At the Sydney Writer’s Festival this year, I was lucky enough to attend TeenCon, an event where passionate YA readers could discover more fantastic stories to get stuck into. The event was a total success, with my TBR pile growing by a mile!
My favourite part of the event was the Read Now/Read Later discussion, where a selection of publishers let us know about the books currently available, and the books to keep an eye out for.
When We Collided – Emery Lord
Not only is the cover absolutely wonderful, but this is one of the cutest love stories I have ever read. Vivi is spending her summer in a small town, where she meets Jonah, a big-hearted boy with a lot of responsibility. Their worlds collide, and it makes for wonderful reading!
What I Saw – Beck Nicholas
Callie Jones is a good girl – she doesn’t want anything to go wrong with her scholarship. But then she finds herself witnessing a king hit which lands the town’s golden boy in a coma. She knows it wasn’t bad boy Rhett, but she doesn’t want to admit that she was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be. Will Callie come clean and tell the truth? What other secrets is she hiding?
The Things I Didn’t Say – Kylie Fornasier
Piper and West fall in love. Only Piper doesn’t speak. At all. Piper has selective mutism, and it is the focus on this misunderstood social anxiety disorder that makes this book so interesting. How does a romance survive when it is based on silence?
The Outliers – Kimberley McCreight
Wylie’s best friend, Cassie, is missing. Then she starts sending cryptic, terrifying texts. Together with Jasper, the boy who broke Cassie’s heart, Wylie follows her trail. But something is really wrong; there’s something Cassie isn’t telling them. This book will keep your heart in your throat through its many twists and turns.
The Special Ones – Em Bailey
This story is about a cult. Four teenagers in a remote farmhouse are the Special Ones. They play specific roles and follow rules dictated by ‘him’. Absolutely terrifying, and incredibly powerful, The Special Ones leaves you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.
Confused – Wanda Wiltshire
This is the third book in the Betrothed series, a mystical young adult about the Fae world. Amy Smith has always known she was different, and then a Faery Prince shows up in her dreams asking for her help to save his world.
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
The movie is coming out very very soon. Make sure you read this terrifyingly wonderful story before you see the film! Conor’s mother is sick, and the nightmares started shortly after her treatments did. The monster shows up, but it isn’t the one Conor was expecting. The story and its accompanying illustrations are absolutely wonderful, as are the messages they convey.
A Tangle of Gold – Jaclyn Moriarty
Jaclyn Moriarty’s Colours of Madeleine series is so lyrical! In this final book, the Kingdom of Cello is in crisis. Elliot is being held captive, and Colour storms are raging through the land. Plans are in place to bring the Royals home from the World, but then communications between Cello and the World must cease. Madeleine will lose Elliot forever.
Waer – Meg Caddy
A brilliant story playing on the tradition of werewolves. The Sencha family are waer: human, but also able to assume the form of a wolf. They keep themselves sequestered, free from persecution. But then Lowell finds a waer girl not from their community, and shortly afterwards blood-purist soldiers descend on the village. Lowell and the new girl are among the few to escape.
Ruined – Amy Tintera
Amy Tintera has written the fantastic zombie novels Reboot and Rebel. This is more fantasy than science fiction, but it is still incredibly addictive. We first meet Em, the main character, as she murders a foreign princess so to take her place in an arranged marriage. Ruined introduces a fantastic new world, and keeps a tight hold on the reader.
Thanks for the Trouble – Tommy Wallach
Tommy Wallach understands. His debut novel We All Looked Up was profound; Thanks for the Trouble is no different. Parker hasn’t spoken a word in five years. He skips school to hang out in hotels and watch the guests. His is an aimless existence. But when he meets Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be older than she looks, he discovers that there might be a few things worth living for.
Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige
This book is based on the story of ‘The Snow Queen’. I love fairytale retellings and I am so excited for this one! Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. And then one day a mysterious, handsome man opens a door – and Snow runs, finding herself in icy Algid, her true home, where secret after secret is revealed.
Threader – Rebekah Turner
Threader is set in a dystopian future, where a young minority have been exposed as talents – mutants with special gifts, such as super strength, or telepathy. Governments and corporations strive to take control, offering these young talents a better life…but at what cost?
And I Darken – Kiersten White
This vaguely historical fiction reimagines Transylvanian history, as though Vlad the Impaler were a girl, Lada Dracul. Bloodthirsty, but strangely loveable, Lada Dracul is my new fictional crush! The story crosses into the Ottoman sultan’s courts, where Lada and her brother are abandoned by their father. There they meet Mehmed, the sultan’s heir, who inspires loyalty in his zealousness both for his religion and for life.
Shield – Rachael Craw
This is the final book in the Spark series, a fascinating YA science fiction story. I can’t wait to see what happens with Evie and Jamie, even though I’m still a little bit cross about the ending to Stray! (But that’s even more reason to read it, right?!) Plus, the cover is AMAZING, and they all match so beautifully – their spines even make a picture when seen all together!
Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth made her mark with the Divergent series, but this looks even more exciting. Everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. Most people benefit from their currentgifts, but Akos and Cyra do not – their gifts make them vulnerable to control. Can they reclaim their lives, and reset the balance of power in their world?
The Riders of Thunder Realm – Steven Lochran
This book sounds like a cross between Jurassic Park and a western. Paladeros are cowboy-knights who herd dinosaurs during peacetime, but take up arms during war. Joss, together with his raptor Azof, wants to become a paladero but he must prove himself by going on a treacherous journey to retrieve a rare Questing Egg.
Raelia/Draekora – Lynette Noni
These two books continue the story which began in Lynette Noni’s Akarnae. Alexandra Jennings finds herself stranded in a fantasy world, Medora. There she attends Akarnae Academy, a boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. The last book might even have some dragons!
When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah
Michael’s dad has just created his own political party, focusing on white Australian values. Mina has come to Australia from Afghanistan via a detention centre. When they meet, they must both reevaluate their beliefs. An incredibly interesting story discussing important themes of racism and acceptance, with just a touch of romance.
The Road to Winter – Mark Smith
A deadly virus and violent riots have wiped out most of the community. Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his dog Rowdy for company. He has stayed alive for two winters, by avoiding the Wilders, a dangerous gang led by a ruthless man named Ramage. But then he meets Rose, an asylum seeker who has escaped enslavement by Ramage. She’s sick and needs Finn’s help. But Ramage wants her back – at any cost.
The Boundless Sublime – Lili Wilkinson
This is another cult story – after falling in love with The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, I predicted that they’d be the next big thing! They’re so thrilling and terrifying! Ruby Jane Galbraith befriends Fox, a gentle person who is also a member of the Institute of the Sublime. As Ruby is drawn to him, she discovers so much about the secretive community and finds it to be even scarier than she could have anticipated. A fascinating insight into the world of cults and brainwashing.
The Diabolic – S. J. Kincaid
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect Sidonia, a galactic senator’s daughter. When Sidonia is requested at the Galactic court to serve as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect her. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia, where she must hide her true abilities in a corrupt world. But can she find humanity where there is so little?