Spring YA Releases To Get Excited About Reading In the Park

The Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward To This Spring!

by REBECCA, March 27, 2013

Spring, you capricious bastard, I’m ready for you to bring all the smells back and give me a perfect month of open windows before true summer ruins my life. Also, I’m ready for you to bring me these 10 books to read outside in you.

All quoted blurbs from Goodreads.

Nevada Imogen Binnie

Nevada, Imogen Binnie (Topside Press)

Tessa and I are both really excited about Binnie’s novel and will have a review (and perhaps an interview) soon!

“Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.”

Born of Illusion Teri Brown

Born of Illusion, Teri Brown (Balzer & Bray)

Basically, all I want in my entire life is to be a blues singer in a speakeasy in the 1920s.

“Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?”

Moonset Scott Tracey

Moonset (Legacy of Moonset #1), Scott Tracey (Flux)

I love Scott Tracey’s Witch Eyes series (review of Book 1 HERE and Book 2 HERE), so I’m really excited about this first installment of his new series.

“After the terrorist witch coven known as Moonset was destroyed fifteen years ago—during a secret war against the witch Congress—five children were left behind, saddled with a legacy of darkness. Sixteen-year-old Justin Daggett, son of a powerful Moonset warlock, has been raised alongside the other orphans by the witch Congress, who fear the children will one day continue the destruction their parents started. A deadly assault by a wraith, claiming to work for Moonset’s most dangerous disciple, Cullen Bridger, forces the five teens to be evacuated to Carrow Mill. But when dark magic wreaks havoc in their new hometown, Justin and his siblings are immediately suspected. Justin sets out to discover if someone is trying to frame the Moonset orphans . . . or if Bridger has finally come out of hiding to reclaim the legacy of Moonset. He learns there are secrets in Carrow Mill connected to Moonset’s origins, and keeping the orphans safe isn’t the only reason the Congress relocated them . . .”

Openly Straight Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg (Arthur A. Levine Books)

“Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret—not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.”

Weather Witch Shannon Delany

Weather Witch, Shannon Delany (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Ok, so, technically, this is published four days after the end of Spring, but I had to include it because it’s about sisters and set in Philadelphia (where my sister and I live!). And that seems like a good reason to me.

“In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets! Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world! But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (William Morrow Books)

I’ve been looking forward to Gaiman’s newest for a while now and, after hearing him read from it this weekend, I’m officially psyched. It’s haunting, banal, and lyrical—just the way I like it. Also: THAT COVER.

“It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed—within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.”

The Lucy Variations Sara Zarr

The Lucy Variations, Sara Zarr (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

What can I tell you—I’m a huge sucker for a piano story.

“Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain. That was all before she turned fourteen. Now, at sixteen, it’s over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano — on her own terms. But when you’re used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?”

Winger Andrew Smith

Winger, Andrew Smith (Simon & Schuster)

As anyone who’s read Crunchings & Munchings regularly sure knows by now, there is not a good goddamned thing that Andrew Smith writes that I don’t love. I am, of course, incredibly excited about this, the combination of Andrew Smith and one of my (and Tessa’s) favorite things: boarding school books. Plus, I’m told there are “hand-drawn infographics and illustrations.”

“Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy. With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.”

Yellowcake Margo Lanagan

Yellowcake (stories), Margo Lanagan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from the extraordinarily talented Margo Lanagan–each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking. The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity.  The people of Lanagan’s worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging.”

White Lines Jennifer Banash

White Lines, Jennifer Banash (Putnam Juvenile)

“A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City. Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control.”

What Spring releases are you looking forward to? Tell me in the comments!



  1. Darn you for making my reading list that much longer! Also, thank you!

  2. Love your taste in books! I’m especially excited for The Lucy Variations, White Lines, and Winger. Thanks for putting Openly Straight on my radar- it looks like a good one.
    Happy spring reading!

    • Thanks, Lucy! Yeah, I’m super excited about it an I love the Atari-esque cover.

  3. We’ve got an ARC of THE LUCY VARIATIONS and we’re already loving it!!

    Btw, if you want some more piano in your story, check out WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith. We just read an ARC of that one too, and it’s pretty special.

    New Neil Gaiman, aaaaahhhh!

    • Ooh, so jealous! Love Sara Zarr. Thanks for the rec—I remember seeing the blurb for Wild Awake and not quite remembering what it was about (ah, lists), but if I know there’s piano then I am helpless to resist!

  4. Margalit

     /  March 27, 2013

    What a delightful post! Thinking about reading outside on a spring day has definitely elevated my mood. Two April releases I’m looking forward to are Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life,” (in which the main character is reincarnated, in some fashion) and Meg Wolitzer’s “The Interestings,” about six 15 year olds who met at an arts camp, and are now 30. Bring on the daffodils!

    • Good ones, Margalit—although I’m not sure I can stand to read about how what makes you special at 15 inevitable makes you an ordinary loser at 30 without sinking into a deep, identificatory depression. But it looks great.

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