YA Must-Reads for April

Hello and welcome back to YA Must-Reads for the month of April! In this list, I'm including the new books I've been talking about for the past three months and the books I'm excited to see released every week of April. Whether you want to remain up to date on new reads or you're looking to buy a book for the YA reader in your life, there are some that you can buy now or pre-order for a great bookish surprise!

Any book you see here can be bought through any of the well-known book retailers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.), but I encourage you to support your local independent bookstore. Indiebound and Bookshop.org are great places to find your local Indie or to still support independent bookstores while buying online.

  1. 1. "The Prison Healer" by Lynette Noni

    On Sale: March 30, 2021

    "Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

    When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

    Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: 'Don’t let her die. We are coming.' Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

    But no one has ever survived.

    With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun (HMH Books for Young Readers)."

    I only recently found out about "The Prison Healer" through Instagram, and after looking into it, I'm so excited to go to the bookstore and buy it. It has received rave reviews, and I can't wait to find out more about the journey Kiva goes on.

  2. 2. "Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet" by Laekan Zea Kemp

    On Sale: April 6th, 2021

    "As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans -- leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she's been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho's who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she's been too afraid to ask herself.

    Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that -- a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.

    Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong -- both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community -- in order to save the place they all call home (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)."

    As of late, I've been reading a lot of YA romance books and so I'm so excited for this one, especially because it doesn't just focus on the romance, but also on the world of the two main characters. A definite must-read!

  3. 3. "Glimpsed" by G.F. Miller

    On Sale: January 5th, 2021

    "Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.

    But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vibha crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

    Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)?"

    "Glimpsed" came out very early in 2021, but it is definitely the rom-com everyone needs in their life. Instead of being focused on the princess of the story, G.F. Miller gives us a background look at a fairy godmother who experiences her first love in high school. "Glimpsed" is light and fun and the best book to help you escape into the world we know with a touch of magic (and romance)!

  4. 4. "The Mary Shelley Club" by Goldy Moldavsky

    On Sale: April 13, 2021

    "New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

    To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

    When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past (Henry Holt & Company)."

    I am absolutely excited for this YA thriller for three reasons: (1) I absolutely love anything that has to do with Mary Shelley, so this book already has my heart, (2) Secret clubs? Sign me up! (3) The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I am a big fan of another of Moldavsky's books, "Kill the Boy Band."

  5. 5. "Lost in the Never Woods" by Aiden Thomas

    On Sale: March 23rd, 2021

    "It's been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

    Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don't do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what's waiting for her in the woods (Swoon Reads)."

    If you loved the story of "Peter Pan" when you were a child, Aiden Thomas retells the story of Wendy, John and Michael Darling in a darker setting of Astoria, Oregon. Of course, when children start to go missing, people look to Wendy for answers, and her reuniting with Peter gives them both a second chance at love.

  6. 6. "The Cost of Knowing" by Brittney Morris

    On Sale: April 6th, 2021

    "Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

    It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

    And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

    With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)."

    I have been a big fan of Brittney Morris since her debut novel, "Slay," and I'm sure this book will be no different. If there is any book that you add to your TBR (to be read) list, make sure this is one of them because Morris never fails to impress.

  7. 7. "Pride and Premeditation" by Tirzah Price

    On Sale: April 6th, 2021

    "When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

    Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed (HarperTeen)."

    I recently read "Pride and Prejudice" and I have always been a fan of retellings that flip the tale on its head, so I'm especially looking forward to April 6th with this one. Adding murder to the Jane Austen classic and taking both Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy into modern London has me so excited for not just this book, but the whole Jane Austen Murder Mystery series that Tirzah Price has in the works.

  8. 8. "Sweet & Bitter Magic" by Adrienne Tooley

    On Sale: March 9th, 2021

    "Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

    Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

    When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

    Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don't kill each other first (Margaret K. McElderry Books)."

    This is a book that I recently read in between schoolwork, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Tooley created such a perfect enemies-to-lovers relationship in her debut fantasy, and I can't wait for her next book, "Sofi and the Bone Song."

  9. 9. "Fat Chance, Charlie Vega" by Crystal Maldonado

    On Sale: February 2nd, 2021

    "Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

    People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it's hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn't help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

    But there's one person who's always in Charlie's corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing--he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

    A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, 'Fat Chance, Charlie Vega' tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves (Holiday House)."

    While this book did come out in early February, Charlie Vega is the exact protagonist we all need in our lives. Her story has already struck a chord in many readers' hearts for the relatability of who Charlie is, but also the internal struggle that she faces. It also helps that Maldonado is a great writer who will have you grinning ear-to-ear when you finish reading the book.

  10. 10. "Witches Steeped in Gold" by Ciannon Smart

    On Sale: April 20th, 2021

    "Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

    Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance.

    Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

    Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths they will go to win this game.

    This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of 'Furyborn' and 'Ember in the Ashes' (Harper Teen)."

    First off - can we talk about this cover? It is so gorgeous, and the little details of gold on the cover are so cool that I can't wait to see this book in person. I am so excited to read this book and will be heading to my local bookstore immediately on April 20th.

  11. 11. "The Forest of Stolen Girls" by June Hur

    On Sale: April 20th, 2021

    "Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

    To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani's father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate... only to vanish as well.

    Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago (Feiwel & Friends)."

    While I'm absolutely in love with the cover of this book, I'm also in love with the concept. This is Hur's second YA historical mystery, the first being "The Silence of Bones," and I can't wait to invest in both the mystery and Hwani's story.

  12. 12. "A Dark and Hollow Star" by Ashley Shuttleworth

    On Sale: February 23rd, 2021

    "Choose your player.

    The 'ironborn' half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.

    A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.

    A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.

    The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

    For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

    Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

    Wish them luck. They’re going to need it (Simon Pulse)."

    This book is definitely one that you need in your life if you missed it when it first came out. Shuttleworth does a fantastic job of mixing the Fae world and modern world together. If you are a fan of Holly Black's "The Cruel Prince" and "Master of One" by Jaida Jones, this book will be perfect for you!

  13. 13. "She Drives Me Crazy" by Kelly Quindlen

    On Sale: April 20th, 2021

    "After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop.

    Their bumpy start only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb her school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along. Hijinks, heartbreak, and gay fake-dating scheme for the ages. From author Kelly Quindlen comes a new laugh-out-loud romp through the ups and downs of teen romance (Roaring Brook Press)."

    High school nemeses falling in love? Count me in! Any YA rom-com that has a fake-dating scheme? I'm sold. I'm definitely excited to read as Scottie and Irene fall in love in Quindlen's newest book.

  14. 14. "Kate in Waiting" by Becky Albertalli

    On Sale: April 20th, 2021

    "Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

    But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

    Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship (Balzer + Bray)."

    I'd be absolutely remiss to leave Becky Albertalli's newest book off this list. I've been a fan of her books since "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda." And all's fair in love and war, so I'm excited to see how Kate and Andy work out their crush when "Kate in Waiting" comes out!

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Thank you for reading and I hope you found a book that you would either love to read or give to someone! If you want to see more books that will be coming out in the month of April or that came out since the beginning of the year, you can find them here on the Instagram account, @UpperCaseYA.