It’s the beginning of 2019 and I’m so excited for the millions of books that’ll be published this year! Unfortunately, I’m going to read only a very small fraction of those books because no one is paying me to read yet 😭😭 Anyway, I’ve already got a loooong list of some books I want to read in 2019 and I wanted to share some of them with you!
**Full Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small amount of compensation (which goes towards supporting my blog) when you purchase from my links AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about and I promote only things I have tried, tested and LOVED.
Fun Fact About This Post: This list was supposed to be an entry for #Project14Lists organised by another blogger Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch, but I’m the Queen of procrastinating so mine is just coming up now! 🙈
In no particular order, here are some of my most anticipated releases of 2019!
1. The Love and Lies of Rukhsanah Ali by Sabina Khan
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?
This book has been on my TBR for ages! It’s going to show exactly what the LGBTQ+ community goes through in dealing with homophobic relatives. This book is so important for everyone, especially queer Muslim teens!
2. Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
In this standalone novel, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he is still alive.
Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.
Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.
Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.
3. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
Teenage pregancy is not a common concept in books even in YA where it should be very popular. The only other book I’ve read that involves this is Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. So, I’m really excited to see how good this would be!
P.S. Isn’t that cover beautiful 😍😍
4. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
I would be lying if I said that I added this book to my TBR (to be read) because of the blurb. I mean, yes the synopsis sounds great but this book is mainly on this list because of its author. After the awesomeness of The Hate U Give (mini review here), any book written by Angie Thomas is an automatic add to my TBR.
5. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh
I don’t usually go for books that have “romance” in their synopsis but this is an exception. First of all, I’m just really curious about how Maia is going to sew those dresses… Secondly and more importantly, this is Asian literature which is really missing in YA. 2019 is going to change that!
6. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
Books about witches are really rare and gay witches are the rariest of them all. Plus there seems to be a wonderful lesbian triangle here! Ooooh I’m so excited!💃💃
7. I Wish you All the Best by Mason Deaver
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.
But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.
There’s barely any non-binary representation in books so I’m really eager to read this one! Also, it’s own-voices; that means it will actually be written well! The relationship between Ben and Nathan also sounds very very cute and I’m here for that!
8. The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
This stunning YA debut is a timely and heartfelt speculative narrative about healing, faith, and freedom.
Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.
The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.
In recent years, there has been a lot of persecution of immigrants (especially Hispanics) by Americans. So many people have suffered in their search for a better life in the U.S. For this reason, I believe that this book is very important and I am very eager to read about this issue from the perspective of such an immigrant who is also LGBT.
9. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.
Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.
Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.
My first reaction when I read this was “Awww… 😍😍” Honestly, this book sounds really cute! We all need a bit of mushiness in our lives and You Asked for Perfect would be an amazing read for that!
10. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
Female assassin, check. Bad boy who’s actually sweet, check. War, check. This book is EVERYTHING.
11. The Fever King by Victoria Lee
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Dystopian setting + Magic + Possible enemy-to-love story… YAASSSS! Also, this book is really important because it’s going to shine some light on the plight of immigrants in many countries.
12. Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig
Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.
But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them — for good?
This book sounds AMAZING!! Now, I don’t support stealing but I’m getting major Oceans’ 8 vibes from this synopsis and I’m so happy about that! I need all the awesome bookish squads I can get. Drag queens in this story are a definite plus. CAN’T WAIT! 💃💃
13. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
First of all, that cover is EVERYTHING. Secondly and more importantly, it’s a BIG book that those who have read the pre-order swear is amazing! And it’s got assassins, magic and DRAGONS!!
14. The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri
After her disappearance, a man begins to search for the woman, because he loves her. He searches desperately at first, and then with terrible realization. And we journey with him as he searches, through a frightening, disintegrating world of lies, and violence, and fear. At the heart of this disturbing world lies the Prison.
To survive, and to answer the girl’s question, the young man, like all of us, has to accept the challenge and fight back.
This blurb is quite confusing but also very intriguing! Who are the characters and what are their stories? What does the Prison symbolize? This book by the author of the award-winning The Famished Road promises to be an incredible read.
15. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.
Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsessed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.
There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.
Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strong-willed young women falling for each other despite themselves.
I love everything this book is about! Cute, queer romance is really the best and it’s an enemies-to-lovers story which I’m sure would be great. Plus that cover is beautiful 😍😍
16. The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh
Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.
Whoop! If you aren’t excited about this book after reading that synopsis, comment below let’s have a talk 😉 Seriously though, this book sounds great! Sex positivity is badly missing in high schools and we need to talk about it more. I predict that this book is going to be one of my faves of 2019!
17. Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker
The critically acclaimed author of Felix Yz crafts a bold, heartfelt story about a trans girl solving a cyber mystery and coming into her own.
Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was.
When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time. Timely and touching, Zenobia July is, at its heart, a story about finding home.
This middle-grade LGBTQ+ novel is very important in today’s world. Queer representation is now a bit common in YA literature but there are very few books with trans MCs (main characters) so I’m very excited to follow Zenobia’s story. At the same time, I like that her story won’t be based entirely on her gender and we’ll be shown other qualities that make her who she is.
18. The Boy and Girl who Broke the World by Amy Reed
Billy Sloat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common, unless you count growing up on the same (wrong) side of the tracks, the lack of a mother, and a persistent loneliness that has inspired creative coping mechanisms.
When the lives of these two loners are thrust together, Lydia’s cynicism is met with Billy’s sincere optimism, and both begin to question their own outlook on life. On top of that, weird happenings including an impossible tornado and an all-consuming fog are cropping up around them—maybe even because of them. And as the two grow closer and confront bigger truths about their pasts, they must also deal with such inconveniences as a narcissistic rock star, a war between unicorns and dragons, and eventually, of course, the apocalypse.
Reading this synopsis was a ride… At first, it seemed like a basic contemporary but at the end when that little bit about unicorns, dragons and the apocalypse popped out, I was like, “WTF?!” 😂😂 After the darkness of The Nowhere Girls by the same author (mini review here), I’m really excited to see what this book offers!
19. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…
Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbors treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.
When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?
This blurb poses soo many questions! What is the Gray? What sort of beast? Is the beast the killer? Also, what kind of “otherworldly destruction”? The Devouring Gray sounds like an amazing read!
20. David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.
Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
A book set in Nigeria about Nigerian mythology?? Hell yes, I’m interested! Also, as someone who suffers from a speech impairment (I stammer a lot), I am really interested in how that would be represented.
And that’s it! If you would like to see my complete list, check out my 2019 releases Goodreads shelf!
Are you interested in any of these books? What books do you want to read this year? Let’s discuss!
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