How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne || Publication date: February 2016: Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet? was hands down one of the best books I read last year - as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking, as fierce as it is funny, it’s more than just well-written: it’s a treasure. I was thrilled to hear heroine Evie’s friends Lottie and Amber would have their own stories to tell, and, in the first of many sequels to grace this most anticipated list, How Hard Can Love Be? looks set to bring more laughter, friendship, feminism and touching teen drama to YA fiction than ever before.
Throne of Glass #5 by Sarah J. Maas || Publication date: September 2016: Lightning sharp, dazzlingly written, deliciously complex and gloriously detailed, Throne of Glass is one of my favourite YA fantasy series by far. The fifth book may not have a title yet, but after the utter devastation and sheer brilliance (but mostly devastation) of Queen of Shadows, this epic adventure already has a place on my shelf.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson || Publication date: May 2016: The Unexpected Everything sounds like just the kind of story I’m looking for when it comes to a good standalone: warm, solid, complicated, intriguing. I’ve been burned by contemporary YA before and I have no patience for tired tropes, weak plots or whiny, problematic leads anymore - I’m a ruthless DNFer and I’d rather spend time on books I’ll actually enjoy – but I was surprised by how much I loved Second Chance Summer, and if Morgan Matson can bring the same depth and humour to this book, it’ll make for a terrific read.
The Last Beginning by Lauren James || Publication date: November 2016: I was lucky enough to read The Next Together – one of my favourite reads of the year - in summer 2015, and ever since, I’ve been longing to read this companion-sequel. The Last Beginning tells the story of teenage hacker Clove and promises time travel, romance, LGBTQ+ characters, humour, adventure, and of course, a healthy dose of sarcasm. I can’t wait.
A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab || Publication date: February 2016: A Darker Shade of Magic is old-school. Told with style and verve, full of badass characters - including daring, cut-throat Lila and her powerful, reluctant enemy-turned-possible-friend Kell – and cinematic prose, all tied up in a neat little bow, it already has that classic feel. The first book will be tough to be beat in terms of drama and action, but if anyone can do it, Victoria Schwab can.
Ride by Lisa Glass || Publication date: June 2016: Way back when YA was mostly populated by dull dystopia and faux-fantasy series, I almost never finished trilogies, but this year if there’s one finale I’m looking forward to, it’s the last book in Lisa Glass’ unexpected hit trio of surfing stories. It’s dramatic, unusual and entertaining, and readers will be racing to find out what happens to Zeke and Iris here.
Cuckoo by Keren David || Publication date: August 2016: If you’re looking for UKYA with style, warmth, humour and just a dash of bittersweet heartbreak, then Keren David is the author you’re looking for. I loved Salvage – you can read the review in which I rather infamously said it was ‘better than chocolate’ here, praise I haven’t given any other book before or since – and have high hopes for Cuckoo, her latest standalone.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch || Publication date: April 2016: Of all the books on this list, Love & Gelato has the potential to be the most hit-and-miss: I somehow get the feeling it’s going to be wonderful or disastrous! Still, it’s always worth making room for a heartwarming summer début now and then, and this book looks like it could be a lot of fun.
The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman || Publication date: TBC: We don’t know much about The Book of Dust yet – there are whispers of fantasy and adventure, of Lyra returning as the heroine, and of more extraordinary, mysterious Dust – but for me, like many other fans, just the mere idea of another His Dark Materials book is a dream.
Love Song by Sophia Bennett || Publication date: April 2016: Sophia Bennett's books are chatty, delicious and surprising; I particularly loved Threads and The Look. and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next. Love Song's premise is one that's been done before, but in Bennett's capable hands, we may be in for a real treat.
BONUS: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber: Okay, so technically this book doesn’t release until 2017, but what can I say? Publishing’s had me looking out for ’17 and ‘18 reads for years! Katherine Webber’s début promises drama, diversity and a spectacularly unusual premise. I’m officially intrigued!
What were your favourite reads of last year? What books are you most excited for in 2016?