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Top 5 Young Adult titles for October 2021

by Sophie Green

Looking for some new YA titles to read this October? Take a look at our top picks, from retellings of classic Greek myths to festive thrillers.

Medusa, by Jessie Burton and Olivia Lomenech Gill

Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love and betrayal.

Burton gives voice to one of the most recognisable and maligned characters in Greek mythology.

Empress and Aniya, by Candice Carty-Williams

When Empress starts at Aniya's school, they're not exactly best friends. But, when the two teenage girls accidentally cast a spell on their 16th birthday and end up switching bodies, they quickly learn that friendship is the most important magic of all. South London's answer to 'Freaky Friday', Empress and Aniya is a moving portrayal of the importance of real friendship and the ups and downs of being a teenager.

The YA debut from the author of Queenie

Stay another day, by Juno Dawson

When three very different siblings, Fern, Rowan and Willow, go home for a Christmas reunion at their family home in Edinburgh, it's not long before some very big secrets threaten their cosy holiday. The McAllister house on Arboretum Road has seen 120 Christmases since its completion. This year, Fern is bringing her gorgeous boyfriend home and she wants everything to be perfect. But her twin brother Rowan would rather go on the pull than pull crackers with the family. And their younger sister Willow is terrified of Christmas Day. With four sleeps till Christmas, three secretive siblings, two hot houseguests, and one juicy secret - this Christmas, there will be some big surprises under the tree.

Bad girls never say die, by Jennifer Mathieu

Houston, Texas. 1964. Evie Barnes is a 'bad' girl. So are all her friends. They're the sort who wear bold makeup, laugh too loud and run around with boys. Most of all, they protect their own against the world. So when Evie is saved from being assaulted by a good girl from the right side of the tracks, every rule she's always lived by is called into question. Now she must rethink everything she knew about loyalty and learn that when girls stick together it doesn't matter whether they're 'good' or 'bad'. In this riveting story of murder, secrets, and tragedy, Jennifer Mathieu reimagines S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders from a female perspective.

Aristotle and Dante dive into the waters of the world, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Ari has spent all of high school hiding who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can't go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante - dreamy, witty Dante - who can get on Ari's nerves and fill him with desire all at once. The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn't understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he'll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

The sequel to the acclaimed Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe.