Happy New Year! New year = new books! Here are a few young adult releases for 2023 that I’m excited about!
What books are you most excited to read this year?
“This Book Kills” – Ravena Guron
There’s a murderer on the loose in an elite boarding school… But who is going to be next? This Book Kills is the deadliest YA thriller of 2023, perfect for fans of Holly Jackson and Karen McManus.
“I’ll make it clear from the start: I did not kill Hugh Henry Van Boren.
I didn’t even help. Well, not intentionally.”
When Hugh Henry Van Boren, one of the most popular and richest kids in Jess Choudhary’s school, is found dead, the student body is left reeling and wondering who the murderer could be… Jess, a student under strict instructions to keep her record clean or risk losing her scholarship, finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it’s revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story she wrote.
And then Jess receives an anonymous text thanking her for the inspiration.
With time running out, Jess knows if she doesn’t solve this mystery she’ll finally have something in common with Hugh Henry.
She’ll be dead too.
“Be With Me” – Jessica Cunsolo
Jessica Cunsolo’s With Me series continues with Jason and Jackson Parker who are all grown up now and ready to follow in their brother Aiden’s footsteps.
Sisters Siena and Gia Amato have just moved to King City. On their first night in town, Siena is almost run over by the devastatingly handsome Jason Parker who’s trying to evade arrest after getting caught drag-racing by the police. While the circumstances of their meeting are less than ideal, Siena can’t deny the instant attraction she feels for him—even if it goes against every one of her “good girl” instincts. When a classmate goes missing and Siena’s life is endangered, she and Jason are thrust together. Suddenly, the stakes are even higher, and more than their hearts are on the line.
Jessica Cunsolo’s trademark blend of romance and mystery will appeal to fans of Aiden and Amelia’s story as well as new readers.
“Live Your Best Lie” – Jessie Weaver
Sometimes the prettiest Instagram feeds hide the darkest—and bloodiest—secrets.
Social media influencer Summer Cartwright leads a charmed life: millions of followers, the trendiest designer and vintage clothing in her closet, a newly minted book deal, the coolest friends, and until recently, the hottest boyfriend at her über elite prep school. Every moment of her life has been carefully planned and cultivated to complement her “perfectly imperfect” online persona. She is truly #LivingHerBestLife.
But when Summer goes missing during her annual Halloween party and an unscheduled post appears on her feed claiming she’ll be dead in the next five minutes, those closest to Summer—her bestie, her ex-boyfriend, her frenemy, and her wannabe—know it isn’t a media stunt for attention. It’s not Summer’s brand. Something is wrong. When their investigation leads to Summer’s lifeless body, they’re forced to accept that she was murdered. And no filter is strong enough to mask the lies they tell themselves.
Told in multiple POVs interspersed with social media posts and flashbacks, Live Your Best Lie has twists and turns that will keep readers turning the page and no one will be able to guess the ending.
“Spice Road”” (Spice Road Trilogy #1) – Maiya Ibrahim
The first book in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, seventeen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother whose betrayal is now their greatest threat.
In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.
Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation’s coveted spice – a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.
But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city’s location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.
Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes – and in her own heart – but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?
In this epic and action-packed fantasy, one young heroine navigates the treacherous road between protecting the ones you love and staying loyal to the place you call home.
“Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling” – Elise Bryant
Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?
“Going Dark” – Melissa de la Cruz
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz comes a ripped-from-the-headlines new adult mystery about all the missing girls who fall off the radar…
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend.
Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him?
To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper wonders: who is Amelia Ashley?
The Other Girl
Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…
“This One’s for You” – Kate Sweeney
A gorgeous contemporary romance about two ex-best friends, Cass and Syd, on a life-altering road trip following the reunion tour of the Darlas—the band Cass’s mom was in when she died. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour, Mary H.K. Choi, and Jandy Nelson.
After their high school graduation, former best friends Cass and Syd are gearing up for their futures. Cass has planned to go to college to become an engineer, while Syd—despite the fact that her family thinks she’s messed up her whole life—has lined up a sound internship at a historic music venue.
But Cass is keeping secrets. Though his dad has forbidden it, Cass has been playing music, taking trips to San Francisco BART stations to play and make money. Somehow, it’s become a way for Cass to connect with his mother—who was also a musician—who died in a drunk driving accident on the way back from a gig when he was one.
But after Syd catches Cass playing at the BART station, and Cass finds out his mom’s old band the Darlas is going on a reunion tour, everything changes. On impulse, Cass invites Syd to the first Darlas show, and without telling anyone, they make a break for it. Turning one show into a cross-country journey, the two former friends throw away all their plans for the future and embark on a life-altering road trip following the tour, keeping it a secret from their friends and family.
Along the way, they’ll untangle the messy threads of how they became “ex”-best friends, experience the power of nature and music, and decide what they really want their lives to be. Maybe, through it all, Cass and Syd can find a way back to each other, too.
“Royal Blood” (Royal Blood #1) – Aimée Carter
An American girl becomes the British Monarchy’s greatest nightmare in this thrilling new series where royal scandals just got deadlier.
As the King of England’s illegitimate daughter, 17-year-old Evan Bright knows a thing or two about keeping secrets.
But when she’s forced to spend the summer in London with her father and the royal family, who aren’t exactly thrilled she exists, her identity is mysteriously revealed, and suddenly the world is dying to know every juicy lie the press prints about her.
After a fun night turns deadly and Evan becomes the primary suspect in a murder investigation, the escalating rumors and fallout threaten to tear her life apart. As she fights to uncover the truth about what happened, she discovers royal secrets that are even more scandalous than she imagined – secrets that could change the monarchy forever.
And her own may be next.
“I Will Find You Again” – Sarah Lyu
All the Bright Places meets Ace of Spades in this smart, twisty teen thriller about a girl who can’t stop pushing herself to be the best—even after losing her best friend and the love of her life.
Welcome to Meadowlark, Long Island—expensive homes and good schools, ambition and loneliness. Meet Chase Ohara and Lia Vestiano: the driven overachiever and the impulsive wanderer, the future CEO and the free spirit. Best friends for years—weekend trips to Montauk, sleepovers on a yacht—and then, first love. True love.
But when Lia disappears, Chase’s life turns into a series of grim snapshots. Anger. Grief. Running. Pink pills in an Altoids tin. A cheating ring at school. Heartbreak and lies. A catastrophic secret.
And the shocking truth that will change everything about the way Chase sees Lia—and herself.
“The Witch and the Vampire” – Francesca Flores
Francesca Flores’s The Witch and the Vampire is a queer Rapunzel retelling where a witch and a vampire who trust no one but themselves must journey together through a cursed forest with danger at every turn.
Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. Until one night two years ago, vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town, and in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed, and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped in her house. Her mother Eugenia needs her: Ava still has her witch powers, and Eugenia must take them in order to hide that she’s a vampire as well. Desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother’s plans to destroy the town, Ava must break out, flee to the forest, and seek help from the vampires who live there. When there is another attack, she sees her opportunity and escapes.
Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship, and the romantic feelings she’d started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.
But with monstrous trees that devour humans whole, vampires who attack from above, and Ava’s stepfather tracking her, the woods are full of danger. As they travel deeper into the forest, Kaye questions everything she thought she knew. The two are each other’s greatest threat—and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the forest unscathed.
“the quiet and the loud” – Helena Fox
A heartbreaking, hopeful, and timely novel about holding too tight to family secrets, healing from trauma, and falling in love, from the award-winning author of How It Feels to Float
George’s life is loud. On the water, though, with everything hushed above and below, she is steady, silent. Then her estranged dad says he needs to talk, and George’s past begins to wake up, looping around her ankles, trying to drag her under.
But there’s no time to sink. George’s best friend, Tess, is about to become, officially, a teen mom, her friend Laz is in despair about the climate crisis, her gramps would literally misplace his teeth if not for her, and her moms fill the house with fuss and chatter. Before long, heat and smoke join the noise as distant wildfires begin to burn.
George tries to stay steady. When her father tells her his news and the memories roar back to life, George turns to Calliope, the girl who has just cartwheeled into her world and shot it through with colors. And it’s here George would stay—quiet and safe—if she could. But then Tess has her baby, and the earth burns hotter, and the past just will not stay put.
A novel about the contours of friendship, family, forgiveness, trauma, and love, and about our hopeless, hopeful world, Helena Fox’s gorgeous follow-up to How It Feels to Float explores the stories we suppress and the stories we speak—and the healing that comes when we voice the things we’ve kept quiet for so long.
“Lying in the Deep” – Diana Urban
A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist.
After being jilted by her ex-boyfriend and best friend, Jade couldn’t be more ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—11 countries in 4 months, all from the luxurious Campus on Board ship—and to wedge an entire globe between her and the people who broke her heart.
But when Jade discovers the backstabbing couple are also setting sail, her obsession with them grows and festers, leading to a shocking murder. And as their friends begin to drop like flies, Jade and her new crush must race to clear her name and find the killer they’re trapped at sea with….before anyone else winds up in body bags.
Perfect for readers of Natalie D. Richards, E. Lockhart, and Karen McManus!
“Imogen, Obviously” – Becky Albertalli
With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestseller Becky Albertalli explores the nuances of sexuality, identity, and friendship.
Imogen Scott may be hopelessly heterosexual, but she’s got the World’s Greatest Ally title locked down.
She’s never missed a Pride Alliance meeting. She knows more about queer media discourse than her very queer little sister. She even has two queer best friends. There’s Gretchen, a fellow high school senior, who helps keep Imogen’s biases in check. And then there’s Lili—newly out and newly thriving with a cool new squad of queer college friends.
Imogen’s thrilled for Lili. Any ally would be. And now that she’s finally visiting Lili on campus, she’s bringing her ally A game. Any support Lili needs, Imogen’s all in.
Even if that means bending the truth, just a little.
Like when Lili drops a tiny queer bombshell: she’s told all her college friends that Imogen and Lili used to date. And none of them know that Imogen is a raging hetero—not even Lili’s best friend, Tessa.
Of course, the more time Imogen spends with chaotic, freckle-faced Tessa, the more she starts to wonder if her truth was ever all that straight to begin with. . .
“They Hate Each Other” – Amanda Woody
Jonah and Dylan get along like oil and water. Until a fake dating ploy gives them new perspective, and they realize that “falling for your enemy” isn’t as impossible as it seems.
There are plenty of words Jonah Collins could use to describe Dylan Ramírez. “Arrogant,” “spoiled,” and “golden boy” to name a few. Likewise, Dylan thinks he has Jonah accurately labeled as an attention-seeking asshat who never shuts his filthy mouth. Their friends are convinced Jonah’s and Dylan’s disdain for one another is just thinly veiled lust—a rumor that surges like wildfire when the two wake up in one bed after homecoming. Mutually horrified, Dylan and Jonah agree to use the faux pas to their advantage by fake dating. If they can stay convincing long enough to end their “relationship” in a massive staged fight, they can prove their incompatibility to their friends once and for all. But the more time they spend together, the more their plan begins to fall apart—and the closer they come to seeing each other clearly for the first time.
“Venom & Vow” – Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliot McLemore
Keep your enemy closer.
Cade McKenna is a transgender prince who’s doubling for his brother.
Valencia Palafox is a young dama attending the future queen of Eliana.
Gael Palma is the infamous boy assassin Cade has vowed to protect.
Patrick McKenna is the reluctant heir to a kingdom, and the prince Gael has vowed to destroy.
Cade doesn’t know that Gael and Valencia are the same person.
Valencia doesn’t know that every time she thinks she’s fighting Patrick, she’s fighting Cade.
And when Cade and Valencia blame each other for a devastating enchantment that takes both their families, neither of them realizes that they have far more dangerous enemies.
Cowritten by married writing team Anna-Marie and Elliott McLemore, this is a lush and powerful YA novel about owning your power and becoming who you really are – no matter the cost.
“Always isn’t Forever” – J.C. Cervantes
From New York Times bestselling author J.C. Cervantes comes a sparkling, unforgettable YA romance, perfect for fans of You’ve Reached Sam.
Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.
Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life—instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.
When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.
Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson—but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?
“The Prince & the Apocalypse” – Kara McDowell
An American teen stranded in London is forced to team up with the British crown prince if she wants to make it back home before the end of the world in this delightfully rompy high-stakes rom-com.
Wren Wheeler has flown five thousand miles across the ocean to discover she’s the worst kind of traveler: the kind who just wants to go home. Her senior-year trip to London was supposed to be life-changing, but by the last day, Wren’s perfectly-planned itinerary is in tatters. There’s only one item left to check off: breakfast at The World’s End restaurant. The one thing she can still get right.
The restaurant is closed for renovations—of course—but there’s a boy there, too. A very cute boy with a posh British accent who looks remarkably like the errant Prince Theo, on the run from the palace and his controlling mother. When Wren helps him escape a pack of tourists, the Prince scribbles down his number and offers her one favor in return. She doesn’t plan to take him up on it—until she gets to the airport and sees cancelled flights and chaos. A comet is approaching Earth, and the world is ending in eight days. Suddenly, that favor could be her only chance to get home to her family before the end of the world.
Wren strikes a bargain with the runaway prince: if she’ll be his bodyguard from London to his family’s compound in Santorini, he can charter her a private jet home in time to say goodbye. Traveling through Europe by boat, train, and accidentally stolen automobile, Wren finds herself drawn to the dryly sarcastic, surprisingly vulnerable Theo. But the Prince has his own agenda, one that could derail both their plans. When life as they know it will be over in days, is it possible to find a happy ending?
“The Narrow” by Kate Alice Marshall
A ghost haunting her boarding school uncovers a teen girl’s best kept secrets in the Queen of Scream’s deliciously terrifying new novel.
Everyone has heard the story of the Narrow. The river that runs behind the Atwood School is only a few feet across and seemingly placid, but beneath the surface, the waters are deep and vicious. It’s said that no one who has fallen in has ever survived.
Eden White knows that isn’t true. Six years ago, she saw Delphine Fournier fall into the Narrow–and live.
Delphine now lives in careful isolation, sealed off from the world. Even a single drop of unpurified water could be deadly to her, and no one but Eden has any idea why. Eden has never told anyone what she saw or spoken to Delphine since, but now, unable to cover her tuition, she has to make a deal: her expenses will be paid in return for serving as a live-in companion to Delphine.
Eden finds herself drawn to the strange and mysterious girl, and the two of them begin to unravel each other’s secrets. Then Eden discovers what happened to the last girl who lived with Delphine: she was found half-drowned on dry land. Suddenly Eden is waking up to wet footprints tracking to the end of her bed, the sound of rain on the windows when the skies are clear, and a ghostly silhouette in her doorway. Something is haunting Delphine–and now it’s coming for Eden, too.
“Everyone Wants to Know” – Kelly Loy Gilbert
This ripped-from-the-tabloids young adult drama by the critically acclaimed author Kelly Loy Gilbert about a girl’s famous-for-being-famous family fracturing from within as their dirty laundry gets exposed.
The Lo family sticks together. That’s what Honor has been told her whole life while growing up in the glare of the public eye on Lo and Behold, the reality show about her, her four siblings, and their parents.
Their show may be off the air, but the Lo family members still live in the spotlight as influencers churning out podcasts, bestselling books, and brand partnerships. So when Honor’s father announces that he’s moving out of their northern California home to rent an apartment in Brooklyn, Honor’s personal upset becomes the internet’s trending B-list celebrity trainwreck—threatening the aspirational image the Los’ brand (and livelihood) depends on.
After one of her best friends leaks their private conversation to a gossip site, bruised and betrayed Honor pours all her energy into reuniting her family. With her parents 3,000 miles apart, her siblings torn into factions, and all of them under claustrophobic public scrutiny, this is easier said than done. Just when Honor feels at her lowest, a guarded yet vulnerable boy named Caden comes into her life and makes her want something beyond the tight Lo inner circle for the first time. But is it fair to open her heart to someone new when the people she loves are teetering on the edge of ruin?
As increasingly terrible secrets come to light about the people Honor thought she knew best in the world, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to her family and fighting for the life she wants.
“Just Do This One Thing For Me” – Laura Zimmermann
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and sneaky suspenseful, Just Do This One Thing for Me is a timely novel about a rule-following daughter trying to hold her family together after her scammer mother disappears.
“Just do this one thing for me.” Drew’s mother says it more often than good morning. Heidi Hill has been juggling shady side hustles for all of Drew’s seventeen years, and Drew knows that “one thing” really means all the necessary things her mother thinks are boring, including taking care of her fifteen-year-old sister and eight-year-old brother. In fact, Drew is the closest thing to a responsible adult they’ve ever known. When their mother disappears on the way to a New Year’s Eve concert in Mexico and her schemes start unraveling, Drew is faced with a choice: Follow the rules, do the responsible thing, and walk away–alone–from her mother’s mess. Or hope the weather stays cold, keep the cons going, and just maybe hold her family together.
“Suddenly a Murder” – Lauren Muñoz
Seven friends throw a 1920s-themed party, where it’s all pretend–until one of them is murdered. One of Us Is Lying meets Knives Out in this killer locked-room mystery.
Someone brought a knife to the party.
To celebrate the end of high school, Izzy Morales joins her ride-or-die Kassidy and five friends on a 1920s-themed getaway at the glamorous Ashwood Manor. There, Izzy and her friends party in vintage dresses and expensive diamonds–until Kassidy’s boyfriend turns up dead.
Murdered, investigators declare when they arrive at the scene, and now every party guest is a suspect. There’s the girlfriend, in love. The other girl, in despair. The old friend, forlorn. The new friend, distressed. The brooding enigma. And then, there’s Izzy–the girl who brought the knife.
To find the killer, everyone must undergo a grueling interrogation, all while locked in an estate where, suddenly, the greatest luxury is innocence.