Ready to embrace a 'Brand New You' as we step into the New Year? There's something special about YA books—they're like a roadmap for navigating fresh starts and new beginnings. These stories dive deep into themes of self-discovery, change, and the thrill of starting afresh. From tales of reinvention to stories of finding your path, these books promise to ignite that spark for personal growth and the excitement of this next chapter, 2024.
The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne by Shannon Takaoka
Gracie feels like a minor character in her own life story—until a mysterious journal turns her fictional stories into reality.
It’s 1987, and sixteen-year-old Gracie Byrne wishes her life were totally different. Shy and awkward, she has trouble fitting in at her new school, she’s still reeling from her parents’ divorce, and her grandmother Katherine’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse. So when Gracie finds a blank journal in Katherine’s vanity drawer, she begins writing stories about herself—a more popular version of herself, that is. But then the hot guy in her art class describes a dream he had about her—the exact scene she wrote about him in her journal—and Gracie realizes that she can create any reality she wants, from acing tests to winning the attention of her previously indifferent classmates. As her ability to change what is into what she wishes it to be grows stronger, though, Gracie starts to second-guess what’s real—especially when it comes to a budding relationship with her cute neighbor, Tom. This compelling story deftly blends friendship, family, and romance . . . and bends the bounds of reality itself.
Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood
Eighteen-year-old Brooke is the kind of friend who not only remembers everyone’s birthdays, but also organizes the group present, pays for it, and politely chases others for their share. She’s the helper, the doer, the maker-of spreadsheets. She’s the responsible one who always follows the rules―and she plans to keep it that way during her first year of college.
Her student housing only has one "no unnecessary drama." Which means no fights, tension, or romance between roommates. When one of them turns out to be Jesse, her high-school nemesis, Brooke is determined she can handle it. They’ll simply silently endure living together and stay out of each other’s way. But it turns out Jesse isn’t so easy to ignore.
The Karma Map by Nisha Sharma
Born and raised in the US, Tara Bajaj hides her family secrets. With beautiful clothes, a popular social media presence, and a spot on the Rutgers High Bollywood dance team, she does it well—until her carefully cultivated image shatters. Shut out by friends and with her future in flux, Tara accepts a guide position for a youth group’s temple tour through North India. Rediscovering the heart of her ancestry is as good a place as any to start over.
Silas D’Souza-Gupta is an aspiring photojournalist retracing the journey his two mothers took when they fell in love. The last thing he expects on this road trip through his roots is a girl with a history of her own. As Tara and Silas embark on remote pilgrimage sites from Punjab through the Himalayas, they discover what it means to be a child in the Indian diaspora, the significance of karma, and the healing power of love.
The Year I Stopped Trying by Katie Heaney
Mary is having an existential crisis. She's a good student, she never gets in trouble, and she is searching for the meaning of life. She always thought she'd find it in a perfect score on the SATs. But by junior year, Mary isn't so sure anymore.
The first time, it's an accident. She forgets to do a history assignment. She even crosses history essay off in her pristine planner. And then: Nothing happens. She doesn't burst into flames, the world doesn't end, the teacher doesn't even pull her aside after class.
So she asks herself: Why am I trying so hard? What if I stop?
Tremendous Things by Susin Nielsen
At the start of ninth grade, Wilbur Nuez-Knopf is hoping for a fresh start. But he just can't live down a deeply humiliating moment from two years ago that's followed him to high school. His good friend Alex has stuck by him, but Alex has started dating Fabrizio and he doesn't have much time to hang out. Luckily, Wil can still confide in his elderly neighbor, Sal. But he longs to have a special someone of his own.
When the school band does an exchange with students from Paris, a girl named Charlie captures Wilbur's heart. But his feelings aren't reciprocated. So Alex, Fabrizio, and Sal join forces to build Wil's confidence in the hope that he can impress Charlie when they go to Paris. Maybe, just maybe, Wilbur will find a new defining moment in the City of Love.
The Secret Recipe for Moving on by Karen Bischer
Ellie Agresti's not sure anything could be worse than being dumped by her boyfriend, Hunter, the first day of senior year.
But sharing a "life skills" class with him and his new girlfriend, Brynn? AND getting partnered with a "family" of misfits (A.J., the loudmouth; Isaiah, the horse-racing obsessive; and Luke, the tattooed stunt-biker)?
It's a recipe for certain disaster...until an in-class competition allows Ellie to channel her angst into beating Hunter and Brynn's team, and she unexpectedly bonds with her own group–especially Luke–in the process.
But as Ellie soon discovers, it will take more than classroom triumphs to heal her broken heart–and find herself again.