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10 of the Best Young Adult Novels of January 2019

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It’s a new year packed full of fantastic Young Adult novels, and 2019 is kicking off with a serious bang. From one of our most anticipated novels of the year (because it’s a new book from Caleb Roehrig) to the start of exciting new series (Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves), there are so many books you’ll want to add to your shelves.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Release Date: January 8th from Bloomsbury YA

Why You’ll Love It: Two teens find themselves on different sides of a war to become Emperor? Count us in! This book has been pulling in the hype—with good reason.

For Fans of: Fantasy authors like Heidi Heilig and Sabaa Tahir.

Description: Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Release Date: January 8th from Delacorte Press

Why You’ll Love It: Karen M. McManus, the author of the New York Times bestselling phenomenon One of Us Is Lying, delivers another engrossing thriller brimming with secrets and betrayal in a small town.

For Fans of: Thriller authors like Caleb Roehrig and Stephanie Kuehn.

Description: Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age 17. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous—and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Release Date: January 8th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: Easily one of the most anticipated sequels of the year, The Wicked King is the second novel in Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series is here…and promises more excitement in the world of the Faerie.

For Fans of: Authors like Malinda Lo and Melissa Marr.

Description: After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world

Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Release Date: January 15th from Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: Emma Mills’ novels read like a hug. So if you’re looking for a YA romance to warm your heart, this is it.

For Fans of: Authors like Stephanie Perkins and Lauren Morrill.

Description: For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous 14 flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm’s length. Sophie in particular.

Country stars, revenge plots and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.

Firestarter by Tara Sim

Release Date: January 15th from Sky Pony Press

Why You’ll Love It: If you haven’t read the first two books in Tara Sim’s perfect Timekeeper trilogy, beware of spoilers ahead. Firestarter is the final book in the series, which is set in a world where giant clocks control time… and if one stops, so does the surrounding town. An alternate-history-paranormal-steampunk-romp, this series is a must-read Paste favorite. Buy all three and enjoy!

For Fans of: Genre-blending authors like Susan Dennard, and steampunk authors like Gail Carriger.

Description: The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause, or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan—to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes—Prague, Austria, India—nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: January 15th from Wednesday Books

Why You’ll Love It: A YA historical tale from the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen? Yes! Thrilling and gorgeous, The Gilded Wolves is another captivating book from one of YA’s most brilliant voices.

For Fans of: Authors YA historical novels like Lindsay Smith and Anne Blankman.

Description: Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig

Release Date: January 29th from Feiwel & Friends.

Why You’ll Love It: A new book from Paste favorite Caleb Roehrig! One of our most anticipated YA novels of 2019, Death Prefers Blondes is the entertaining story of a wealthy teen who moonlights as a thief. (You can read an exclusive excerpt here.)

For Fans of: Authors like Lamar Giles, or any heist movie ever.

Description: Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them—for good?

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: January 29th from Imprint

Why You’ll Love It: I mean, it’s a new duology set in the Grisha universe focusing on Nikolai. Leigh Bardugo continues to breathe new life into her lush fantasy world, and it’s impossible to resist reading every single one.

For Fans of: Fantasy authors like Susan Dennard and Sabaa Tahir.

Description: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Release Date: January 29th from Scholastic Press

Why You’ll Love It: A heartbreaking and hopeful novel about a teen girl ripped away from her home when her family catches her with her girlfriend, Sabina Khan’s new book is sure to break you down and put you back together again.

For Fans of: Authors like Aisha Saeed.

Description: Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Spin by Lamar Giles

Release Date: January 29th from Scholastic Press.

Why You’ll Love It: Lamar Giles is one of our favorite YA writers, and we celebrate every time he announces a new book. His latest YA (he also has a Middle Grade novel coming out this year) is another thriller following a teen DJ who is murdered and the lies amongst her former group of friends.

For Fans of: The backstabbing and betrayal found in books by Stephanie Kuehn.

Description: Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career—and life—has come to an untimely end, and the local music scene is reeling. No one is feeling the pain more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s chief groupie, Fuse. But suspicion trumps grief, and since each suspects the other of Paris’s murder, they’re locked in a high-stakes game of public accusations and sabotage.

Everyone in the ParSec Nation (DJ ParSec’s local media base)—including the killer—is content to watch it play out, until Kya and Fuse discover a secret: Paris was on the verge of major deal that would’ve catapulted her to superstar status on a national level, leaving her old life (and old friends) behind. With the new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that shows its deadly side. As Kya and Fuse come closer to the twisted truth, the killer’s no longer amused. But murdering Paris was simple enough, so getting rid of her nobody-friends shouldn’t be an issue…

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