December tends to be a very light month for book publishing. But with only a few more days until 2019 (the decade!) is over, some of the most exciting YA novels of the year were saved best for last like Tomi Adeyemi's highly anticipated sequel and Ryan La Sala's LGBTQ fantasy debut.
It has been such a great year for YA books and these December releases certainly end the year on a high note and has me looking forward to all new stories in 2020.
December 2019 Releases
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too. Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath. With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.
Reverie by Ryan La Sala
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different. As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
Scared Little Rabbits by A. V. Geiger
Nora is excited to be attending maker camp at Winthrop Academy. After hoping to find solace among fellow nerds, she is disappointed to find catty competitors instead, including ringleader Eleanor Winthrop, who dubs Nora “Lowercase,” because there can’t be two Eleanors. To frustrate matters further, Eleanor’s boyfriend, Maddox, shows interest in Nora and recruits her to help with their Maker Fair project—an update to the InstaLove app that will allow players to add augmented reality features to the game. When Eleanor winds up dead, the evidence points to Nora, and she must prove her innocence—but instead she gets pulled into a web of secrets. Why was Maddox pretending to be Eleanor’s boyfriend even though they broke up? Was Eleanor’s death an accident or murder?
Watch Over Me by Mila Gray
Zoey is almost 19, but her life is on hold because she has to help her mother care for her younger siblings. Her father, a former cop, is in jail for assaulting her mother. Zoey testified against him and lives in fear that he will get out and find where they live. When their apartment and car are set on fire, Zoey learns that he has been released, but there is no definitive proof that he set the fire. Zoey's older brother Will and his best friend Tristan come to the rescue, moving the family to California within walking distance of the beach. Will is leaving for a Marine deployment, but Tristan promises his friend to look out for the family. Tristan is older and has been a bit of a player in the past, but he and Zoey have instant chemistry that makes him want to change his ways.
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
In 1817, Lady Victoria Aston, the 17-year-old second daughter of Lord Oakbridge, has lived an altogether charmed life. With her older sister, Althea, happily married, she’s largely left to her own devices, helping to manage the family’s English estate, studying animal husbandry, and rereading her favorite Jane Austen novels. Circumstances change, however, with revelations about Althea’s abusive husband, Dain. To protect her sister and prevent their home from falling into Dain’s villainous hands, Vicky must marry by the end of the season. Looking to the characters in her beloved Austen novels for support, Vicky weathers suspicious accidents, rising tensions, and multiple suitors, including Tom Sherborne, the childhood best friend who broke her heart years earlier.
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
Edie has lived in foster homes for three years since her single mother died. Her well-off aunt finally and reluctantly steps in and offers to take in Edie "as a charitable act" until she heads off to college in the fall. The family offers a beautiful home, two squabbling cousins around the same age, access to a prestigious private school, and a modicum of support for college. Edie grits her teeth and considers the only real benefit to moving there—handsome, sweet, and smart Sebastian, the next-door neighbor. However, she's sorely disappointed to learn that Sebastian now has a gorgeous, clingy, and jealous girlfriend. So what's a girl to do when sexy, "bad boy" Henry turns his eye toward her and decides to make her into his next conquest?