Tomi Adeyemi, “Children of Blood and Bone” (March 6; Henry Holt Books for Young Publishers)
This fantasy novel has stirred up buzz as a must-read for 2018: even though Adeyemi is a debut author in her twenties, it’s already slotted for a three-book deal and a television series. The first eight chapters was released a couple of months ago to select readers on NetGalley, and reviewers have been raving about it.
Emily X.R. Pan, “The Astonishing Color of After “(March 20; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The Wall Street Journal just published a stunning excerpt from “The Astonishing Color of After,” and I can’t wait to read more. Emily X.R. Pan’s debut, featuring a half-Asian, half-white girl who travels to Taiwan in search of her grandparents, has an intriguing synopsis and a beautiful cover. This is only the second book I’ve ever seen with Taiwan as the main setting (the first was “Want” by Cindy Pon), so I’m looking forward to seeing how Pan will use the setting in her novel.
Gloria Chan, “American Panda” (Feb. 6; Simon Pulse)
Another Taiwanese-American author, Gloria Chan, is coming out with her debut novel on Taiwanese-American teen Mei, a seventeen-year-old student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I’m expecting a lot from this novel, which seems to cultivate a setting that fits in a lot with TAS culture.
Katie Henry, “Heretics Anonymous” (Aug. 8; Katherine Tegen Books)
Novelist Katie Henry has just hosted the cover reveal for her debut, “Heretics Anonymous,” about a club for social outcasts. I haven’t had the best history with Breakfast Club-esque YA reads (despite the hype, I heavily disliked “One of Us is Lying”). However, the central plot, a relationship between an aspiring Roman Catholic priest and an atheist, reminds me faintly of one of my favorite 2017 novels, Christina Lauren’s “Autoboyography.” This might be an exception: I’ll be keeping an eye out for this in bookstores when it’s released.
Becky Albertalli, “Leah on the Offbeat” (April 24; Balzer + Bray)
I’ve been waiting for more of Albertalli since her debut, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” (which has a movie adaptation, also out in 2018!). This book, a sequel to “Simon,” follows Simon’s best friend, Leah, through her ideological transformations and her experiences as a bisexual girl growing up in a single-parent household.
Elizabeth Acevedo, “The Poet X” (March 6; HarperTeen)
Acclaimed slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo makes her literary debut with a book about a precocious Harlem girl who discovers spoken word. Based on effusive early reviews, I expect good things from this novel.
Dhonielle Clayton, “The Belles” (Feb. 26; Disney-Hyperion)
“The Belles” combines science fiction and fantasy elements in Orléans, a “The Selection”-esque novel where beauty is valued above all. The first in a trilogy, Dhonielle Clayton’s upcoming title is a sharp pivot from the more realistic ballet-themed books she wrote with fellow YA author Sona Charaipotra. The book’s description seems a little Black Mirror-esque, which could be a strength or fault, depending on its execution.