Three months ago, I took a look at my 5 most anticipated reads of Winter 2018. Now, I’ve read and reviewed four of those five, and am in the middle of reading the last one. It’s time to look ahead again to spring, and see what YA releases will be hitting shelves in April, May and June this year.
The two most hyped books coming out are probably A Court of Frost and Starlight, the ACOTAR novella bridging the events of the first trilogy with what’s to come, and War Storm, the long-awaited finale to Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. But as usual, there are a lot of gems that fly under the radar. I hope I’ve uncovered one or two of them that may not have as much buzz announcing their arrival, but I think will surprise readers when they do come out. Here goes, my personal list of the top 5 YA releases from April to June:
5. Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.
Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become queen.
Release date: 24 April 2018
Why I’m Hyped: Have I read this book, even an excerpt? No. (I do have the eARC lying there, on my TBR pile, but we don’t talk about the TBR pile.) Have I heard of the author before? No. Is the synopsis a walking, talking trope that might make me want to gouge my eyeballs out? Yeah, sure. But look at that cover and tell me it’s not the most stunning thing you’ve seen after The Conqueror’s Saga. Enough said.
4. Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) by Renee Ahdieh
After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice–to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.
With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and the very safety of the empire.
Release date: 5 June 2018
Why I’m Hyped: I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Flame in the Mist, but that book did leave us on quite the cliffhanger, and I’m not about to let the conclusion pass me by. Plus, Renee Ahdieh is still Renee Ahdieh, writer of the absolutely wonderful The Wrath and the Dawn. I have to say that I don’t like this cover as much, though. It doesn’t match the first book at all, which had a much more stylish design in my opinion.
3. Clean by Juno Dawson
I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.
When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.
She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.
From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.
As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …
It’s a dirty business getting clean …
Release date: 5 April 2018
Why I’m Hyped: I read this all the way back during Christmas break, when I had the great luck to receive an eARC. I was skeptical at first, especially when I saw how entitled Lexi “my silver spoon could feed your family for a year” Volkov behaved. She never becomes normal, per se, but she definitely wakes up a little more than a little. What’s compelling about Clean isn’t the rich trash narrative, it’s the story of a girl pulling the pieces of her life back together after addiction wrecked the whole thing. I’m interested to know what people think about this book when it comes out in a couple weeks.
2. Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.
But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.
Release date: 1 May 2018
Why I’m Hyped: The funny thing is, I’ve never really been a big fan of Jane Eyre. In my expectations of Brightly Burning, I have only two things to go off of: the admittedly fantastic excerpt I read a while back, and the promise of a sci-fi Jane Eyre retelling. It’s that excerpt that drives most of my anticipation for this book, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a Gothic romance set in space. After all, there aren’t many modern settings that can replicate the haunting, majestic atmosphere, and space might just be one of them.
1. Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.
Release date: 29 May 2018
Why I’m Hyped: Fine, maybe I have gotten swept up in the magic of Caraval. Just a little. But after that explosive reveal at the end of Book One (which may not have entirely worked from a storytelling perspective, but was in any case a seriously admirable bold twist), who wouldn’t be looking forward to hearing Donatella’s side of the story? More drama, higher stakes, and possibly a more exciting romance–it’s all in the cards for Caraval take two. Let the games begin.