Can’t Wait 2019 YA: Author Edition, Vol. II

Francesca Flores

Hollow Crown – Zoraida Cordova – This book looks so epic and fierce. A spy and memory-thief fights against a monarchy that wants to destroy her people and their magic. Using memories to fight for freedom is such a unique concept that I’m excited to see on the page. After reading the gorgeous and highly imaginative world-building in LABYRINTH LOST and BRUJA BORN, I can’t wait to see what the author does with a fantasy world inspired by 15th century Spain.

Small Town Hearts – Lillie Vale – Um, cute Maine beach town, a bisexual barista protagonist, ex-girlfriend drama and an attractive artist boy visiting for the summer? This sounds like the kind of book you won’t want to put down. I’m so ready for the cozy beach town setting and all the romance.

Patron Saints of Nothing – Randy Ribay – After being blown away by AFTER THE SHOT DROPS, one of my favorite books of 2018, I’m so looking forward to the author’s next book. A boy will travel to the Philippines to try to uncover the truth of his cousin’s murder. This book is also shedding more light on President Duterte’s war on drugs and the many people who’ve been killed during it. Ribay writes characters with so much nuance, and the way they confront their flaws and grow always feels so raw and real. They come alive on the page and make the reader consider life in a new way.

The Dragon Warrior – Katie Zhao – This MG has everything! The fierce, heartfelt and funny biracial protagonist Faryn fights her way through demons in Chinatowns spread across the US. This book strong family ties and friendships, lots of jokes, so much mythology, and enough food descriptions to make you want to head to your nearest Chinatown and eat everything.

Blood Heir – Amélie Wen Zhao – A very unique magic system, immersive worldbuilding of a snow- and ice-covered empire, a slick conman, and a blood-bending princess ready to take back her kingdom even as it tries to destroy people like her–what more could you possibly want?! This book is loaded with beautiful descriptions, important themes, characters you fall in love with, lots of moral grayness, and a spellbinding plot.


Francesca Flores’ Diamond City doesn’t come out until 2020 but I already want it.

Emily Lloyd-Jones

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds – A love story meets time travel? One that deals with themes of grief and absence? Give it to me now, please.

The Beholder by Anna Bright – I love to snuggle up with a comfy blanket and swoony fantasy, and this book promises to be full of ships. (Sorry, sorry. I had to make the pun because of the cover. But seriously, look at that cover.)

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf – I adore historical novels that take me to places and times I’ve never visited. And this book sounds amazing.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – A young woman disguises herself as a man to fight for the chance to be a royal dressmaker… this book sounds tailor-made for me. (Sorry, sorry. More puns.)

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan – This has been described as a lush, dark fantasy influenced by eastern European and I desperately want to get my hands on it.

Emily Lloyd-Jones ruined my life with her book The Hearts We Sold and I’m sure she’ll do the same with her upcoming book, The Bone Houses

Elizabeth Lim

WICKED FOX by Kat Cho — I’m a sucker for contemporary fantasy rooted in mythology. The premise for Kat’s book, about an immortal girl who kills to survive then has to face the consequences of falling in love with a human boy, set my heart racing. I need to know what happens.

THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT by Swati Teerdhala — This ancient Indian-inspired fantasy has all the elements of an epic story I’d want to read: a swoonworthy romance, a cat-and-mouse game, political intrigue. It sounds just breathtaking!

A TREASON OF THORNS by Laura Weymouth — Ever since reading the light between worlds, anything by Laura is an instant buy for me. I love historical fantasy and this one sounds sumptuous.

ECHO NORTH by Joanna Meyer — I’ve had the pleasure of already reading this gorgeous fantasy and it is not to be missed. A ravishing fairy tale and love letter to books and music. I’m so excited for readers to discover and fall in love with Joanna’s writing.

THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL — This is my historical fiction pick for 2019. I love Stacey’s writing, and I can’t wait to read her latest–about a girl who secretly writes an advice column that challenges ideas about race and gender. Plus, that cover! It wowed me.

Elizabeth Lim is the author of the upcoming Spin the Dawn which was on like 20 billion people’s Can’t Wait lists, as well as Reflection: A Twisted Tale

Akemi Dawn Bowman

There are so many great books coming out in 2019, and A PLACE FOR WOLVES by Kosoko Jackson is definitely one of my most anticipated. It’s a historical thriller about two teenage boys falling in love during the Kosovo War, and it sounds like it’s going to break my heart into pieces.

I’m also hugely looking forward to BLOOD HEIR by Amélie Wen Zhao, which is about a fugitive princess with blood magic. I heard it’s a dark retelling of Anastasia, which is basically everything I want from a fantasy novel.

And finally, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY by Hanna Alkaf sounds equal parts emotional and devastating. It’s set in Malaysia during the 1969 race riots, and it’s about a girl with OCD desperate to be reunited with her mother. I am fully prepared to bawl my eyes out reading this one!”

Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of Morris Award finalist Starfish and Summer Bird Blue, which I sobbed through the last half of.

Kath Rothschild

Lisa Ramee’s A Good Kind of Trouble promises to be a middle grade The Hate You Give, as Shayla defies her school’s dress code to support the Black Lives Matter movement. With shout outs to the Bay Area and to track and field lovers throughout, this promised to be one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming books of 2019! Debuts March 13!

Chris Baron’s All of Me, a novel in charming verse, tells the story of Ari, an overweight tween dealing with bullying, parental unit failure, and a weight problem that might not be the problem. Several novels in verse for middle grade readers have debuted in the past years, but no one captures the funny heart break that is childhood like Chris Baron.

Jeff Zentner’s Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is going to be the contemporary to read in 2019, with a hilarious and sweet story punctuated by the foibles of late-night public access television and the characters’ love of B horror flicks. A big departure from Serpent King and Goodbye Days, Zentner deals more in hilarity than tears.


Kath Rothschild is the author of 2020’s Hope and Other Feathered Thing, which, again, is very far away.

Taylor Brooke

PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon is the first high fantasy book that I’ve actually looked forward to in the last decade. I’m not a fantasy reader, but this book hooked me the moment it was announced and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
TARNISHED ARE THE STARS by Rosiee Thor is a science fantasy YA about a heart disease sweeping a far-future Earth and features a cast of incredible Queer characters. The aromantic and asexual representation had my heart fluttering and the f/f ship is sharp and sizzling.
MAGIC FOR LIARS by Sarah Gailey sounds like exactly my kind of urban fantasy. Sibling dynamics, magic, murder and a healthy dose of secrets put this book on my radar the minute it was announced.
RED WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston sounds like the New Adult romp I’ve always wanted to read. This political romance sounds funny, lovely and I can’t wait to escape into the pages.

Taylor Brooke is the author of The Camellia Clock Cycle and The Isolation series. And is cool enough to take a pic with a train.

Erin Stewart

“Opposite of Always” by Justin A. Reynolds

I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I first read the concept: Boy travels through time, reliving the moment he meets the woman he loves—and then loses. Can he figure out how to stop her death? How will his choices affect the people he loves? Wow. I already know this one is going to be a read-in-one-sitting kind of book.

“House of Salt and Sorrows” by Erin A. Craig

Erin and I share an editor (and a name!), which means I’ve been lucky enough to keep up on all the buzz about her book as we go through debut year together. From what I’ve seen, a journey into the world of 12 sisters is going to be beautiful and creepy and unforgettable, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I mean just listen to this teaser: “As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family. Be careful who you dance with. . . .” Yes, please!

“Hope and Other Punchlines” by Julie Buxbaum

I can’t wait to read this story about a girl trying to hide from her legacy as “Baby Hope” spawned by a Sept. 11 photograph, and a boy searching for his own answers for what he lost that day. With themes of hope, resilience and reinvention, this sounds like my kind of story!


Erin Stewart is the author of Scars Like Wings which releases in October from Delacorte and sounds like it’s gonna make me cry

Keena Roberts

1) These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
I’ve read this book and it is FUN. And INTENSE. There’s MAGIC. I mean, it’s a book about queer witches. I don’t know if you really heard me, so let repeat: it’s a book about QUEER WITCHES. I am so thrilled to have gotten a peek into this world and you really need to put it on your TBR right now.
2) We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Again, queer girls. I love everything about the premise of this book and can’t wait to dive in. I love a book that can completely immerse me in a creative and high-stakes world where I really care about the characters and this book has already started pulling me in. I’m really excited for this one!
3) The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
Gothic Argentinian historical fiction? Yes, please. Mysteries, illnesses, and cursed manors? YES PLEASE. I also happen to know that Sara has a fantastic sense of humor so I’m immediately interested in anything she has to write. I can’t wait to get this one, and I’m already thinking up some juicy questions when Sara and I chat with each other later this year for our edition of the #class2k19books interview series.
Keena Roberts’ memoir, Wild Life, comes out 2019 from Grand Central. It features baboons, so I’m extremely excited.

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