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Best New Books for Teens | September 2016

The Children’s Book Review | September 1, 2016

13 New Young Adult Novels

We’ve picked 13 new books for teens that we feel highlight the best of the many young adult books that release this month. You’ll find an intense memoir, breathtaking installments to some epic series, a poignant debut novel, a coming-of-age tale that includes salsa dancing, and a stunning story of friendship and first love.

Every Falling Star- The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North KoreaEvery Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea

Written by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Publisher’s Synopsis: Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

Ages 12+ | Publisher: Amulet Books | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419721328

Going Geek by Charlotte HuangGoing Geek

Written by Charlotte Huang

Publisher’s Synopsis: A girl returns to her exclusive east coast boarding school and finds that she’s no longer one of the cool kids on campus in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

Ages 12+ | Publisher: Delacorte Press | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553539431

The Fever Code by James DashnerThe Fever Code

Written by James Dashner

Publisher’s Synopsis: All will be revealed in the fifth book in James Dashner’s #1 New York Times   bestselling Maze Runner series. This is the story that fans all over the world have been waiting for—the story of how Thomas and WICKED built the Maze. You will not want to miss it.

Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

A prequel to the worldwide Maze Runner phenomenon, The Fever Code is the book that holds all the answers. How did WICKED find the Gladers? Who are Group B? And what side are Thomas and Teresa really on? Lies will be exposed. Secrets will be uncovered. Loyalties will be proven. Fans will never see the truth coming. Before there was the Maze, there was The Fever Code.

Don’t miss The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, now major motion pictures from Twentieth Century Fox, starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, and Aidan Gillen. And look for James Dashner’s new bestselling series the Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of MindsThe Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives.

Ages 12+ | Publisher: Delacorte Press | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553513097

Six of Crows- Crooked Kingdom- Book 2 Written by Leigh Bardugo

 Six of Crows: Crooked Kingdom: Book 2

Written by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher’s Synopsis: The highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1627792134

Enter a Glossy Web Written by McKenna RuebushEnter a Glossy Web

Written by McKenna Ruebush

Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old George has no idea what to expect when she’s sent to stay with eccentric relatives following the disappearance of her brother. Soon after her arrival, she learns that Uncle Constantine has been kidnapped. George sets off to recover him and is joined by two orphaned boys along the way and Cavendish, a talking map. Together they visit magical worlds full of monsters, witches, and dragons as they attempt to find Constantine–the Timekeeper–a man of great significance. If he’s not rescued, events will cease to happen at their designated times, disrupting the unfolding of the universe. Can this ragtag crew save the future before being outwitted by evil captors?

Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1627793704

The Memory of ThingsThe Memory of Things

Written by Gae Polisner

Publisher’s Synopsis: On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows, covered in ash, and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a NYC detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain―it tells a story of hope.

Ages 12-18 | Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1250095527

Empire of Storms A Throne of GlassEmpire of Storms: Throne of Glass

Written by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher’s Synopsis: Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas’s epic fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what — and who — to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1619636071

Phantom LimbsPhantom Limbs

Written by Paula Garner

Publisher’s Synopsis: How do you move on from an irreplaceable loss? In a poignant debut, a sixteen-year-old boy must learn to swim against an undercurrent of grief—or be swept away by it.

Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Candlewick | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763682057

The Cat King of HavanaThe Cat King of Havana

Written by Tom Crosshill

Illustrated by Mia Nolting

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lolcats. Salsa dancing. Unrequited love. Tom Crosshill’s smart and witty debut teen novel treads a colorful coming-of-age journey from New York City to Havana that will appeal to fans of books by Matthew Quick and Junot Díaz.

When Rick Gutiérrez—known as “That Cat Guy” at school—gets dumped on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom instead of experiencing the real world, he realizes it’s time for a change. So Rick joins a salsa class . . . because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. He might be half Cuban, but Rick dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.

Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062422835

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species

Written by Mindy McGinnis

Publisher’s Synopsis: Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and riveting contemporary YA novel that blends the unflinching honesty of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak with the relentless pacing and alternating perspectives of Gone Girl. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | September 20, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062320896

Afterward by Jennifer MathieuAfterward

Written by Jennifer Mathieu

Publisher’s Synopsis: A tragic kidnapping leads to an unlikely friendship in this novel about finding light in the midst of darkness from the author of The Truth About Alice.

When eleven-year-old Dylan Anderson is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of fifteen-year-old Ethan Jorgensen, who had gone on a bike ride four years earlier and had never been seen again. Dylan’s older sister, Caroline, can’t help but wonder what happened to her brother, who has nonverbal autism and is not adjusting well to life back home. There’s only one person who knows the truth: Ethan. But Ethan isn’t sure how he can help Caroline when he is fighting traumatic memories of his own captivity. Both Caroline and Ethan need a friend, however, and their best option just might be each other.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13:  978-1626722385

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) by Traci CheeSea of Ink and Gold: The Reader

Written by Traci Chee

Publisher’s Synopsis: A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

Ages 12+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399176777

Kids of Appetite by David ArnoldKids of Appetite

Written by David Arnold

Publisher’s Synopsis: The bestselling author of Mosquitoland brings us another batch of unforgettable characters in this tragicomedy about first love and devastating loss.

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | September 20, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451470782

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.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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