Blockbuster series conclude, while series openers launch gripping new stories. Classic tales are remixed and revisited, and original stories open our eyes to new possibilities. If there’s one thing we can say with certainty about fall’s most anticipated new YA books, it’s this: We guarantee you’ll never get bored.
Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Delacorte | August 30
As of this writing, Karen M. McManus’ debut YA mystery, One of Us Is Lying, has spent 233 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s been adapted into a television series on Peacock (season two drops on October 22!) and firmly reawakened YA readers’ love for mysteries with loads of jaw-dropping twists and reveals. Nothing More to Tell sees McManus turn to a cold-case mystery, the death of a prep-school teacher whose body is discovered in the woods by three students—all of whom are hiding something.
The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Little, Brown | August 30
If a more clever mystery series than Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Inheritance Games trilogy has hit shelves in the past five years, we’ll turn in our magnifying glasses and fake mustaches now. In addition to incredible writing chops, Barnes has a PhD from Yale and has studied psychology and cognitive science as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University, and it shows on every page of these delicious novels. The Final Gambit finds series protagonist Avery facing one last puzzle before inheriting a fortune that will make her the wealthiest teenager on Earth.
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan
Algonquin | August 30
Did you inhale the fourth season of “Stranger Things” and still want more of its unique blend of horror, nostalgia and ride-or-die friendship? Then you won’t want to miss Lambda Literary Award-winning Sara Farizan’s fourth novel, Dead Flip. Farizan fast-forwards to the late 1980s to tell the story of three BFFs whose lives are changed forever when one of them disappears—then reappears, five years later in 1992, and doesn’t seem to have aged a day.
The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
Feiwel & Friends | September 6
In the fall of 2020, YA author Aiden Thomas made history when his debut novel, Cemetery Boys, became the first work of fiction by a transgender author about a transgender protagonist to hit a New York Times bestseller list. Since then, Thomas’ star has only continued to rise, and this September, they’ll launch their first duology with The Sunbearer Trials. If you’ve been searching for a fantasy novel that combines a competition-based plot with Mexican mythology-inspired magic, look no further.
Self-Made Boys | Anna-Marie McLemore
Feiwel & Friends | September 6
Calling all lovers of retellings and remixes! We’re going to assume you already know about the Remixed Classics series, in which some of today’s best and brightest YA authors put their spin on English-class standards including Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. But you might not know that acclaimed YA author Anna-Marie McLemore is joining the series to tackle F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In McLemore’s vision, Nick Carraway becomes Nicolás Caraveo, a Latinx transgender boy whose cousin, Daisy Fabrega, has been passing as white among the wealthy residents of East Egg, New York. We can’t wait to see how McLemore will transform Fitzgerald’s dazzling Jazz Age tale.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen | September 6
Tiffany D. Jackson won the 2019 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent for her second novel, Monday’s Not Coming, and she’s been delivering on its promise ever since. If there’s one thing Jackson fans have learned, it’s that Jackson has range. Take, for example, the three books she released in 2021: Blackout, created in collaboration with five other amazing writers, was an incomparable ode to summer love in New York City; White Smoke was a terrifying haunted-house horror novel; and Santa in the City was one of the sweetest additions to the Christmas picture book canon we’ve seen in years. With The Weight of Blood, Jackson returns to the horror genre to offer an updated take on Carrie set at a Georgia high school’s first racially integrated prom.
The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti
Labyrinth Road | September 13
If you wear glasses, you might recall how, in the moments after you first put them on, everything suddenly became sharper and more in focus. That’s sort of what it’s like to pick up a Deb Caletti novel. Since her debut, The Queen of Everything (which will be 20 years old this year!), Caletti has steadily been publishing some of the best and most incisive contemporary YA fiction around and garnering plenty of acclaim, too, including a Michael L. Printz Honor and a National Book Award finalist. The Epic Story of Every Living Thing follows social media-obsessed Harper, who decides to track down the man whose sperm donation her mom used to conceive her—and learns that she has more than 40 half siblings.
The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Flatiron | September 13
It’s hard to think of a bigger recent breakout success in YA fantasy than Stephanie Garber, who burst onto the scene in 2017 with her blockbuster novel, Caraval. After finishing her first trilogy, Garber showed no sign of slowing down, launching a companion series with 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart, another instant bestseller. Garber is now a proven expert at blending enchanting fantasy, swoonworthy romance and plots filled with intrigue and surprises, so we recommend blocking off a day or two when The Ballad of Never After releases, as we suspect reading it in one sitting will not be optional.
I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Wednesday | September 13
Are you still emotionally recovering from Courtney Summers’ 2018 breakout YA novel, Sadie, and its portrayal of the power of sisterhood in the face of the darkest aspects of patriarchy and misogyny? Then you may want to begin preparing now for I’m the Girl, a standalone thriller that sees Summers return to similar themes but turns the emotional turmoil up to 13. And yes, we know the emotional turmoil dial only goes to 10.
Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros
Inkyard | September 20
Aden Polydoros’ 2021 traditional publishing debut, The City Beautiful, was one of the most rewarding surprises of last year. BookPage praised the novel, a supernatural murder mystery set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, as “a gorgeous, disturbing, visceral and mystical experience.” In Bone Weaver, Polydoros shifts settings to a fantasy world inspired by early 20th century Russia to tell the story of three teens thrown together on the tides of history. We can’t wait to see where Polydoros’ imagination will take him next.
A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo
Dutton | October 4
Until 2021, YA author Malinda Lo was best known for genre fiction, especially Ash, her groundbreaking Sapphic reimagining of “Cinderella.” Then came Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which received so many awards (including the National Book Award, the Stonewall Book Award, the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and a Michael L. Printz Honor) that their circular badges almost don’t fit on the book’s cover. A deeply researched work of historical fiction, Last Night at the Telegraph Club was the work of a writer who’d been honing her craft for more than a decade. Lo returns to shelves with A Scatter of Light, a companion novel set 60 years later, during the summer in which the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage by overturning California’s Proposition Eight.
I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Scholastic | October 18
Netflix’s adaptation of “Heartstopper,” based on Alice Oseman’s web comic-turned-graphic novel series of the same name, received nearly universal acclaim and became a bona fide hit when it was released this spring. The feel-good series’ incredible success means that legions of new Oseman fans are eagerly awaiting the author’s next YA novel (and any “Heartstopper” Easter eggs it might contain). I Was Born for This follows Angel, a megafan of a popular new boy band, and Jimmy, the band’s leader, as their lives unexpectedly intersect.
The Luminaries by Susan Dennard
Tor Teen | November 1
A new novel from beloved YA fantasy author Susan Dennard would be cause for celebration under any circumstances, but a new novel that will open a brand-new contemporary fantasy series that looks as unputdownable as The Luminaries? Let’s just say that we’ll be counting the days until the book’s November 1 publication date. Featuring one of the most memorable book covers of the fall, The Luminaries follows Winnie Wednesday, who is determined to restore her family’s place among the mysterious group that protects her hometown of Hemlock Falls from the monstrous creatures that dwell in the forest that surrounds the town.
Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
Dutton | November 1
Nine years elapsed between the publication of Bitterblue, the third novel in Kristin Cashore’s bestselling Graceling Realm series, and Winterkeep, the series’ fourth book, so you’ll understand why Cashore fans’ joy might seem unusually effusive at the news that a fifth book, Seasparrow, will hit shelves after just a short 21-month wait. Of course, Cashore is a fantasy writer like no other, and we’d wait a lot longer than 21 months for a chance to return to the magical worlds and intricate stories that have become her hallmark. We don’t want to give too much away, so we’ll just say that Seasparrow picks up where Winterkeep left off and centers around a new character introduced in a previous novel.
Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon
Quill Tree | November 8
Last summer, six powerhouse YA authors joined forces to create Blackout, a once-in-a-lifetime literary event that followed six interconnected love stories that all unfolded during a midsummer blackout in New York City. All six authors will return for Whiteout, which shifts the setting to Atlanta and the season to winter, with an unexpected blizzard serving as the plot engine. Readers whose ideal romance involves twinkling snowflakes and steaming mugs of cocoa will want to be sure to cozy up with Whiteout this winter. Just don’t forget your mittens!