The wait is almost over, and the year’s about to end. We can finally—if you haven’t already—get excited about the new round of YA books coming in 2023. Action-packed, mysterious, heartfelt and pure goodness are all wrapped into these different stories. Run, don’t walk, to pre-order or pick up a copy. You’ll be thanking us later
We Are All So Good At Smiling by Amber McBride (January 10, 2023)
When Whimsy returns to the hospital again, this time for clinical depression, she meets Faerry. Like her, Faerry has magic in his bones. And the more Whimsy learns about him — especially after his family moves to her neighborhood — the more she sees that their lifelines are intertwined, and it would appear more than just this current lifetime. When the two discover a forest at the end of Marsh Creek Lane that might uncover all their answers, they’ll also discover a world of monsters, fairy tales, and pain that’s kept them away for over a decade.
Cool. Awkward. Black. by Karen Strong (January 10, 2023)
These eclectic stories featuring Black characters tell of a misunderstood magician struggling to understand her powers; a boy longing for his Prince Charming who may have just found him; a young girl who falls down the rabbit hole of UFOs; and a hopeful performer who dreams of starring in The Sound of Music at her school. With a bit of fantasy and sci-fi to magical realism and history, this is a celebration of Blackness and geekiness everywhere.
Waking Fire by Jean Louise (January 10, 2023)
Naira Khoum only knows her quiet life in the desert of Lagusa. Yet to those outside of it, Lagusa is a myth concealed from all, including the power-hungry Sothpike. That is until a mistress arrives, attacking Naira’s people on behalf of the Sothpike. Naira, unwilling to see her home destroyed, forms a resistance, convincing everyone she knows to join. With the help of Nez, her twin brother, and Kal, a handsome refugee, Naira must determine what the Mistress wants before she wreaks havoc on all of Lagusa.
As You Walk on By by Julian Winters (January 17, 2023)
For seventeen-year-old Theo Wright, having the perfect prom night is all that matters. Yes, there’s his dad’s plan of excelling in school and having scouts from Duke offer him an athletic scholarship, but if Theo is honest with himself, that’s not his concern. Chloe Campbell (his all-time crush) is, and when his best friend Jay dares him to “prompose” at Chloe’s party, Theo throws caution to the wind. Only things go terribly wrong and Theo finds himself hiding out until the unexpected joins him.
The Black Queen by Jumata Emill (January 31, 2023)
Nova Albright is dead. She was meant to be the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, instead someone murdered her on coronation night. Her body was left in the old slave cemetery and found the next morning. To Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend, the clear and prime suspect is Tinsley McArthur. Why? Because everyone knows she’d do just about anything to be queen and carry on the McArthur tradition, the legacy of her mother and grandmother. But, Duchess’s father, the first Black police captain in Lovett, refuses to see the evidence. And since the Duchess knows Tensely has enough privilege to get away with it, her best friend’s killer just might walk away scott free.
Viva Lola Espinoza by Ella Cerón (Aprill 11, 2023)
Lola Espinoza thinks she’s cursed, but magic isn’t real, so she shouldn’t be so paranoid. But when Lola spends her summer in Mexico City, she discovers that her paranoia isn’t too far off. Magic is real, and all of her bad luck is, in fact, the result of a family curse. Then she meets Javi, a stoic young boy in her cousin’s restaurant. Javi agrees to help Lola break her curse so she can properly fall in love without consequences. All her journey Lola will spend time discovering more about her family secrets, magic and herself.
When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao (February 14, 2023)
One incident, actually the biggest misunderstanding of all time, ruined Liya and Kai’s friendship to the point where they haven’t spoken since. Liya hears that her family’s wishing lantern store is facing hardship. To help boost sales and save the store, she picks up her grandmother’s old tradition: secretly fulfilling people’s wishes that they wrote on the lanterns they send into the sky. Only she can’t do it alone; she’ll need the help of Kai. Once she gets Kai to agree, the two begin covertly completing their mission and rekindling their friendship along the way. They’ll just have to make sure this time nothing tears them apart.
My Flawless Life by Yvonne Woon (February 14, 2023)
When there is a problem that needs to vanish, call Hana Yang Lerner; everyone who attends an elite private school in Washington, DC knows that. Hana’s good at her job, she keeps secrets and saves all, except her own life. That ended when her senator father Skip Lerner got arrested after an accident left many harmed. The scandal left Hana in ruins, but one anonymous client has an opportunity to give Hana her old life back. She’ll have to follow her former best friend and uncover dark truths that even she may not be ready to handle.
And Other Mistakes by Erika Turner (February 14, 2023)
At home, things have never been the best for Aaliyah. She just has to survive her final year of high school, relying on her friendships and her cross-country stardom. But, last year, a church elder outed Aaliyah and things haven’t been the same. So when she arrives at school for the first time, she’s determined to come back smarter and stronger. With old flames, nosy school counselors, and teammates who look at her funny, the year is off to a rocky start until a new girl Tessa arrives giving Aaliyah butterflies with each look. This new budding romance gives Aaliyah the encouragement she needs to take on the year or outrun it all again.
Nightbirds by Kate J. Armstrong (February 28, 2023)
The Nightbirds, Simta’s biggest secret, have the ability to give their magic to another with a kiss. But for women, magic is outlawed, and they would burn if the city’s religious sector found them. The Great Houses have protected the Nightbirds as they share their gifts with well-paying clients. For Matilde, Aesa, and Sayer, when their season as a Nightbird is complete, they are expected to marry a lord and become mothers. But the girls who yearn for something more have other ideas in mind. Once they meet more girls like them, they begin to uncover the Nightbird system and its lies, and soon they’ll have to decide if they want to live a life in a cage or escape, and remake the city that’s keeping them locked up.
Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto (March 7, 2023)
It’s official: Chloe is going to USC. As a Chinese Filipina girl in Manila, this means she’s one step closer to becoming an animator in America. Yet before she leaves, everyone wants something for her. First, her aunts want her to have a debutante-like ball for her eighteenth birthday, and then her father insists on setting her up on several awkward blind dates in order to find her the perfect escort to the party. But what’s her father’s real reason for finding her a mate: could it be to keep her at home and away from the states?
Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood (March 7, 2023)
The Prince of Ithaca has to die. That’s the only way thousands more will live. But the prince is no hero—each spring he condemns twelve maidens to their death. This time Leto must hang, and after, sink into the depths. But her death came with a surprising twist: Leto wakes on an island with Melantho, a mysterious green-eyed girl who commands the waters. The words she utters will shock Leto, but stopping the prince to save so many more lives, especially that of her maiden sisters, is something Leto can get behind.
Made of Stars by Jenna Voris (March 28, 2023)
While Ava charms the marks, Shane steals the aircraft. That’s how things have always been for them, they even ignore the chemistry they have all for the sake of a job well done. Only Shane was caught and sent to prison. When his time rotting is over, he can’t wait to get his hands on a new job with a major payout. Back together again Ava has deceived a recently graduated Cyrus whose first job was to stop outlaws like her. And it isn’t long before Shane and Ava are making headlines and showing Cyrus truths about their home world. But which side will he choose: the rebels or the generals?
Chaos & Flame by Tessa Gratton (March 28, 2023)
Darling Seabreak owes her life to House Kraken. She was taken in after members of the House Dragon murdered her family, and now someone has captured her adoptive Kraken father. This time she is old enough to do something about it, and she vows to save him no matter what. Talon Goldhoard lives and breathes loyalty to House Dragon, but lately his brother, High Prince Regent, has started an erratic rule that threatens centuries of peace and hard work. Request for Talon to overthrow his brother pour in, but he tries to resist, hoping to keep his loyalty. When Talon meets Darling, he knows she’s the key to saving his kingdom, but they’ll have to stop fighting each other long enough to see that Talon’s brother is pulling all of the strings.
Chasing Pacquiao by Rod Pulido (May 2, 2023)
For Bobby surviving his high school means doing everything he can for self preservation. As a queer Filipino in a community that doesn’t accept homosexuality, he tried to avoid having a target on his back. He just needs to keep his head down, and all will be okay. But unfortunate circumstances outs Bobby, and now he has no choice but to fight back. Seeing Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao inspires Manny to pick up the sport and challenge his tormentor. Yet once Pacquiao publicly declares his feelings about the queer community, Manny isn’t sure of what to believe in anymore.
Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban (May 2, 2023)
11 countries in the span of 4 months has Jade excited and ready to leave everything behind. It doesn’t help that her boyfriend and best friend betrayed her and broke her heart. When Jade learns that the new found couple will also set sail abroad on the same ship, she grows overly obsessed with them until a murder happens. But Jade is sure she didn’t kill anyone, she just needs to show everyone else that it wasn’t her. Now stuck on board with a killer on the loose, Jade must find who it is and stop them before everyone she knows ends up at the bottom of the sea.
Queer Power! by Dom&Ink (May 13, 2023)
Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, this novel covers topics that include gender, coming out, mental health and activism. From inspiring life lessons to helpful advice that encourages all to embrace their story and find the power within, Dom&Ink create compelling tales that all will remember.
Ever Since by Alena Bruzas (May 23, 2023)
Everyone thinks Virginia is ‘that kind of girl’ the one to make the bad choices but she doesn’t let the gossipers deteriorate her spirits. As long as she has her group of best friends, all is well for Virginia. That is until she falls in love with Rumi, her friend’s boyfriend. While spending time with Rumi, she discovers his little sister Lyra is in danger of abuse. But coming forth and revealing her soon to be abuser may be harder than Virginia imagined.
The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean (July 18, 2023)
James is the first Black heir to his throne. All his life he’s been a prince, thrust into the limelight. Then his father dies and now James is King at seventeen. His life and his secrets, specifically his sexuality and his relationship, are even more thrown into the spotlight. His secrets are leaked online and his boyfriend goes missing, and it’s clear that someone wants James destroyed.
I’m Not Here To Make Friends by Andrew Yang (July 18, 2023)
When Hotel California calls Sabine Zhang to play in an all-Asian cast, she jumps at it. On this show, she’ll finally get to step into the spotlight and be more than just a side character in someone else’s story. Yoona Bae just wants to get away from the unearned bad reputation from her mom and the girls at church. So accepting Hotel California is her way of escaping her life, possibly making new friends, and maybe getting a tan. When Sabine and Yoona meet, they realize the show producers want more out of them: more drama, chaos, and control of their stories.
Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington (July 25, 2023)
Adina Walker is on a scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy. Adina knows that since she’s at this school, made for the rich and upper class, she can’t make a mistake or it will cost her everything. What she feared does happen, Adina finds herself in one fight and now she’s blacklisted from her most wanted Ivy League school. To get it all back, she’ll have to enter into a contest and compete in mysterious events for a top prize. But soon she’ll see that this larger-than-life prize comes at an even greater cost.
One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus (July 25, 2023)
After Simon’s death at Bayview Crew, things haven’t been the same. While the Bayview Four proved they weren’t killers, a new generation arises, and everything is starting up again. A mysterious billboard appears, and it seems like a new game has started, but this time one of the four goes missing, and things become very serious for everyone. To make matters worse an unexpected someone returns to Bayview, and now things have become deadlier.
True True by Don P. Hooper (August 1, 2023)
When Seventeen-year-old Gil thought about his senior year, he never imagined it would be in a tie and khakis on a subway to Manhattan. His new private school Augustin Prep feels like a different world from his old public school in Brooklyn. And while the school provided a partial scholarship to students like him to create diversity, a run-in with a racist student that leads to Gil’s suspension shows him the truth of it all. But Gil doesn’t intend on going out without a fight.