Our 10 Most-Anticipated YA Books of the Spring & Summer

Our 10 Most-Anticipated YA Books of the Spring & SummerMaybe I’m alone in this, but it seems like every year, right around January – March, I hit a book rut. There isn’t much new coming out that grabs my attention, and I end up attempting to decide what older books on my to-read list I feel like tackling. It has a tendency to leave me feeling like I’m reading “leftovers;” the stuff I was never super excited about but just mildly interested in, and it’s usually kind of depressing.

But good news, fellow book-lovers! March is here and there are all sorts of exciting new releases coming out this spring and summer to look forward to. Here’s a list of some of my most anticipated spring & summer YA book releases. Click through the titles to read more about each book on Goodreads, and get a peek at the current release date since some of these may be subject to change.

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Curse #3) by Marie Rutkoski | March 29, 2016

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This book series has been steadily building toward its third and final installment, which readers can finally dig into at the end of the month! Early reviews have been promising, and I’m excited to see how all the strategy and manipulation finally plays out for Kestrel and Arin.

 

When We Collided by Emery Lord | April 5

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I always enjoy Emery Lord’s contemporary fiction, which tends to lean into comedic territory. When We Collided sounds like it might be a bit heavier than Lord’s past work, but I’m intrigued by the mysterious blurb and am excited to see Lord branch out a bit with her writing style.

 

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | April 26

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Another series finale, this is perhaps my most-anticipated book of the spring. Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series has not missed a beat since page one of the first book, and she has built such a lovely world full of unique characters and atmospheric writing. I can’t wait to see how this ends, and how on earth Stiefvater addresses the Gansey situation!

 

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Adieh | April 26

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The Wrath and the Dawn was my annual winter book rut-breaker last year around this time, so of course I’m excited for the follow-up! Adieh set up such an interesting world that I’m excited to return to it. I’m a little worried about how magic is going to be handled in book 2 since it felt a little awkward in the first, but I’m optimistic that the magic plotline will smooth out now that the bones of the story have been set up.

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | May 3

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Morgan Matson is one of those authors who can really do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, so I can’t wait to read her next book! It doesn’t even really matter what it’s about – Matson handles teenage characters, relationships, and quirks so wonderfully that the plot details are just icing on the cake. Plus the cover is full of cute dogs! They know how to win me over.

 

 

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins (and many more) | May 17

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I have mixed feelings about these short story compilation books. On the one hand, it’s a nice way to get a nice little story from a favorite author without having to wait for them to write an entire book. On the other, I usually find myself wishing for a book more along the lines of Let It Snow, which features three short-ish stories instead of a dozen extremely short stories. It just gives me more time to settle in. However, that won’t stop me from devouring this immediately – I’m especially looking forward to reading the short story by Ms. Perkins herself. Give us a new full length book soon, Stephanie!

 

The Last Star (The Fifth Wave #3) by Rick Yancey | May 24

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I promise this is the last final book from a series on this list! But c’mon…The Fifth Wave series is full of action and twists and tension and suspense and, well, ALIENS! What’s not to love? I’m intrigued to see how a world that was in such disarray at the end of book 2 finds resolution…or does it?

 

The Darkest Magic (Spirits & Thieves #2) by Morgan Rhodes | June 28

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Last year I read The Book of Spirits & Thieves with zero context of Falling Kingdoms, its companion series. The story still managed to hook me, and that’s with some of my biggest book red flags: a map and a list of characters in front, a heavy reliance on magic for plot momentum, and a relationship to a book series I’ve never read. I’ve since dabbled into Falling Kingdoms and have no doubt Rhodes will keep me hooked with this book!

 

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | July 26

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Whether Kasie West is tackling sci-fi dystopia or contemporary romance, she does it with style. Her contemporary styles are usually light and adorable while still having depth and wit. P.S. I Like You sounds like it should fit right in, and with a mysterious secret admirer plot line, I fully expect to be hooked from the first sentence.

 

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir | August 30

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An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favorite books of 2015 – and probably my #1 favorite non-contemporary book of the year. The alternate universe spin on the Roman empire, the alternating perspectives between two amazing and conflicted characters, the unflinching ability to put those characters in the worst of situations without ever making the reader completely hopeless…it just all works, and the ambiguous ending makes me oh-so-glad another book is happening!

 

My most-anticipated books are part of series I enjoy or from my favorite authors, so I’m sure I missed lots of great ones that I just don’t know about! Let us know in the comments what YA books you’re most looking forward to this spring and summer!

Book Review: ‘An Ember in the Ashes’ by Sabaa Tahir

Ember002Fresh off the heels of the lovely The Wrath and the Dawn, which you’ll see my review for soon, I was lucky enough to pick up another fantastic, epic story – Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. With elements of fantasy, dystopia, romance, and plenty of action, the scope of this story is just huge, but I’ll do my best to give you an idea of what you can look forward to with this book.

There are two main perspectives in An Ember In The Ashes. First we meet Laia, a Scholar girl whose brother is taken by a group of Masks. The Masks are vicious, highly trained militia tasked with maintaining the power of the oppressive Martial Empire, and they are prepared for this role at Blackcliff, a school nestled in the heart of Scholar lands. Our other main character is Elias, who is nearing the end of his Mask training at Blackcliff. As graduation draws closer, he begins to question whether he can really live the life of a cruel, unfeeling Mask. To make matters more complicated, upon graduation Elias is required to compete in a horrible series of trials that will determine the next Martial Empire. When Laia takes on a Resistance mission to become a slave at Blackcliff in order to gather valuable intel in exchange for breaking her brother out of prison, she is thrown into an unfamiliar world where Elias becomes one of the few friendly faces.

And lest you think this is elaborate setup for an instalove story, take heart. Laia and Elias’s interactions are brief (but impactful), with most of the book focusing on their individual stories. Laia’s got it pretty rough, because she’s not just a slave – she’s the personal slave for Blackcliff’s commandant, who is possibly the most horrible woman ever to exist, fictional or otherwise. She takes pleasure in hurting others, and her lack of empathy is astounding. In any other environment, this woman would definitely be a serial killer. Laia is too busy just trying to stay alive (not to mention avoid being raped by the Masks-in-training who can assault her without consequence) to gather the intel she needs to save her brother. Meanwhile Elias is being forced to participate in horrible competitions that force him to kill his friends to keep himself alive, and he’s competing against his lifelong best friend, Helene, which understandably puts a strain on their relationship.

So basically, everything sucks for these two. And yet, An Ember in the Ashes is not unrelentingly depressing, because Laia and Elias are still good, and they bring out the good in others. You can understand why they feel a connection to each other and how that plays into the larger plot. Their character growth is believable and rewarding, and despite their weaknesses they are characters you want to root for. The story itself is so intricate – Tahir does an exceptional job of building this world and weaving together small plot threads into larger ones to make the book feel robust and fulfilling. There are a lot of pieces that only get a little attention here – they’re relevant to the story, but there’s a definite feeling that they can play a larger role should this book become a series.

I certainly hope it does. While An Ember in the Ashes could stand alone, there is just so much fantastic setup that it would be a shame to leave this world and these characters after one book. Despite having a high page count, not one second of this story drags, and even when I reached the ending I was wishing for more. I could find little things to nitpick here and there, but no book is perfect, and this one is exceptional so I don’t want to take away from that. Just read it now and thank me later, okay?

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