The Children’s Book Review | February 27, 2018
9 New Books for Teens
In this list, you will discover 9 of the best young adult novels that release during the month of February. Here’s what you’ll discover: A fairy tale that will steal your heart, an unforgettable story of a first love that defines a lifetime, a stunning and engaging tribute to the diverse voices past and present that comfort us, a heartbreaking debut YA romance featuring a neuroatypical girl with a tragic history and the chronically ill boy trying to break the vault encasing her heart, an imaginative and heartfelt exploration of human—and non-human—nature, a portrait of teenage ambition, and laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate. Ready. Set. Read!
Written and Illustrated by Jen Wang
Publisher’s Synopsis: Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: First Second | February 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1626723634
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrated by Emily Carroll
Publisher’s Synopsis: The critically acclaimed, award-winning, modern classic Speak is now a stunning graphic novel.
“Speak up for yourself―we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless―an outcast―because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. With powerful illustrations by Emily Carroll, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel comes alive for new audiences and fans of the classic novel.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0374300289
Written by Timothée de Fombelle
Publisher’s Synopsis: In prose as magical and intricate as the tale it tells, Timothée de Fombelle delivers an unforgettable story of a first love that defines a lifetime.
Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translate the original French into a work both luminous and layered, enabling Timothée de Fombelle’s modern fairy tale to thrum with magic. Brimming with romance and history, mystery and adventure, this ode to the power of memory, storytelling, and love will ensnare any reader’s imagination and every reader’s heart.
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Candlewick | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763691264
Written by Naomi Shihab Nye
Publisher’s Synopsis: Acclaimed and award-winning poet, teacher, and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye’s uncommon and unforgettable voice offers readers peace, humor, inspiration, and solace. This volume of almost one hundred original poems is a stunning and engaging tribute to the diverse voices past and present that comfort us, compel us, lead us, and give us hope.
Voices in the Air is a collection of almost one hundred original poems written by the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye in honor of the artists, writers, poets, historical figures, ordinary people, and diverse luminaries from past and present who have inspired her. Full of words of encouragement, solace, and hope, this collection offers a message of peace and empathy.
Voices in the Air celebrates the inspirational people who strengthen and motivate us to create, to open our hearts, and to live rewarding and graceful lives. With short informational bios about the influential figures behind each poem, and a transcendent introduction by the poet, this is a collection to cherish, read again and again, and share with others. Includes an index.\
Ages 13+ | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | February 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062691842
Edited by Saundra Mitchell
Publisher’s Synopsis: Take a journey through time and genres to discover stories where queer teens live, love and shape the world around them.
Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.
From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Harlequin Teen | February 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1335470454
Written by A.J. Steiger
Publisher’s Synopsis: A heartbreaking debut YA romance featuring a neuroatypical girl with a tragic history and the chronically ill boy trying to break the vault encasing her heart.
Alvie Fitz doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t care. She’s spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy.
If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she’ll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she’ll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home.
All she wants is to be left alone to spend time with her friend, Chance, the one-winged hawk at the zoo where she works. She can bide her time with him until her emancipation. Humans are overrated anyway.
Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is—a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. But Alvie remembers what happened to the last person she truly cared about.
Her past stalks her with every step, and it has sharp teeth. But if she can find the strength to face the enemy inside her, maybe she’ll have a chance at happiness after all.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: HarperTeen | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062656476
Written by Leah Thomas
Publisher’s Synopsis: When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house.
Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cinematic beauty behind her eyelids. He spoke kindly to eight-year-old Milo. But then Luz left, too, and he took something from each of them. As a new school year begins, Hank, Ana, and Milo must carry on as if an alien presence never altered them. But how can they ever feel close to other people again when Luz changed everything about how they see the world and themselves?
In an imaginative and heartfelt exploration of human–and non-human–nature, Leah Thomas champions the unyielding bonds between family and true friends.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children | February 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681191812
Written by Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher’s Synopsis: A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.
“Fascinating and disturbing.” ―Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.
Ages 14-17 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | February 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0374305444
Written by Gloria Chao
Publisher’s Synopsis: An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.
With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Simon Pulse | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1481499101
*Header image from the cover of The Prince And The Dressmaker, written and Illustrated by Jen Wang (First Second, 2018)
What do you think of our selection of the best new young adult books from January 2018? Let us know in the comments section below. For more of the best new young adult books for teens, follow along with our articles tagged with New Books for Kids, Best Young Adult Books, and Books for Teens and Young Adults.