The Children’s Book Review | May 3, 2017
13 New Books for Teens
Are you looking for the next best new young adult novels? We have 13 May young adult book releases to share with you. Here’s what you’ll discover: An action-packed YA adventure, a heart-clutching reminder of what it’s like to fall in love, a powerful exploration of a little-known tragedy, the YA rom-com everyone’s talking about, a funny young adult novel about a Korean-American girl, and so much more.
Written by Frances Hardinge
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell’s expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Amulet Books | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419724848
Written by Renée Ahdieh
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399171635
Written by Zan Romanoff
Publisher’s Synopsis: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty in this contemporary YA about what it means to be a fan—and what it means to be a friend—when your whole world is in flux.
In middle school, everyone was a Fever Dream fan. Now, a few weeks after her high school graduation, Grace Thomas sometimes feels like the only one who never moved on. She can’t imagine what she’d do without the community of online fans that share her obsession. Or what her IRL friends would say if they ever found out about it.
Then, one summer night, the unthinkable happens: Grace meets her idol, Jes. What starts out as an elusive glimpse of Fever Dream’s world turns into an unlikely romance, and leads her to confront dark, complex truths about herself and the realities of stardom.
From the author of A Song to Take the World Apart, Grace and the Fever is a heart-clutching reminder of what it’s like to fall in love—whether it’s with a boy or a boy band—and how difficult it is to figure out who you are after you’ve fallen out of love again.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1524720841
Written by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Publisher’s Synopsis: Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael.
Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart — and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents’ politics seem much more complicated.
Mina has had a long and dangerous journey fleeing her besieged home in Afghanistan, and now faces a frigid reception at her new prep school, where she is on scholarship. As tensions rise, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Scholastic Press | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1338118667
Written by Riley Redgate
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.
Ages 13+ | Publisher: Amulet Books | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419723735
Written by Tonya Bolden
Publisher’s Synopsis: When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they join Sherman’s march through Georgia. Mariah wants to believe that the brutalities of slavery are behind them, but even as hope glimmers, there are many hardships yet to come. When she meets a free black named Caleb, Mariah dreams in a way she never dared . . . of a future worth living and the possibility of true love. But even hope comes at a cost, and as the difficult march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah’s dreams are as vulnerable as ever.
In this powerful exploration of a little-known tragedy perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys, readers will never forget the souls of Ebenezer Creek.
Ages 13+ | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1599903194
Written by Emery Lord
Publisher’s Synopsis: Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids-Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord’s storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges.
Ages 13+ | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1619639584
Written by Sandhya Menon
Publisher’s Synopsis: The YA rom-com everyone’s talking about! As seen in Teen Vogue, Bustle, and BookRiot—with a starred review from Kirkus Reviews—When Dimple Met Rishi follows two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Simon Pulse | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481478687
Written by Rachel Cohn
Publisher’s Synopsis: Last Call at Happies! Tonight, 8 P.M. Senior Class Only! Please with the Shhhh .
This is it. Graduation. And Vic Navarro is throwing the most epic party Rancho Soldado has ever seen. She’s going to pull off the most memorable good-bye ever for her best friends, give Happies-the kitschy restaurant that is her desert town’s claim to fame-a proper send-off into bankruptcy, and oh yes, hook up with her delicious crush, Jake Zavala-Kim. She only needs to keep the whole thing a secret so that her archnemesis, Miss Ann Thrope, Rancho Soldado’s nightmare Town Councilwoman and high school Economics teacher, doesn’t get Vic tossed in jail.
With the music thumping, alcohol flowing, bodies mashing, and Thrope nowhere to be seen, Vic’s party is a raging success. That is, until Happies fans start arriving in droves to say good-bye, and storm the deserted theme park behind the restaurant. Suddenly what was a small graduation bash is more like Coachella on steroids with a side of RASmatazz pie. The night is so not going as planned. And maybe that’s the best plan of all.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1423157229
Written by Laurie Forest
Publisher’s Synopsis: A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.
Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.
When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Harlequin Teen | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0373212316
Written by Francesca Zappia
Publisher’s Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.
Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0062290137
Written by Maurene Goo
Publisher’s Synopsis: A funny young adult novel about a Korean-American girl who uses K-Drama techniques to snag the boyfriend of her dreams.
Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and never had a B. But in her charmed school life, there’s one thing missing―she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a known disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet. When the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides it’s time to tackle her flirting failures. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has watched obsessively for years―in which the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos. All’s fair in love and Korean dramas, right? But when the fun and games turn to feelings, Desi finds out that real-life love is about way more than just drama. Maurene Goo’s I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE is a fun, heartwarming story of falling in love―for real.
Ages 14-18 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0374304041
Written by Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated by Alex Puvilland
Publisher’s Synopsis: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.
The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone’s twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death―or worse.
When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits―and it seems to be calling Addison’s name.
Ages 15-19 | Publisher: First Second | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1596439368
*Header image from the cover of Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden
What do you think of our selection of the best new young adult books from May 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.