There’s no denying that 2016 has been an amazing year for young adult fiction. Tackling everything from hilarious high school romances to thrilling adventures in outer space, here are the 16 best YA books released in January through June. Hang on tight; here we go.
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16. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
While the current trend for fantasy novels is to focus on magic and politics, Truthwitch centers on friendship. Two witches with powerful gifts fight to survive in Susan Dennard's brilliantly imagined world, in which witches specialize in unique abilities. The titular Truthwitch possesses the ability to detect truth amidst lies, a talent that everyone wants to control. The novel kicks off an epic series, and you'll love every single page.
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15. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
You can tell by its cover that Marieke Nijkamp's debut will leave you gutted and emotional. This Is Where It Ends takes place over a mere 54 minutes during a school shooting, shifting perspectives between the people trapped inside and those trying to find help outside. With memorable characters and scenes of haunting bravery, this novel will leave you hungry for more of Nijkamp's prose.
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14. We Own The Night by Ashley Poston
We Own the Night, a companion novel to Ashley Poston's debut The Sound of Us, stands on its own as a dazzling narrative of romance, friendship and, of course, music. The story of an introverted, 18-year-old girl who secretly moonlights as a famous radio DJ, Poston's melody-infused novel packs just as much heart as her earlier work. And while you don't have to read The Sound of Us to appreciate We Own the Night, both books are a complete delight.
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13. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
Sure to catalyze the most intense cry you'll have in 2016, The First Time She Drowned introduces readers to a teen with a monster of a mother. Obsessed with having a perfect family and reclaiming her lost youth, the girl's mother proceeds to lock up our dear protagonist in a mental institution. Told in shifting time frames, from the period in the hospital to scenes with the family, it's a heartbreaking read about a girl trying to figure out who she is in the wake of the lies she's been told.
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12. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
In Roshani Chokshi's bestselling debut, the stars have cursed a princess with the promise that she'll rain down death and destruction on her kingdom. So she pursues books and research, only to have it ripped away as she's forced into a surprise wedding and crowned queen of a new land. Brimming with magic, reincarnation and romance, The Star-Touched Queen will leave you anxiously awaiting the forthcoming sequel.
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11. Marked by Jenny Martin
One of Paste's most anticipated YA releases of the year, Marked is the thrilling sci-fi sequel to Jenny Martin's debut novel, Tracked. Set in a future where mankind travels the solar system and corporations own the planets, the novel follows a street racer leading a rebellion against monstrous organizations. Marked ultimately explores the impact one person can have in the wake of seemingly insurmountable odds.
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10. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Emily Henry's novel is best explained as Friday Night Lights mashed up with The Time Traveler's Wife. Featuring a protagonist who jumps through time and a love story spanning parallel universes, it's a heart-wrenching read that elegantly weaves sci-fi and contemporary romance into an enthralling narrative. It's challenging to draw a comparison between The Love That Split the World and any other book; just trust us that you'll love it.
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9. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
What happens when you mix Back to the Future with pirates and mythology? You get The Girl From Everywhere, a delicious genre-blend of a novel. Heidi Heilig invites readers onto a pirate ship that travels the globe, traversing through time and imagination. And on that ship is the bold, brave Nix and her father, who seeks a map that will lead him to a place where he can save Nix's mother. The catch? It could erase Nix from the world.
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8. The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker
S.M. Parker's chilling debut allows readers to experience one girl's haunting ordeal with an obsessive stalker. The novel opens with a sweet beginning, slowly growing in intensity until you're practically screaming at the book. The Girl Who Fell delivers a thrilling tale that examines how a passionate romance can truly be dangerous.
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7. The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding
Amy Spalding's The New Guy is hands down the funniest YA novel of the year. It's a hilarious, contemporary book that tackles an unusual topic for young adult fiction: the battle between print and digital media. Set at a school for the wealthy and famous, it follows a teen girl trying to save her school newspaper and the cute, boy band singer who has aligned himself with the video news service taking the school by storm. From the passive-aggressive dog-walking scenes to the war between the media-types, it's a riot from cover to cover.