Feature Image Credit: @nadja.reads

It’s almost time to hear the age-old saying, new year, new me. 2022 might bring on more cliches, but it also brings new covers to add to your bookshelves. Picture this: the winter chills filling the air, you curled up inside with an exciting new Young Adult read and a warm cup of joe. A blissful moment. As readers and fans of the YA genre, there is a book for everyone. From fantasy to fairytale, these young adult stories will make you want to stay inside and finish from cover to cover.

Here were the best YA books of 2021>>

One True Loves by Elise Bryant (Jan 4, 2022)

This swoony, cruise ship romance will pull you in and make you fall in love with Lenore Bennett and Alex Lee, two teenagers sailing around Europe with their families. For Lenore, her parents want her to be one step ahead of the white students in her class. Stepping into college with an undeclared major wasn’t good enough, she couldn’t afford to figure it out as the saying goes.  So, of course, when she meets Alex with his ten-year plan she finds him annoying. Yet the more time Lenore’s parents spend with Alex, the more she is forced to get to know him, fall for him, and discover that she could be the center of a love story too.

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (Jan 11, 2022)

Sleeping beauty and Indiana Jones fill this adventurous fairytale. Pricked by a spindle, Fiona or Fi must find a way to remove this deadly curse from her life. It doesn’t help that the one thing that will save her is also the one thing she doesn’t believe in — love. The curse also happens to come with the ghost of a prince, Briar Rose, who’s stuck in a sleep spell waiting for true love or Fi’s kiss. When Fi needs a partner, she finds from the north a tough warrior girl named Shane. Together the two girls must try and break the century-old curse against Briar Rose while dealing with dark magic, witches, and a love neither one expected.

Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek (Jan 11, 2022)

Love Somebody is a rom-com story about three teenagers falling in love with one another. High school best friends Sam Dickson and Christian Powell tried dating for about six months until they soon realized being friends was their best option. Now Christian has a new crush, Ros Shew, a quiet intellect who prefers to keep to herself. When his first encounter with Ros is a disaster, Christian asks his ex-girlfriend and best friend for help. Sam agrees to help Christian communicate to his smart new love interest and win her over. But the more time Sam gets to know Ros, the more she discovers she is falling for her.

The Red Palace by June Hur (Jan 25, 2022)

Based on a true story in Korea circa 1758, a bloody massacre takes place during court, leaving a young teenage nurse, Hyeon, and a police inspector, Eojin, to clean up the mess. Hyeon, an illegitimate daughter in the capital city, does everything to prove her worth and to become a palace nurse. But when the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor, she begins her own investigation to clear his name. Along the way, she teams up with Eojin, and they begin an investigation that slowly uncovers another suspect, the Crown Prince. The passion that builds between Hyeon and Eojin continues to grow as they get one step closer to uncovering the truth.

The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka (Jan 25, 2022)

Dylan Highmark never thought he’d find love, let alone a boyfriend that makes his summer everything he dreamed about. Before Dylan met Jordan, he spent his time bored working at the Dairy Queen. His small-town didn’t have many options for boys like him, that is until Jordan. As they grow closer, the two become inseparable, but when Dylan gets sick for about two weeks, he’s wondering if it’s more than the crush that has him flushing. Jordan wants Dylan to keep everything to himself, but Dylan wants answers first. When Jordan reveals secrets that are out of this world, no pun intended, will their love be enough to stand even gravity?

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado (Feb 1, 2022)

A life filled with adventure, friends and beauty is how one on social media would describe Max Monroe’s life. Except if they met Max in person, they would know the truth: none of it is real. Online the 21-year-old has it all. In reality, she’s just a sixteen-year-old named Kat Sanchez. Kat is a meek, sarcastic teen bored in California. Her real life has a bad school year, unrequited love, and all-around bad teenage parties. Keeping up with an online persona has its perks for Kat. Posting photos and interacting with influencers has her on cloud nine. But all the little white lies eventually come crashing down, leaving Kat to face the truth about the world and herself.

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee (Feb 1, 2022)

Savannah Howard is ready for college. She spent her entire high school career preparing for the moment she would be accepted. Originally her heart was set on going to an HBCU. But ivy league Wooddale University offered her a full ride, giving her no choice but to accept. But her excitement of going to an ivy school is short-lived by the racism and elitism Savannah encounters once she’s entered the campus halls. When a statue gets vandalized with blackface, Savannah could tell this wasn’t the first incident. Soon she sets off to uncover secrets of the school’s racist history and to stand up for the injustice happening around her.

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (Feb 8, 2022)

When two young women both working at a restaurant cross each other’s paths, they immediately connect. The story, told in alternating perspectives, shows Sara Foster as the mysterious bartender trying to escape her past, and Emilie Dubois, as a florist who is in her seventh year and fifth major of school, who is also struggling with her parents and her Creole identity. They like each other instantly, but the pain and issues surrounding each girl’s life pull them apart time after time. But when they finally connect, they learn to rely on one another and grow their love into something that could even stand their past.

The Chandler Legacies by Abdi Nazemian (Feb 15, 2022)

Chandler, an elite boarding school, will bring together five friends in ways they couldn’t imagine. Freddy, Beth, Sarah, Ramon and Amanda find themselves in the same writing group, one that’s covered by many. When their professor encourages them to write their truth — they share secrets, the painful experiences of being LGBTQ, their family betrayals, and so much more that could even shake the foundation of Chandler itself.

Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan (April 12, 2022)

When Hunter is behind his bow and arrow, all is right with the world. He has perfect aim and all. His family’s history and mistakes don’t bother him as much. And when he moves to a new town Fairbridge, the bewitching girl, Luna Chang, and his younger brother tend to be the other things keeping him grounded and from running away. But as a strange crack spread through the city and otherworldly fireflies fill the air, Hunter and Luna grow closer together, strengthening their bond as their world threatens to collapse.

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf (Apr 19, 2022)

When Najwa Bakri’s best friend, Trina Low, who died during a scrabble tournament, starts sending cryptic messages from her social account, Najwa is more than concerned — she’s freaked. Now her Instagram is sending messages that suggest Trina’s death was more than just an accident, but rather a murder. While everyone else aims to take the title of Queen of Scrabble, Najwa is investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding her friend’s death. When all signs point to someone at the tournament being involved, Najwa must determine who.

Flirting with Fate by J. C. Cervantes (April 19, 2022)

Ava Granados had blessings coming her way. In her family when one generation dies, they pass their mystical gifts onto the next. For Ava, that would mean attending her grandmother’s death bed to receive it. Only a fender bender with a strange boy and really bad weather kept Ava delayed from making it in time. Now her blessing, which her ghostly grandmother attempted to pass onto her, missed its target and lives inside the boy. In order to get her intended gifts and release her ghost of a grandmother, Ava must track him down, befriend him and try not to lose her heart in the process.

Arden Grey by Ray Stoeve (April 26, 2022)

Life for Arden Grey isn’t going so well. Her mother left their family, and her father and brother never talk about it, and one classmate constantly badgers and bullies her about lesbian sexuality, something that is not public knowledge and that she’s not too sure about herself. The one thing she can count on is her best friend Jamie and her love for film and photography. But even Jamie, who turns trans and finds a girlfriend isn’t so reliable anymore for Arden. As her relationships grow weary she learns to navigate life and figure out just where she belongs.

Jagged Little Pill by Eric Smith (April 26, 2022)

Life for Frankie, Jo, Phoenix, Nick and Bella will never be the same after Bella is assaulted at a party on a fatal night. There problems and worlds intersect before the night and even more after. All Bella wanted to do was enjoy high school before it ends and she can head off to college. Phoenix searches for his place at a new school, while Jo wants her mom to accept her queer identity, and Frankie and her brother struggle under the pressures of being perfect children to their mom. But as Bella is in need everyone will come to her aid and in the process heal along the way. 

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel José Older (May 3, 2022)

Mateo Matisse, a high school junior and piano prodigy, might have a magical lineage, his homeland disappeared into the sea 16 years ago, but his main focus is attracting the attention of the musically talented and locally grown legend Gerval. On the night of an annual celebration, one which gives Mateo the chance he was looking for, evil strikes, and Mateo’s family history catches up to him. Forced to defend his family, Mateo discovered powers within himself that could be the key to restoring his lost land and sending his people home.

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed (May 10, 2022)

Working as the editor of her high school newspaper has taught Safiya Mirza all she needs to know about journalism, her dream job, or so she thinks. When she finds the body of a recently murdered 14-year-old Jawad Ali, whose jetpack caused others to mistakenly label him a terrorist, her world changed forever. One thing is for certain, Safiya wants to uncover all of the details behind Jawad’s death and about those whose hate-based beliefs turned Jawad into the “Bomb Boy’ and ultimately ended his life.

Nate Plus One by Kevin van Whye (May 10, 2022)

Needing a date to his cousin’s wedding in South Africa, Nate Hargraves assumes his best friend and secret crush Jai Patel could be the one to go with him. He desperately needs a buffer to hide from his ex-boyfriend who plans to attend the reception. There’s just one condition, Nate must agree to be the lead singer in Jai’s band, Infinite Sorrow, who is set to play in an upcoming contest. As the two juniors navigate their summers, will their hidden feelings for one another ruin the party or be the epic dream they’ve wanted all along. 

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid (June 7, 2022)

A delayed flight and a flashing green light is all it takes to draw James and Michelle. While the two are different, a more passive James warns Michelle not to push the green button. As soon as she does, their universe breaks, or at least the world inside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport does. From snowstorms to jungles popping up, the two team up to find their families and escape the maze that is now the airport. 

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho (June 14, 2022)

Maybelline Chen knows she’s a disappointment to her Chinese Taiwanese American mother because of the hoodies she wears and her career choice of being a writer. Her brother Danny on the other hand just got into Princeton and can do no wrong in their mother’s eyes. Only Danny struggles with depression, so when he commits suicide, May’s world is never the same. And when racial stereotypes create accusations about her family, she’ll use her words to stand up and fight for what matters.

We Weren’t Looking to Be Found by Stephanie Kuehn (June 21, 2022)

Dani might appear to have everything a girl could want. With a wealthy Black family living in Texas, on the outside, her life is well, on the inside she is using and causing harm to herself. Camila’s life is the opposite, her Colombian American family has very little, and she works hard to provide. Yet like Dani, she turns to destructive methods. When the two meet at a treatment facility, they find a mysterious box from another young girl and their search for answers could be the missing piece to help them cope and heal in their lives.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers (September 13, 2022)

Georgia Avis, a sixteen year old girl, recently discovered the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James. Not being able to sit still, Georgia teams up with Nora, Ashley’s sister, to find and bring the murderer to justice. The closer they get to finding the killer, the deeper Georgia falls into the world of wealth and privilege without conscience or consequence. She’ll soon learn how money, beauty and power rule—and how more than one person might be at hand in Ashley’s death.

The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass (September 20, 2022)

Micha is the Prince of Chicago, due to his dreamy looks and charming personality, and the fact that his father, a local celebrity sports radio host, is the King of Chicago. Unfortunately to himself, he’s this shy, nervous boy who can’t master a meet-cute or ask a boy out. Instead, Micah has imaginary dates, and his Instagram gets filled with ninety-nine boyfriends, no one knowing the real truth. But Micah wants boy 100 to be different, to be a real encounter. And on a train, he thinks he’s met his real one, a boy wearing a vegan leather jacket, but who also happens to leave it behind before Micah can ask him out. Now Micha is on a mission to find the boy while learning about his identity based on a leather jacket—and that true love might be right in front of him all along.

Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland (September 20, 2022)

In 1937, an America divided is the world Laura Ann Langston grew up in. The Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the Dynamism, is also what threw America into disarray. But now, everyone has plans for a better future. You either work for the mystical arts or you don’t, because everyone thinks the future is technology. Laura, on the other hand, believes in a better future. As a mage from Pennsylvania Laura moves to New York to gain her mage’s license and become. Yet months later, her dreams are broken and her pockets empty. With little hope left Laura applies for the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the U.S. government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism. While there she meets a powerful mage who agrees to take her on as an apprentice. Their first mission together turns out to be awakening, but it also threatens all their hard work.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles (September 20, 2022)

At one of the world’s most famous resorts, Karloff Country, Jay is living his best life. Life might not be that great for the rest of the world, but when they vacation at Karloff, they can escape and forget it all. But Jay, his family and friends aren’t protected forever, and as the world continues to collapse, the trouble seeps into their resort. Then Jay’s friend Connie and her family disappear overnight, and no one mentions it, while the richest people on earth start to arrive at Karloff with the intention to stay forever. The hotel has sold shares of the company to the highest paying clients, in an end-of-the-world oasis, and the employees of Karloff are to wait on them hand and foot, whether they agree or not. As Jay and his friends plan to fight back and look for Connie, they start to question if it’s better to stick with the devil inside their walls or the monsters out in the world.

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender (September 27, 2022)

Lark Winters wants nothing more than to be a writer. For now, Lark uses social media to post creating a small platform. One day Lark’s former best friend Kasima mistakenly shares a private post on Twitter outing his unrequited love and crush for a classmate. Suddenly it seems like Lark’s tweets are the talk of the town, but Kasim wishes it would go away. So, to protect Kasim, Lark takes the blame claiming to be the one with the crush on a classmate. While it starts off as a great plan, living a lie can take its toll on anyone, especially for Kasima and Lark, who eventually grow closer and ultimately can’t handle the pressures of Internet strangers and anonymous hordes.

How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (September 27, 2022)

Shay Johnson is a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School with the potential to be a successful witch. She’s one step closer to gaining the full-ride Brockton Scholarship that will get her into any university, including one of her dreams. But Shay’s competition, Ana-freaking-Alvarez, wants the same thing, and she’ll go one step further than Shay—or so she thinks. Shay’s plan though, is to impress the head of the scholarship committee, Mr. B. His suggestion is to enter the school’s musical, but Shay is weary; their school is not as accepting of the color of her skin, as much as Mr. B wants to believe. When she agrees and sees Ana too on the team, Shay learns there is more to Ana than she imagined, especially once Mr. B starts to put unpleasant and unwanted attention on Shay, forcing the young witches to take a stand together.

The Sevenfold Hunters by Rose Egal (October 25, 2022)

Abyan, a hijabi alien hunter, wants badly to graduate from Carlisle Academy and rid the Earth of the Nosaru, a species hidden in plain sight. All seems well until the Nosaru murders Abyan’s squad mate, forcing everyone into devastation and despair. What’s worse is that their school admins quickly replace her friend and squad mate with a recruit, Artemis, and their cutthroat instructor refuses to kick out Artemis even after the several failed tests. But this just pushes Abyan and her crew to find out what’s truly going on at Carlisle Academy, including the mystery of Artemis’ arrival and the Nosaru’s attack.

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun (November 1, 2022)

A year ago, Ellie Oliver thought she had it all: a dream job in animation and a meet-cute on Christmas Eve with a woman she met at the bookstore, rendering her in love. But shortly after she loses them all, leaving her alone and in desperate need of a new job. Now, a year later, Ellie works at the local coffee shop to make ends meet. She assumes life will just pass her by until her boss and landlord Andrew makes her a proposition: marry him so he can earn his family’s promised inheritance and she’ll never have to worry about money or being alone again. It’s a convenient marriage for both of them. She agrees, and they spend the next holiday at his family’s cabin to keep the ruse up. Little does Ellie know, she’s about to run into her mystery, meet-cute woman, Jack, Andrew’s sister. Will Ellie stick with her fake fiance relationship or step out on a limb and find something real in Jack?

Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer (November 1, 2022)

It’s 1979, and a young Jasmine Zumideh is ready to graduate high school and move on to college. She’s already completed her college application to her dream school New York University. There’s just one tiny problem: her application may have stated she was senior class president before she won the election. When Iran drastically dominates the world of media, Jasmines’ opponent Gerald Thomas uses it as a method to attempt to steal the title from her and drum up anti-Iranian hysteria at school. This doesn’t help Jasmine, who has an Iranian heritage and who now has told a white lie on her application with no way of rectifying the situation—unless she can stand up for herself, claim her heritage and win the election once and for all.

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (November 29, 2022)

After Avery’s estranged grandmother, Mama Letty, falls terminally ill, her parents move her back to Bardell, Georgia. At first, Avery assumes her senior year will get ruined, and she won’t ever survive not living in DC. Her mother and grandmother don’t get along, but Avery, an openly queer biracial teen, finds new friends in Jade Oliver and Simone Cole; the latter developing into her new crush. As the two grow closer, Avery’s family secrets, alongside the town’s racist history, start to come to light. Every time Avery tries to dig deeper she’s turned away—but that only pushes her further to the truth. 

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