Ten YA Books to Look Forward to in 2019

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Emoni Santiago is a high school senior too busy caring for her daughter and her abuela to follow her dream of working in a kitchen one day.  She knows she does not even have time to take her school’s new culinary arts class.  But Emoni is magic in the kitchen–and that kind of talent cannot be hidden.  From the author of The Poet X.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of ScarsAs king of Ravka, Nikolai Lantsov must find a way to restore his country’s prosperity after the recent struggles.  But a terrible power is growing within in, one he longs to destroy.  Along with a Grisha squaller and a monk, he sets forth to find a way to fight his inner darkness.  But not every journey has a successful end.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennet

Birdie Lindberg’s inner life is far more exciting than her real one.  She hopes that working the graveyard ship at a historic hotel will help her become a bolder person.  There she meets Daniel Aoki, a van driver who works her same shift.  Better yet, Daniel has a real-life mystery for her to solve: a reclusive author might be meeting someone at the hotel.  Now she and Daniel are on a  mission to uncover the author’s true identity.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Zafira is a legendary hunter who braves a cursed forest to feed the people.  Nasir is an assassin, removing those who oppose his father the king.  Zafira can never let anyone know she is a girl.  And Nasir can never disappoint his father.  Their paths cross when the forest starts devouring the land and both hunt an ancient artifact that can stop the darkness.  But Nasir has been ordered to kill the Hunter.  The first in a series.

The Waning Age by S. E. Grove

In a parallel world, children start to “wane” or lose their emotions at the age of ten.  But Natalia Peña’s brother is not waning.  And when he is taken for testing, Natalia suddenly finds herself experiencing emotion, as well.  She wants to bring her brother home, and she will stop at nothing to do so.  From the author of The Glass Sentence.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, has been cursed to repeat his eighteenth year over and over again, turning into a beast each autumn–unless someone can fall in love with him.  He has long given up hope, until he meets Harper Lacy.  A contemporary retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” by the author of Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can tell.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

When Maia Tamarin‘s father is called to court, she dresses as a boy and goes in his place.  There she competes with twelve other tailors, but their final task seems impossible.  For the emperor’s betrothed, they must sew three dresses: one from the laughter of the sun, one fro the tears of the moon, and one from the blood of stars.   The first in a series.

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

When Echo Alkaev‘s father disappears, she never expects to find him six months later guarded by a talking wolf, who asks Echo to live with him in his home for a year.  There she finds a magical library full of books in which a man named Hal is trapped.  But if Echo does not save her wolf from his enchantment, all will be lost.  A retelling of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Bri dreams of becoming a rapper, just like her father, who died before he could make it big.  But now the bills are coming due and Bri and her mother are struggling with homelessness.  How do you find the strength to follow your dreams when your world is precarious?  From the author of The Hate U Give.

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

Isabelle Warren first meets Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train.  Over the next few years, they learn more about each other’s lives.  Alex dreams of becoming a poet, but his father wants him to play ball.  And Isabelle, though she seems to lead a perfect life, has an unstable mother who would never approve of Alex.  From the author of Water in May.

54 thoughts on “Ten YA Books to Look Forward to in 2019

  1. Michael J. Miller says:

    I’ll have to read ‘On The Come Up’ because, like so many people, I was so moved by the power of ‘The Hate U Give.’ I’ll be interested to see what Angie Thomas does next. ‘We Hunt the Flame’ sounds surprisingly good too! I say “surprising” because I generally don’t devote a lot of reading time to series like that. They have to be really enticing to pull me in/hook me. But that sounds good.


    • Krysta says:

      I thought The Hate U Give was phenomenal, so I’m looking forward to Thomas’ new book! But I admit I was more excited about We Hunt the Flame before I reread the summary. It looks like there might be an “enemies to lovers” trope and I am a little hesitant about that, but I guess we’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller says:

        Ooooooh yeah, those can be awkward and forced. Well, hopefully it doesn’t go down that road. And if they do, maybe they navigate it in a way where it isn’t so bad? I don’t know? I think maybe I’ll just wait for your review and let you fall on that sword first for me :).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Eustacia | Eustea Reads says:

    Oooh, these look good, especially Echo North, Spin the Dawn, and Waning Age. I’ve got to check out the Glass Sentence too – the title is great!


    • Krysta says:

      I really want to read Echo North, though I haven’t seen much buzz in the book blogosphere for it yet. But I’m always up for a fairy tale retelling! And that cover is gorgeous. I can always be lured in by a pretty cover.

      And I just finished Grove’s Mapmakers Trilogy, so I was excited to see she has a new book coming out!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I haven’t read The Poet X yet, but I hope to! And I’m really looking forward to her next book. It just sounds so…delightful? Kind of like magical realism with cooking, which is awesome.

      I think 2019 is going to be a great year for YA!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I still haven’t read The Poet X!!! I know, it’s awful. But it looks great and it’s gotten so much positive critical attention. And I loved The Hate U Give, so I’m excited for On the Come Up!


  3. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

    I’m so excited for Spin the Dawn and King of Scars! I actually read an ARC of The Waning Age and wrote a review on it (need to schedule it into my blog… :))


  4. alilovesbooks says:

    I can confirm A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a great read with a wonderful protagonist.

    Of the others I’m most excited about King of Scars. I love Bardugo’s writing and this has one of my fave characters.

    Great list, I’ll be adding a few of the others to my TBR


    • Krysta says:

      Awesome! I loved Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell, so I’m really excited for her new book!

      And King of Scars is probably the book I’m most excited for in 2019!


  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m interested in A Curse So Dark and Lonely as well. I really hope it’s good! And I’m so excited for We Hunt the Flame! That one is definitely going to be amazing!


    • Krysta says:

      Yes! I loved Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell, so I was excited to see she has a new book out!

      2019 looks like it will be a great year for YA!


      • Stephanie says:

        I’ve never read any of her books before but I think this year may change that. 2019 really does! I am really impressed with how much YA fiction has upped its game in the last few years.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Enobong says:

    Looking forward to With the Fire on High a lot. I read The Poet X with scepticism and it ended up being one of my favourite books of 2018.


  7. CHARIS RAE @ charisrae.com says:

    I’m sooo excited for A Curse So Dark and Lovely! I requested an ARC but it was denied, so I’ll just have to wait in agony. XD For some reason I haven’t been able to get into Leigh Bardugo’s books. I liked A Language of Thorns pretty well but DNFed Six of Crows. I am definitely planning on reading King of Scars, though… hopefully I’ll like it!


    • Krysta says:

      I loved the Six of Crows duology, thought the Grisha trilogy was an interesting concept but not as well written, and almost DNFed Wonder Woman before getting into it. So I’ve had mixed feelings, too! But I’m hopeful I’ll love this one, too, so we’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. saraletourneau says:

    King of Scars! King of Scars! 😀 That’s far and away my most anticipated YA title of 2019. The Elizabeth Acevedo book caught my eye, too. I’ve been meaning to check out her first book The Poet X, especially after it won the NBA for YA and children’s lit last year. Have either of you read it?


    • Krysta says:

      I think King of Scars is my most anticipated read for 2019! At least it’s coming out early in the year! I haven’t read The Poet X yet, sadly, but one day!


  9. Samantha B says:

    I’m especially looking forward to the release of Black Blood by S.D. Grimm (3rd instalment of the Children of the Blood Moon series) and Romanov by Nadine Brandes (an Anastasia retelling with magic!).


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