1. Every Day by David Levithan
About: There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Why I’m looking forward to it: Someone in one of my young adult lit classes read it for a project, and she absolutely loved it. It’s been getting rave reviews everywhere I’ve looked online. I’ve read Levithan’s work before, and the concept is extremely interesting and original.
2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
About: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well wishers who’ve long forgotten her.
The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details—proof they hope may free Ben—Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club…and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.
As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer
Why I’m looking forward to it: I read Flynn’s Gone Girl (Read my review here), and I fell in love with her style of storytelling. I’ve heard her other books are even better. I’m going to test that theory for myself.
3. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
About: Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
Why I’m looking forward to it: I got this book for free from NetGalley a while back, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere since then. I think the story will be really interesting, and I’m ready to see if it lives up to all the hype.
4. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
About: In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.
Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page
What I’m looking forward to: I read Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns in high school and became a fan. Recently he came to my hometown for a community-wide book discussion and keynote, and I got him to sign my copies (OMG moment). His stories are powerful and life altering. I can’t wait for him to transport me to another world again.
5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
About: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and ultimate choice Mia commands.
What I’m looking forward to: EVERYONE loves this book. It’s gotten so many accolades and great reviews. My interest is piqued because I thought it was just another drama-junkie YA novel, but I’ve heard the writing is beautiful and that the book changes your life.