2018 has come and gone, and with it all the wonderful novels we read along the way (although we’re never averse to a reread). We’ve read the final pages of Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi), Summer of Salt (Katrina Leno), A Court of Frost and Starlight (Sarah J. Maas), and so many more. We’ve written reviews, we’ve been inspired, and we’ve had our fair share of unforgettable moments from reading their pages. Now, we’ve added reading more to our New Years Resolution (a resolution we hope to share with many of our readers), and are beginning to compile our TBR (to-be-read) list for the year to come. Below are some of the young adult novels at the top of the list.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
2018 was all about discussing and celebrating Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, from seeing the well-received movie (based on the book) to including quotes from the novel on Tumblr posts and literature classes’ essays. 2019 will see Angie Thomas release her first novel since The Hate U Give, titled On the Come Up. The bookwill chronicle a teenage rapper as she tries to make it in the rapping world in order to express herself and bring her family out of poverty. Thomas hopes to pay homage to hip-hop and the important role’s its played in her life. If On the Come Up is anything like Thomas’s first novel, we’re sure that it will be rich with vivid imagery, immersed in the hip-hop culture, and offer a diverse perspective we hope to see more of in 2019. Released February 2, 2019.
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta
Sometimes a classic can be comforting, like the King Arthur fairytale we’ve read and seen portrayed in countless literary and film renditions (including the 2019 The Kid Who Would be King). However, what makes a truly captivating fractured fairytale is its ability to turn the known story on its head. This is exactly what it looks like Amy Rose Capetta aims to do with her upcoming novel, Once & Future. The novel stars Ari Helix, a space refugee who crash lands on Earth only to pull the magical Excalibur from its resting place, revealing her to be the latest reincarnation of the legendary King Arthur. She must then go on to defeat the oppressive government that is threatening the future of all of mankind. We love mashups of science fiction and fantasy, and we can’t wait to see what Capetta will do with this particular tale. Released March 19, 2019.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang is continuing to bring diversity and inclusivity to the YA romance genre with her upcoming novel, The Bride Test. The novel centers around Khai Diep, a young man who feels like his emotions are dysfunctional, even though he and his family understand that they are, in some part, a result of him being on the autism spectrum. In an effort to bring love into Khai’s life, his mother returns to Vietnam to bring back potential bride Esme Tran. Esme, who feels perpetually like a fish out of water due to her mixed-race heritage, is eager to pursue the relationship in hopes that it will help her family. However, she ends up falling for for Khai, even though she isn’t sure if he is failing for her. It is exciting to see complex, distinct stories like this being explored in young adult literature, which continues to lead the charge in welcoming all voices and perspectives into its community. We can’t wait to see how this romance will unfold. Released May 7, 2019.
Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza
For fans of realistic fiction integrated with pop culture and technology (think along the lines of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl) Fan the Fame looks to be a promising take on fandom culture and coming-of-age in the 21st century. Priemaza’s “sophomore” novel tells the story of three different teens: Lainey, SamTheBrave, and ShadowWillow, as the explore and grow in the world of streaming and videogames. Lainey faces the issue of confronting and dealing with her older brother, Codey’s, rampant sexism as he gains fame for his charming online gaming personality. SamTheBrave is hoping to get on Codey’s radar in order to get the big break he needs to become established in the videogame community. ShadowWillow is already a thriving online personality and has dealt with fans shipping her with Codey, but now she wants to turn the ship wars to her advantage. Overall, the novel seems to be nuanced dissection of online fame and feminism in the modern era. We’re excited to see Priemaza discuss relatable issues like how to deal with public figures’ poor behaviors, what it’s like to be both male and female (and anything in between) in the often-exclusive gaming world, and how sexism permeates throughout our society. Released August 20th, 2019.
There were so many other novels we wanted to include in this list, but what are your top anticipated reads of 2019? Add them to the comments below! Also, if you haven’t read the latest issue of the Passed Note, peruse it here. Happy 2019!