Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where book bloggers are invited to share their top ten lists centered on a certain theme.
This week’s theme was our most anticipated releases for the first half of 2019, and this was probably the HARDEST TTT list I’ve done! There are honestly so many amazing YA and MG books releasing this year, and my TBR list is HUGE. I spent so long trying to whittle this list down to just ten (and it was almost impossible to do! There was a lot of back-and-forth); I’ve also been super lucky to have already read a few of my most anticipated 2019 reads, like Our Year of Maybe and The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, so this list does not include the releases I’ve already read.
Here’s the top ten that I’m eager to get my hands on (in order by release date):
1. Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
This diverse anthology is out TODAY and I can’t wait to start it! It’s full of so many of my favorite authors (like Jason Reynolds and Brandy Colbert) and is such an important book that needs to be in every library.
Release date: January 8 (Today!)
Goodreads summary: “Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.
Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.”
2. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
I’m sure this book is on a lot of “most-anitipated” lists this week because it’s the long-awaited sophomore novel of Angie Thomas. The Hate U Give will be hard to top, but I know that this one will be just as incredible!
Release date: February 5
Goodreads summary: “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.”
3. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
I’m really excited about this historic novel set in Malaysia, and I’m especially excited to see mental health rep in historic fiction. Plus, Hanna Alkaf is running a pre-order campaign with some gorgeous swag!
Release date: February 5
Goodreads summary: “A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.
Melati Ahmad looks like your typical moviegoing, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.
But there are things that Melati can’t protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.
With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.”
4. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
I adored Laura Silverman’s debut, Girl Out of Water, and I love that this one has a queer love story and deals with academic pressure— something that affects so many teens but isn’t talked about enough in YA.
Release date: March 5
Goodreads summary: “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.”
5. Internment by Samira Ahmed
This book needs to be on everyone’s TBR in 2019, so be sure to add it to yours right now!
Release date: March 19
Goodreads summary: “Rebellions are built on hope.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.”
6. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Teen parent rep, dreams of being a chef, stunning cover with a brown girl on it, and it’s from the author of The Poet X? I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!
Release date: May 7
Goodreads summary: “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.”
7. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
Another YA contemporary romance with own-voices Muslim rep from S.K. Ali— be still my heart. I love the cover and am so excited to meet Zayneb and Adam.
Release date: May 7
Goodreads summary: “A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.
But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.
Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.
Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.
Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.
Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…
Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.”
8. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Look at that gorgeous, happy, fat brown girl rep! I can’t wait to revisit some of the characters from When Dimple Met Rishi!
Release date: May 14
Goodreads summary: “Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?”
9. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
This own-voices YA contemporary about a non-binary teen dealing with anxiety, depression, coming out, and first love sounds downright amazing and it’s by a librarian!
Release date: May 14
Goodreads summary: “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.”
10. If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love was one of my 2018 favorites and I have a feeling that Winnie is going to steal my heart just like Alice did.
Release date: June 4
Goodreads summary: “High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”
Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?”
What 2019 releases are you most excited for?