1. The Downstairs Girl – Stacey Lee is one of my favorite YA authors, and I’ve been waiting for her next book, The Downstairs Girl, since the book deal was announced sometime in 2017 (?). It’s always awesome to see historical fiction featuring Chinese American heroines, and Stacey Lee is the number one author for this. The Downstairs Girl takes place in Georgia in the 1890s and features a protagonist who uses her platform in solidarity with other marginalized people, which is absolutely what we need in YA.
Sequels I am excited for:
Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf (follow-up to Bring Me Their Hearts) There are not many sequels I am excited for in 2019, but Find Me Their Bones is definitely one of them. With the way Bring Me Their Hearts ended, I need answers and more of Zera and Prince Lucien. Bring Me Their Hearts is a book I devoured, and I am certain Find Me Their Bones will be the same. Zera is a heartless who must cut out Prince Lucien’s heart in order to gain her own back from the witch who saved her. The idea is ingenious and the book is filled with many surprising twists. It’s a series that deserves all the praise.
The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross (sequel to The Queen’s Rising) The Queen’s Rising surprised me in many ways, with its smart and witty main character and the charming, irresistible Cartier. The story itself contains wonderful history in a world on the brink of war. And it takes a surprising turn when Brienna finds out who she really is. The Queen’s Resistance continues Brienna’s journey in forging alliances and bringing peace to the two kingdoms.
Before the Broken Star by Emily R. King. I loved Emily R King’s Hundredth Queen series, so I cannot wait for her next saga. Everley Donovan survived her family’s assassination with the help of a clockwork heart. And now that the time in her heart is dwindling down, she has to hurry to expose the man that tore everything she loved from her. This story is bound to be filled with action and romance, and I can’t wait to add this unique story to my collection!
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. A King Arthur retelling where King Arthur is a girl and Merlin is queer? Count me in! I’m all for this wonderful gender-bending retelling where a girl is the reincarnation of King Arthur and Merlin is a stubborn teenager. I’ve always been a fan of the King Arthur tale and I have yet to find a YA book that brings this tale to life in a new and exciting way.
1-First one I’m super stoked for is King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Honestly I love her style of writing, the dark twisty elements and I cannot wait to find out more about Nikolai who I fell hard and fast in love with in crooked kingdom. (She’s definitely an auto-buy author for me, no matter what she writes I’ll read it!)
2- Enchanteé by Gita Trelease
Basically I love books about pre and post revolution France and when I heard about this one, yes please sign me up! I also love the cover so there’s that small thing too. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this book and can’t wait to read it!
3- Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I think I was one of the few who loved enchantment of ravens and when I heard that she was coming out with a new book, I couldn’t wait! This one has more fae element, stabby things and magic…all of which I solidly approve of.
4- Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine
This is the 5th and final book in the great library series and I have been waiting for years for. The first one deals with what if the library of Alexandria had not been lost? And what if there are people who are trying to protect it? I’m sad I don’t hear more about this series bc it has sassy librarians, time travel, magic and just so much action!!
I’m looking forward to The Last 8 by Laura Pohl, seeing as there’s an alien invasion (my jam), a band of misfits, and the main character’s last name is Martínez, which is the same last name as mine and my entire family. I can’t wait to be able to show my family there are girls with the last name Martínez in the books I read and that they too can save the world, even if from extraterrestrials.
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno has been giving me such Jane the Virgin vibes, which is good because that’s one of my favorite TV shows. I’m excited to read a story that focuses on a teenage girl of Cuban heritage that wants to explore her roots and a history hidden due to generational trauma, cultural repression and assimilation. It has family drama which is a core necessity in Latinx households, and a romance I can’t wait to delve into because I’m certain it’s gonna make me swoon and sigh.
Mexicans might have La Llorona to scare their children, but Puerto Ricans have El Cuco, and from the moment I heard about Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal I was ready to tackle the monster of my nightmares. Set in Puerto Rico, this YA thriller is sure to have me reading in the daylight, as the villain in this story may be El Cuco come to life. I’m sure it’ll keep me at the edge of my seat as I try to find out whether El Cuco may have been among us this entire time.
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, penned by the sister duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, centers around a Haitian-American girl who’s booted off her elite school after a prank goes wrong and gets sent to Haiti. Weaving political scandals, history, and perhaps a romance, this contemporary story is on my list of anticipated reads, as I’m sure it is on many. In the age of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi, getting to see more Afro-Latinx stories represented on the page by Afro-Latinx writers is necessary and incredible. I can’t wait to read this book!
You know what I want? More fantasy based on Latinx folklore! Good thing that’s being delivered with the additions of Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibáñez (Rachel note: has moved to 2020 since blurbs were sent to me!) and All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil. While Ibáñez’s Bolivian-inspired fantasy has princesses, magical weavers, and political intrigue, Ruiz Keil’s is set in a post-punk San Francisco where a seventeen-year old governess Xochi, deals with a tween genius with a hot rock star dad and the real and fantastic will mix to maybe derail her life.
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (January 8, 2019)
The latest installment in the Wayward Children series, In An Absent Dream is both a new book and a prequel. It introduces a new realm to fans of the series while also returning us to a character who faced tragedy a way back inEvery Heart a Doorway. It’s been so long since readers have seen this character, a year since there’s been a new book, and add to this the fact that the realm will be a Goblin Market, one of my favorite fantasy realms ever? In An Absent Dream is one of my most anticipated books of 2019.
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food Love (June 18, 2019)
Food has a way of reaching to the depths of our hearts, even when it feels like nothing else can. Combine that with storytelling from some of my favorite diverse storytellers, including Sandhya Menon, Adi Alsaid, Rin Chupeco, and Anne-Marie McLemore, and this collection becomes a magical menu of stories sure to be a feast for the senses. Whether you’re looking for a magical soup dumpling or that certain combination of butter and sugar to make things better, who’s to say which dish or story will be that one (or even more) that will touch your soul? Food stories always seem to have that extra something that reach out to me as a reader and this collection brings together a cast of writers that seems so fantastic that I’m extraordinarily excited.
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (April 2, 2019)
Forbidden magic, Chinese inspired fantasy, sudden royal responsibilities. What’s not to like about Joan He’s debut novel Descendant of the Crane? Hesina never wanted the weight of the crown upon her head, but when her father is murdered, she must take up not only the crown, but a treasonous secret in order to find out who took his life. Taking the advice of a soothsayer (forbidden for centuries, since magic is outlawed), she faces a journey to the truth that endangers her life, but may leads to justice…if the cost is not too high.
Oh my stars, just reading the synopsis had me jumping up and down in my seat for this title. Writing about it got me excited again. I’m super excited for Joan’s first book and to see what she has in store for Hesina. The magical elements, the forbidden aspect, as well as the Chinese inspiration. It all sounds so fantastic that I’m sure that Joan is going to do it justice.
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
This fantasy is pitched as a Chinese Game of Thrones–and its complex politics absolutely lives up to that comp. But honestly? It’s even better. There’s none of the tired misogyny or overblown violence. Descendant of the Crane takes inspiration from epic fantasy tropes and Chinese culture but elevates it to a whole other level by showing new conflicts instead of rehashing the same old prejudices and power plays.
Hesina is a young girl with incredible agency and her character honestly glows, especially as she manages power in a very different way from most YA protagonists. (Not trying to “not like other girls” here, just promising you this is such a fresh and inventive YA fantasy!) Long live Hesina!
The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Ready for more women in power? You’ll love The Girl King. The titular character, Lu, is in line to the throne but must contend with her awful usurping male cousin. Delightfully abrasive, she’s an action heroine after my own heart. Here’s a fantastic quote (from an uncorrected proof): “I wasn’t made to torment you. I wasn’t made for you at all. I was made for me.”
Min, Lu’s younger sister and another POV character, was another star of this book. She’s more timid and initially conforms to the patriarchy, but as she begins to harness secret magical power and rises in opposition to her sister, she develops into a morally complex character who is both Lu’s equal and foil. You’ll adore how skilfully the author navigates the moral complexity of the characters in The Girl King!
Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
Look, y’all: ANASTASIA RETELLING NEED I SAY MORE. Add in a monster girl protagonist and I am SOLD. The young exiled princess Anastacya is accused of murdering her father and so makes a deal with a crime lord to win back her empire.
A particularly salient quote from Amélie’s letter to readers: in a world where those deemed “different” are often cast out and made to be monsters, I want them to win. YES PLEASE.
Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
*clears throat* Project Runway. With magic. Uh, sign me up! Maia Tamarin must compete against twelve other tailors to create three magic gowns from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. It has that delicate touch of magic that I love to see in fantasy!
This is such a unique spin on the deadly competition aspect that’s so popular in YA. The world sounds so wondrous and intriguing—I can’t wait for Spin The Dawn to come out.
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
This is going to be a gem of contemporary fantasy! This book is about four teenagers seeking to defeat a beast in the woods. Christine writes spellbinding prose and I’m so excited to see how she brings this creepy, atmospheric forest to life.
Here’s a gorgeous animation by Alex Castellanos that will dazzle you:
Did you guys know @christineexists is doing a giveaway for galleys of THE DEVOURING GRAY?? It’s the PERFECT book to read in October so go check out her pinned tweet! Here’s May, magically shuffling her deck of omens cards to reveal five special cards… pic.twitter.com/Q8VsWb5mrj
— Alex Castellanos ✨ (@alexisc_art) September 23, 2018
The first 2019 book that I am excited about is THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi because, 1) have you seen the cover? 2) It features a diverse cast of characters who come from different walks of life but share the same goal. And 3) 1/5 of the main crew, Enrique Mercado-Lopez, is a Filipino-Spanish historian and linguist and my Filipino-Spanish-loving heart can’t get enough of him, and his charm, and his resourcefulness.
Next up is THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon. I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I read When Dimple Met Rishi when it was released years ago, and this time around, she’s telling a story about a plus-sized teen who has something to prove. I mean… I NEEDED THIS BOOK WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL! I don’t care if this book takes decades to write and publish. I’m still very much interested in reading it.
And this last one isn’t a YA title, but I’m still very much excited for Casey McQuiston’s debut, RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE. It’s a queer, new adult, big-hearted rom-com in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales… I MEAN… It’s a queer romance, y’all! I live for books like this! And I absolutely, absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this one.
I cannot wait for DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE because that cover is stunning and I want to hype up more Asian (American) Authors in 2019. It’s one of my goals in 2019 and life really. So bring on the princesses, forbidden magic, and family.
SHADOW GLASS is going to be the book that takes my little dark fantasy heart and breaks it. I have adored THE BONE WITCH trilogy and so I’m fully prepared for SHADOW GLASS to rip me apart and resurrect me from the dead. Seriously. All my necromancy lovers, get on this one!
And speaking of necromancy, SONG OF THE DEAD will take all my favorite characters on a whole new adventure that introduces them to dragons? Because I needed another way to make my love this series even more? It’s about grief, friendship, and responsbility.
THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME is phenomenal. It is inspiring and educating. Addressing the lack of sexual education and the very real dangers this has to teens, this book is something I want to give all the teens in my life. And it features an ace side character!
THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS made me cry big ugly tears. It’s a story about friendship, knocking each other’s walls down, and love that acknowledges the impermanence of the moment. Not to mention it also adds some spaceships into the mix. Stellar!
Book Nerd of the Year Finalist Vicky
Anyone who follows me probably knows that DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. Because not only have I already read and loved it, I’m still super excited for its release (and to watch other readers get wrecked by all the emotions). It’s very distinctly Asian and the character relationships are complex and important and it’s like the best type of sucker punch in the gut. I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s tears after they read it, and also cry again when the finished copy is in my hands.
Being in high school sometimes feels like a long string of awkward moments, which is why I’m so ready for Jennifer Dugan’s HOT DOG GIRL next year. The secondhand embarrassment is at an all-time-high with Lou and her hot dog suit, and I’m really excited not only to experience all the embarrassment without the long term consequences of real life, but also to be whisked away into a fun and hilarious novel that HOT DOG GIRL promises to be.
THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY is the closest book I’ve ever found to having the Indonesian part of my identity represented. Yes, it’s about the Malaysian race riots of the late 1960s. But the number of parallels it has to the Indonesian race riots of the late 1990s made it a really profound read for me. Not only does THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY flawlessly examine race and culture in historic Malaysia, but it’s also a really emotional and impactful read, and I’m very excited for other readers like me to be able to pick it up and see themselves represented through this book.
Fierce is not a big enough word to describe Maia’s face on the cover of Elizabeth Lim’s SPIN THE DAWN, and that’s entirely my hope for what the story inside will be like. Not only does it have some of my favorite tropes (girl dresses as boy! fashion! court intrigue!), but it also promises lots of magic and lushness that I’m itching to read next year.
Ronni Davis’ WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU is so very far away (November?!), but something I’m extremely excited for. Not only have I read about the incredible black biracial rep in the reviews, the summary promising a narrative about first love is something I’m so looking forward to. I am so ready for Davis to rip my heart out in 2019 with this book.
Book #1: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson I LOVE THIS BOOK. That’s the easiest thing to say about it. There’s monster books and sword wielding librarians and pleasantly murderous demons and unique magic—all written so evocatively and magically. Rogerson outdid herself with this book.
Book #2: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho This book sounds FANTASTIC. I mean, a girl who’s a nine-tailed fox that EATS the souls of men? I’m sold. I don’t need to know anything else.
Book #3: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh Renée is bringing back vampires and this is all my heart and soul have wanted for years.