16 of the Most Exciting YA Books to Read in 2016

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Readers of YA fiction had best clear a shelf — or find a new one — because in 2016, the must-read titles are almost too numerous to count. For teen readers (and wannabe-kids at heart), the new year offers exciting new series from some beloved YA authors and debuts destined to create lifelong fans. Read on for some (but not nearly all!) of the most exciting titles for 2016.

  • The Love That Split the World

    by Emily Henry

    In a debut that’s being described as a mix of “Friday Night Lights” and The Time Traveler’s Wife, author Henry crafts something advance readers are calling “beautiful” and “profound.” Filled with folklore and mystery, this one is destined to be the year’s YA book that adults and teens fall for.
    (Available: January 26, 2016)

  • Riders

    by Veronica Rossi

    Don’t mistake author Rossi’s new series for a take on horses or horse lovers. It’s nothing so benign. Instead, the saga follows Gideon Blake, whose life goal is to become a U.S. Army Ranger, but who wakes from an accident to learn he’s now one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. How’s that for teen drama with an impact?
    (Available: February 16, 2016)

  • The Girl From Everywhere

    by Heidi Heilig

    This first-in-a-trilogy tale takes the reader from present-day New York to 19th Century Hawaii to every place and time in between. Early reviews attest that though the “time-traveling pirate” premise sounds outlandish, the tale’s heart and wit and strong main character, 16-year-old Nix, are enchantingly perfect.
    (Available: February 16, 2016)

  • A Study in Charlotte

    by Brittany Cavallaro

    This debut recasts Sherlock Holmes in high school, with the great-great-grandchildren of, yes, Watson and Holmes. The tense pairing and witty writing — not to mention the oh-so-compelling Charlotte Holmes, who shares some of her ancestor Sherlock’s volatile ways — launch this trilogy quite nicely. It’s elementary that teens are going to love it.
    (Available: March 1, 2016)

  • The Lifeboat Clique

    by Kathy Parks

    The premise is John Hughes-ian. A girl named Denver sneaks into a Malibu beach party attended by her enemies (but also her tempting crush, who has finally asked her out) when a tsunami hits the California coast. She escapes death only to be stuck in a lifeboat with the very people she’s dying to avoid. The darkly comic story is picking up every superlative — weirdest, wittiest, you get the idea — and though the premise is surreal, word is the characters feel very real.
    (Available: March 1, 2016)

  • The Great American Whatever

    by Tim Federle

    The prolific Federle (whose middle grade series Better Nate Than Ever is an award-winner) makes his YA debut with this very funny and realistic novel. Book-loving teens will connect with creative Quinn Roberts, who used to make movies with his sister Annabeth until she was killed in a car crash. He’s all but a shut-in (and in the closet) until his best friend drags him to a college party and into the circle of a very attractive guy.
    (Available: March 29, 2016)

  • Don’t Get Caught

    by Kurt Dinan

    If anyone can resist a book billed “Ocean’s Eleven” meets “The Breakfast Club,” well, we don’t want to know them. This book stars the aggressively average Max Cobb — owner of a C-level GPA and lover of heist films. He’s sick of his mediocre existence, so when he gets an invite to join something called “The Chaos Club,” he jumps at the chance. When the invite proves a setup, Max and four others who were duped plot a great revenge.
    (Available: April 5, 2016)

  • My Kind of Crazy

    by Robin Reul

    Reul’s contemporary debut is already pulling in early raves from fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven. The story follows Hank Kirby, who can’t catch a break — he tries to ask a girl to prom with sparklers on her lawn and nearly burns her house down. (Take that, Lloyd Dobler.) The added not-bonus? He picks up a fan in the form of aspiring pyromaniac Peyton Breedlove, launching a strange and challenging friendship.
    (Available: April 5, 2016)

  • Tell Me Three Things

    by Julie Buxbaum

    Early reviews on this one are so glowing that the April 2016 release date seems WAY too far away. Recommended for fans of YA powerhouses Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart, Buxbaum’s debut mingles the comic and the tragic in a story about fish-out-of-water Jessie, navigating a complicated new life in Los Angeles with only a mysterious email entity named Somebody/Nobody to guide her.
    (Available: April 5, 2016)

  • The Glittering Court

    by Richelle Mead

    Available from:

    The first in a new series from Vampire Academy author Mead, this fantasy melds the Elizabethan and frontier worlds, and oozes with romance. The story follows Adelaide, a countess who escapes her arranged marriage but must begin lessons at The Glittering Court, a business venture-slash-finishing school, to survive in her new world.
    (Available: April 5, 2016)

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  • Girl Against the Universe

    by Paula Stokes

    Wherever Maguire goes, bad things happen. Roller coasters jump their tracks, houses catch fire. But worst is, she carries around the guilt of surviving the car accident that claimed her brother, father, and uncle. So, she avoids everything. Until she meets Jordy, a confident tennis star who is, yes, very hard to avoid. This debut should be great for fans of Everything, Everything.
    (Available: May 17, 2016)

  • Learning to Swear in America

    by Katie Kennedy

    Catchy title, no? An asteroid is hurtling toward earth and Yuri, a Russian teen-genius-turned-NASA-prodigy, is being tapped to avert disaster. Too bad none of the old NASA codgers are listening, and Yuri feels lonelier than ever. Who wouldn’t be? Then he meets Dovie, a girl who’s oblivious to their impending doom, and might be the key to showing him what’s worth fighting for.
    (Available: July 5, 2016)

  • Enter Title Here

    by Rahul Kanakia

    This book-within-a-book by debut author Kanakia is narrated by its “author,” overachiever Reshma Kapoor, who machinates her own book deal in order to appeal to the Stanford admissions department. The problem comes when Reshma realizes she needs to be more “story-worthy” than her study addict ways allow for; sly hilarity ensues when she decides how far she’ll go to make the read worthwhile.
    (Available: August 2, 2016)

  • Tales of the Peculiar

    by Ransom Riggs

    Available from:

    Surely, there’s no YA author working who’s better equipped to deliver on all things peculiar. With this book, Riggs gives his fans illustrated fairy tales from his bestselling Miss Peregrine series — perhaps the best way for hungry readers to hold tight for Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which demands patience until it emerges in December 2016.
    (Available: Fall 2016)

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  • I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

    by Gretchen McNeil

    When math brainiac Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini’s boyfriend throws her over for the loveable and quirky Toile, the epitome of the manic pixie dream girl archetype, Bea decides to take action. Using The Formula, a mathematic path to social success, Bea sets out to become just like Toile in order to win him back. But things don’t go according to plan, and the casualties of The Formula may be too numerous to count. A funny and subversive tale, this is horror genius McNeil’s first contemporary YA book.
    (Available: September 2016)

  • Strange the Dreamer

    by Laini Taylor

    The first book in a new series from Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Strange the Dreamer is under something of a tight lid, but her fans are all over the new tale. Here are a few choice nuggets that have been revealed: it's the story of "the aftermath of a war between gods and men"; features "a mythic hero with blood on his hands, a young librarian with a singular dream, and a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled"; and we should expect "alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage." Yes, please.
    (Available: September 27, 2016)