It can't be denied that 2018 was an incredible year for books. It was also a tumultuous year politically, socially, and culturally. So much happened in the last 12 months, and it can be difficult to remember every celebrity feud, every political scandal, and every viral meme, let alone every book you wanted to rea before the year was over. So, it's pretty likely that you're staring down the last couple of weeks of the year with a huge stack of yet-to-be-read books on your bedside table. But now is a better time than ever to hunker down with some fantastic books, and I've got 30 young adult debut novels from 2018 you definitely don't want to overlook.
The Best YA Books of 2018 are a huge indication of just how impactful the last year of young adult books has been, and many debut authors — Elizabeth Acevedo, Tomi Adeyemi, Emily X.R. Pan, Samira Ahmed — have penned some of the most widely celebrated books of the year, thanks to their crucial and unique takes on important topics like race, grief, family, and faith. And there are only more astonishing YA debuts where that came from below:
'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola embarks on a mission to bring back the magic that was taken from her people, and strike against the ruthless king who destroyed her family in this instant bestselling debut novel.
'The Hazel Wood' by Melissa Albert
Alice ventures into the Hinterland — the supernatural world where her grandmother's dark fairytales are set — to save her mother who has been stolen away by a mysterious figure.
'Sky In The Deep' by Adrienne Young
Raised to be a warrior, 17-year-old Eelyn's life is brutal but simple. Until the day she sees her brother fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.
'Everless' by Sara Holland
In Sempera, time is currency — extracted from blood and consumed to add time to one’s lifespan. In this debut, Jules travels to Everless, the estate of the aristocracy, to earn more time for her dying father.
'American Panda' by Gloria Chao
Mei can't bring herself to tell her parents that she doesn't want to be a doctor... or that she has a crush on her non-Taiwanese classmate Darren. But when Mei reconnects with her estranged brother, she starts to wonder if all the secrets are worth it.
'The Wicked Deep' by Shea Ernshaw
Two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Each summer, the sisters return, luring boys into the harbor. Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of her town... until a boy named Bo Carter arrives.
'You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone' by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s. The results push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and unexpected first love.
'People Like Us' by Dana Mele
Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star athlete whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's life begins to topple.
'Blood Water Paint' by Joy McCullough
Blood Water Paint is a novel-in-verse about Artemisia Gentileschi, an artist and the first woman to successfully prosecute the man who raped her.
'Love Hate & Other Filters' by Samira Ahmed
In the aftermath of a horrific crime, Maya Aziz's life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable. And soon, Maya must determine where she truly belongs.
'To Kill a Kingdom' by Alexandra Christo
When Princess Lira kills one of her own, the Sea Queen punishes her by transforming Lira into a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
'The Astonishing Color of After' by Emily X.R. Pan
Leigh Chen Sanders travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time after her mother's suicide, she winds up chasing after ghosts and uncovering family secrets.
'A Girl Like That' by Tanaz Bhathena
Zarin Wadia is the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from. So how how did Zarin and a boy named Porus end up dead in a car crash? Soon, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned.
'See All the Stars' by Kit Frick
Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, she finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.
'Ash Princess' by Laura Sebastian
For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.
'The Disasters' by M.K. England
Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks. Nax and three other washouts escape, but they become the perfect scapegoats. Framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, they decide to execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth.
'Where I Live' by Brenda Rufener
Linden Rose is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, Linden begins looking at Bea's life, and her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. But attention is the last thing she needs.
'The Midnights' by Sarah Nicole Smetana
When Susannah's father dies suddenly, her mother uproots them to a new city. There, Susannah realizes she can reinvent herself as the confident singer-songwriter she always wanted to be. But soon, harsh revelations threaten to unravel her life once again.
'Mirage' by Somaiya Daud
When adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped and taken to the royal palace, where she is tasked with becoming the cruel princess's body double.
'Sea Witch' by Sarah Henning
Ever since her best friend Anna drowned, Evie has been an outcast. But when a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears, Evie is convinced that her friend survived. And, as the girls catch the eyes of two charming princes, they might have a chance at happily ever after.
'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo
Xiomara Batista feels unheard by her mother, and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. But when she discovers spoken-word poetry, she begins to pour all of her passion and frustration into her newfound voice.
'My So-Called Bollywood Life' by Nisha Sharma
Winnie Mehta was convinced that her boyfriend Raj was her soulmate, the one a pandit predicted she would find before her 18th birthday. But when Raj cheats on her — and takes her spot as chair of the student film festival — Winnie has to take control of her own story.
'Nice Try, Jane Sinner' by Lianne Oelke
After a personal crisis, Jane Sinner's parents push her to attend a high school completion program at Elbow River Community College. Once there, Jane signs up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show.
'The Beauty That Remains' by Ashley Woodfolk
When tragedy strikes Autumn, Shay and Logan, their shared loved of music seems like it will no longer enough to keep them together. But despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that beauty is possible after grief.
'A Blade So Black' by L.L. McKinney
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland. But when Alice's mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before.
'Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now' by Dana L. Davis
After her mom dies, Tiffany Sly leaves her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known. But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad— and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test.
'500 Words or Less' by Juleah del Rosario
To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates, Nic Chen begins writing their college admissions essays. But the more essays Nic writes, the less sure she becomes of herself and the kind of person she is.
'Heart of Thorns' by Bree Barton
Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: the demons who killed her mother. But when Mia's father announces her marriage to the prince, she soon discovers she has dark, forbidden magic — the very magic she has sworn to destroy.
'Let's Talk About Love' by Claire Kann
After Alice came out as asexual, her girlfriend broke up with her, and Alice swore off of dating for good. But then Alice meets Takumi... and now she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for.
'Your Destination Is on the Left' by Lauren Spieller
Dessa Rhodes's family are modern day nomads. But when she is offered an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe, she sees it as a ticket to a new life.