2018 is finally here and fingers crossed it’ll be less of a dumpster fire than 2017. A new year means a new you? NO! It means new books! 2018 seems like it is going to be the year of the amazing reads. All books on this list are young adult books and are first books in a series or stand alone books. Buckle up boys and girls because we are going to go on a YA adventure!
10. Undead Girl Gang– Lily Anderson, publication date: 5/8/18
Witchcraft! Murder! In this book Mila and her friend Riley occasionally dabble in witchcraft, because duh and we can’t all afford Hogwarts. One day, Riley and two of the popular, but very mean, girls die. Everyone says it was some sort of suicide pact, but Mila refuses to believe her friend Riley would do something like that. Mila has no help to figure out what happened, so she takes matters into her own hands and raises Riley and the two popular girls from the dead. They have 7 days until the spell wears off and they must work together to figure out who the murderer is and stop them before they hurt someone else. Ugh, so many good things going on in this book. Witchcraft? Yes, please. Murder? You bet. And possibly some good ol’ fashioned girls banning together to stop those who hurt other girls? YES! And the cover looks fantastic. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I totally do it all the time. Oops. I want this book in my hands like yesterday.
9. Heretics Anonymous– Katie Henry, publication date: 8/7/18
This book is described as “The Breakfast Club meets Saved!” I adore both of those movies, so sign me up for this book. It tells the story of Michael, who is an atheist trying to survive Catholic school. Just when he thought he was all alone, he meets Lucy, who wants to be a Catholic priest. Lucy takes Michael to Heretics Anonymous, a club of the rest of the school’s outcasts. Here Michael is free to be an atheist, Lucy can be a feminist, Avi is welcome to be both Jewish and gay, Eden dabbles in paganism, and Max can dress however he pleases. Soon a quiet club will be encouraging the whole school to rebel and be free to be whoever they are inside. So much diversity in a single book. I’m so excited to read about all these lovely characters. I love me a good coming of age tale and this one seems to tackle lots of good stuff like identity, faith, the future, and freedom. And a cover with food on it is usually always an instant buy for me because… Yum.
8. Ace of Shades– Amanda Foody, publication date: 4/10/18
Enna lives a nice and proper life and avoids New Reynes aka the City of Sin. But one day her mother goes missing, leaving behind a trail that leads right to the corrupted city. Once there, Enna meet Levi, a conman and street lord. He has no time to help Enna until she offers money. The quest to find Enna’s mother takes them through casinos, cabarets, and even to the mob. Levi’s company proves to be dangerous as his enemies start to catch up to him and he finds himself wrapped up in a deadly game where players always lose. Enna must give in to the City of Sin to save Levi and find her mom. Whoa. Just this description had me begging to get my hands on a copy of this book. It seems so unique with its story line of games and mobs and casinos. No other YA book is focused on this kind of world. Our main character seems to be the one who will do all the saving and I am all about a strong lady who does the saving instead of being the damsel in distress.
7. Dread Nation– Justina Ireland, publication date: 4/3/18
Zombies! Historical fiction! Readers who were lucky enough to get their hands on this book are saying it is in the same wave of The Hate U Give. Jane is a biracial young woman living on a plantation during the Civil War when the dead start to rise. While trying to navigate growing up in an America that doesn’t want her and others like her, she is determined to be both skilled in knowledge and killing zombies. This book takes a look at America’s dirty past and reflects on how things that were happening then to girls like Jane are still happening in today’s America. Jane sounds like my new book bae. She sounds strong and badass and I can’t wait to read her story. I’m hoping to read this and learn just as much as I did from The Hate U Give. This book sounds amazing and I’m all about promoting and appreciating diverse books (we need more of them!)
6. The Forgotten Book– Mechthild Gläser, publication date: 1/2/18
This book is Jane Austen-inspired. Be still my bookish heart. Everything is coming up daisies for Emma. Her dad runs her fancy boring school, her friends believe anything she says, and she should soon be dating her long time crush. Then one day in a library, Emma stumbles upon a book. Whatever she writes in the book comes true. Quickly Emma literally has everything she wants. But someone else knows about the book and will stop at nothing to take it from her. Oh, and an aloof and disarming Darcy arrives at the boarding school during Emma’s height of getting all her wishes. I adore Jane Austen. She is my original book bae, always and forever. So I will jump at anything the has to do with the Austen universe. And there’s a magical book? Count me in. Jane Austen + Sci-fi is my new mood for January.
5. The Tombs– Deborah Schaumburg, publication date: 2/20/18
This book is on my list for 3 reasons: 1) its recommend for fans of Cassandra Clare (and I love anything Cassandra Clare puts out into the world); 2) it takes place in 1882 New York and; 3) our main character, Avery, has mysterious powers. At a young age, her mother was taken from her by the men who wore crow masks. They put her mother in the Tombs insane asylum because she can see what others can’t. Avery refuses to believe she is developing the same powers as her mother. She keeps her head down and works at the factory, hangs out with her friend, and cares for her falcon. But one day, Avery’s power refuses to be kept inside and she accidentally causes an explosion at the factory, sending her to the darkest parts of the city where she must decide to learn to wield her powers or get locked up in the Tombs like her mother. Whoah. This book has lots of good stuff going on and like Ace of Shades, seems different from things out in YA right now with its setting and time period. As mentioned before, I love me some historical fiction. And a girl with mysterious powers and a cool ass falcon? Just give me this book please.
4. Tyler Johnson Was Here– Jay Coles, publication date 3/20/18
Marvin goes to a party and his twin brother, Tyler, decides to come along. During the party, shots are fired and the police raid the party. Marvin makes it home, but Tyler doesn’t. Soon Tyler’s body is found and someone leaks a video online of Tyler being shot by a police officer. During his grief, Marvin must also help keep his mother together and learn about justice and freedom. I was so lucky to get my hands on this book at YALLfest in 2017. And I can’t wait to read it. It had a beautiful cover and unfortunately also a story line that keeps happening all too often. More of these stories need to be written so that we as a society can learn and grow and change. It is up to us to take up those stories, hold them close in our souls, and use them to push forward change. Stories like these make me weep and ignite a fire in me to change, to be better, to inspire others to be better, and most importantly, to fight harder for a better world. I look forward to reading this very soon.
3. The Wicked Deep– Shea Ernshaw, publication date: 3/6/18
People are describing this book as “Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch Trials”. Consider my interest peaked. It was in the town of Sparrow, two centuries ago, that three sisters were sentenced to death for being witches and quickly drowned. Every summer the sisters return and steal the bodies of “weak-hearted” girls, then go out to woo boys and drown them in the river, enacting their revenge. In present day, Penny has long since accepted the fate of the town. But when a new guy named Bo arrives, he is completely unaware of the danger he is in. Lies and secrets are rampant. But Penny can see things that others can’t. Will she save herself or Bo? Witches, mystery, and murder? Sign me up. I also got this book at YALLfest 2017. Who doesn’t love a little bit of Halloween in the middle of March? This book sounds like it has a solid story with interesting characters. And the cover is shimmery. Shimmery, you guys! I adore witches and can’t wait to dive into this lovely read.
2. Truly Devious– Maureen Johnson, publication date: 1/16/18
I’m going to say this one more time, I got this book at YALLfest 2017 and plot twist, I have already read this book! Stevie is a true crime genius and a new student at Ellingham Academy, which is perfect for her since Ellingham is shrouded in mystery and murder. Back when the school first opened, a young girl was murdered and the wife and child of the school’s founder, Albert Ellingham, were kidnapped by someone who is calling themselves Truly Devious. They left behind a riddle. Stevie plans to solve the mystery of Truly Devious, but juggling school life and a house full of odd and cool housemates can make it hard to solve a case. Then Truly Devious strikes again and someone is murdered. The book is told in interchanging chapters of Truly Devious’ first crime and their second. Ya’ll, this book is so damn good! It was a rollercoaster and had me ready to laugh, scream, and keep the lights on at night. If you love a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, this book is for you. I loved this book and you should probably, maybe, definitely read it.
1. The Cheerleaders– Kara Thomas, publication date: 7/31/18
And last, but not least, my most anticipated book of the year. Kara Thomas is bae. I first got her book Little Monsters in 2016 at YALLfest and I fell in love. So as soon as I heard she was writing another book, the release date was promptly written on my calendar and circled about a hundred times. I am that excited. Kara Thomas just knows how to write a good thriller. In the town of Sunnybrook, there are no more cheerleaders. First it happened with a car accident, but soon there were murders. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die of suicide. After that, the high school canceled cheer leading. But that was 5 years ago and the high school wants to pay tribute of the lost cheerleaders. Monica isn’t ready for that. She just wants to forget. But soon she finds letters and an old cellphone. Plus there’s a strange new kid at school. And the people of Sunnybrook know more than they let on. Just because there are no more cheerleaders doesn’t mean everyone else is safe. Wow. Just that description has me counting down the days until I can get this book. The plot sounds so unique and good. And Kara Thomas is so good at writing strong, but also struggling, main characters. She makes them real and relatable. Her mysteries always keep you guessing until the last page. I need this book like yesterday.
Those are my top 10 most anticipated booked of 2018. I’m so excited to fill this year with reading lots of good books. Check back often as I may write a review of one of books listed above. Let me know of any books you’re excited to read in 2018 in the comments below!