What's Up in YA

Grab Your Shades: YA Books With Extra Bright Covers

Hey there, YA readers!

I’ve been sheltered in place for over a year now, and in that time I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ventured farther than my hometown. In some ways, it’s been nice to stay home and get cozy–other days I just want to hop in the car and start driving in any one direction! Last week, I had the opportunity to go into a real! live! bookstore! to stock my new YA book, and I was super impressed by how the bookstore was enforcing masks, distance, and all the CDC protocols. And the best part was that I got to browse IRL! It made me so happy I teared up.

One thing that I didn’t realize I missed was seeing books on the shelves! Even books I knew I wasn’t going to buy! Not only is it wonderful to be surrounded by books, but I love the physical act of browsing and see what the backs of books look like, noting how thick certain spines are, and looking at what booksellers put face out. There’s such power in letting those visuals grab your eye! And one thing I especially noticed is how some covers are extra bright and eye-catching, so I thought I’d do a round up of some book covers so bright, you might need shades!

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

Mary H.K. Choi’s books are always really exciting because their design is usually excellent. Her latest is no exception! The bright yellow hue definitely reminds me of a fresh egg yolk (and, like, not from store bought eggs either, but farm fresh eggs–if you’ve ever purchased eggs from a farm or farm stand, you know the difference!), and it really pops when face out on the shelves! This is an excellent story of two sisters who are somewhat estranged at the beginning of the book, and must find their way back to each other when one has a health crisis.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

This is one book where the image of the cover doesn’t do the physical book justice! It looks like a simple red cover on the screen, but you get it in person and it’s this bright, almost neon red with orange undertones. It’s so eye-catching that it makes total sense why the rest of the cover is relatively simple. This is an excellent novel about Nora, the daughter of a con artist, and what happens when she, her girlfriend, and her ex are taken hostage in a bank hold up!

Grown by Tiffany Jackson

This cover is not neon bright like the ones above, but that mustard yellow is so super saturated that it’ll stop you in your tracks! Add to it the striking illustration of protagonist Enchanted, and this cover will have you reaching for the book before you even realize it. It’s the story of Enchanted, a talented young singer whose dreams of being a star are fostered by an R&B legend…until he ends up dead, and Enchanted is the number one suspect.

A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong

This graphic novel practically knocked me off my feet when I first saw it because of its rainbow hues and saturated neon color! Just turning the pages of this book makes me feel like I tripped face-first into a Lisa Frank universe of color, and I love it. The story is about two girls who meet on the basketball court and develop a fast friendship, only for it to fall apart when one moves away. But when she returns, new complications prevent them from picking up where the left off.

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendricks and Ted Caplan

I really dig the bright hot pink of this cover! I feel like we see a lot of hot pink on YA covers, but this is another one that looks almost neon in person, and I love how the illustrated pregnancy test is simple, yet eye-catching. It’s the story of a girl who wants to obtain an abortion, but must travel hundreds of miles to get one, and so she turns to the only person she knows who will give her a ride: her ex-best friend.

Don’t burn your retinas on these book covers! I’ll be back later this week with more news and new books!

Thanks for hanging out!
Tirzah Price

Big thanks to Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson for making today’s newsletter possible!

What's Up in YA

Your YA Books News and New YA Books!

Hey there, YA fans!

It’s the first week of April, and I hope wherever you are the weather is lovely and you’re enjoying the sunshine. I’ve had my windows open all week and I’m counting down the days when it’s warm enough to read in my hammock! I’ve got your books news and new book excitement, so let’s dive in!

YA News

Do you want more of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? That may be in the works. It’s reported that a Kitty spin-off series is currently being developed, and Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian are writing the pilot.

The cover of What Girls Are Made Of

Good news for fans of Elana K. Arnold’s work! Her National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of is being adapted into a TV series called Hot Pink at Amazon, with Sarah Michelle Gellar attached to star! I loved this book so much, and I love Sarah Michelle Gellar, so I can’t wait to hear more!

YA author Julie Berry now owns a bookstore in New York! It’s undergoing renovations now, but you can shop online now and go visit when they reopen to the public.

Not YA per se, but this news could affect whether or not LGBTQ+ affirming YA books can be found in Tennessee classrooms.

New Books

the cover of The Cost of Knowing

Between the Bliss and Me by Lizzy Mason

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition by Anton Treuer

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

The Light of Days Young Readers Edition: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion

Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld

No Way, They Were Gay?: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves (Queer History Project) by Lee Wind

Poison Priestess by Lana Popovic

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price (yes, that’s me!)

Remedy by Eirreann Corrigan

The Sky Blues by Robbie Crouch

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zan Kemp

What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin

New in Paperback

the cover of The Downstairs Girl

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios

Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Happy reading!
Tirzah Price

Thanks to Lerner Books for making today’s newsletter possible!

A banner of the cover of No Way, They Were Gay?
What's Up in YA

Two YA Movie Adaptations I Enjoyed Recently

Hey there, YA fans!


If you’re plugged into the YA world, you likely know that Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu was adapted into a Netflix film that dropped last month, directed by Amy Poehler (who also starred as Vivian’s mom). I really enjoyed the book, which is the story of a Texas teen who generally finds herself keeping quiet and silently enduring the sexist treatment that she and other girls in her school are exposed to daily, both from peers and their school administration. Vivian’s single mom used to be a Riot Grrl, and so Vivian was brought up with her mom’s favorite music and stories about how her mom protested with zines in the 90’s. When a guy at school takes things just a little too far, Vivian has had enough. She creates a zone protesting the inequality and sexism at her school, but she does so anonymously and leaves the zines in the girls’ bathrooms–not realizing that she’s about to kick off a feminist revolution.

The movie adaptation was overall very enjoyable and it both honored the spirit of the book while also featuring some pretty big changes to the story. The most noticeable, which I think altered the feel of the story just a bit, is that the movie is set in a small town in the Pacific Northwest rather than Texas, which are worlds apart. Other small changes include cutting Vivian’s very Texan grandparents, casting a female as the school principal, and switching up her crush from a new kid in school to someone she’s known for a lot longer, which was fine with me–his character worked either way.

Some details of the feminist revolution were probably the most significant changes from book to movie, and there was some stuff I enjoyed and some stuff that I think the book did better. I really appreciated that the movie took a cast of characters with some diversity and broadened it so that there were more people of color. However, the cast was still a little lacking when it came to diversity in sexuality and gender identity–those characters are given very slight nods and brief moments and nothing more. I also appreciated that as a result of the cast diversification, intersectionality was explored a bit more than in the book, and it was done with some nuance although not incredible depth. For me, that was okay–I think there are still so many teen girls who are afraid of calling themselves feminists that I hope this movie offers an introduction to these theories and concepts and how they work IRL, but I don’t think anyone expects this movie to be a deep exploration of feminism in the real world.

The plot made some interesting changes, most notably in how the feminist revolution played out. I really enjoyed that Vivian’s best friend Claudia was given more of a backstory and we saw broader context as to why she was hesitant to identify as a feminist, and why she was reluctant to join the Moxie revolution. However, as the movie unfolded, I was a little perplexed about some of the changes to the actions that the girls took, and the climax of the movie left me a little bit doubtful about how believable it was. I could understand the why of a few of those changed (which played out more dramatically on screen compared to what happens in the book), but the big reveal regarding the girl who instigates the scene of the story’s climax was, I believe, handled more realistically in the book than the film–although some may disagree with me on that point!

However, these are small quibbles and there is still a lot to love in this movie! I can definitely see myself watching it again, and I think there are probably many teens who can see themselves and their experiences reflected here. Not to date myself, but 10 Things I Hate About You was my favorite movie as a teen, and I think that if I’d seen Moxie at 14 or 15, it would have been similarly inspiring and empowering!

If you liked Moxie (both the book and movie!) I have 5 book recommendations for you over on Book Riot!

Thanks for hanging out, and have a great Monday!
Tirzah Price

Thanks to Oni Lion Forge Publishing Group for making today’s newsletter possible!

What's Up in YA

Your Weekend YA Book Deals

Hey, YA fans! It’s the weekend and that means it’s time to read! If you’re looking for something amazing to immerse yourself in this weekend, we’ve got you covered with some great book deals. These deals were active as of writing this, but they might not last, so grab them while you can!

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena is a gorgeous-looking YA fantasy and the first in a duology and it’s just $3! Read it before the sequel is out in June!

Looking for a YA historical novel? The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor is $2, and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, now titled Ashes in the Snow, is $3.

Looking to finally dive into some completed duologies? Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim is $2.

I’m a big fan of Caleb Roehrig and his debut Last Seen Leaving is $3.

Start a new fantasy trilogy by Julie Kagawa! Shadow of the Fox is $2.

For all you horror fans out there, Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand is $2.

The Diviners by Libba Bray, the first book in a deliciously creepy series I’ve loved, is $4.

Maybe you want something mind bending with an unusual structure? Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart is it, and $2.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown is $2–it’s a really delightful read and if you enjoy it, be sure to look for her new book out later this month.

Want to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday later this month? Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills is a great novel for that! It’s $3.

Happy reading!

Thanks to Peachtree Publishing Company for making today’s newsletter possible!

What's Up in YA

YA Book News and New YA Books for April 1, 2021

Hey, YA friends!

Happy April to you all! No fooling, I’ve got some amazing news, some sad news, and lots of great new releases, so let’s dive in!

YA Book News

First the sad news: Beverly Cleary has died at age 104. She’s best known for her children’s literature, of course, but she also wrote Fifteen and a handful of younger YA books.

Sarah J. Maas shared the news that her A Court of Thorns and Roses series is being adapted into a TV show for Hulu!

Get excited because the full Shadow and Bone trailer is here! I am so ready to eat waffles and marathon this show.

YA adjacent but, have you heard of The Irregulars on Netflix? It’s not based on a YA novel, but it’s about a group of teens who team up with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve supernatural mysteries. Check out the trailer! It’s streaming on Netflix now.

New YA Books

With You All the Way by Cynthia Hand (I read and loved an early copy of this one!)

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoughue

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie

Tigers, Not Daughter by Samantha Mabry (paperback)

Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

Down World by Rebecca Phelps

Prom Theory by Ann LaBar

A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War by Albert Marrin

On Book Riot This Week

Hannah writes about the dearth of YA lit in translation and not seeing American experiences reflected in YA from abroad.

YA books about beauty pageants beyond Dumplin‘!

This week we celebrated Trans Day of Visibility with five new YA books starring trans teens you should have on your radar.

Thanks for hanging out! I’ll be back this weekend with some great YA book deals!

Tirzah Price

Find me on Book Riot and Instagram!

Thanks to Wattpad Books, publisher of Down World for making this newsletter possible!

What's Up in YA

YA Stands Up for AAPI

Hi, YA readers!

Tirzah Price here, and I’m taking over for Kelly temporarily while she’s on maternity leave! I’m really excited to be in your inboxes, shouting about my one true love, aka YA books! I hope we’ll have a lot of fun together!

This past week on Instagram you might have noticed the hashtag #StandUpForAAPI, which was started by Bookstagrammer Michelle Jocson and author Suzanne Park. It’s a campaign that aims to elevate AAPI voices and books, and encourages people to take action to combat racism, particularly towards Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals in the wake of the Atlanta shooting. Bookstagrammers and authors alike shared books, links, calls to action, and their stories. Definitely hop over to Instagram and peruse the hashtag if you want to learn more, but I thought I’d also take a moment to highlight some YA books by AAPI authors that I love and recommend.

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

This is one of my favorite reads of the year, and it’s about two Korean-American sisters named Jayne and June who barely talk, despite the fact that they both left their small Texas town for NYC as soon as they graduated from high school. Now Jayne is in college and barely getting by and June is a hedge fund manager on Wall Street. When June faces a health crisis, she turns to Jayne, and the sisters have to confront their past in order to move forward.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

June Hur is actually Canadian Korean, but don’t sleep on this book! It’s a brilliant historical novel set in Joseon in 1800, and stars Seol, an indentured servant to the police bureau. When she’s called to a crime scene where the victim is a murdered noblewoman, she’s drawn into a mystery that could have serious ramifications on her own life. I loved this story set in a time and place that I’ve not read much about, and I am eagerly anticipating Hur’s next book, The Forest of Stolen Girls!

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Speaking of great historical fiction! I loved this novel about Lily, a queer teen growing up in 1950’s San Francisco. She lives in Chinatown and doesn’t yet have the words to explain how she knows she’s different, but when she and a classmate sneak out to the Telegraph Club, they discover a community of queer women who change their lives. Bonus: Malinda Lo writes in so many genres! I loved her fantasy debut Ash, and her mystery/thriller A Line in the Dark as well!

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Suguira

Misa Suguira’s debut has a place in my heart. It’s about Sana, a Japanese American teen who is uprooted from Wisconsin to California for her dad’s job. In California, she has friends who are also Asian for the first time, and a new crush on a girl who just might like her back. But she also is keeping a big secret: She knows her dad is cheating on her mom. This is a beautiful coming of age story about identity, relationships, and love. I am also desperate to get my hands on her new book, Love & Other Natural Disasters, which is out in June.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Aisha Saeed’s debut YA novel is about Naila, a Pakistani American teen who has grown up knowing that her conservative parents plan on arranging her marriage. When they learn that she’s been dating Saif in secret, they whisk her away to Pakistan for a family trip…and then Naila learns that they’ve found someone for her to marry right away. The trip turns harrowing as Naila must find a way home. Bonus: If you want something a little lighter, pick up Yes, No, Maybe So by Aisha Saeed and Becky Albertalli.

This is by no means a complete or even comprehensive list–just some books that I loved! I also visited a bookstore for the first time in months last week (masked up and socially distant!), and I picked up A Pho Love Story by Loan Le and A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen, which I can’t wait to read. If you can’t afford to make an book purchases right now, may I suggest requesting some new AAPI YA books from the library, or checking out some titles that are on the shelves?

And if you need more suggestions, check out 18 Great 2021 YA Books by AAPI Authors To Look For!

Thanks for hanging out!
Tirzah Price

Thanks to You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves by Diana Whitney, published by Workman for making today’s newsletter possible!

What's Up in YA

Your YA Book News and New YA Books: March 25, 2021

Hey YA Readers!

It’s a quiet time in the YA book news world this week, so prepare to settle in with some extra time for catching up on those new books.

YA Book News

New YA Books

You may need to toggle to paperback editions once you click the link.

Anna K by Jenny Lee (paperback, series)

Bruised by Tanya Boteju

Fadeaway by E. B. Vickers

Flamefall by Rosaria Munda (series)

The Follower by Kate Doughty

Girls With Rebel Souls by Suzanne Young (series)

Lost In The Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Master of His Fate by James Tobin

My Name Is Not Peaseblossom by Jackie French (paperback)

Renegade Flight by Andrea Tang

The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer

Spellhacker by M. K. England (paperback)

The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani (series)

We Unleash The Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia (series, paperback)

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker (paperback)

With a Star in My Hand by Margarita Engle (paperback)

Your Heart, My Sky by Margarita Engle

This Week at Book Riot

Thanks for hanging out! I’m off for my parental leave and Tirzah will be taking over the YA newsletter until I’m back in July. Rock on, y’all!

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

What's Up in YA

(3/22) Rad Girls and Women in YA Collective Biographies

Hey YA Readers!

Earlier this month, I highlighted a handful of stand-alone YA biographies of rad women through history. Today, let’s look at some collective biographies that recently hit shelves or will in the near future.

What’s a collective biography, you ask? It’s a book made up of multiple short biographies. They tend to be thematic, meaning that you’ll see a book of collective biographies of female politicians or athletes, etc. These are such a wonderful way to learn about a lot of people in a short time and can easily lead down some deep rabbit holes — I always love how these books lead me to more stand alone biographies and put really fabulous people on my radar.

The below titles include a range of unifying themes, as well as women and girls of historical and contemporary significance.

Let’s dig in!

Girlhood: Teens Around The World In Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja

Of the books on this list, Ahuja’s might be the most contemporary in terms of who is highlighted — these are teen girls of today living “ordinary” lives around the world. It’s such a neat collection of experiences, wherein the teen girls were asked to journal about their day-to-day lives, and despite how many corners of the world they came from, there were so many connecting themes throughout. It’s a gorgeous book to boot!

Girls Who Run The World: 31 CEOS Who Mean Business by Diana Kapp and illustrated by Bijou Karman 

This book is a couple of years old, so some of the leaders highlighted may no longer be in the positions they were when it initially published, but what a treasure trove! Looking for inspiration when it comes to being a CEO of a big or small business? Kapp’s collection offers female-identifying leaders from makeup brands to startups to technology and more. Each entry offers what the individual does, but also grounds their lives in the sorts of things teens want to know — what are their bucket list dreams? What was their high school GPA? Paired with lovely illustrations by Karman, this is a fun one to peruse.

Native Women Changing Their Worlds by Patricia Cutright (April 27)

From historical to contemporary change makers, Cutright’s book is the ninth in a series of books that highlight Native and First Nations people. This collection showcases 12 women from a wide range of tribes and affiliations who’ve gone from any number of challenging backgrounds to become politicians, activists, educators, scientists, and more.

She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics . . . and The World by Caitlin Donohue

A highly designed and readable collection of women in the United States and across the world who are political leaders, as well as community activists, grassroots change makers, and more. In addition to the women profiled, there are several more lists throughout the collection offering pathways into learning about other women rocking it in political change.

Thrill Seekers: 15 Remarkable Women in Extreme Sports by Ann McCallum Staats

The first book in a forthcoming series of collective biographies, this collection features 15 women involved in extreme sports. Among the athletes included are those involved in cliff diving, Formula 1 racing, wingsuit flying, and more. The women are international, diverse, and, of course, show the highs, lows, challenges, and wins that come along with extreme sports.

Women Discoverers: Top Women in Science by Marie Moinard, illustrated by Christelle Pecout 

An outstanding STEM read, this comic collective biography is all about rad women in science, past and present. Space, chemistry, computing, telecommunications, and more are among the fields these women have excelled. Global in scope, some of the women will be familiar to readers, while others will be new discoveries.

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you later this week. If you haven’t heard yet, this week is my last week for Book Riot before taking maternity leave. You’ll be left in the capable hands of Tirzah for the newsletter until I’m back in July — and trust me when I say I plan on using this time to read awesome YA *and* board books with my new baby girl (I can’t wait until I get to introduce her to the women in the books above!).

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

Giant thanks to Quarto Press and the (badass!) This Book Is Anti-Racist Journal for making today’s newsletter possible.

What's Up in YA

Sweet YA Ebook Deals This Weekend

Hey YA Fans!

Crack open your ereader and prepare your wallet. It’s time to grab some outstanding YA ebooks on the cheap.

Deals are current as of Friday, March 19, so snag anything you see now, as these could disappear at any time.

Have you read the highly decorated Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas yet? Grab it for $3.

Fable by Adrienne Young, first in a fantasy duology, is $3.

Speaking of fantasy duologies, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo is currently $3.

I really enjoyed Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year, which is on sale for $3.

Need some horror? Zoraida Cordova’s fabulous Labyrinth Lost, first in a trilogy, is on sale for $2.

Anna-Marie McLemore’s Blanca and Roja, a fabulously lush magical realism story, is $3.

Ballet + Paris = Bright Burning Stars by AK Small. $2 and a great way to prepare for the adaptation!

Tara Sim’s Scavenge The Stars, first in a series, is $2.

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen was unlike anything I’ve read before last year and it’s currently on sale for $3.

Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be The One is such a feel-good read featuring a fat, bisexual Korean American lead character and plenty of K-pop. $3.

Last, but not least, friendship and romance are at the center of The Summer of Impossibilities by Rachel Allen, a story to get you in that summer mood. $3.

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you on Monday!

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

Big thanks to Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley for making today’s newsletter possible (pick this one up if you haven’t!).

What's Up in YA

Your YA Book News and New Books This Week: March 18, 2021

Hey YA Readers!

Let’s catch up on YA book news and this week’s new YA book releases. As a head’s up: I had a weird technical glitch this weekend and lost a ton of my bookmarks, so news is a little lighter than usual since I can’t remember or find everything I saved. Just means more time for the books themselves, right?

YA Book News

New YA Books This Week

All The Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault (paperback)

A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore

Bones of a Saint by Grant Farley

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (paperback)

The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann (paperback)

Five Ways to Fall Out of Love by Emily Martin

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi (paperback)

Kids on the March by Michael Long (nonfiction)

The Last Secret You’ll Ever Keep by Laurie Faria Stolarz

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

Namesake by Adrienne Young (series)

On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig (series)

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy (series)

The Seventh Raven by David Elliott and Rovina Cai

Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson (paperback)

That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler

Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson (paperback)

YA Book Talk at Book Riot

Thanks for hanging out, and we’ll see you on Saturday with YA ebook deals!

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

Thanks to Chicago Review Press and Thrill Seekers for sponsoring today’s newsletter.