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New Young Adult books for May 2018

Written by · Published Apr 30, 2018

Station Zero, The Poet X, Leah on the Offbeat

Station Zero, by Philip Reeve

The much-anticipated conclusion to the amazing steampunk, intergalactic, super-inventive, locomotive-loving Railhead trilogy.

“The Great Network is changing. New worlds, new alliances, new enmities. For Threnody the changes have brought great power. For Zen and Nova they have brought separation. For the trains that run from world to world, they have brought questions. Now all of them must find out what really matters to them and who they really are.”

Dear Martin, by Nic Stone

“Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League - but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighbourhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr King to find out.

“Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up - way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty police officer beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.”

This novel should particularly appeal to fans of The Hate U Give.

The Outcast, by Taran Matharu

The prequel to the Summoner series.

“Arcturus is just an orphaned stable boy when he accidentally summons a demon. As Hominum’s first common summoner, he becomes the key to a secret that the powerful nobility would do anything to keep hidden. He is immediately whisked away to Vocans Academy where the lost arts of summoning, spell craft and demonology are taught to the noble children of the Empire. In no time, Arcturus finds himself surrounded by enemies as noble teachers and students question his right to be there.

“But before he can even attempt to make friends, his life is turned upside down once again, for the Empire is in turmoil. Rebellion is simmering among the masses, and it will not be long before it boils over. Arcturus must choose a side or watch the Empire crumble.”

Spirit, by Sally Christie

“Matt is new, quiet and shy. Jazzy is outspoken, popular, confident. They’d never normally be friends. But things in the village of Burnham Stone aren’t normal: Matt has seen something extraordinary up in Burnham Wood. And Jazzy is the only one who believes him. With the help of Matt’s little dog and Jazzy’s little sister, the two make surprising discoveries - and unleash such a powerful force that nothing can ever be the same again.”

Hope is our Only Wing, by Rutendo Tavengerwei

“For 15-year-old Shamiso, struggling with grief and bewilderment following her father’s death, hope is nothing but a leap into darkness. For Tanyaradzwa, whose life has been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis, hope is the only reason to keep fighting.

“As the two of them form an unlikely friendship, Shamiso begins to confront her terrible fear of loss. In getting close to another person, particularly someone who’s ill, isn’t she just opening herself up to more pain? And underpinning it all - what did happen to her father, the night of that strange and implausible car crash?”

The Surface Breaks: a reimagining of The Little Mermaid, by Louise O’Neill

“Deep beneath the sea off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of being human - but at what terrible price?

“Hans Christian Andersen’s dark original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, storytelling at its most spellbinding.”

Slay, by Kim Curran

“When Milly, the lonely daughter of a world-famous opera singer, arrives home to discover that her mum has been taken over by something very evil, she finds herself in mortal danger. But the last people she expects to rescue her are the hottest boy band on the planet.”

First in a new series the Bookseller says has shades of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Smoke Thieves, by Sally Green

New book from the author of the Half novels.

“A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief. Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Five nations destined for conflict.

“In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner’s block. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, 13-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.”

The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Fans of Sarah Crossan, Angie Thomas and Jason Reynolds will especially enjoy this verse novel from an award-winning slam poet.

“Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets - her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.”

White Rabbit, Red Wolf, by Tom Pollock

“17-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend.

“However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine.”

Publisher Walker describes this as ‘a taut thriller about murder, maths and the mind.’

Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli

The sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which has just been released in the cinemas as Love, Simon.

“When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat - but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mum, and her life is decidedly less privileged. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends - not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways.”

Ramona Blue, by Julie Murphy

New book from the author of Dumplin’.

“Ramona was only 5 years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over 6 feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi.

“But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.”

I Was Born For This, by Alice Oseman

“For Angel Ahmadi, life is only about one thing: The Ark - a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything - her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.

“Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman - and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare. Because that’s the problem with dreaming - eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call.

“And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.”

Publisher HarperCollins describes this as a ‘funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel … a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something - especially yourself.’

Charmcaster, by Sebastien De Castell

Third book in the Spellslinger series.

“Kellen, Reichis and Ferius are on their way to Gitabria, a city where amazing inventions are dreamed up and sold across the land of the Seven Sands. But when the three of them stumble across a tiny mechanical bird, magically brought to life, they quickly realise all is not as it appears.

“Meanwhile two strange Argosi appear, carrying secrets from Ferius’ past, together with an unlikely Jan’Tep ally. And as time ticks on, all the cards in Ferius’ deck point to the emerging tides of war.”

The Boy Who Lied, by Kim Slater

New novel from the author of Smart.

“14-year-old Ed Clayton is a liar. It started when his dad went to prison and now he can’t seem to stop. When Ed’s younger brother, Sam, goes missing one day under his supervision, nobody believes him when he says he can’t remember what happened. Things begin to go very wrong for Ed’s family when his mum loses her job and they have to start using a food bank.

“Ditched even by his best friend, Ed is on his own trying find out what’s happened to Sam, until he meets Fallon, a new neighbour who’s willing to help him unravel the mystery. The two stumble on a secret even Ed could never have imagined. But nobody will ever believe a liar.”

On a scale of One to Ten, by Ceylan Scott

“Tamar is admitted to Lime Grove, a psychiatric ward for teenagers, where the psychologists ask her endless questions. How did the self-harming start? Will you tell us what happened? How do you feel, on a scale of one to ten? But there’s one question Tamar can’t - won’t - answer: What happened to her friend Iris?”

Publisher Chicken House describes this as ‘a uniquely powerful, devastating novel of friendship, fragility and forgiveness’ set on a psychiatric ward.

A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas

A companion tale to Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

“Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.

“Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated - scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.”

The Colour of the Sun, by David Almond

“One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar - the little Tyneside town that has always been his home - but as the day passes, it becomes ever more dramatic and strange. A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. He turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit summit at the top of the town, where the real and imaginary world begin to blur.”

David Almond says: ‘I guess it embodies my constant astonishment at being alive in this beautiful, weird, extraordinary world.’

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.