As we launch headfirst into the holiday season, you're going to need books to keep you company on every plane, train, and automobile you'll be taking over the next month or so. Luckily, some of your favorite young adult authors are serving up sequels to feed this need. November 2014's best YA novels are so different from each other, that there's a little something for everyone.
Science fiction fans are going to want to sit up in their seats: There's multi-dimensional travel on the docket. Fantasy-lovers? Your favorite warlock is making his return to the bookshelves. For those who like to dig into history, one author has written stunning poetry about a vicious historical event. Of course there's straight-up coming-of-age contemporary, but with a twist toward diversity. And finally, don't give up on dystopian YA fiction, because you could argue that the best is yet to come.
So when the air starts to get crisper during the day, family chatter becomes too stressful, and you're too stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie to move, one (or, why limit yourself? several) of these seven young adult novels can help you relax on a quiet couch while you recover.
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Nov 4)
If you're looking for a book that will keep you rapt through that long plane ride home for Thanksgiving, The Walled City is definitely it. Graudin seems to have been inspired by Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City, and the pages are packed with colorful characters — street gangs, ambassadors, prostitutes, and more.
And although the plot may seen reminiscent of another YA dystopia — teens are racing to escape a labyrinth — this isn't anything like The Maze Runner , and if you overlook it, you'll be seriously missing out.
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (HMH Books For Young Readers; Nov 4)
LaFevers' His Fair Assassin series already has its fair share of hardcore fans, so you're going to want to get in line for its finale book Mortal Heart . And finally, fans that have stuck with the series from the beginning will get closure on Annith and the world LaFevers built around her. And with readers getting all excited for the finale, everyone else is going to be rushing to catch up.
Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky (Disney-Hyperion; Nov 4)
We need books like Gracefully Grayson , particularly for middle grade readers who are learning and developing who they are. Polonsky tells the story of a transgender 12-year-old named Grayson, who believes that he is really a she on the inside. But it's not just that the novel fits into the diverse books campaign, it's that it's moving and gentle and it has so much to say about self-esteem in a world where we need to hear these messages.
A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray (Harper Teen; Nov 4)
Multiple dimensions, witchcraft, physicists, clones — Gray's A Thousand Pieces of You has it all. When Marguerite's father is murdered, she chases his killer using her parents' invention, the Firebird, which can transcend space and time. She jumps through dimensions where she encounters different versions of people she knows, à la Cloud Atlas, trying to bring the killer to justice. It's an epic adventure that will sometimes boggle your mind, but buckle up, it's only the first novel of a new series.
Like Water On Stone by Dana Walrath (Delacorte Press; Nov 11)
Walrath manages to imbue beauty into the horrifically tragic in Like Water On Stone , set during the Armenian genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire. The story of three Armenian siblings attempt at escape is told in stunning verse, but it doesn't shy away from vivid depictions of brutality. It's a powerful novel about love among siblings and a loss of innocence, and it brings a horrible moment in our world's history to life with poetry.
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson (Margaret K. McElderry Books; Nov 11)
The Bane Chronicles may only be for The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series fans, but it'd be hard to find too many YA lovers who don't fall into that camp. The mysterious, witty warlock Magnus Bane has been a fan favorite since he appeared in the series, and now Clare, Brennan, and Johnson are allowing readers to dig deeper into his life with 11 short stories centered around him. And it certainly can't hurt that the authors are breathing more life into a beloved character who happens to be bisexual and biracial. Bonus, it's illustrated, so you can stare deep into his eyes on the pages — if you're into that sort of thing, of course.
Stolen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston (Penguin Young Readers Group; Nov 18)
How does Melissa de la Cruz have any free time? The fan-favorite author of the Blue Bloods series and this year's The Ring and the Crown (which is set to be a series) has yet another book out this year, the follow-up to Frozen in the Heart of Dread series, Stolen . This series is co-written by de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston, and it follows the now separated Nat and Wes and yes, more tumultuous adventures are in store.