The Best Young Adult Books of 2018 So Far

Seira Wilson on July 11, 2018

BOTYSF_collage.jpgEvery year I start this blog post thinking about what an amazing selection of books has crossed my desk between January and June, and 2018 is no exception. Beautifully written contemporary fiction, tales of modern relationships, incredible world-building fantasy, graphic novels, and stories that make you laugh out loud--they're all on our list of Top 20 favorites of the year so far in Young Adult. 

Our number one pick is a novel I've written about here before: Children of Blood and BoneNot only is Children of Blood and Bone the top pick in young adult but it also made our overall Top 10 Best Books of 2018 so far

Below are the top five picks from the young adult list, and you can see all twenty here.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

If you're going to read one fantasy novel this summer, make it this one. Adeyami has created a glittering and gritty world of magic and struggle that is utterly original. Her landscape is rich and varied--from steamy jungles to nomad caravans--and her characters are complex individuals trying to right ancient wrongs and find balance for a divided people. An exceptional first novel and the first of a series you won't want to miss.

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

A wild alternative history of the Civil War in which the dead have begun rising and terrorizing a divided nation. The solution? A new law that which sends young African American and Native American women to combat school, where they will learn both the art of killing the undead, and how to drop a proper curtsy.  Subversive, funny, and endlessly entertaining. 

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Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

A modern take on new beginnings, getting through the not-so-glamorous stages of early young adulthood, and love in the minefield of social media.  In Emergency Contact, the constant access we're so used to with texts, etc., develops into a deeper relationship, rather than thwarting it, and Choi's characters feel familiar and real.  The next book to read for fans of Rainbow Rowell and the like.

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A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes) by Sabaa Tahir

The world Sabaa Tahir has built over three books so far continues to amaze me, as do the plot twists in A Reaper at the Gates.  In this installment of the series, the line between the living and the dead becomes blurred, brutal wars are fought, and motives unmasked.  As always, Tahir's latest feels like reading a historical novel that's been shuffled with a fantasy.  Remarkable.

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Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton

This debut novel is centered around the life of a funny, flawed, and endearing protagonist named Cliff, who bears the unfortunate nickname of Neanderthal. Cliff is not one to shy away from a fight; he may be bullied but he gives as good as he gets when it comes to laying fist to face. What could be cliché--nemesis becomes friend--does not land in after-school-special territory here. Norton looks at some of the ways in which high school can suck, and shows us how funny, absurd, and human it all is.  Genuine, touching, and special. 

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