17 YA books which you definitely should read in 2019
Looking for something new to read?
Now that autumn is well and truly here, there's nothing quite as tempting as curling up on the couch with a good book - especially with a mug of hot chocolate or tea.
And, thankfully, there has been no shortage of incredible page-turners released in 2019 - especially when it comes to YA novels.
From mysteries to romances and everything in-between, here are 17 YA novels which are definitely worth reading this year.
Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
Ellery's never been to Echo Ridge, but she's heard all about it. It's where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen's murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen's death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother's remarriage vaulted them to Echo Ridge's upper crust, but it could all change when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it's hard to let go when you don't have closure. Then another girl disappears. As they race to unravel what happened, they realise every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
You can read Her's chat with Karen M. McManus here.
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavours of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.
Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm's length. Sophie in particular.
Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents' expectations, but lately she's finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favour her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don't know about.
If she can just hold out another few months, Rukhsana will be out of her familial home and away from her parents' ever-watchful eyes at Caltech, a place where she thinks she can finally be herself. But when she is caught kissing her girlfriend Ariana, her devastated parents take Rukhsana to Bangladesh, where everything she had been planning is out of reach.
There, immersed in a world of tradition and arranged marriages, Rukhsana finds the perspective she's been looking for in her grandmother's old diary. The only question left for her to answer is: Can she fight for the life she wants without losing her family in the process?
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.
But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC.
And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
The Art Of Losing by Lizzy Mason
On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston's life changes forever. At a party she discovers her younger sister, Audrey, hooking up with her boyfriend, Mike - and she abandons them both in a rage.
When Mike drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, he crashes and Audrey ends up in a coma. Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her ex-boyfriend (who is relatively unscathed) has a drinking problem.
So it's a surprise that she finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbour and childhood friend who's recently out of rehab and still wrestling with his own demons. At first Harley doesn't want to get too close to him. But as Audrey awakens and slowly recovers, Raf starts to show Harley a path forward that she never would have believed possible - one guided by honesty, forgiveness, and redemption.
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
It's the perfect idea for a romantic week together: travelling across America by train. But then Hugo's girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it's been booked under her name. Non-transferable, no exceptions.
Mae is still reeling from being rejected from USC's film school. When she stumbles across Hugo's ad for a replacement Margaret Campbell (her full name!), she's certain it's exactly the adventure she needs to shake off her disappointment and jump-start her next film.
A cross-country train trip with a complete stranger might not seem like the best idea. But to Mae and Hugo, both eager to escape their regular lives, it makes perfect sense. What starts as a convenient arrangement soon turns into something more. But when life outside the train catches up with them, can they find a way to keep their feelings for each other from getting derailed?
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago's life has been about making the tough decisions--doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela.
The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it's not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Briget Kemmerer
Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.
Harper's life has never been easy, but she's learned to be tough enough to survive. She won't let anything hold her back, not her cerebral palsy or her mother's deteriorating health.
But when she is sucked into Rhen's world, nothing is as it seems. Powerful forces are standing against Emberfalll ... and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.
Hope & Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum
Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.
Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.
Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?
Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change - there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up.
Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! Easier said than done.
She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination, one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic - the possibilities are endless.
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker
Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she's in therapy.
She can't count the number of times she's been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her "weird" outfits, and been told she's not "really" black. Also, she's spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there's that, too.
Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat--and it's telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?
Frankly In Love by David Yoon
Frank Li is a high school senior living in Southern California. Frank's parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank - he must only date Korean girls.
But he's got strong feelings for a girl in his class, Brit - and she's not Korean. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and knows her parents will never accept her Chinese American boyfriend, so they make a pact: they'll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.
Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love - or himself - at all.
The Waning Age by S.E. Grove
The time is now. The place is San Francisco. The world is filled with adults devoid of emotion and children on the cusp of losing their feelings--of "waning"--when they reach their teens.
Natalia Peña has already waned. So why does she love her little brother with such ferocity that, when he's kidnapped by a Big Brother-esque corporation, she'll do anything to get him back?
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Sentence comes a haunting story of one determined girl who will use her razor-sharp wits and, ultimately, her heart to fight killers, predators, and the world's biggest company to rescue her brother--and to uncover the shocking truth about waning.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson
Dino doesn't mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He's just not used to them talking back.
Until Dino's ex-best friend July dies suddenly--and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.
As Dino and July attempt to figure out what's happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.
Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Josie and Delia are best friends and co-hosts on their own public access TV show, Midnite Matinee. They dress as vampires Rayne and Delilah, perform daft skits involving skeleton raves and dog weddings, and show the weekly so-bad-it's-good low-budget horror movie. But the end of senior year is coming, and Josie is torn between pursuing her television dreams in a new city or staying making TV with her BFF.
What's more, she's just met a boy, Lawson, who is totally not her type, but is just a little bit intriguing . . . Meanwhile, Delia is searching for her dad, who walked out on her and her mom ten years ago. When the private investigator she hired unearths his contact details, she agonises over digging up the past.
A road trip to ShiverCon, a convention for horror filmmakers, may just have the answers the two need - but will Josie and Delia be prepared for life taking some seriously unexpected plot-twists?
What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman
Siblings Liv and Jory Brewer have grown up resenting each another. Liv--former pageant queen and reality TV star--was groomed for a life in the spotlight, while her older brother, Jory, born with a partial facial paralysis, was left in the shadows. The only thing they have in common is contempt for their parents.
But when their parents vanish - on the day of Liv's emancipation hearing, to boot - the pair soon find themselves as prime suspects and the siblings must work together to find out the truth.
What starts as a simple overnight road trip soon takes a turn for the dangerous and surreal. And as the duo speeds through the deserts of Nevada, brother and sister will unearth deep family secrets that force them to relive their pasts as they try to retain a grip on the present.
A good book can do just about anything; from taking you on a wild and fantastical adventure to making you feel like an all-knowing super sleuth (if you figure out the killer twist).
But what's good to read? Each week, #Bookmarked will help you out - with an insight into the best novels hitting shelves right now and other faves that everyone needs to read at least once in their lives.