The 15 Must-Read YA Books
of Fall 2016

by Denise Schipani

Oh, autumn! There’s something inherent in the combo of a shift in weather and back-to-school that brings on a desire for fresh starts. It’s all about an as-yet-untouched notebook, a new pen — and a stack of un-read books we can’t wait to crack open. Sure, books are published all year long, but fall releases feel different somehow, kind of newer-than-new. Maybe it’s about coming out of a summer-reading languor. The YA category is brimming with volumes that should appeal to eager readers ready for something challenging and satisfying this fall. Here are some of our favorite YA reads of fall 2016:

  • Spontaneous

    by Aaron Starmer

    Senior year of high school is explosive. No, literally: Kids are spontaneously combusting in the hallways, starting with poor Katelyn Ogden. Narrated by fellow senior Mara Carlyle — who’s just trying to make it to graduation without becoming a flaming statistic in her New Jersey hometown — the book explores familiar themes of teen life in the 21st century and the pain of saying goodbye.
    (On Sale: 08/23/2016)

  • Tales of the Peculiar

    by Ransom Riggs, illustrated by Andrew Davidson

    Fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will be thrilled (definitely the right word for this collection) with Tales, a set of chilling and, well, peculiar fairy stories about forked-tongue princesses and filthy-rich cannibals. Illustrated and engrossing, it might be the perfect set of stories to read before the Tim Burton movie of the Peregrine book hits theaters.
    (On Sale: 09/03/2016)

  • The Memory of Things

    by Gae Polisner

    New York City high schooler Kyle Donohue, fleeing the horror of September 11 over the Brooklyn Bridge, finds a girl in costume wings, covered in ash, and takes her home. Her identity is a mystery — she has no memory — but their friendship (and Kyle’s growing feelings for her), amid the confusion and pain of a fraught time, is real and powerful.
    (On Sale: 09/06/2016)

  • Going Geek

    by Charlotte Huang

    Skylar Hoffman expects to sail into her senior year with all the usual stuff she’s accustomed to: great boyfriend, cool friends, best dorm on her prep-school campus. She does not expect to be forced out of her comfort zone to face up to the fall-out from what she thought was just a little white lie about what she really did last summer.
    (On Sale: 09/13/2016)

  • The Female of the Species

    by Mindy McGinnis

    Former high-school librarian turned YA author McGinnis has turned out another thriller whose female protagonist, Alex Craft, has a big secret: murder. After getting away with avenging the death of her sister, Alex hunkers down in the shadows. But she can’t stay hidden for long…
    (On Sale: 09/20/2016)

  • Kids of Appetite

    by David Arnold

    The Hackensack, New Jersey police department would very much like to know how Vic’s dad died, and who was behind Madeline’s uncle’s murder. But Vic and Mad have a lot of other stuff going on in this sad, funny, human (and humanizing) story about first love and serious loss.
    (On Sale: 09/20/2016)

  • Stalking Jack the Ripper

    by Kerri Maniscalco

    The daughter of a lord, Audrey Rose Wordsworth frequently ditches her high-born life of teas and dances to study the gruesome details of murders in her uncle’s lab. True to the book’s title, Audrey ends up tracing the details of the Ripper himself, and gets far more embroiled than she should.
    (On Sale: 09/20/2016)

  • The Fever Code

    by James Dashner

    Fans of Dashner’s The Maze Runner series have likely been counting down the days until the publication of this installment, which serves as a prequel. In it readers’ questions will be answered (how did Thomas and the WICKED build the Maze?), and secrets and lies will be revealed.
    (On Sale: 09/27/2016)

  • Rani Patel in Full Effect

    by Sonia Patel

    First-time novelist Patel gives us Rani: a teen who suffered abuse at the hands of the father who has just abruptly left her mother. This wrenching change propels Rani to pursue a life as a hip-hop artist (she dubs herself MC Sutra), and to take up a dangerous relationship with a much older man. Both moves help her work through her pain, and come back to herself.
    (On Sale 10/01/2016)

  • Holding up the Universe

    by Jennifer Niven

    Swaggering Jack and “American’s Fattest Teen” Libby end up doing community service together after getting mixed up in a cruel high-school game gone wrong. That’s when they discover each other’s secrets (Jack’s is that behind his cool-guy demeanor is the fact that he can’t recognize faces!) and realize that at the core of love is seeing another person for who they truly are.
    (On Sale: 10/04/2016)

  • Something in Between

    by Melissa de la Cruz

    How many high schoolers complain about life being sooo unfair! But good-girl Jasmine de los Santos can say those words with more meaning than most. When this daughter of Filipino immigrants finds out that her entire family is illegal, her until-then charmed world starts to fall apart. It’s not her fault — but it could mean everything from the loss of a full scholarship to college, to being deported.
    (On Sale: 10/04/2016)

  • The Lovely Reckless

    by Kami Garcia

    Who doesn’t love a pair of star-crossed lovers from the proverbial opposite sides of the tracks? Frankie Devereaux feels she’ll never get past (much less get over) the death of her boyfriend. She moves from the upscale Heights to live on the gritty side of town with her cop dad, where she meets the reckless (but compelling) Marco Leone. (Hint: think Romeo and Juliet.)
    (On Sale: 10/04/2016)

  • The 12 Days of Dash & Lily

    by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

    Poor Lily: Just 12 days before Christmas, her favorite holiday, she’s not at all in the spirit, crushed watching her beloved grandfather struggle to recover from a heart attack. Dash — whom readers met, with Lily, when they fell in love in Cohn and Levithan’s previous book Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares — and his brother Langston sweep Lily into Manhattan, hoping the Big Apple’s holiday magic will bring her back to life.
    (On Sale: 10/18/2016)

  • Life Uploaded: A Novel

    by Sierra Furtado

    Harper Ambrose is a fashion-and-makeup maven with a zany sense of humor, an earlier childhood full of friendship heartbreak — and a million-plus subscribers to her YouTube channel. All a modern 16-year-old could dream of, right? Author Furtado, herself a YouTube star, tells the tale from behind the webcam of a girl dealing with the same high-school stresses as anyone else, with the added pressure of a Twitter hater and other perils of Internet fame.
    (On Sale: 10/18/2016)

  • Heartless

    by Marissa Meyer

    A prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this book takes readers into a world in which the future Queen of Hearts, Catherine, is less interested in her royal destiny and more in nurturing her budding bakery business — and in the charms of the court joker, Jest, with whom she enters into a secret and possibly dangerous liaison.
    (On Sale: 11/08/2016)

What other YA books are on your must-read list for fall?