As much as I wanted to go rogue this year and pick 25 books for the best of the year in young adult list, I had to hold to our Top 20 and do a little extra nail biting. Our top pick in YA this year also made our overall top 20 list: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
Children of Blood and Bone came out in April but it's really stayed with us, a powerhouse of action, intrigue, a little romance, and a lot of magic. Adeyemi pulled from her West African heritage for the gods and magic that play a major role in the story, and her novel takes readers into jungles and across deserts with description so rich you feel like you can smell the leaves and feel the heat.
If you haven't read it yet, the holiday quiet is the perfect time to start (it's long, and you won't want to put it down), especially since the next book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is coming out on March 5th.
Below are four more of our top 20 picks and you can see the full list here.
A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) by Ransom Riggs
The latest installment of Ransom Riggs’ popular series has exciting new twists in store, starting with Miss Peregrine and the peculiar children arriving in Florida and pulling off a daring rescue. While not billed as a prequel, A Map of Days takes readers on a journey to where it all began for Jacob Portman: his grandfather Abe’s secret life as a peculiar operative. For anyone who hasn't tried this series and wants to get a taste of it, A Map of Days is a great place to dip in (though once you do, I pretty much guarantee you'll be back for more...) and unique to this novel are color photographs--still as strange as those who inhabit the pages.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
One of the new trends in young adult fiction that I've been really enjoying is the emergence of thrillers, and Sadie is the best one I've read this year. The story centers around a murdered girl, her teenage sister, Sadie, who goes MIA looking for revenge, and the podcast journalist who's trying to track her down. Both Sadie and the journalist tell a story filled with surprising twists, a game of cat-and-mouse, and a pace that kept me on the edge of my seat. Sadie is a book you'll read in one sitting if you can, with an ending you won't easily forget.
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Melchin
Put two award-winning authors together on a remarkable journey into fantasy and social satire and you get an incredible read called The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. The novel is about two warring kingdoms, one elfin, the other goblin, and includes spying, general treachery, a catapult, and two very different versions of the same story--it all depends on who's doing the telling. Great fun, very timely, and the tale is layered with gorgeous black and white illustrations. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge was also chosen as a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
A book for modern times, this debut novel has me keeping an eye out for the author's next book. Darius is a half-Persian teenager who doesn't speak Farsi, and is not thrilled when his family decides to take a trip to Iran. Darius already feels like an outsider in American, and it only gets worse when arrives at his grandparents house in Iran. Once there, however, Darius makes a good friend, and finds his footing and the courage to be himself. A moving and authentic read that also gives up plenty of laughs, I've recommended this one over and over this year.
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