2024 has already started off right with a strong list of new releases of debuts, a few sequels and trilogies, and a whole slew of highly anticipated novels. Which book will you start your 2024 TBR list with?
Week of January 2nd
Stay with My Heart by Tashie Bhuiyan
From the author of Counting Down with You and A Show for Two comes a new YA contemporary about a girl who accidentally sabotages an up-and-coming local band and falls for the guitarist while secretly trying to make up for her mistake.
Liana Sarkar lives and breathes music, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her A&R coordinator father. Maybe if she succeeds, he’ll finally give her the time of day instead of drowning himself in work to distract from the grief of her mother’s passing.
When Liana accidentally sabotages an up-and-coming local band, Third Eye, she makes it her mission to steer them towards success—without them discovering her role in their setback. But as she gets closer to Third Eye, especially their enigmatic leader Skyler Moon, it becomes harder to hide the truth.
With both her heart and their futures on the line, will Liana be able to undo the damage she’s caused?
Just Happy to Be Here by Naomi Kanakia
In this YA standalone perfect for fans of Tobly McSmith and Meredith Russo, the first out trans girl at an all-girls school must choose between keeping her head down or blazing a trail.
Tara just wants to be treated like any other girl at Ainsley Academy.
That is, judged on her merits—not on her transness. But there’s no road map for being the first trans girl at an all-girls school. And when she tries to join the Sibyls, an old-fashioned Ainsley sisterhood complete with code names and special privileges, she’s thrust into the center of a larger argument about what girlhood means and whether the club should exist at all.
Being the figurehead of a movement isn’t something Tara’s interested in. She’d rather read old speeches and hang out with the Sibyls who are on her side—especially Felicity, a new friend she thinks could turn into something more. Then the club’s sponsor, a famous alumna, attacks her in the media and turns the selection process into a spectacle.
Tara’s always found comfort in the power of other peoples’ words. But when it comes time to fight for herself, will she be able to find her own voice?
Dark Star Burning, Ash Falls White (Song of the Last Kingdom #2) by Amélie Wen Zhao
Years ago, the Elantian colonizers invaded Lan’s homeland and killed her mother in their search to uncover the Last Kingdom’s greatest the location of its legendary four Demon Gods. Lan’s mother devoted her life to destroying the Demon Gods, and Lan is determined to finish her mission. Yet, there are others searching for the gods, too.
Zen knew his soul was forfeit the moment he made a deal with the Demon God known as the Black Tortoise, but he’s willing to lose himself if it means saving the Kingdom–and the girl–he loves. But to crush the colonizers who have invaded his land he needs more power than even a single Demon God can provide. He needs an army. And he knows exactly where he can find it–in the undead army his great grandfather lead decades ago.
The Elantians may have stolen their throne, but the battle for the Last Kingdom has only begun.
Ghost Roast by Shawneé and Shawnelle Gibbs & illustrated by Emily Cannon
For as long as she can remember, Chelsea Grant has tried everything she can think of to distance herself from the disastrous damage her father does to her social life. It’s not easy to shake her reputation as Ghost Girl when Dad keeps advertising his business as a “paranormal removal expert” in big, bold, loud letters all over New Orleans!
This year, Chelsea’s all grown up, attending one of the most prestigious high schools in the city, and she’s finally made friends with the popular crowd. Things are looking up—until a night on the town backfires spectacularly, landing her in hot water at home. Her punishment? Working for her dad at Paranormal Removal Services. All. Summer.
Worst of all, her new job reveals an unexpected secret she has to keep: While Dad hunts ghosts with his own DIY tech, Chelsea can actually see them. And when she meets Oliver, a friendly spirit, at the fancy mansion her dad is getting a handsome fee to exorcize, she realizes she has to save his after-life, even if it risks everything her father’s worked for.
Week of January 9th
Somewhere in the Deep by Tanvi Berwah
Seventeen-year-old Krescent Dune is buried under the weight of her dead parents’ debt and the ruinous legacy they left behind. The only way she can earn enough money to escape her unforgiving island is by battling monstrous creatures in an underground fighting pit. After a fight goes terribly wrong, she’s banned from the pits. Now hopeless, she is offered a deal: in exchange for the erasure of her debts, she must join and protect a hunting party for a rescue mission deep within the mining caves beneath the island.
Krescent is determined to keep her head down and fulfill her role as the dutiful bodyguard, even though she is trapped underground with her childhood enemy and a company of people who would gladly kill her if they knew who her parents were. As they come across creatures she believed only existed in legends, it becomes clear they are in far more danger than she could have imagined. But someone doesn’t want her to make it out alive. And she’ll have to figure out who before she’s left alone… in the dark.
From the author of Monsters Born and Made comes an action-packed South Asian inspired fantasy that will have your heart racing at every turn.
Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment by Arushi Avachat
Shaadi preparations are in full swing, which means lehenga shopping, taste testing, dance rehearsals, and best of all, Arya’s sister Alina is home. The Khannas are together again, finally, and Arya wants to enjoy it. So she stifles her lingering resentment towards Alina, plays mediator during her sister’s fights with their mother, and welcomes her future brother-in-law with open arms. (Okay, maybe enjoy isn’t exactly right.)
Meanwhile at school, Arya’s senior year dreams are unraveling. In between class and her part-time gig as a bookshop assistant, Arya struggles to navigate the aftermath of a bad breakup between her two best friends and a tense student council partnership with her rival, the frustratingly attractive Dean Merriweather.
Arya is determined to keep the peace at home and at school, but this shaadi season teaches Arya new realities: Alina won’t always be in the bedroom down the hall, Mamma’s sadness isn’t mendable, friendships must evolve, and life doesn’t always work out like her beloved Bollywood movies. But sometimes, the person you least expect will give you a glimpse of your dream sequence just when you need it most.
Structured like a Bollywood film (entertaining intermission included!) Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment will make you swoon, laugh, cry, think, nod your head in agreement, and quite possibly make you get up and dance.
Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Valentina Tran was named after Valentine’s Day, which used to be her favorite holiday. But when Val learns the truth behind what happened with her parents and why she’s being raised by a single father, she realizes true love is a lie. This is reinforced when she meets the spirit of Saint Valentine, who tells her she and her family are cursed to always be unlucky in love. Val is ready to give into her fate, until one Lunar New Year festival, where a mysterious lion dancer hands her a paper heart, and ZING. Val becomes determined to change her destiny, prove Saint Valentine wrong, and give her heart to the right person.
Meanwhile, lion dancing is the only thing that has given Jae peace after his dad passed away. It’s also what keeps him connected to his father’s side of the family. Both Jae and his cousin Leslie notice Val at the Lunar New Year festival, and for some inexplicable reason, Jae hands Val a paper heart. But it’s Leslie, with his K-Pop good looks, who starts to date Val. Jae still feels this connection with Val and feels it’s somehow tied to how he feels about losing his father.
Both Val and Jae struggle with the spirits who haunt them as they are inextricably brought together in a love story that is satisfying, sweet, and moving.
Week of January 16th
Escaping Mr. Rochester by L.L. McKinney
Jane has no interest in a husband. Eager to make her own way in the world, she accepts the governess position at Thornfield Hall. Though her new employer, Edward Rochester, has a charming air—not to mention a handsome face—Jane discovers that his smile can sharpen in an instant. Plagued by Edward’s mercurial mood and the strange wails that echo through the corridors, she grows suspicious of the secrets hidden within Thornfield Hall—unaware of the true horrors lurking above her very head.
On the topmost floor, Bertha is trapped in more ways than one. After her whirlwind marriage to Edward turned into a nightmare, he locked her away as revenge for withholding her inheritance. Now his patience grows thin in the face of Bertha’s resilience and Jane’s persistent questions, and both young women are in more danger than they realize. When their only chance at safety—and perhaps something more—is in each other’s arms, can they find and keep one another safe before Edward’s dark machinations close in around them?
Most Ardently by Gabe Cole Novoa
Feiwel & Friends
London, 1812 . Oliver Bennet feels trapped—not just by the endless corsets, petticoats, and skirts he’s forced to wear on a daily basis, but also by society’s expectations. The world, and the vast majority of his family and friends, think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. He is therefore expected to mingle at balls wearing a pretty dress, entertain suitors regardless of his interest in them, and ultimately become someone’s wife.
But Oliver can’t bear the thought of such a fate. He finds solace in the few times he can sneak out of his family’s home and explore the city rightfully dressed as a young gentleman. It’s during one such excursion when Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky young man who had been rude to “Elizabeth” at a recent social function. But in the comfort of being out of the public eye, Oliver comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart, not to mention attractive.
As Oliver spends more time as his true self, often with Darcy, part of him dares to hope that his dream of love and life as a man can be possible. But suitors are growing bolder―and even threatening―and his mother is growing more desperate to see him settled into an engagement. Oliver will have to choose: settle for safety, security, and a life of pretending to be something he’s not, or risk it all for a slim chance at freedom, love, and a life that can be truly his own.
So Let Them Burn (Divine Traitors #1) by Kamilah Cole
Little, Brown Young Readers
Whip-smart and immersive, this Jamaican-inspired fantasy follows a gods-blessed heroine who’s forced to choose between saving her sister or protecting her homeland.
Faron Vincent can channel the power of the gods. Five years ago, she used her divine magic to liberate her island from its enemies, the dragon-riding Langley Empire. But now, at seventeen, Faron is all powered up with no wars to fight. She’s a legend to her people and a nuisance to her neighbors.
When she’s forced to attend an international peace summit, Faron expects that she will perform tricks like a trained pet and then go home. She doesn’t expect her older sister, Elara, forming an unprecedented bond with an enemy dragon—or the gods claiming the only way to break that bond is to kill her sister.
As Faron’s desperation to find another solution takes her down a dark path, and Elara discovers the shocking secrets at the heart of the Langley Empire, both must make difficult choices that will shape each other’s lives, as well as the fate of their world.
A Drop of Venom by Sajni Patel
Rick Riordan Presents
Sixteen-year-old Manisha is no stranger to monsters—she’s been running from them for years, from beasts who roam the jungle to the King’s army, who forced her people, the naga, to scatter to the ends of the earth. You might think that the kingdom’s famed holy temples atop the floating mountains, where Manisha is now a priestess, would be safe—but you would be wrong.
Seventeen-year-old Pratyush is a famed slayer of monsters, one of the King’s most prized warriors and a frequent visitor to the floating temples. For every monster the slayer kills, years are added to his life. You might think such a powerful warrior could do whatever he wants, but true power lies with the King. Tired after years of fighting, Pratyush wants nothing more than a peaceful, respectable life.
When Pratyush and Manisha meet, each sees in the other the possibility to chart a new path. Unfortunately, the kingdom’s powerful have other plans. A temple visitor sexually assaults Manisha and pushes her off the mountain into a pit of vipers. A month later, the King sends Pratyush off to kill one last monster (a powerful nagin who has been turning men to stone) before he’ll consider granting his freedom.
Except Manisha doesn’t die, despite the hundreds of snake bites covering her body and the venom running through her veins. She rises from the pit more powerful than ever before, with heightened senses, armor-like skin, and blood that can turn people to stone. And Pratyush doesn’t know it, but the “monster” he’s been sent to kill is none other than the girl he wants to marry.
Alternating between Manisha’s and Pratyush’s perspectives, Sajni Patel weaves together lush language, high stakes, and page-turning suspense, demanding an answer to the question “What does it truly mean to be a monster?”
Beasts of War (Beasts of Prey #3) by Ayana Gray
Nancy Paulsen Books
Once a prisoner to Fedu, the vengeful god of death, Koffi has regained her freedom, but she is far from safe. Fedu will stop at nothing to hunt her down and use her power to decimate the mortal world. Koffi knows when Fedu will during the next Bonding, a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. To survive, Koffi will have to find powerful new allies quickly, and convince them to help her in the terrible battle to come.
Once a warrior-turned-runaway, Ekon has carved out a new life for himself outside Lkossa, but the shadows of his past still haunt him. Now, alongside unexpected friends, Ekon tries to focus on getting Koffi to the Kusonga Plains before the next Bonding. If he fails, Koffi will be consumed, either by her own dangerous power, or the terrible fate Ekon is doing everything he can to prevent. Ekon devotes himself to protecting Koffi, but the lingering threats from his own past are more urgent than he knows.
As Koffi and Ekon race to the Kusonga Plains—and try to garner the help of Eshōza’s ancient gods along the way—they must face a slew of dangerous beasts old and new. In the end, destiny may unite Koffi and Ekon for the last time—or tear them apart for good.
Week of January 23rd
Into the Sunken City by Dinesh Thiru
In the slowly sinking city of Coconino, Arizona, the days are long, the money is tight, and the rain never stops.
For Jin Haldar, this life is nothing new—ever since her father died in a diving accident, she’s barely made ends meet for her and her younger sister, Thara.
Enter Bhili: a drifter who offers Jin and Thara the score of a lifetime—a massive stash of gold hidden in the sunken ruins of Las Vegas.
Jin knows it’s too dangerous. She stopped diving after her father’s accident. But when her sister decides to go, Jin’s left with only one choice: to go with her.
A ragtag crew is assembled—including Jin’s annoyingly hot ex-boyfriend. From there, a high-stakes heist ensues that’s beyond even Jin’s wildest fears. Crumbling ruins, sea beasts, corsairs, and a mysterious figure named João Silva all lie in wait. To survive, Jin will have to do what she promised herself she’d never do again: dive.
Out of Our League: 16 Stories of Girls in Sports edited by Dahlia Adler and Jennifer Iacopelli
Feiwel and Friends
A compelling YA anthology from editors Dahlia Adler and Jennifer Iacopelli about the trials and triumphs of girls in sports.
Ambition. Drive. Determination. Talent. Courage. Teamwork.
Every athlete knows what it takes to win. But for teen female players, the stakes are so much higher. In this anthology, the voices of these athletes come alive, highlighting the ferocity of those who are often shunted to the side. From navigating rampant misogyny to forging a sisterhood through sweat or just reveling in the love of the game, the stories in Out of Our League address the phenomenal physical and emotional power of teenage athletes as they compete, persevere, and thrive, on and off the field.
The Colliding Worlds of Mina Lee by Ellen Oh
When a Korean American teenage artist gets sucked into the world of her own web comic, she must find a way out with the help of a cute boy all while facing off against a villainous corporation. Inspired by the A-ha’s “Take on Me” music video, this entertaining YA novel is a grounded speculative fiction adventure from the co-founder of We Need Diverse Books.
Mina has become the hero of her own story. Literally.
When Mina Lee woke up on Saturday morning for SAT prep, she did NOT expect to:
1. Nearly be fried by a superhero who turned out to be a supervillain.
2. Come face to face with Jin, the handsome boy of her dreams.
3. Discover a conspiracy involving the evil corporation Merco that she created.
And it’s all happening in her fictional world. Mina is trapped in the story she created. Now it’s up to her to save everyone. Even if it means losing Jin forever.
Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, Adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrated by Jazzmen Lee-Johnson
In the first middle grade offering from Zora Neale Hurston and Ibram X. Kendi, young readers are introduced to the remarkable and true-life story of Cudjo Lewis, one of the last survivors of the Atlantic human trade, in an adaptation of the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed Barracoon.
This is the life story of Cudjo Lewis, as told by himself.
Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America to be enslaved, eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis was then the only person alive to tell the story of his capture and bondage—fifty years after the Atlantic human trade was outlawed in the United States. Cudjo shared his firsthand account with legendary folklorist, anthropologist, and writer Zora Neale Hurston.
Adapted with care and delivered with age-appropriate historical context by award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi, Cudjo’s incredible story is now available for young readers and emerging scholars. With powerful illustrations by Jazzmen Lee-Johnson, this poignant work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.