Half Lives – Sara Grant
What it’s about: Half Lives follows two unlikely heroes as they fight to survive, centuries apart but with surprising ties. Icie’s parents have news of an imminent viral attack, so they give her cash, a map to a secret bunker and tell her to get there by any means necessary. Along with three other teens, Icie lives locked away for months with no news of the outside world. Decades into the future, a mysterious cult worships on the same mountain where Icie’s secret bunker was located, and they’re ruled by a teenager with surprising ties to Icie.
Why I’m excited: Because Grant’s from Indiana (though now she lives abroad), and the concept behind the book is particularly intriguing. I’m curious about the cult and their teenage leader, since the book description is particularly vague on that aspect. I read Grant’s YA debut Dark Parties, which is a thrilling dystopian book and although this new release seems more post-apocalyptic, I bet she will shine just the same.
Boy on the Bridge – Natalie Standiford
What it’s about: American Laura Reid studies abroad in Leningrad during the height of the Cold War in 1982. A young Russian artist named Alexei becomes her guide and she is soon immersed in the real Russia, but their relationship must remain a secret. If found out, Laura could be sent home and Alexei could be punished for associating with Americans. When Laura’s return to the United States approaches, Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She’s not ready to settle down, but what if Alexei is the love of her life? Can she leave him behind?
Why I’m excited: Because I have a soft spot for well-done YA historical fiction, and I’m betting this will be quite well-written. I’m not familiar with too many Cold War era teen books, and I’m interested to see how Standiford will write the love of a young American and Russian in the midst of such deep tension. Also I adore that this is a historical romance novel set barely thirty years ago, so even though it will feel like long ago, it isn’t quite outside of my life span and therefore closer than one might think.
Earthbound – Aprilynne Pike
What it’s about: After Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents, she starts having visions of a boy she’s never spoken to in real life. Tavia searches for answers, but when she discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after the plane crash may have been responsible for her parent’s deaths, she flees for safety of Maine, where the boy in the visions tells her to go. Suddenly, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust, and is torn between Benson, the boy who has been by her side the whole way and the mysterious boy who appears to her at night.
Why I’m excited: Because Pike impressed me with her debut series, Wings, and I’m curious to see how she’s grown as a writer. This is her second new release in just a few months, though I haven’t gotten to Life After Theft yet. The book description is detailed and vague at the same time (isn’t that intriguing?) which will surely make the read full of surprises, twists and turns. I’m expecting a mysterious, cross-country adventure with life-changing decisions that will surely make this an unputdownable read!
Doon – Carey Corp & Laurie Langdon
What it’s about: Veronica starts seeing a mysterious blond boy wherever she goes, and soon she realizes she’s the only one that can see him. When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the chance. But when the imaginary boy follows her to Alloway, she and Mackenna discover a strange set of rings and an unnerving letter, they soon find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, but the girls learn it has a dark underside as well. If they break the enchantment, they might end up trapped in a world that has quickly become a nightmare.
Why I’m excited: Because it’s a retelling of Brigadoon, only updated and YA-ified. Scotland plus a fairy tale-like hidden village and the potential for love? It all adds up to Brigadoon come to the 21st century, which is a fairly unexplored concept in teen fiction in my experience. I’m excited to see these authors collaborate to take on this legend, and I’m sure the read will be fun and fantastical!
Love in the Time of Global Warming – Francesca Lia Block
What it’s about: Penelope has lost everything—her parents, younger brother and her home. This world is on the edge of destruction, but still beautiful and lovely at the same time. As Pen navigates this dark world which is full of strange creatures, she gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and comes face-to-face with her mortal enemy.
Why I’m excited: Because Block is a YA mainstay, with over 30 novels to her name. The title itself is intriguing (remember Love in the Time of Cholera?), and even though the book description is short, I have a feeling this will be a full-tilt adventure, maybe with a little social commentary on global warming mixed in. I’ll be sure to pick this one off the shelf come late August!
Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan
What it’s about: Based on true events, this novel tells the story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-old boys who take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing in hopes of setting a new Guinness World Record. While the two teenage boys are locking lips, they are trying to figure out their own feelings for one another. But they manage to become the focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out and gender identity issues. This novel comes as the 10th anniversary of the publication of Levithan’s ground-breaking, Boy Meets Boy, is being celebrated.
Why I’m excited: Because Levithan is a YA master, and I’m sure this will be another revolutionary read. I’ve been trying to catch up on his collection ever since I read Boy Meets Boy last winter, and even though I have a ways to go, I think this will be my next selection. It sounds like a great exploration of gay teen culture and I’m expecting a read full of realness and relatability no matter your gender, age or orientation.
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
What it’s about: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Well, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan isn’t just part of her life, it is her life. Cath and her sister Wren ensconced themselves in the fandom to get them through their mother leaving, but while Cath’s sister has grown up and away from Simon Snow, Cath can’t let go. Now they’re going to college and Cath is on her own, with a surly roommate, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the world and a handsome classmate who wants to talk about words. Can Cath let go of Simon Snow and start living her own life?
Why I’m excited: Because I adored Eleanor & Park for its realness and freshness (enough to read Rowell’s adult fiction novel), and I’m expecting the same from Fangirl. The concept is relatable—who hasn’t gotten a little over-obsessed with a book, movie or band? Cath could easily be a Potterhead or Twihard, which I think is exactly what Rowell is going for. I’m sure this story will suck me in and become quite unputdownable in its reality and relatability.
Relativity – Cristin Bishara
What it’s about: Ruby Wright knows that wishes can’t come true and that some things can’t be undone. But if she had her way, her dad would never have married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and of course her mom would still be alive. When Ruby discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities, suddenly Ruby is seeing what could have happened if her wishes came true. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world?
Why I’m excited: Because parallel universes are in, at least in my world (see my review of Tandem, coming this October). I think it’s an up-and-coming niche for YA, and Relativity sounds like a well-done take on this concept. The idea that Ruby has not just one parallel universe but nine to explore will surely make this a complex tale. This is Bishara’s debut effort and I’m eager to dive into what will hopefully be an intriguing yet heart-wrenching story.
Thanks for reading!
*Book descriptions are adapted from those on the Barnes & Noble website.