Most Anticipated YA Books of 2018

It’s list time again! 2018 promises to be another great year of reading, and I’ve pulled together 15 of my most anticipated novels of the year (plus a few bonus titles at the end). The first set includes new standalones or series starters, and the second set contains books from ongoing series. And as always, the list is in alphabetical order and doesn’t contain books I acquired (even though I can’t wait for those!).

Whether you’re a contemporary, fantasy, mystery, or historical reader, you’re sure to find something to add to your TBR list!

New Standalones or Series

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/30238163-ace-of-shades 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/35604686-the-astonishing-color-of-after

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/23197837-the-belles

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/34728667-children-of-blood-and-bone

Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/31207017-love-hate-other-filters

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/34817232-olivia-twist

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/33294200-the-poet-x

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/17312156-tempests-and-slaughter

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/35604682-tyler-johnson-was-here

***

Ongoing Series

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White (The Conquerer’s Saga #3)

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/22817368-bright-we-burn

Catwoman: Soul Stealer by Sarah J. Maas (DC Icons #3)

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/29749098-catwoman

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/29739428-hero-at-the-fall

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (The Lady Janies #2)

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/36301023-my-plain-jane

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir (Ember in the Ashes #3)

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/30809786-a-reaper-at-the-gates

Sightwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #0.5)

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/35481848-sightwitch

 

And don’t forget…

These books don’t yet have their covers (or maybe even their titles), but I also can’t wait for…

  • For A Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  • Sea of Ink and Gold #3 by Traci Chee
  • Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas
  • What Goes Up by Wen Baragrey*
    • *Technically this is MG, but it’s an awesome crossover with the best, quirkiest characters

Favorite Books of 2017…Part 2

I know it’s not quite the end of the year yet, but my reading pace drastically slows in December with the craziness of the holidays. (I do reserve the right to add more books to this list if I can fit one or two more great reads in before December 31!) Somehow 2017 is nearly over, and I’m celebrating the arrival of 2018 with my favorite books of 2017…part 2. (If you missed part 1, check it out here: Favorite Books of 2017…So Far.)

A reminder on the rules of this particular list:

  • Not all of these came out in 2017. Some came out a while ago and I am just behind on my TBR pile! *Shame*
  • Books are listed in alphabetical order and not ranked order. Choosing favorites of the favorites is too hard!
  • None of these are books I have edited, since obviously I love my babies the most.
  • And finally, these are all YA novels because, well, I’m a YA editor. (And Peter Pan. Who needs grown-up books? Okay, maybe grown-ups.)

Here we go!

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

A fantasy based on the city of Gomorrah in traveling circus form? With a girl who creates real life illusions to be her friends and family? And a villain who is killing them off even though they aren’t supposed to be real? UM, SIGN ME UP. This book is dark and twisty and so very unique. I highly recommend to anyone looking to read something fresh and different in the YA fantasy world. (Also, who else is pumped for Amanda’s upcoming Ace of Shades?!?!)

The Girl From Everywhere / The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

 

I do realize I’m counting two books as one here, but that’s okay because this is a fantastic duology. I was a little late getting around to The Girl from Everywhere because I felt time-traveled out, but Heidi Heilig does an incredible job of twisting time-travel tropes on their heads and creating a world that feels both familiar and magical. I instantly connected with her characters and loved the lush, beautiful settings (real or imagined) for both these books. She also has a new book coming in 2018! *happy dance*

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

I devoured this book in four sittings (or technically two sittings and two treadmillings because a girl’s gotta exercise). I’ll say this up front: Hanneke is a complex character. She’s not the type of heroine who always makes the right choice or who is unerringly brave and selfless. She’s the type of heroine who feels real, whose struggles and emotional conflicts are the same ones many of us would have if we were in her shoes. This is a artfully woven mystery, a haunting depiction of WWII, and a true coming of age story.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Not gonna lie…I was skeptical about this one. It’s ToG but not with my favorite ToG characters, and spinoff novels haven’t always been my cup of tea. (I was also having A Feast for Crows flashbacks.) But I should never have doubted the flawless SJM, because once again, she delivered. New worlds, new characters, new story lines…I had to sequester myself for a full weekend to read this beauty uninterrupted. AND THE REVEAL ABOUT ONE OF THE CHARACTERS FROM ToG!!! AAAAHHHH!!!

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins is a master of the family narrative, and the women you meet in this novel are a testament to her skill of developing nuanced, multifaceted characters who refuse to be put in a box. This was the type of book where I laughed, cried, and learned, all while enjoying a beautiful story. I also think You Bring the Distant Near might be the most gorgeous book title in all of existence and would be willing to fight you if you disagree.


As of 12/7/17, those are the 2017 favorites! I’ll be sure to let y’all (y’all? I’m not southern) know if I add more. One can never have too many book recommendations! (Says the girl who owns 5 very precariously full bookshelves and hoards the rest of her treasure trove in her childhood home where there are even more shelves. Thanks, parents!)

For the Love of Books: How to Give Thanks When You’ve Burned Out

With Thanksgiving only days away, I’ve been thinking about what I’m most thankful for when it comes to my professional life. I have some awesome coworkers, a list of super talented authors, and I get to work on books every day. So in some ways, that list of “thankful” items is a mile long.

But as everyone in the book business knows, ours is an industry of exhilarating highs and devastating lows. It’s an industry of two steps forward and one step back. It’s an industry where every yes seems to come with a no.

The reality is, publishing is not for the faint of heart. The success of any book is based on the ability to merge business with art, consumerism with creativity. It’s a difficult balance to strike. On top of that, rejection follows us at every stage of the publishing process. Authors are rejected by agents. Agents are rejected by editors. Editors are rejected by pub boards. And all of us know the pain of putting an amazing book out into the world—one we all poured our hearts and souls into—and watching that book be rejected by readers.

It can be hard to push past the setbacks and the rejection and the self-doubt. It can be even harder to admit to ourselves that while we may be in our dream industry, we don’t always feel like we’re living the dream. Continue reading

Your Bookish Fall Wardrobe

The leaves are already starting to turn in my neck of the woods, so (after bemoaning the loss of summer) I opted to browse this season’s literary outfits.

Below you’ll find some of the best wardrobe pieces for your inner word nerd, and I’ve put a * next to the companies that are associated with book-related charities or literacy organizations. What better way to shop than that? Continue reading

Not Your Average Jane: 7 Ways “Jane the Virgin” Nails Storytelling

*Includes some spoilers*

I spend most of my day evaluating the merits of a story. Are the characters experiencing enough change, does the plot move at the right pace, does the key conflict cause too little tension…that kind of thing. This means that sometimes, when I’m relaxing with a TV show, I find myself looking for those elements running through each episode. And when I found Jane the Virgin, I found the show my storytelling heart had been looking for.

I am late to the Jane the Virgin party, but I have now joined in and cannot rave enough about it. Why, you ask? If the idea of a humorous, poignant, and totally self-aware spin on a telenovela doesn’t appeal to you, well, you should reevaluate your outlook on life. Rarely do I fall in love with a show so quickly or deeply as I have with Jane the Virgin, which has made me laugh and cry and scream…sometimes all in one episode. And, while there are so many things this show does well, I chose the seven things I love best about its storytelling. Because what the writers and cast of Jane the Virgin have done best is tell a remarkable story. Continue reading

Favorite Books of 2017…So Far

As we are now a little over midway through the year, I thought it was about time I made a list of my favorite books I’ve read in 2017 so far. There are, of course, some important caveats:

  • Not all of these came out in 2017. Some came out a while ago and I am just behind on my TBR pile! *Shame*
  • There are seven books on this list, but they are listed in alphabetical order and not ranked order. Choosing favorites of the favorites is too hard!
  • None of these are books I have edited, since obviously I love my babies the most.
  • And finally, these are all YA novels because, well, I’m a YA editor. (And Peter Pan. Who needs grown-up books? Okay, maybe grown-ups.)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Continue reading

I Want a Book Heroine Like Wonder Woman

I watched the new Wonder Woman movie a few weekends ago and fell completely in love. Not just with Chris Pine (our love story began long ago), but with Wonder Woman herself and what she means as a heroine. Gal Gadot plays a character who is filled with optimism, strength, and kindness, without ever seeming cheesy or “too perfect.” In fact, some of Diana’s flaws are her best characteristics, and only serve to make us love and relate to her more. I love her so much that I’ve found myself scrolling through my submissions desperately seeking the next Diana Prince. So, with *some* spoilers, I will try to put into words why I want a book heroine like Wonder Woman.

(P.S. If you have a character like this, have your people call my people.)

(P.P.S Yes, I know the amazing Leigh Bardugo is publishing a Wonder Woman YA novel. Wonder Woman: Warbringer!!!!!! I have obviously already preordered it and routinely stalk her social media for updates. You should do the same, because preordering and social media stalking are cool.)

(P.P.P.S. Also, please consider this list of other mega-awesome novels that can help cure your Wonder Woman hangover. But now, let’s get back to the post.) Continue reading

5 YA Authors Whose Writing Inspires

As an editor, reader, and writer, I deal with a lot of words on a daily basis. To quote Friends (as we all should), sometimes my life feels like this:

Dr. Franzblau: I try not to let my work affect my personal life, but it’s hard, when you… do what I do. It’s like uh…Well, for instance, what do you do?

Rachel: I’m a waitress.

Dr. Franzblau: Ok, all right, well aren’t there times when you come home at the end of the day, and you’re just like, “if I see one more cup of coffee…”

(Bonus points to anyone who can name that episode.)

Sometimes I am just sick and tired of WORDS, especially the boring, ugly, or hateful ones that may surround us in everyday life. And yet, my livelihood and my favorite pastime both depend on letters on a page. So when I’m feeling uninspired as an editor, reader, writer, or even as a human being, I turn to some of my favorite authors, authors who I know will bring back the wonder of the English language to my word-weary mind. Below are five of the authors who inspire me to keep doing what I do, even when it means upping my eyeglass prescription to stare at yet more words. Continue reading

Your Bookish Shopping Guide

Holiday gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Already bought as many books as your shelves can hold? (That’s okay…buy more books!) Check out 7 of my favorite bookish shops and sites for your closet, home, and office.

1. Litographs

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Get the text of your favorite book on all kinds of amazing swag. And I mean a lot of text…up to 40,000 words…and a lot of swag…shirts, scarves, tote bags, posters, and more. (So, you know, if you’re stranded on a desert island you’ll have your book and your clothes.) I’m the proud owner of a Pride and Prejudice scarf, a Throne of Glass T-shirt, and a super cool Secret Garden poster. Continue reading