This may have been a rough year in a lot of ways, but 2016 has been a great one for new YA books.
The YA world has every genre imaginable, from fantasy to mystery to romance. Here’s a list of our eight favorites from 2016 to add to your to-read pile.
Back in March, MashReads wrote about the six reasons you should read Zentner’s debut novel The Serpent King. This not-so-easily definable contemporary Southern story has gone on to grace nearly every “Best Of” list this year, and if it hasn’t made it to your bookshelf, then that should be your last act of 2016.
And be sure to read MashReads’ interview with Zentner.
What makes a hero? What makes a villain? And how much can anyone trust a first-person narrator?
A witchy outsider (Wink), a popular girl (Poppy), and a sensitive boy (Midnight) find themselves caught up in a love triangle and what may or may not be supernatural forces. Tucholke’s multi-perspective novel is a mixture of dark fairytale and psychological thriller, with teen romance thrown in for good measure.
As MashReads wrote back in May, “This is the issue that award-winning author John Corey Whaley tackles in his latest novel, Highly Illogical Behavior.The story focuses on agoraphobic 16-year-old Solomon Reed and how his home-bound life shifts irreparably when he befriends two local teens, ambitious Lisa and her nice-guy boyfriend Clark.”
Whaley covers tough issues such as mental health with empathy and good humor, weaving a relatable story of teenage friendship and the realities of mental illness. And his pop-culture references will please any nerd.
It’s hard to describe what this unique novel is about. John Hughes meets a confrontation of rape culture meets the story of a possible budding sociopath. The plot is a bit simpler: It has been three years since high school student Alex Craft’s older sister was murdered. And while their small town has moved on, Alex has not. As her darker nature takes more and more control, Alex finds herself drawn more into the world of high school drama.
While McGinnis’ book may defy description, it doesn’t defy adjectives: interesting, engrossing, thought-provoking, and haunting.
The only sequel on this list, Crooked Kingdom is the final installment in a duology set in Bardugo’s Grisha series universe, though it’s only necessary to read Six of Crows to know the story.
It’s a tough task to create an engaging and complicated heist story, but Bardugo more than delivers. She expands on the characterizations and humor in the first novel with even more development, action, and waffles.
Roehrig’s debut novel is a good old-fashioned mystery with much needed modern flair. When Flynn’s estranged girlfriend goes missing, he takes it upon himself to try and find her. In his search, he discovers just how many secrets she had been keeping, and has to face his biggest secret head-on.
A quintessential autumn book, Roehrig combines noir and teen drama seamlessly.
Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, McLemore’s book reads like a fairytale world in the midst of our own, where people from all backgrounds, genders, and sexualities take center stage. Sam and Miel, lifelong friends tied together by love and magic, must finally face who they are together and, more importantly, apart.
Yoon’s YA novel, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist and our November MashReads pick, follows two teens on a day that would change the course of their lives forever. Scientific and rational Natasha is dealing with the worst day of her life, her family’s last day before being deported back to Jamaica. While trying desperately to find a solution, she meets Daniel, a poet and hopeless romantic fighting against his Korean immigrant parents’ expectations.
A beautiful exploration of the effects we can each have on each other’s lives, The Sun is Also a Star is a poignant look at personal exploration, the struggle of coincidence versus fate, and the power of first love.
BONUS: his cardboard house is designed to last a century, but only takes a day to assemble
Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/12/13/best-ya-2016/