February's Most Anticipated Young Adult Books

Posted by Sharon on February 1, 2021
 
As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young adult fiction. Every month our team looks at the books being published and how they're resonating with early readers. We use this information to put together a roundup of soon-to-be favorites.
 
New in February: West African folklore powers a new kind of fable in The Gilded Ones. One of Shakespeare’s most popular characters gets a puckish tribute in The Iron Raven. And some familiar, peculiar children return to bookshelves with The Desolations of Devil's Acre. Also in the cards: werewolves, desperate pirate queens, and the undeniable awesomeness of a good bowl of pho.
 
Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf, and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments!


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Inspired in part by the real-life legends and mythology of West Africa, The Gilded Ones is the first book in the new Deathless fantasy series from author Namina Forna. Sixteen-year-old Deka is preparing for solemn blood ceremony, which will determine her fate in the village. But when her blood runs gold, instead of red, a mysterious woman appears to offer her a life-altering choice. Forna’s innovative debut novel is recommended for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.

Read our exclusive interview with Namina Forna.


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From Courtney Summers, author of the 2019 Edgar Award–winning Sadie, this unusual YA thriller follows the fate of rookie journalist Lo Denham and her efforts to uncover the truth about a dangerous religious cult. But it’s complicated. Lo’s sister grew up in the cult, and the group’s dangerous leader, Lev Warren, now has both sisters in his crosshairs. Cult dynamics are endlessly terrifying and fascinating, and Summers’ promising new book has already sparked a good deal of industry buzz.


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Recovering English majors may recall the character of Puck, the spirited sidekick of fairy king Oberon in Shakespeare’s masterpiece A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s iteration is actually based on an even older figure from European folklore, also sometimes known as Robin Goodfellow. He’s a jester, a hobgoblin, a nature sprite, and a real handful. And now, thanks to Julie Kagawa’s latest book, he’s got a new story to call his own.


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Ransom Riggs’ unique photo-illustrated book series, Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, is already a modern classic. Now comes the long-awaited finale, in which the fate of peculiardom itself is at stake. Jacob Portman awakes to find himself back where it all began, his grandfather’s house in Florida. Meanwhile, Devil’s Acre is being plagued by desolations—psychic weather fronts of blood and bone and ash that bode ill for Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children. Zoinks, Scoob!


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Sequel to last year’s well-received pirate-adjacent fantasy All the Stars and Teeth, this new adventure from author Adalyn Grace continues the story of Amora Montara, now installed as queen of the island kingdom of Visidia. A terrible curse follows Amora’s bloodline, and she must set out upon a desperate quest to retrieve the mythical artifact that can save her and her kingdom. On top of everything else, she’s got a secret to keep: No one can know about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.


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For years, the Mai and the Nguyen families have been at odds. The two Vietnamese families own competing, neighboring restaurants. As such, Linh Mai and Bao Nguyen have avoided each other most of their teenage lives. But when a chance encounter brings them together, everything changes. Can these two find love in the chaos of their feuding families? Well, the Montagues and Capulets pulled it off. Kind of.


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Gothic fantasy is having something of A Moment in YA literature right now, and it's easy to see why in this twisty, horror-tinged debut by Rose Szabo. Eleanor Zarrin's been the black sheep of her very strange family for as long as she can remember (and in a family that includes werewolves and sea creatures, that's really saying something). When a violent incident at her boarding school forcers Eleanor to return to her grandmother's house for the first time in years, she'll discover if it's really true that there's no place like home.


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Winner of this month’s unofficial Coolest Book Title Award, Love Is a Revolution is a coming-of-age story with deeper rhythms. Nala Roberson has fallen in love, which is good. The object of her affection is Tye Brown, emcee at the local open-mic night and a dedicated community activist—also good. But to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies. That’s bad. Can Nala learn to show herself the same kind of love she holds for others? That’s the question.


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Books can change your life, especially if you find the right ones in your teenage years. That’s a central notion in Ashley Schumacher’s debut novel, in which two best friends find an unshakable bond in the books of the young and reclusive prodigy N.E. Endsley. But when the young women get a chance to meet the elusive author, tragedy strikes. Amelia Unabridged is one of the more intriguing YA titles of the year so far, perfect for bookworms of a particular intensity.


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Author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us) returns with another heartfelt coming-of-age story concerning the search for love and home. Shy and closeted, Marty has high hopes for his summer trip to London, where he can look for romance without the disapproving gaze of his parents. And events proceed nicely—until they don’t. Homesickness and anxiety take their toll, just as Marty finds his first-ever boyfriend. Can true love turn his trip into That One Perfect Summer?


Which new releases are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
66 of the Year's Most Anticipated Fiction by Black Authors
Readers' Most Anticipated Books of February
Courtney Summers Recommends 10 (Literal) Cult Classics

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Becca (new)

Becca H A Court of Silver Flames is adult. The whole series was repackaged with new covers and moved to the adult section, which is where it belongs: adult fantasy romance.


message 2: by Sharon, Goodreads employee (new)

Sharon Becca wrote: "A Court of Silver Flames is adult. The whole series was repackaged with new covers and moved to the adult section, which is where it belongs: adult fantasy romance."

Thanks for flagging that category change for us! I've swapped in a different February title in its place.


message 3: by Uzair (new)

Uzair Ahmed *Adds each book in want to read shelf*


message 4: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Maisch Sharon wrote: "Becca wrote: "A Court of Silver Flames is adult. The whole series was repackaged with new covers and moved to the adult section, which is where it belongs: adult fantasy romance."

Thanks for flagg..."


This is up for interpretation. I do all teen purchasing for our public library and we're keeping this series in our library's YA section.


message 5: by Ariana (new)

Ariana LeClair Uzair wrote: "*Adds each book in want to read shelf*"

That's literally what I just did! Haha, they all sound so interesting.


message 6: by Llyr (last edited Feb 19, 2021 11:50AM) (new)

Llyr Heller-Humphreys Stacey wrote: "Sharon wrote: "Becca wrote: "A Court of Silver Flames is adult. The whole series was repackaged with new covers and moved to the adult section, which is where it belongs: adult fantasy romance."

Agree. We are keeping it YA. For the older teens :--)


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