The Children’s Book Review | March 1, 2017
11 New Books for Teens
Are you looking for the next best new young adult novels? We have 11 March releases to share with you. Here’s what you’ll discover: A novel that celebrates finding your people, the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, an unforgettable story about autism, a warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging, a new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor, a haunting and heartbreaking novel, a thrilling YA pirate tale, and an impressive debut from a rising literary star.. Ready. Set. Read!
Written by Katie Bayerl
Publisher’s Synopsis: I’ll Give You the Sun meets True Detective in this brilliant YA debut about saints, sisters, and learning to let go.
Tess da Costa is a saint—a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official. Tess’s mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted—overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.
The fervor for Tess’s sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who’s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess’s shrines. It’s the final straw for Callie. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend Danny, Callie’s determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie’s investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for—a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana’s kidnapping. Told in alternating perspectives, A Psalm for Lost Girls is at once funny, creepy and soulful—an impressive debut from a rising literary star.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399545252
Written by Claire LaZebnik
Publisher’s Synopsis: An unforgettable story about autism, sisterhood, and first love that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Sophie Kinsella, and Sarah Dessen. New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things Julie Buxbaum raved: “I couldn’t put it down.”
Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.
Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544829695
Written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Friendships, family, grief, joy, rage, faith, doubt, poetry, and love—this complex and sensitive book has room for every aspect of growing up!”—Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor–Winning author of The Surrender Tree
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Clarion Books | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544586505
Written by Sara Lövestam
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Elegance of the Hedgehog meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Wonderful Feels Like This, a novel that celebrates being a little bit odd, finding your people, and the power of music to connect us.
For Steffi, going to school everyday is an exercise in survival. She’s never fit in with any of the groups at school, and she’s viciously teased by the other girls in her class. The only way she escapes is through her music―especially jazz music.
When Steffi hears her favorite jazz song playing through an open window of a retirement home on her walk home from school, she decides to go in and introduce herself.
The old man playing her favorite song is Alvar. When Alvar was a teenager in World War II Sweden, he dreamed of being in a real jazz band. Then and now, Alvar’s escape is music―especially jazz music.
Through their unconventional but powerful friendship, Steffi comes to realize that she won’t always be stuck and lonely in her town. She can go to music school in Stockholm. She can be a real musician. She can be a jitterbug, just like Alvar.
But how can Steffi convince her parents to let her go to Stockholm to audition? And how it that Steffi’s school, the retirement home, the music, and even Steffi’s worst bully are somehow all connected to Alvar? Can it be that the people least like us are the ones we need to help us tell our own stories?
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Flatiron Books | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1250095237
Written by Rachel Neumeier
Publisher’s Synopsis: Leigh Bardugo meets The Sixth Sense in this story of one girl’s perilous journey to restore a lost order.
Imagine you live with your aunt, who hates you so much she’s going to sell you into a dreadful apprenticeship. Imagine you run away before that can happen. Imagine that you can see ghosts—and talk with the dead. People like you are feared, even shunned.
Now imagine . . . the first people you encounter after your escape are a mysterious stranger and a ghost boy, who seem to need you desperately—though you don’t understand who they are or exactly what they want you to do. So you set off on a treacherous journey, with only a ghost dog for company. And you find that what lies before you is a task so monumental that it could change the world.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0553509328
Written by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you get started coding!
Fans of funny and inspiring books like Maya Van Wagenen’s Popular and Caroline Paul’s Gutsy Girl will love hearing about Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s journey from average teens to powerhouses. Through the success of their video game, Andy and Sophie got unprecedented access to some of the biggest start-ups and tech companies, and now they’re sharing what they’ve seen. Their video game and their commitment to inspiring young women have been covered by the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Teen Vogue, Jezebel, the Today show, and many more.
Get ready for an inside look at the tech industry, the true power of coding, and some of the amazing women who are shaping the world. Andy and Sophie reveal not only what they’ve learned about opportunities in science and technology but also the true value of discovering your own voice and creativity.
Ages 13+ | Publisher: HarperCollins | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0062472502
Written by Alice Oseman
Publisher’s Synopsis: From critically acclaimed author Alice Oseman comes a smartly crafted contemporary YA novel, perfect for readers who love Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. This is an utterly captivating and authentic new teen novel from the author of Solitaire, which VOYA said “could put her among the great young adult fiction authors.”
Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.
You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.
They don’t. They make a podcast.
In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?
Ages 13+ | Publisher: HarperTeen | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0062335715
Written by Jeff Zentner
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Looking for Alaska and for readers of author Jeff Zentner’s own The Serpent King, one of the most highly acclaimed YA debuts of 2016.
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. But now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a “goodbye day” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.
Soon the other families are asking for their own goodbye day with Carver—but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these goodbye days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | February 21, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0553524062
Written by Bill Konigsberg
Publisher’s Synopsis: Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s working steadily in his classes at the Natick School. He just got elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a full scholarship to college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg the past semester is in the past.
There’s Hannah, the gorgeous girl from the neighboring school, who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness Ben is noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else . . . and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.
Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Andrew Smith, and John Green, Honestly Ben is a smart, laugh-out-loud novel that will speak to anyone who’s struggled to be “honestly ____________” in some part of their lives.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0545858267
Written by Laini Taylor
Publisher’s Synopsis: A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.
Ages 15+ | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0316341684
Written by Sarah Cohen-Scali
Publisher’s Synopsis: Nazi Germany. 1936.
In the Lebensborn program, carefully selected German women are recruited by the Nazis to give birth to new members of the Aryan race. Inside one of these women is Max, literally counting the minutes until he is born and he can fulfill his destiny as the perfect Aryan specimen.
Max is taken away from his birth mother soon after he enters the world. Raised under the ideology and direction of the Nazi Party, he grows up without any family, without any affection or tenderness, and he soon becomes the mascot of the program. That is until he meets Lukas, a young Jewish boy whom he knows he is meant to despise. Instead, the friendship that blossoms changes Max’s world forever.
Translated from the original French, Sarah Cohen-Scali brings the details of the Lebensborn program to light in this haunting and heartbreaking novel.
Ages 15-18 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1626720718
What do you think of our selection of the best new young adult books from February 2017? 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.