See which YA books we’ve deemed the very best of the year!
Do you realize how many YA titles hit shelves in 2018? SO MANY. It’s pretty much impossible to keep up with all of the worthy tales in the bunch, no matter how fast you read. Thankfully, The Fandom staff has got your back!
We asked our team to tell us about their favorite YA books released in 2018 and why they loved them and now, we’re sharing the results with you so you can get the scoop on the best of the best (according to us, anyway). From contemporaries to fantasies, from humor to horror, there’s something here for everyone’s tastes!
Listed in alphabetical order.
A MAP OF DAYS by Ransom Riggs
Expanding upon Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series was something I didn’t expect to happen, but I was so excited to learn a fourth installment following Jacob and his friends would be released. I devoured A Map of Days quickly, it being as enjoyable as I’d hoped. Riggs was able to keep the essence of what so many readers fell in love with in the previous three books and expand upon the adventures of the dynamic characters. There were plenty of new, fresh twists, but also a supportive, established foundation. A perfect mix. Riggs’s writing impressed me once again–probably more so than any other author’s in 2018.
AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING by Hank Green
This book may not be officially a YA novel, but I’m including it here because a) it has the zipping energy and excitement of a YA book, and b) it needs to be talked about. Hank Green, brother of The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, understandably had a lot expectations to meet with his debut novel, and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing did not disappoint. The plot of this book is wonderful and one of the most inventive stories I’ve read in a long time. It is not the first novel about an alien visitation, but it takes the genre to new and exciting heights. There were many times that I audible said “woah cool” while reading this book, utterly shocked and awed by the intricacy and originality of the plot. The characters are lovable, and though our lead, April, can be frustrating at times, you can’t help rooting for her the whole way through. And the novel has a much needed and thoughtful message about the dynamics of fame and internet culture, that was truly eye-opening. Hank has established himself as a talented and fresh voice in literature, and I can’t wait to see where April’s story will go in the sequel.
CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
I’ve never read anything quite like Children of Blood and Bone. It’s the first story, for me, in which magic feels like an entity within itself. Zélie’s journey to bring magic back to her world as others seek to destroy it for good is harrowing, suspenseful, and even a bit romantic. Thanks to the strong cast of characters, I was invested early on and from this, the story grew in unexpected and refreshing ways, telling a fantastical tale while also starkly examining the world we live in.
DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY by Adib Khorram
Aside from initiating my new love for Persian dishes, this book brings up some really emotional and heartfelt issues about family, mental health, and self-realization. Darius, who is half-Iranian and half-white, finds himself struggling to figure out where he belongs, not only when it comes to school, but also when it comes to family. So, when they go on a family trip to Iran, Darius’s story really begins. The book is a rather welcoming change of pace for me since I tend to read more fantasy/science fiction books than contemporary ones, but author Adib Khorram brings you into this world of Darius with genuine real-life struggles such as having to deal with a parent you’re not sure you understand or like or who truly understands you, or making a new friend who you’re not sure is laughing with you or at you, or even just not knowing if you even like yourself, all while adding some humor and nerdism in the mix. Combine all that with having with having clinical depression, and it’s only a matter of time till something has to give, which Khorram brings to a head so brilliantly it brings tears to your eyes more than once.
KINGDOM OF ASH by Sarah J. Maas
There is no doubt that Kingdom of Ash is one of the – if not the – best books I’ve read this year. Yes, some nostalgia played into that, Throne of Glass being such a big part of my life for many years and inspiring me in many ways, but it was also because this book was epic. It is a challenge to end a beloved seven book series in a way that is both meaningful and satisfying, but Sarah J. Maas surpassed all of my expectations. Kingdom of Ash had the perfect mix of small, intimate moments and thundering battles that had my heart racing and were definitely worthy of a song. It was the perfect send off for Aelin and the rest of our characters, and made me both infinitely happy and sad to say goodbye to this world I have loved for so long. All I can say is a huge thank you to Sarah J. Maas and that if you have not read Throne of Glass yet, you really should. Like immediately. This is one adventure you won’t want to miss.
REIGN OF THE FALLEN By Sarah Glenn Marsh
Sarah Glenn Marsh has created my favorite fantasy world of the year! Karthia is full of magic, ultra-inclusive, and ruled by the undead. As these undead suddenly begin to turn into monsters known as Shades en masse, Odessa and her fellow necromancers are charged with finding the person behind it all and saving the kingdom. Fast-paced and twisty, this novel has a core group of captivating, flawed characters I loved in dealing with unexpected chaos, grief, and change in a lush new society. Don’t let the cover fool you– this book has got grit!
SADIE by Courtney Summers
Part true crime podcast manuscript, part character point-of-view, Sadie is a harrowing mystery following a teenage girl on a desperate mission to find the person who murdered her baby sister. Along the way, the story holds nothing back as it explores the decisions of a girl with nothing left to lose. Sadie dives deep into the effects of poverty, abuse, and addiction on children, twisting into a tale of responsibility and revenge, all while maintaining a gripping mystery. It’s definitely not sunshine and rainbows, but this book will leave you with so many feelings and you’ll be entranced by every gutsy step in Sadie’s journey.
SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young
I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! I received it in a subscription box, and decided to give it a chance because vikings fascinate me. What I found was a wonderful story of warring loyalties and betrayals, and learning that there are people behind the faces of your enemies. A beautifully written story, Sky in the Deep had me on the edge of my seat, and exclaiming out loud at the twists and turns.
THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN by Kiersten White
Halloween is a “holiday” that people of all ages can enjoy, and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein helped me get into a spooky mood. This is a great book even for people who have not read the original Mary Shelley Frankenstein, but even better for people who want to see a different take on the same story. The continual mysteries that our main character, Elizabeth, unravels will weave a horrifying display that questions who the real monster is what measures we will take to protect the ones we love.
THE DARKEST LEGACY by Alexandra Bracken
Many series spinoffs are sloppy attempts to reclaim your original series, especially when they come years later. NOT Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Legacy! Instead, Zu’s five-years-later continuation is the best book in the series. It reconnects us to old favorite characters while creating new mythology within the world, introducing fascinating new characters, presenting fresh dilemmas, and carve out some wild real-world parallels. It’s an action-packed whirlwind of a story with plenty of heart and doses of humor. Alexandra Bracken surprised the hell out of me with this one, and I couldn’t be happier!
QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS by Cassandra Clare
Being a huge fan of all Cassie’s Shadowhunters books makes me a bit biased in choosing this as one of the best, but it’s also because it is. It’s the final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy and has a lot of twists and turns with crazy adventures and with all the feelings of all the characters. Never one to finish up a series without a long and filling epilogue, she brings a satisfying conclusion in regards to the two major characters, all while leaving room for another epic story in the works.
Did we miss out on an excellent 2018 YA novel? Be sure to tell us all about your favorite!