YA Releases I’m Most Excited About in September

Since I’m a Teen Services Librarian, I thought it might be helpful if I highlight some of the upcoming new releases in YA that I’m most excited about! Fair warning: I’m not a big fantasy reader so my list might be a little light on those recommendations, but I think there’s something for all readers to try and enjoy! Without further ado…

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Release Date: September 10th

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course. But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

Why: If you know me, you know I love romance…especially diverse romance that teaches me about other cultures. I can’t wait to pick this one up- I mean, just look at that cover?!

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Release Date: September 3rd

After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is. Leanna’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Former Disney Mouseketeer, ten #1 singles, and now life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4 AM in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…

Why: I thoroughly enjoyed Mary H.K. Choi’s debut Emergency Contact, so I can’t WAIT to get my hands on this one (famous romances-yes please!). Due to the popularity of her debut, this one will certainly be making the rounds on Bookstagram after it comes out.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Release Date: September 10th

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question-How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Why: This book is getting incredible hype from reviewers and bloggers alike, and it is Akwaeke Emezi’s YA debut. I have this one on Netgalley, and I cannot wait to set aside time to devour it.

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

Release Date: September 24th

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six (always six) Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Why: I read a review of this book that said a character uses professional wrestling as a way to deal with grief and other issues, and I was immediately sold. That’s probably only a small part of the book, but as someone who was able to get through her parents’ divorce with the help of pro wrestling, I knew this narrative was going to speak to me. Add that gorgeous cover, and this is sure to be a winner.

Loki: Where Mischief Dies by Mackenzi Lee

Release Date: September 3rd

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.

Why: Loki is my fave problematic son, and I can’t wait to see the treatment he gets from YA superstar author Mackenzi Lee!

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman

Release Date: September 17th

A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party. 

From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be.

Why: Finding stories that are not based in (or assumed to be in) the Christian hegemony can be rare, so a collection of stories by and about Jewish people is a rarity that I feel should be celebrate loudly and proudly!

Slay by Brittney Morris

Release Date: September 24th

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Why: Like Pet, this book is getting all the starred reviews…and it’s not hard to see why. From that cover to the incredible representation inside the pages, this debut will make Brittney Morris an author to watch.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

Release Date: September 3rd

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything? Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse. You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Why: I’ve been seeing this book’s ARC making the rounds on Bookstagram and first was intrigued by the cover (props to the designer and the publisher!), but I was sucked in by the summary. I always jump at the chance to learn more about different cultures and experiences, so I’m excited to see this debut from these children of Haitian immigrants (and sisters- I don’t often see sister writing duos!).

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Release Date: September 17th

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner. 

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Why: This debut novel, like Pet and Slay, is garnering SERIOUS attention from reviewers, and honestly it’s easy to see why. I haven’t come across many YA books that address the African diaspora (though I’m woefully ill-informed on this topic-I certainly plan to change this) , and Petrus’ writing is both lyrical and compelling. This is a book that is not to be missed.

The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin & Noah Hayes

Release Date: September 3rd

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

Why: I played basketball for 12 (long and grueling) years, so anything in the YA-verse that has basketball as a plot point always peaks my interest. The fact that this is a gorgeously drawn graphic novel moves it that much higher up my TBR list!

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Release Date: September 10th

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

Why: Tillie Walden’s graphic novels (Spinning, On A Sunbeam, I Love This Part, etc) have been a huge hit in my library! Her art is gorgeous, and did I happen to mention that she’s only 23 YEARS OLD?! She’s insanely talented so this one will be just as much in demand!

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Release Date: September 10th

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

Why: This is the debut novel of David Yoon, also known as the husband of YA powerhouse author Nicola Yoon. It’s been making huge waves in the YA publishing world so it’s sure to not only be a bestseller, but also a book everyone will want to get their hands on.

Let me know what YA (or even Adult) releases you’re looking forward to in September below, or if you end up enjoying any of these titles I’ve recommended!

Until next time!

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