianca’s #1 fear of public speaking doesn’t sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.
In this absurdist, bizarrely comical YA thriller that is at turns a deceptively deep exploration of anxiety and identity, perhaps the real murder investigation is the friends we make along the way.
Master Of Souls by Rena Barron Release Date: April 11, 2023
Summary: A king with a score to settle. A demon driven to rebel. A girl who holds the power of the gods.
Arrah has paid many prices in her battle against the Demon King. Now, she must decipher the legacy of her past and weave an uneasy alliance between her beloved Rudjek, the Demon King, and the remaining orishas, hoping to restore peace to all their worlds. But as Arrah’s half-demon sister regains her strength and resumes her quest for destruction, peace may require the ultimate sacrifice.
Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review.
Ab(solutely) Normal: Short Stories That Smash Mental Health Stereotypes edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter & Rocky Callen Release Date: April 11, 2023
Summary: Channeling their own experiences, sixteen exceptional authors subvert mental health stereotypes in a powerful and uplifting collection of fiction.
A teen activist wrestles with protest-related anxiety and PTSD. A socially anxious vampire learns he has to save his town by (gulp) working with people. As part of her teshuvah, a girl writes letters to the ex-boyfriend she still loves, revealing that her struggle with angry outbursts is related to PMDD. A boy sheds uncontrollable tears but finds that in doing so he’s helping to enable another’s healing. In this inspiring, unflinching, and hope-filled mixed-genre collection, sixteen diverse and notable authors draw on their own lived experiences with mental health conditions to create stunning works of fiction that will uplift and empower you, break your heart and stitch it back together stronger than before. Through powerful prose, verse, and graphics, the characters in this anthology defy stereotypes as they remind readers that living with a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you’re defined by it. Each story is followed by a note from its author to the reader, and comprehensive back matter includes bios for the contributors as well as a collection of relevant resources.
With contributions by: Mercedes Acosta * Karen Jialu Bao * James Bird * Rocky Callen * Nora Shalaway Carpenter * Alechia Dow * Patrick Downes * Anna Drury * Nikki Grimes * Val Howlett * Jonathan Lenore Kastin * Sonia Patel * Marcella Pixley * Isabel Quintero * Ebony Stewart * Francisco X. Stork
Wings In The Wild by Margarita Engle Release Date: April 18, 2023
Summary: This romantic contemporary novel-in-verse tells the love story of two teens fighting for climate action and human rights.
Winged beings are meant to be free. And so are artists, but the Cuban government has criminalized any art that doesn’t meet their approval. Soleida and her parents protest this injustice with their secret sculpture garden of chained birds. Then a hurricane exposes the illegal art, and her parents are arrested.
Soleida escapes to Central America alone, joining the thousands of Cuban refugees stranded in Costa Rica while seeking asylum elsewhere. There she meets Dariel, a Cuban American boy whose enigmatic music enchants birds and animals—and Soleida.
Together they work to protect the environment and bring attention to the imprisoned artists in Cuba. Soon they discover that love isn’t about falling—it’s about soaring together to new heights. But wings can be fragile, and Soleida and Dariel come from different worlds. They are fighting for a better future—and the chance to be together.
The Song Of Wrath by Sarah Raughley (The Bones Of Ruin #2) Release Date: April 18, 2023
Summary: Penny Dreadful meets The Gilded Wolves in this captivating sequel to young adult historical fantasy The Bones of Ruin that follows immortal Iris as she desperately tries to thwart her destructive destiny.
Iris Marlow can’t die. For years, she was tormented by her missing memories and desperate to learn her real identity. So when the mysterious Adam Temple offered to reveal the truth of who she was in exchange for her joining his team in the Tournament of Freaks, a gruesome magical competition, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse. But the truth would have been better left buried.
Because Adam is a member of the Enlightenment Committee, an elite secret society built upon one fundamental idea: that the apocalypse known as Hiva had destroyed the world before and would do it again, and soon. But what the Committee—and Iris—never guessed is that Hiva is not an event. Hiva is a person—Iris.
Now, no matter how hard Iris fights for a normal life, the newly awakened power inside her keeps drawing her toward the path of global annihilation. Adam, perversely obsessed with Iris, will stop at nothing to force her to unlock her true potential, while a terrifying newcomer with ties to Hiva’s past is on the hunt for Iris.
All Iris wants is the freedom to choose her own future, but the cost might be everything Iris holds dear—including the world itself.
Hot Dutch Daydream by Kristy Boyce Release Date: April 18, 2023
Summary: No one has ever accused Sage Cunningham of being easily distracted. She has a plan, and she won’t be swayed. She’ll spend the summer interning in her mentor’s lab in Amsterdam, and then she’ll be ready for college. All she needs to do to pay for the summer abroad is agree to serve as the au pair for Dr. Reese’s three-year-old.
Sage has it all down to a science, but she doesn’t anticipate the surprise arrival of Dr. Reese’s teenage son. Ryland is spontaneous, flirty, and impulsive–everything Sage isn’t. He’s a talented artist, but he’s desperately in need of someone to keep him focused. And as nannying proves harder than Sage had expected, it turns out she might need help too.
The two strike a deal. Sage will stop Ryland from going out with a different girl every day, and Ryland will pitch in with his little brother.
Spending the summer stuck together is the perfect way to keep distractions to a minimum. Right?
That Self-Same Metal by Brittany N. Williams Release Date: April 25, 2023
Summary: A stunning YA fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Holly Black and Justina Ireland, about a Black girl (and sword expert) fighting a Fae uprising in Shakespearean London
Sixteen-year-old Joan Sands is a gifted craftswoman who creates and upkeeps the stage blades for William Shakespeare’s acting company, The King’s Men. Joan’s skill with her blades comes from a magical ability to control metal—an ability gifted by her Head Orisha, Ogun. Because her whole family is Orisha-blessed, the Sands family have always kept tabs on the Fae presence in London. Usually that doesn’t involve much except noting the faint glow around a Fae’s body as they try to blend in with London society, but lately, there has been an uptick in brutal Fae attacks. After Joan wounds a powerful Fae and saves the son of a cruel Lord, she is drawn into political intrigue in the human and Fae worlds.
Swashbuckling, romantic, and full of the sights and sounds of Shakespeare’s London, this series starter delivers an unforgettable story—and a heroine unlike any other.
Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying Release Date: April 25, 2023
Summary: A young adult graphic novel about Valerie, a girl who is hiding an eating disorder from her friends and family and is forced to reevaluate her own self-image after her life is turned upside down.
Sixteen-year-old Valerie Chu is quiet, studious, and above all thin. No one, not even her best friend Jordan, suspects that she has been binging and purging for years. But Valerie’s life, and priorities, are upended when her father dies abruptly. At home, she abandons her ED patterns as she tries to comfort her mother and little brother.
Val begins to reevaluate her life, her choices, and her own body. She realizes that the path to happiness might lead her away from her hometown and her mother’s toxic projections. But first she must apologize to Jordan and find the strength to seek help.
This beautiful and heart-wrenching young adult graphic novel takes a look at eating disorders, family dynamics, and, ultimately, a journey to self-love.
The Lake House by Sarah Beth Durst Release Date: April 25, 2023
Summary: Claire’s grown up triple-checking locks. Counting her steps. Second-guessing every decision. It’s just how she’s wired – her worst-case scenarios never actually come true.
Until she arrives at an off-the-grid summer camp to find a blackened, burned husk instead of a lodge – and no survivors, except her and two other late arrivals: Reyva and Mariana.
When the three girls find a dead body in the woods, they realize none of this is an accident. Someone, something, is hunting them.
Something that hides in the shadows. Something that refuses to let them leave.
What April 2023 YA Books are you looking forward to?
On The Booked Shelf today we’re in conversation with Gabe Cole Novoa, author of Latine YA Historical Fantasy THE WICKED BARGAIN, which Publishers Weekly has called a “swashbuckling tale brimming with sorcery” set during the 1820’s among the Caribbean.
The novel released on February 28, 2023 and if you’d like to learn more about this YA fantasy featuring a trans masc non-binary protagonist, read below!
Where did the idea for THE WICKED BARGAIN come from?
Cole Novoa: The short answer: I wanted to write about queer pirates
The long answer: I wanted to write about queer pirates and was inspired by a couple “deal with the devil” stories I came across while researching Mexican myths. It occurred to me that a deal with the devil story would meld nicely with a pirate story, and the rest all came together quickly.
What did you love most about writing this novel?
Cole Novoa: Something that was really special to me about this book was not only writing a trans protagonist, but writing a trans protagonist who uses they/them pronouns in a third person POV. This felt really significant to me because it gave me the opportunity to help normalize using they/them pronouns, and I hope people who aren’t used to using gender neutral pronouns may feel a little more comfortable with it by the end of the book. I also hope people who use they/them pronouns for themselves might feel seen in a way that’s currently somewhat difficult to find in books.
Were there any pieces of historical research involved in writing TWB that stood out to you during the drafting or editing process?
Cole Novoa: There was! I didn’t know a ton about the 1800s when I first began brainstorming the book, so I certainly did a decent amount of research around the history of the Caribbean and Latin America as a whole in the 1800s, the clothes people wore, food they ate, weapons technology they had, etc. I also read up on pirates which was really fun and I learned a bunch of cool facts! I think the most interesting bit to me was learning about the different strategies pirates used to steal from merchants—and how easy it was, especially at first, because merchant ships were largely unguarded!
The story is set during the 1820’s in the Caribbean! What was it like exploring this setting through a fantasy lens and what’s important to you when worldbuilding YA fantasy?
Cole Novoa: I’ve come to realize I really enjoy writing (and reading) historical fantasy because it asks me to reimagine a time period with, well, magic! This gave me an opportunity to shine a light on an incredibly important time in the Caribbean and Latin America’s history, while also considering what it might be like for someone with magic to live during such a tumultuous time. As for the second part of that question, whenever I’m worldbuilding with magic the first thing I think about are the rules of magic and how society is framed around that magic. In The Wicked Bargain most of society doesn’t know about magic (and those that do believe in magic think it’s evil) so that was a little easier in the sense that I took an existing framework and considered the dangers to someone living in that kind of society. Other times, when I’m working on a book where society is largely aware of magic, I think about how that magic would influence culture, development of technology, how people see the world, etc. It can be a really cool process!
Its always great to see more LGBTQ+ rep in fantasy! What did you enjoy the most about writing a trans masc non-binary pirate MC?
Cole Novoa: I really loved being able to write a trans person as a hero in a book that wasn’t about being trans. There’s nothing that I enjoy reading more than magical queers, and it was such a blast to write a protagonist whose experience with their gender and body was familiar to me having a magic-filled adventure.
In 3-5 words what can readers expect from THE WICKED BARGAIN?
Cole Novoa: Pirates, demons, magic, much queerness
Author Bio: Gabe Cole Novoa (he/him) is a Latinx transmasculine author who writes speculative fiction featuring marginalized characters grappling with identity. Now leveled up with an MFA in Writing for Children, when he isn’t being nerdy at his day job, or buried under his TBR pile, you’ll likely find him making heart-eyes at the latest snazzy outfit he wants to add to his wardrobe. Gabe is the author of The Wicked Bargain (out Feb 2023), an untitled Pride & Prejudice retelling (Winter 2024), and the Beyond the Red trilogy
On The Booked Shelf we’re highlighting some of the many Young Adult covers revealed throughout the months of January & February! Get your tbr’s ready to add stunning debuts, sequels, sophomore releases from beloved authors, in addition to 2023 (even 2024) releases across fantasy, romance, to thriller, mystery and more! In case you missed them, here’s 12+ Covers!
On TBS all cover reveals are pitched with the source and if the information is available, the cover artist among other credits, a short blurb will accompany each book to offer a brief explanation as to what the novel is about.
Shadow Coven by S. Isabelle
As of January 13 via Twitter, author Sophie Isabelle revealed the sequel cover to her 2022 YA Paranormal debut The Witchery which will be titled Shadow Coven. Set at the Mesmortes Coven Academy, Logan is a witch struggling to control her powers and gets taken under the wing of the Red Three (Iris, Thalia, Jaliah). When the Haunting Season arrives and students turn up dead, these witches will have to join forces to stop the Wolves and break a hex on their haunted town.
The Haunting Season has ended, but dark magic lingers in the shadows.
After defeating the Wolves, Jailah, Logan, Iris, and Thalia want nothing more than a summer of fun and relaxation. But there is no rest for the wicked, especially when Death comes for Iris. She is to become a Reaper, tasked with banishing souls who refuse to cross over. But Iris suspects there’s something more ominous going on when Mathew’s role as her tether grows sinister.
Logan and Thalia are ready to prove themselves as witches. Except Logan still hears the howling Wolves and realizes that the Haunting Season may have awakened more than just her magic. And while Thalia wants to spend her days cleansing the Swamp for good, she finds herself heading to a place she swore she’d never go again: home. Witches have started going missing near Annex, and Thalia is convinced that her father is behind the disappearances. With the help of Logan and Trent, Thalia returns to stop him.
Meanwhile, Jailah is focused on her internship with the Haelsford Witchery Council until she discovers a treacherous magic hidden beneath Mesmortes, and there are those who will go to great lengths to keep it buried. So, she turns to the only person who understands, even if it’s the one witch who hates her the most.
Separated by distance, the coven is surrounded by magical and mundane threats that must be defeated before they lose their witchery–and each other–forever..
• Cover Illustrator: Thea Harvey – Cover Designer: Stephanie Yang – Release Date: September 19, 2023
Last Canto Of The Dead by Daniel José Older
Revealed on January 13 on the author’s Twitter, is the sequel + finale cover to the Outlaw Saints duology, a YA contemporary – urban fantasy set in Brooklyn where Mateo Matisse was born in the San Madrigal, an island in the Caribbean which for centuries has been refuge for pirates, Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition and Cuban Santeros. Then a hurricane causes this diaspora to appear in Brooklyn and fifteen years later, Mateo is now a piano prodigy, but as he performs during the San Madrigal Grande Fete, gods and monsters appear. Then he’s thrust into into an ancient battle, unlocking magical powers that hold to key to uncovering the mystery of what happened to his homeland.
Two gods-turned-teenagers wage simultaneous battles in the Caribbean and Brooklyn in this sequel to Ballad & Dagger.
Healer. Destroyer. Creator. Mateo Matisse and Chela Hidalgo are not just two teenagers in love–they’re powerful gods in human form. Powerful enough to have saved their Brooklyn diaspora community from the wrath of an ancient enemy and to have raised their once-sunken native island of San Madrigal from the sea.
But soon they discover that their problems are far from over. On the shores of San Madrigal, two creature armies are battling for survival. And on the streets of Brooklyn, a once tight-knit community is divided, with two sides at each other’s throats. But worst of all, a heartbreaking prophecy rips these two young lovers apart, sending Mateo back to the city, where cops are now patrolling the streets, and keeping Chela tethered to the island, where chaos and death lurk around every corner.
Healer. Destroyer. Creator. As gods, their powers know no limits. But as teenagers–separated, desperate, grieving–what will become of them? And what will become of their people?
Join their battle and witness their love in this thrilling conclusion to the epic saga that began with BALLAD & DAGGER.
• Cover Artist: Daniel Dos Santos – Release Date: May 16, 2023
Fatima Tate Takes The Cake by Khadijah VanBrakle
As of January 18, debut YA author VanBrakle revealed via Twitter the cover to her debut coming-of-age novel centering around Fatima who loves baking and flirting with her new friend, but her parents approve of neither.
Seventeen-year-old Fatima Tate, aspiring baker (100% against her conservative parents’ wishes), leads a pretty normal life in Albuquerque: long drives with BFF Zaynab, weekly services at the mosque, big family parties, soup kitchen volunteering (the best way to perfect her flaky dough recipe!), stressing about college.
But everything changes when she meets a charming university student named Raheem. Knowing the ‘rents would FREAK, Fatima keeps their burgeoning relationship a secret… and then, one day, her parents and his parents decide to arrange their marriage. Amazing! True serendipity!
Except it’s not amazing. As soon as the ring is on Fatima’s finger, Raheem’s charm transforms into control and manipulation. Fatima knows she has to call the whole thing off, but Raheem doesn’t like to lose. He threatens to reveal their premarital sexual history and destroy her and her family’s reputation in their tight-knit Muslim community.
Fatima must find the inner strength to blaze her own trail by owning her body, her choices, and her future. Combining the frank authenticity of Elizabeth Acevedo and the complex social dynamics of Ibi Zoboi, FATIMA TATE TAKES THE CAKE is a powerful coming-of-age story that gives a much-needed voice to young Black Muslim women.
• Cover Artist: Fevik & Art Director: Kerry Martin – Release Date: June 13, 2023
A British Girl’s Guide To Hurricanes & Heartbreak by Laura Taylor Namey
On February 2, it was revealed through Twitter the cover to the A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea & Tomorrow spin-off following Orion’s younger sister Flora who heads to Miami after the passing of her mother to see her long-time friend Gordon and meets Miami Cuban influencer Baz Marín, leaving her heart more conflicted than ever.
Winchester has always been home for Flora, but when her mother dies, Flora feels untethered. Her family expects her to apply to university and take a larger role in their tea-shop business, but Flora isn’t so sure. More than ever, she’s the chaotic ‘hurricane’ in her household, and she doesn’t always know how to manage her stormy emotions. So she decides to escape to Miami without telling anyone –especially her longtime friend Gordon Wallace.
But Flora’s tropical change of scenery doesn’t cast away her self-doubt. When it comes to university, she has no idea which passions she should follow. That’s also true in romance. Flora’s summer abroad lands her in the flashbulb world of teen influencer Baz Marín, a Miami Cuban who shares her love for photography. But Flora’s more conflicted than ever when she begins to see future architect Gordon in a new light.
As of February 2, the cover for The Name Drop was revealed via Twitter. In a case of mistaken identity, two Korean-American teens find themselves in New York City for a summer at a massive tech corporation (one is Elijah the future CEO and the other is Jessica whose looking to make the most of her summer internship). After deciding to stay switched, they work to keep up the charade but also find themselves falling in love.
New from the author of Seoulmates comes the story of two teens who find themselves entangled in a case of switched identities at their prestigious summer internship–but the switch just might give them both the summer they’ve been looking for… and true love.
When Elijah Ri arrives in New York City for an internship at his father’s massive tech company, Haneul Corporation, he expects the royal treatment that comes with being the future CEO—even if that’s the last thing he wants. But instead, he finds himself shuffled into a group of overworked, unpaid interns, all sharing a shoebox apartment for the summer.
When Jessica Lee arrives in New York City, she’s eager to make the most of her internship at Haneul Corporation, even if she’s at the bottom of the corporate ladder. But she’s shocked to be introduced as the new executive-in-training intern with a gorgeous brownstone all to herself.
It doesn’t take long for Elijah and Jessica to discover the source of the mistake: they share the same Korean name. But they decide to stay switched—so Elijah can have a relaxing summer away from his controlling dad while Jessica can make the connections she desperately needs for college recommendations.
As Elijah and Jessica work together to keep up the charade, a spark develops between them. Can they avoid discovery—and total disaster—with their feelings and futures on the line?
• Cover Artist: Michelle Kwon – Cover Designers: Gigi Lau & Alexandra Niit – Release Date: September 12, 2023
Prince Of Thorns & Nightmares by Linsey Miller
As of February 3, it was revealed through Twitter the cover to Miller’s newest installment in the Disney Princes Series. Prince Of Thorns & Nightmares is a YA Disney reimagining that’ll follow Sleeping Beauty from Prince Phillip’s point-of-view.
Prince Phillip tells his side of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty where once upon a dream was just the beginning…
Prince Phillip’s known from a young age that his destiny has already been decided for him by his father, King Hubert. His job is to smile and wave for the crowd and ride off into the sunset with his predetermined fiancé, Princess Aurora, after her curse is lifted on her sixteenth birthday. But just days before Aurora’s birthday party, Phillip experiences a strange burst of magic, and three fairies tell him that he is part of a prophecy set to defeat Maleficent, the Mistress of All Evil. Suddenly Phillip feels as if he has a choice—maybe magic can be the freedom he has been looking for.
Although, having magic and working with fairies to retrieve powerful ancient artifacts would be much more enjoyable if he didn’t have to deal with her every night, a girl named Briar Rose who appears in his dreams on the other side of a mystical thorn maze. Phillip doesn’t know how he can be so annoyed by a person he can’t even see but having to hear the mysterious maiden’s laughs and jabs at him every time he goes to sleep is worse than any nightmare. But Phillip is starting to realize that Briar Rose isn’t so different from himself, and maybe they can change both of their fates one dream at a time.
• Cover Illustrator: Brittany Jackson & Designer: Scott Piehl – • Release Date: October 3, 2023
The Space Between Here & Now by Sarah Suk
Revealed through Twitter on February 3, was Suk’s newest YA following “a girl who time travels to her memories through scent.”
Seventeen-year-old Aimee Roh has Sensory Time Warp Syndrome, a rare condition that causes her to time travel back to a moment in her life when she smells something linked to that memory. Her dad is convinced she’ll simply grow out of it if she tries hard enough, but Aimee’s fear of vanishing at random has kept her from living a normal life.
When Aimee disappears for nine hours into a memory of her estranged mom—a moment Aimee has never remembered before—she becomes distraught. Not only was this her longest disappearance yet, but the memory doesn’t match up with the story of how her mom left—at least, not the version she’s always heard from her dad.
Desperate for answers, Aimee travels to Korea, where she unravels the mystery of her memories, the truth about her mother, and the reason she keeps returning to certain moments in her life. Along the way, she realizes she’ll need to reconcile her past in order to save her present.
• Cover Illustrator / Artist: David Curtis – Release Date: October 31, 2023
Something Kindred by Ciera Burch
As of February 6, Burch revealed through Twitter the cover to her 2024 YA debut where Jericka finds herself in a small Maryland town for the summer to see her estranged dying grandmother. Meanwhile, Jericka’s meeting a ghost girl, grappling with secrets of her family’s past and the town that doesn’t want to let her go.
Magical realism meets Southern Gothic in this commanding young adult debut from Ciera Burch about true love, the meaning of home, and the choices that haunt us.
Welcome to Coldwater. Come for the ghosts, stay for the drama.
Jericka Walker had planned to spend the summer before senior year soaking up the sun with her best friend on the Jersey Shore. Instead she finds herself in Coldwater, Maryland, a small town with a dark and complicated past where her estranged grandmother lives—someone she knows only two things about: her name and the fact that she left Jericka’s mother and uncle when they were children. But now Jericka’s grandmother is dying, and her mother has dragged Jericka along to say goodbye.
As Jericka attempts to form a connection with a woman she’s never known, and adjusts to life in a town where everything closes before dinner, she meets “ghost girl” Kat, a girl eager to leave Coldwater and more exciting than a person has any right to be. But Coldwater has a few unsettling secrets of its own. The more you try to leave, the stronger the town’s hold. As Jericka feels the chilling pull of her family’s past, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her mother, her childhood, and the lines between the living and the dead.
Everyone’s Thinking It by Aleema Omotoni
On February 8, it was revealed through Omotoni’s Twitter the cover to her forthcoming YA debut focusing on “chaotic teens at an elite boarding school in England.” With a mystery at the heart of the story, it’s been described as a loose reimagining ofA Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Within the walls of Wodebury Hall, an elite boarding school in the English countryside, reputation is everything. But aspiring photographer Iyanu is more comfortable observing things safely from behind her camera.
For Iyanu’s estranged cousin, Kitan, life seems perfect. She has money, beauty, and friends like queen bee Heather. But as a Nigerian girl in a school as white and insular as Wodebury, Kitan struggles with the personal sacrifices needed to keep her place—and the protection she gets—within the exclusive popular crowd.
Then photos from Iyanu’s camera are stolen and splashed across the school—each with a juicy secret written on it. With everyone’s dirty laundry suddenly out in the open, the school explodes in chaos, and the whispers accusing Iyanu of being the one behind it all start to feel like déjà vu.
Each girl is desperate to unravel the mystery of who stole the photos and why. But exposing the truth will change them all forever.
Revealed through Twitter on February 9 was the debut cover to a YA fantasy centered around trans rivals at an elite magical university.
Rat Evans, nonbinary heir to one of the oldest magical bloodlines in New York, doesn’t cast spells anymore. For as long as Rat can remember, they’ve been surrounded by doorways no one else sees and corridors that aren’t on any map. Then one day, they opened a passage and found a broken tower in a field of weeds—and something followed them back.
When Rat is accepted into Bellamy Arts, all they want is a place to hide and to make sure they never open another passageway again. But when the only other person who knows what really happened last year—Harker Blakely, the dangerously gifted trans boy who used to be Rat’s closest friend—turns up on campus, Rat begins to realize that Bellamy Arts might not be as safe as they’d thought. And the tower might not be through with them yet.
Soon, Rat finds themself caught in a web of secrets and long-buried magic, with their friend-turned-enemy at their throat. But the closer they come to uncovering the truth about the tower, the further they’re drawn toward the unsettling powers that threaten to swallow them whole.
Revealed via the author’s Twitter on February 10, was the cover to Lee Baker’s forthcoming YA necromancy-fantasy set during the Tang Dynasty.
Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she’s trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table—resurrecting the dead, for a price.
When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she’ll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.
The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it’s only a matter of time before they—and secrets of Zilan’s past—catch up with her.
•Cover Designer: Kathleen Oudit & Photography: Lillian Liu – Release Date: October 3, 2023
Hatchet Girls by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
On February 14 via Twitter Rodriguez Wallach revealed the cover to her 2023 Horror-Thriller novel Hatchet Girls set around an imagining if the history surrounding the Borden murders were repeated over 100 years later. Release date is slated to be October 10, 2023.
When Mariella Morse accuses her boyfriend, Vik Gomez, of murdering her wealthy parents with an axe, the town is quick to believe her. It doesn’t help that Vik is caught standing over her parents’ bodies with blood on his hands, unable to remember anything about the night in question.
But Vik’s sister, Tessa, knows that Vik would never be capable of such a gruesome crime. Haunted by the mistakes she made that led her family to move to Fall River, MA in the first place, she sets out to prove her brother’s innocence.
Tessa’s search for answers will lead her into a sprawling, notoriously cursed forest, where she and Mariella must face a darkness that has lurked within their town since before the days of Lizzie Borden—the original axe murderess of Fall River.
There’s No Way I’d Die First by Lisa Springer
Revealed via Twitter on February 15, was the cover to Springer’s Contemporary-Horror Comedy debut about a scary movie buff who hosts a Halloween bash, but things take a sinister turn when she & her guests are forced to put their survival skills to the test.
Seventeen-year-old Noelle Layne knows horror. Every trope, every warning sign, every survival tactic. She even leads a successful movie club dedicated to the genre. Who better to throw the ultimate, most exclusive Halloween party on all of Long Island?
With some of the top influencers in her school on the guest list, including gorgeous singer-songwriter Archer Mitchell, her popularity is bound to spike. She could really use the social boost for an upcoming brand expansion. Nothing is going to ruin this party.
Except…maybe the low budget It clown she hired for a stirring round of tag. He axes one of her classmates. From the looks of his devilish grin and bag full of killer tricks, he’s just getting started.
A murderous clown is out for blood, but Noelle has been waiting her entire life to prove that she’s a Final Girl.
• Cover artist: Betsy Cola – Release Date: September 5, 2023
The Search For Us by Susan Azim Boyer
On February 15 revealed via Twitter was the cover to Azim Boyer’s sophomore contemporary novel following “Two half-siblings who have never met embark on a search together for the Iranian immigrant and U.S. Army veteran father they never knew.”
Samira Murphy will do anything to keep her fractured family from falling apart, including caring for her widowed grandmother and getting her older brother into recovery for alcohol addiction. With attendance at her dream college on the line, she takes a long shot DNA test to find the support she so desperately needs from a father she hasn’t seen since she was a baby.
Henry Owen is torn between his well-meaning but unreliable bio-mom and his overly strict aunt and uncle, who stepped in to raise him but don’t seem to see him for who he is. Looking to forge a stronger connection to his own identity, he takes a DNA test to find the one person who might love him for exactly who he is—the biological father he never knew.
Instead of a DNA match with their father, Samira and Henry are matched with each other. They begin to search for their father together and slowly unravel the difficult truth of their shared past, forming a connection that only siblings can have and recovering precious parts of their past that have been lost. Brimming with emotional resonance, The Search for Us beautifully renders what it means to find your place in the world through the deep and abiding power of family.
Cover Artist: Petra Braun & Designer: Olga Grlic – Release Date: October 24, 2023
House Of Marionne by J. Elle
On February 16, via the author’s Twitter and Penguin Teen, the cover to Elle’s newest YA romantic fantasy series was revealed. According to the publisher it centers around “a glamorous magical world of social elites, forbidden love, and a dark magic that could destroy it all.”
From New York Times bestselling author J. Elle comes a modern-day YA romantic fantasy series opener about a glamorous magical world of social elites, forbidden love, and a dark magic that could destroy it all.
A must-read for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, and Bridgerton.
BURY YOUR SECRET OR DIE FOR IT.
17 year-old Quell has lived her entire life on the run. She and her mother have fled from city to city, in order to hide the deadly magic that flows through Quell’s veins.
Until someone discovers her dark secret.
To hide from the assassin hunting her, and keep her mother out of harm’s way, Quell reluctantly inducts into a debutante society of magical social elites called the Order that she never knew existed. If she can pass their three rites of membership, mastering their proper form of magic, she’ll be able to secretly bury her forbidden magic forever.If caught, she will be killed.
But becoming the perfect debutante is a lot harder than Quell imagined, especially when there’s more than tutoring happening with Jordan, her brooding mentor and— assassin in training. When Quell uncovers the deadly lengths the Order will go to defend its wealth and power, she’s forced to choose: embrace the dark magic she’s been running from her entire life or risk losing everything, and everyone, she’s grown to love.
Still, she fears the most formidable monster she’ll have to face is the one inside.
Brimming with ballgowns and betrayal, magic and mystery, decadence and darkness, House of Marionne is perfect for readers who crave morally gray characters, irresistible romance, dark academia, and a deeply intoxicating and original world.
• Cover Artist: Elena Masci & Designer: Theresa Evangelista – Release Date: August 29, 2023
A Tall Dark Trouble by Vanessa Montalban
Revealed through Tor.com on February 23, was the cover to Montalban’s YA contemporary fantasy debut following 3 generations of Cuban brujas navigating love, magic and murder set during present-day Miami and 1980’s Cuba.
Twin sisters Ofelia and Delfi know better than to get involved with magic. Their mom has seen to that. After all, it was magic that cursed their family, turning love into a poison. Romance is off the table for the Sanchez women. They’ve seen the curse take hold enough times to know how that road ends. And yet. Sometimes a girl catches feelings and just can’t help herself.
When Ofelia and Delfi begin having premonitions of a series of murders, the sisters know it is time to embrace their magical inheritance to get to the bottom of the mystery and save innocent lives. Teaming up with their best friend Ethan and with brooding detective-in-training Andres, the sisters set out to learn the truth. They just need to make sure Mami doesn’t find out what they’re up to.
Meanwhile, in 1980 Cuba, Anita struggles with a different magical conflict. Her mother, Mama Orti, is a bruja who belongs to a secret coven of elders and Anita knows she will be forced to join the coven herself one day. She sees no escape, though the thought of staying and letting this future claim her is terrifying. Ofelia, Delfi, and Anita’s stories collide as each woman steps into her power and embraces who she truly is, refusing to be subdued by any person, coven, or curse.
In this stunning YA contemporary fantasy, debut author Vanessa Montalban explores the interlocking struggles of three generations of women in one family. An unputdownable debut for anyone who roots for magic, sisterhood, and love.
↷WNDB revealed the cover to My Father, The Panda Killer / Magic Has No Borders / All The Fighting Parts ↷ Simon Teen, Epic Reads & Wednesday Booksposted wrap-ups revealing their newest covers for the 2023 Fall season ↷ Revealed via the author’s social media for Page Street YA: YA debut pitched as Buffy x Filipino Folklore, YA Horror-Thriller about a girl who must figure out what happened to her older sister in house where they filmed an amateur horror film years ago ↷ On Las Musas Books was the cover to The Moonlit Vine a novel about a girl uncovering her Taino heritage ↷Jessica Lewis revealed via Twitter the cover to Monstrous pitched as following a “fierce, sapphic girl on a bloody quest for revenge and the giant snake contracted to help her” ↷ Susan Dennard revealed through her newsletter the sequel cover to The Luminaries titled The Hunting Moon
Which of these 2023 YA Novels are you most looking forward to?
Here at The Booked Shelf were are so honored to be sharing the cover to YA debut author Angela Montoya’s fantasy romance novel, Sinner’s Isle releasing Fall 2023! In this spellbinding tale, a powerful witch is held on a remote island, desperate to escape and a charming pirate prince finds himself marooned on the witch’s island home. Soon the pirate and witch are forced to work together to outwit their enemies, but more importantly escape, before its too late.
Rosalinda is trapped in Sinner’s Isle, where young women known as Majestics, beautiful witches with dangerous magic, are both loathed by society yet coveted by powerful men who wish to use them. Under the watchful eye of her power-hungry headmistress, Rosa’s certain her phantom magic makes her most favored at this year’s Offering, a fiesta for the wealthy to engage in drink, damsels, debauchery and where Majestics’ powers are put on display…for the wealthy choose a witch to serve them for life.
Mariano, the Prince of Pirates, has spent his entire life sailing the high seas. That is until, the king’s fleet attacks his ship, leaving him marooned on Sinner’s Isle, with his late mother’s enchanted chain meant to guide him to his heart’s desire. Before he can loot the isle of its vast riches and be on his merry way, Rosalinda steals his amulet and holds it ransom. Her price for its return? Let her escape the Isle with Mariano before the Offering’s end. As they attempt to outwit each other and their enemies, the pirate prince has found himself a (brazen) bewitching headache.
Now without further ado, the cover, illustrated by Zarin Baksh (@nir4z):
Rosalinda is trapped on Sinner’s Isle, an island filled with young women like her—Majestics, beautiful witches loathed by society for their dangerous magic yet revered by powerful men who want to use them.
For years, she has been kept under the watchful, calculating eye of Doña Lucia. Now eighteen, Rosa will be the prized commodity at this year’s Offering, a fiesta for the wealthy to engage in drink, damsels, and debauchery. That is why she must flee—before someone forces the vicious phantoms within her to destroy everything she touches.
Handsome, swashbuckling Mariano has long sailed the high seas as the Prince of Pirates. Then the king’s fleet attacks his father’s infamous ship, leaving him marooned on Sinner’s Isle with only an enchanted chain meant to lead him to his heart’s desire. Instead, he falls into the hands of a brazen (although) bewitching headache—Rosa.
Together they must outwit each other and their enemies before the Offering ends and it’s too late to escape the perils of Sinner’s Isle
Told in dual POV, the novel can best be pitched in these four phrases according to the author’s tweet ft. a “Broody pirate with a heart of gold / Baddie witch tired of people telling what she can and cannot do / Blackmail & / Phantoms that can tear the world apart.”
Montoya’s Latinx fantasy romance is being released under the Joy Revolution Books imprint, through Random House Kids, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing. Cover Designer is Trisha Previte.
Sinner’s Isle by Angela Montoya is set to be released October 31, 2023!
You can preorder now and add the novel to Goodreads:
The Booked Shelf is delighted to be highlighting an exclusive cover reveal for NYT & USA Today Bestselling author Lynn Painter whose known for her YA romcoms Better Than The Movies and The Do-Over. Well get ready because releasing in Fall 2023, is her newest YA novel Betting On You, which has been pitched as a spin on When Harry Met Sally (Painter’s homage to Nora Ephron).
Featuring dual POV, the “boy falls first” and fake dating it centers on Bailey whose newest job at a hotel waterpark reunites her with an old acquaintance turned co-worker Charlie. They met during a flight to Omaha the year prior after Bailey’s parent’s divorce. These two polar opposites look forward to hanging out and gossiping, especially about a pair who continuously flirt and cozy up to one another. This leads them to make a bet on whether the cozy couple will actually end up dating because they can never be “just friends” (Charlie) or whether that can be proven wrong (Bailey).
But as Charlie realizes he’s fallen for Bailey and developed a crush on her, what makes him even more terrified to admit his feelings is when they agree to a fake relationship in order to disrupt the pleasantries between Bailey’s mom and her new boyfriend. And Bailey soon starts seeing him differently too…
Have the secrets and crushes complicated or doomed these polar opposites before they’ve even realized?
Now without further ado, the cover, illustrated by Liz Casal:
When seventeen-year-old Bailey starts a new job at a hotel waterpark, she is less than thrilled to see an old acquaintance is one of her coworkers. Bailey met Charlie a year ago on the long flight to Omaha, where she moved after her parents’ divorce. Charlie’s cynicism didn’t mix well with Bailey’s carefully well-behaved temperament, and his endless commentary was the irritating cherry on top of an already emotionally fraught trip.
Now, Bailey and Charlie are still polar opposites, but instead of everything about him rubbing Bailey the wrong way, she starts to look forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests and their coworkers—particularly two who keep flirting with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a bet on whether or not the cozy pair will actually get together. Charlie insists that members of the opposite sex can’t just be friends, and Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.
Bailey and Charlie keep close track of the romantic progress of others while Charlie works to deflect the growing feelings he’s developed for Bailey. Terrified to lose her if his crush becomes known, what doesn’t help his agenda is Bailey and Charlie “fake dating” in order to disrupt the annoying pleasantries between Bailey’s mom and her mom’s new boyfriend.
Soon, what Charlie was hoping to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to see him as not only a friend she can rely on in the midst of family drama—but someone who makes her hands shake and heart race. But Charlie has a secret—a secret that involves Bailey and another bet Charlie may have made. Can the two make a real go of things…or has Charlie’s secret doomed them before they could start?
Painter’s YA novels, especially Better Than The Movies, have garnered quite an audience via #Booktok with the #BetterThanTheMovies hashtag reaching 35.2 million views. Painter has also recently announced a BTTM sequel slated for Fall 2024!
Betting On You by Lynn Painter is set to be released November 28, 2023!
You can read more about it on Lynn’s website or add the novel to Goodreads: