PSA: Young Adult books are not just for the 12-18-year-old hearts they were originally written for. Over the course of the last few months, I have found myself reaching for escapist young adult (YA) books more frequently than ever before. I am a sucker for a fantasy/enemies-to-lovers romance novel and always find that the YA genre gives me the cream of the crop.
Often boasting beautiful covers, YA books are not only aesthetically pleasing but also allow you to slide out of your Thomas Hardy/Brontë sister slump unscathed. Tell me – what is better than disappearing into a book which gives you joy above everything else? I am waiting!
Without further ado, here are seven books I personally cannot wait to sink my teeth into come February 2021. Give them a chance – you might even be converted.
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Out via Katherine Tegen Books on February 2
From the author of the Charlotte Holmes series comes a reimagined historical fiction titled Muse. First in the duology of novels, Brittany Cavallaro’s Muse centres around Claire Emerson, a daughter under control. Her father, a proclaimed inventor, keeps Claire under his spell as he believes her touch brings golden gifts of genius.
However, as Claire tries to flee from her birth-giver and a soon-to-be-raging war, she is captured by Governor Remy. Will Claire again bow to the needs of her captor or shall she remake her world with her own magic? Fast-paced and thrilling, Muse sounds too good to be true.
Out via Holiday House on February 2
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a coming-of-age drama about acceptance, dating, and challenging relationships. Crystal Malando’s debut novel follows Charlie, a fat, brown, artistic, and ambitious high school girl who wants to be accepted as she is now. Not when she is smaller (like her mom encourages with a plethora of weight-loss shakes) and not when she is whiter (like the majority of her high school.) Charlie means now.
Thought to be painful and thought-provoking yet charming and charismatic, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a novel I really cannot wait to devour.
Out via Scholastic on February 2
Denver would bleed music if you cut her. At seventeen, she dreams of packing up and moving out of her tiny, white town and into the big world of parties and songs with people who look like her. When her and her pals meet Sean “Mercury” Ellis it feels like the stars have aligned. However, not everything is as lavish as it appears. As the darkness of the music industry latches itself onto Denver’s entire being, she has to choose between her big break or her freedom. Muted by Tami Charles is a fearless story based on true events of exploitation and fighting for what is right.
Out via Sourcebooks Fire on February 2
Kosko Jackson’s debut novel, Yesterday Is History, is an LGBTQ+, science-/historical fiction-hybrid. Say that three times fast! When Yesterday Is History‘s protagonist, Andre Cobb, receives a much-needed liver donation, he finds himself transported back to 1969 and into the arms of Michael. Michael is everything Andre wishes to be but his attraction is torn into two when he returns to the present and meets Blake. This boy, who is keeping Andre at bay, is the brother of his donor and knows a thing or two about time travel.
While Andre is caught in limbo with these two boys he must decide whether the past with Micheal or the present with Blake is where he wants to remain – before it is too late and his time travelling consequences catch up with him, indefinitely.
Out via Bloomsbury YA on February 4
Nala Roberts would rather eat ice cream and watch films than be out on the streets fighting for justice and being labeled as ‘an activist’. But, when she attends her cousin-cum-sister Imani’s birthday open-mic, she meets and falls head-over-heels for Tye Brown, an actual activist. When Nala sprouts a pack of white lies in order to impress Tye, she finds she is hurtling down a one-way path of deceitfulness. The harder she falls in love the harder it is to come clean to Tye.
Reneé Watson’s Love Is A Revolution follows a plus-sized black teenager on the path to self and radical love. This YA novel is not just a romance; it is a love story.
Out via The Parliament House Press on February 23
S. C. Alban’s first installment to her Mythical Creatures collection is the romantic adventure Playing Cupid. When bonafide lover-hater Megan Cooper accidentally strikes Cupid with her car, the god of desire demands her to take up his mantle. With a designated three mighty love-matches to make, Megan must burst open old wounds, face fears and find forgiveness. A simple-yet-effective recipe for romance, Playing Cupid proves that love truly does conquer all.
Out via Usborne Publishing Ltd on February 9
The Gilded Ones is the first in Namina Forna’s fantasy fiction Deathless series. The Gilded Ones opens with an introduction to the series’ protagonist, Deka, who at sixteen is fast approaching her village’s blood ceremony. When her blood runs gold instead of the customary red, Deka faces a fate worse than banishment and death at the hands of her village. Moments before her punishment, however, a saving grace appears in the form of a mysterious woman. Deka is offered a tantalising lifeline – a position amongst the ranks of near-immortal warriors.
In pursuit of love and acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she has ever known. The capital awaits her, with more danger and destruction than she could ever have imagined. Deka quickly learns that nothing and nobody is as they seem.