Head on over to win a prize pack for Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series! It includes the entire series - plus an awesome tote bag and a swagtastic In the Afterlight puzzle.

(Ends October 27th at midnight. Open to the U.S. only.)

Protip: you get bonus entries by being a follower here on Tumblr.

Here’s a selection of some of the new YA novels hitting the shelves this week (October 21 - 27). For more on new releases and all things YA lit, visit our website, follow us here and on Twitter, and subscribe to our biweekly newsletter!

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: October 21st
When Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the swamp, a girl named Lenora May returns in his place, and now Sterling is the only person who remembers her brother ever existed.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: October 21st
Blue Sargent has found friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers. The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Famous In Love (Famous In Love #1) by Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: October 21st
When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Caught between two co-stars, Paige must figure out who she is while the whole world watches.

Follow Me Through Darkness (The Boundless Trilogy #1) by Danielle Ellison
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: October 21st
Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose believed she could trust the Elders. Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her. Now she’s on the run through a wasteland.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: October 21st
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white. In the aftermath of Tariq’s death, everyone has something to say.

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: October 21st
To Adara it seemed the ice dragon had always been there. On a calm day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from destruction.

In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa
Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing
Release date: October 21st
Pot Head, they called her. In a noble house, Island-born Hase is an outcast, ridiculed by her fellow servants and employers because of the sphere that covers her head. Little does the household know that Hase has a mission and a purpose.

Loop (Loop #1) by Karen Akins
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: October 21st
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, Bree botches a midterm and discovers that a rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers.

The Sorcerer Heir (The Heir Chronicles #5) by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: October 21st
The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely. Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all.

Time’s Edge (The CHRONOS Files #2) by Rysa Walker
Publisher: Skyscape
Release date: October 21st
To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his time travelers from rewriting history and jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists’ hands.

Head on over to win a copy of Martina Boone’s Compulsion!

(Ends October 26th at midnight. Open to the U.S. only.)

Protip: you get bonus entries by being a follower here on Tumblr.

Love contemporary telepathy? In Chasing Powers by Sarah Beth Durst, telepathic Kayla meets Daniel, who blackmails her into thievery. Her biggest threat may not be the police, or the murderous father - but Daniel himself, who Durst admits “lies as easily as he [teleports].”

If you’re more in the mood for some southern Gothic charm, look at Martina Boone’s Complusion. In Charleston, Barrie Watson finds herself caught up in the middle of family secrets - magical gifts passed on from generation to generation between three families. Conflicts that can’t be resolved over a glass of iced tea.

We’re also giving away a copy of Compulsion to those in the U.S.!

At this year’s New York Comic Con, young adult literature sparkled – in tiny and niche quantities – as thousands of comic fans flocked to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.Highlights included multiple panels featuring young adult authors, but the Women of Marvel panel featured the most exciting announcement of all: that Margaret Stohl, author of the Beautiful Creatures series, would be penning a Black Widow YA novel.

Nobody loves young adult literature quite like the people on the Internet. Tumblr user @chibi-reads launched a Harry Potter readalong for fans of all ages and at all levels - from the most hardcore Gryffindor seeker to the newest Muggle stumbling in.

The Book Smugglers announced the first releases in their new short story publishing venture. Book Smugglers Publishing will digitally publish original short stories, beginning with young adult historical fantasy Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang.

On Wednesdays, we may not wear pink, but we do celebrate #womenauthorwednesday - this month, with Victoria Schwab and Nova Ren Suma. We also rocked #diversitythursday with Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okarafor.

The National Book Awards announced the finalists for their Young People’s Literature award, including Threatened by Eliot Schrefer and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. The Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Program announced their nominated titles for 2016, including Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and The Living by Matt de la Peña. The Bookseller announced the launch of the YA Book Prize, which will celebrate the best fiction for young adults written by British and Irish authors.

But Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling win the best prize of all - fanart featured in this week’s Off the Page feature, where Beatrjis talks her favorite books and how she draws.

Though the first book was recently turned into a full-length film, Constantin Film will turn Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series into a television show. Stephenie Meyer and Lionsgate will team up to expand on the Twilight world with five mini-movies. Universal Cable Productions optioned Catherine Linka’s A Girl Called Fearless for a television series.

Keep up with upcoming YA releases as well as recent cover reveals, excerpt releases, and book deals.

We put together a list of YA titles for Mental Illness Awareness Week. Which ones have you read? Have you checked our Tumblr to find out what happened today in ya history? Did you miss any good author gossip on Twitter?

Next issue: November 2 2014


All four main characters from Akata Witch as I pictured them in my head. My headcanon is that Sasha has scars from the fights he was in and Chichi is of ambigous age. Akata Witch is a great book and I recommend it to people. Its by a Nigerian author too!


All right, I should really do homework now, but I don’t want to, so instead I’m going to give you the promised semi-coherent gush about how awesome Nnedi Okorafor is.

You know what one of my biggest pet peeves is?  When a fantasy book comes out and the reviews call it “the next Harry Potter” or “fans of Harry Potter will love this” (especially when the book in question is in fact older than Harry Potter, but that’s another matter).  When I see reviews like that, I just assume the reviewer hasn’t read the book, because it’s always the medieval fantasyland quest stories that get that treatment, and Harry Potter is a very different kind of fantasy.  The appeal of Harry Potter is that the summer you turned eleven, you hoped you would get an owl from Hogwarts.  But even if you find a dragon egg in the woods, you’re not going to become a dragon Jedi and overthrow an evil king.

That being said.

Akata Witch should be the next Harry Potter.

This person sums it up nicely, though I have a few things to add.  First of all, I don’t understand how the “magic school” genre never became a thing the way “teen paranormal romance” became a thing.  I feel like the world would be a better place if it had.  Goodness knows HP had enough gaps in it’s worldbuilding for people to solve by making their own worlds. While Akata Witch is something of a “magic school” story, the worldbuilding feels a lot more solid than the HP universe - like, while the magic people have a distinct culture, they are not improbably cut off from the non-magical world.  They do have magical sports/gladiator fights, but they also play soccer.  

Second, both stories create a context for a larger international community without actually delivering.  I totally understand why Akata Witch dealt solely with Africa/Nigeria, but if there were a sequel/spin-off/fanfic that dealt with America, I would be really happy.  We get a glimpse of it with characters who are from America, but I really want to see a massive multicultural gathering of Leopard People (some of whom do not call themselves Leopard People).  Or a mixed race child who is part Leopard Person and part some other race of magic person.  Would they learn both cultures of magic, then?  

It occurs to me that this would make a really good Harry Potter crossover, because Rowling never talks about African wizards at all.

I also really wish there had been some queerness in Akata Witch, because it a was kind of a big plot point that Leopard People celebrate differences, and that is where a lot of their power comes from, which opened a huge door for a queer Leopard Person character, but there wasn’t one.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel, though.

Third, from a storytelling perspective - the protagonist is not the Chosen One.  She and her friends are, if anything, the Chosen Four, which shifts the focus of the character arcs away from special destiny angst and more toward friendship and cooperation.  Also, two boys and two girls gives a better gender balance than two boys and one girl, and makes it easier to express multiple kinds of femininity.  Also, none of the characters fall into the “sidekick” role - they are all well-developed and important.

Fourth, the magic and stuff is really different from anything in Western literature, and it’s really freaking awesome.  Because on one hand you have the familiar “ordinary girl finds out she has magic powers and has to save the world,” and on the other, you have juju knives and chittim and masquerades and it’s just really freaking refreshing to read about magic that isn’t covered in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.  And even the way Okorafor describes non-magical Nigeria is just so solid and tangible, and it’s a really nice change from “predominantly white rural small-town America” or New York, which, let’s face it, are the only places in America where people can have magic powers (maybe California too once in a while, but New York is a much safer bet).

It’s just really really nice to read fantasy that doesn’t feel like I’ve read it before, you know?  It reminds me why I like this genre.


What We’re Reading Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | Grade Level: 7 & up

Here at the Weekly Writing Workshop, we love to encourage our students to read. Our weekly Wednesday post What We’re Reading highlights a recommended YA book with diverse representation. 

❝All through the night, she battled herself. Or battled to know herself. She fell apart and then put herself back together and then she fell apart again and put herself back together, over and over.❞
-Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch


♢ ♢ ♢ ♢ ♢ sunny nwuazue (akata witch by nnedi okorafor)

"There will be danger; some of you may not live to complete your lessons. It’s a risk you take. This world is bigger than you and it will go on, regardless."