Over the last several years, the full name as part of a YA book title has been a big trend. It’s one I’ve talked about enjoying before, in part because it makes the title a little bit more memorable–I might not remember the whole title nor whether it begins with an “A” or “The” or “This” or “That,” but chances are I’ll be more likely to remember it’s a book with a specific name in it. This is good service for those who help others find books as well. But much as I enjoy this structure, we may have hit saturation point. I think there’s still something to be said about how it’s especially powerful when the name is one tied to a cultural background, but perhaps it’s a styling that is worth taking a hard look at. Is it still effective? I don’t have an answer to this. I know I’ve seen a couple of YA books with “Margo/t” as the title character and I suspect keeping those straight would be hard for the average reader, let alone someone whose work is in YA books.
In 2023, we will see another collection of full names in YA book titles. Here’s a look at what they are and what they’re all about. Details for the titles come from Amazon, as those tend to have the strongest book descriptions.
It shouldn’t be hugely surprising to note most of these books are contemporary YA. A few of these titles have yet to have a book description or title released, as they’re projected to publish at the end of the year.
Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment by Arushi Avachat (Fall 2023; no cover yet)
Arya Khanna’s life gets a Bollywood spin when her older sister gets engaged.
Shaadi preparations are in full swing, which means lehenga shopping, taste testing, dance rehearsals, and best of all, that Alina is home. For the first time in three years, the Khannas are together again, and Arya is determined to keep the peace. She stifles the lingering resentment she still feels towards Alina, plays mediator during bitter mother-daughter fights, and welcomes Nikhil into the family with open arms.
Outside of shaadi planning, Arya’s senior year dreams are unraveling. In between class and her part-time gig as a bookshop assistant, Arya struggles to navigate the aftermath of a bad breakup between her two best friends and a tense partnership (turned friendship turned romance) with former rival, student body president Dean Merriweather.
Arya’s always considered herself a problem solver—the past three years have made her an expert in confronting adversity. But shaadi season teaches Arya new realities: Mamma’s sadness isn’t mendable, some friendships are meant to end, and life doesn’t always work out like the Bollywood movies Arya loves so dearly.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor’s life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice—succumb to their long list of fears (including #3 Murder and #55 Breaking into a Dead Guy’s Apartment), or investigate what happened.
Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca’s crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13 Beautiful People, #11 Parents Discovering They’re a Raging Lesbian), the trio uncover a conspiracy much larger—and weirder—than imagined. And when the killer catches wind of the investigation, suddenly Bianca’s #1 fear of public speaking doesn’t sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.
In this absurdist, darkly comical YA thriller that is a deceptively deep exploration of anxiety and identity, perhaps the real murder investigation is the friends we make along the way.
Carlos Alejos Has to Lose His Chichos by Mathew Rodriguez (Winter 2023, no description or cover yet)
The Fall of Whit Rivera by Crystal Maldonado (Fall 2023, no description or cover yet)
Gita Desai Is Not Here to Shut Up by Sonia Patel (Fall 2023, no cover and description from the publisher)
[F]ollows a teen whose first semester at college begins to unravel as trauma from her childhood becomes impossible to ignore. A heartrending story about never letting go of your voice.
Gary Võ is one of the few Vietnamese kids in his school and has been shy for as long as he can remember―being ignored and excluded by his classmates comes with the territory. So when the most popular guy in his grade offers Gary the opportunity to break into his inner circle, Gary jumps at the chance. All he needs to do is steal the prized possession of the most beautiful and untouchable girl they know―Gloria Buenrostro.
But as Gary gets to know Gloria, he’s taken in by her authenticity and genuine interest in who he really is. Soon, they’re best friends. Being part of the “in crowd” has always been Gary’s dream, but as he comes closer to achieving infamy, he risks losing the first person who recognizes his true self. Gary must consider if any amount of popularity is worth losing a true friend.
The Great and Powerful Gracie Byrne by Shannon Takaoka (Fall 2023, no cover or description yet)
Alejandra Kim doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere. At her wealthy Manhattan high school, her súper Spanish name and súper Korean face do not compute to her mostly white “woke” classmates and teachers. In her Jackson Heights neighborhood, she’s not Latinx enough. Even at home, Ale feels unwelcome. And things at home have only gotten worse since Papi’s body was discovered on the subway tracks.
Ale wants nothing more than to escape the city for the wide-open spaces of the prestigious Wyder University. But when a microaggression at school thrusts Ale into the spotlight—and into a discussion she didn’t ask for—Ale must discover what is means to carve out a space for yourself to belong.
Patricia Park’s coming-of-age novel about a multicultural teen caught between worlds, and the future she is building for herself, is an incisive, laugh-out-loud, provocative read.
Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers—despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.
Luis’s attention soon turns to something more, and they have sex at a party—while Ari didn’t say no, she definitely didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumor mill begins churning—thanks, she’s sure, to Luis’s ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.
Then Ari finds a mysterious note in her locker that eventually leads her to a group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But in order to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night—and risk everything to see justice done.
This charming YA rom-com follows Margo, who suddenly realizes that she’s gay but has no clue how to express her identity, so she enlists out-and-proud Abbie to act as her tutor on everything “Queer 101”…and first love.
Margo Zimmerman is gay, but she didn’t know until now. An overachiever at heart, Margo is determined to ace her newly discovered gayness. All she needs is the right tutor.
Abbie Sokoloff has her own gayness down to a science. But a flunking grade in US History is threatening her acceptance to her dream school. All she needs is the right tutor.
Margo agrees to help Abbie get her history grade up in exchange for “Queer 101” lessons. But as they spend more and more time together, Margo realizes she doesn’t want just any girl—she wants the girl.
Warrior Princess. That’s what Nigeria Jones’s father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch of their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want.
Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe.
As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.
From award-winning author Ibi Zoboi comes a powerful story about discovering who you are in the world—and fighting for that person—by having the courage to be your own revolution.
This lyrical coming-of-age novel for fans of Darius the Great Is Not Okay and On the Come Up, set in southern California in 1996, follows a teen who wants to honor her deceased friend’s legacy by entering a rap contest.
Perfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.
As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.
But the clock is ticking. With the battle getting closer every day, she can’t decide whether to use one of Louie’s pieces or her own poetry, her family is coming apart, and she might even be falling in love. To get herself to the stage and fulfill her promise before her senior year ends, Rana will have to learn to speak her truth and live in the one and only now.
Dumplin‘ meets Well Met in this novel about finding your place in the world, learning love is a risk worth taking, and discovering what happens when you take your fate into your own hands.
Since her mother’s death, Madeline “Gwen” Hathaway has been determined that nothing in her life will change ever again. That’s why she keeps extensive lists in journals, has had only one friend since childhood, and looks forward to the monotony of working the ren faire circuit with her father. Until she arrives at her mother’s favorite end-of-tour stop to find the faire is under new management and completely changed.
Meeting Arthur, the son of the new owners and an actual lute-playing bard, messes up Maddie’s plans even more. For some reason, he wants to be her friend – and ropes her into becoming Princess of the Faire. Now Maddie is overseeing a faire dramatically changed from what her mother loved and going on road trips vastly different from the routine she used to rely on. Worst of all, she’s kind of having fun.
Ashley Schumacher’s The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is filled with a wise old magician who sells potion bottles, gallant knights who are afraid of horses and ride camels instead, kings with a fondness for theatrics, a lazy river castle moat with inflatable crocodile floaties, and a plus-sized heroine with a wide open heart… if only she just admits it.
Femme, gay teen podcaster Riley Weaver has made it to junior year, which means he can finally apply for membership into the Gaybutante Society, the LGBTQ+ organization that has launched dozens of queer teens’ careers in pop culture, arts, and activism. The process to get into the Society is a marathon of charity events, parties, and general gay chaos, culminating in the annual Gaybutante Ball. The one requirement for the ball? A date.
Then Riley overhears a cis gay classmate, Skylar, say that gay guys just aren’t interested in femme guys or else they wouldn’t be gay. Riley confronts Skylar and makes a bet to prove him wrong: Riley must find a masc date by the time of the ball, or he’ll drop out of the Society entirely. Riley decides to document the trials and tribulations of dating when you’re gay and femme in a brand new podcast. Can Riley find a fella to fall for in time? Or will this be one massive—and publicly broadcast—femme failure?
This new novel from Jason June explores how labels can limit and liberate us, and shows just what can happen when you bet on yourself.
Graduation is only a few months away, and Rubi Ramos’s “recipe for success” to get into prestigious Alma University is already off track.
When Alma waitlists Rubi’s application, Rubi will need to be distraction-free to make the grade and keep her parents―who have wanted this for her for years―from finding out. Which means falling for her cute surfer-slash-math tutor, Ryan, definitely won’t work. And neither will breaking her mother’s ban on baking―her parents didn’t leave Cuba so she could bake just like them.
But some recipes are begging to be tampered with.
When the First Annual Bake Off comes to town, Rubi’s passion for baking goes from subtle simmer to full boil. Add to the mix her crush on Ryan may be turning into a full-fledged relationship and Rubi’s life is suddenly so different from what it was. She’s not sure if she has what it takes to win the Bake Off, or where the relationship with Ryan is going, but there’s only one way to find out―even if it means going against her parents’ priorities.
Now Rubi must differentiate between the responsibility of unfulfilled dreams she holds and finding the path she’s meant for.
A joyful novel of first romance, new possibilities, and the chance to define yourself, Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success is a novel that will find its way into your heart and never leave.
Ro Devereux can predict your future. Or, at least, the app she built for her senior project can.
Working with her neighbor, a retired behavioral scientist, Ro created an app called MASH, designed around the classic game Mansion Apartment Shack House, that can predict a person’s future with 93% accuracy. The app will even match users with their soulmates. Though it was only supposed to be a class project, MASH quickly takes off and gains the attention of tech investors.
Ro’s dream is to work in Silicon Valley, and she’ll do anything to prove to her new backing company—and the world—that the app works. So it’s a huge shock when the app says her soulmate is Miller, her childhood best friend with whom she had a friendship-destroying fight three years ago.
Now thrust into a fake dating scenario, Ro and Miller must address the years of pain between them if either of them will have any chance of achieving their dreams. And as the app takes on a life of its own, Ro sees that it’s affecting people in ways she never expected—and if she can’t regain control, it might take her and everything she believes in down with it.
There Are No Cheat Codes for Showmance
Seventeen-year-old gaymer Noah Mitchell only has one friend left: the wonderful, funny, strictly online-only MagePants69. After years playing RPGs together, they know everything about each other, except anything that would give away their real life identities. And Noah is certain that if they could just meet in person, they would be soulmates. Noah would do anything to make this happen―including finally leaving his gaming chair to join a community theater show that he’s only mostly sure MagePants69 is performing in. Noah has never done anything like theater―he can’t sing, he can’t dance, and he’s never willingly watched a musical―but he’ll have to go all in to have a chance at love.
With Noah’s mum performing in the lead role, and former friends waiting in the wings to sabotage his reputation, his plan to make MagePants69 fall in love with him might be a little more difficult than originally anticipated.
And the longer Noah waits to come clean, the more tangled his web of lies becomes. By opening night, he will have to decide if telling the truth is worth closing the curtain on his one shot at true love.
Red, White and Royal Blue meets The Magicians in this surprising, wildly original and joyously funny LGBTQ YA novel set in a magical boarding school.
Tim Te Maro and Elliott Parker – classmates at Fox Glacier High School for the Magically Adept – have never gotten along. But when they both get dumped the day before the big egg-baby assignment, they reluctantly decide to ditch their exes and work together. When the two boys start to bond over their magically enchanted egg-baby, they realize that beneath their animosity is something like friendship … or physical attraction.
Soon, a no-strings-attached hook-up seems like a good idea. Just for the duration of the assignment. After all, they don’t have feelings for each other … so what could possibly go wrong?
From debut Kiwi author H.S. Valley, the latest winner of the Ampersand Prize, comes this gleefully addictive romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. In a word – it’s magic.
A bright and fun fat-positive YA novel about learning how to express yourself when what has always defined you is no longer an option. Perfect for fans of Julie Murphy and Emma Lord.
Bridget Bloom’s out-of-this-world voice is the perfect fit for center stage. When Bridget’s admitted to Richard James Academy, a college prep boarding school with a prestigious music program—where heartthrob Duke Ericson attends—all her dreams are on track to come true: leave the hometown where she’s never belonged, fall in love, and launch her Broadway career.
But upon arriving at the academy, she learns that due to her low music theory scores, she’s not eligible to perform or earn the sponsorship she needs to afford the tuition. Worst of all, Dean of Students Octavia Lawless, the one person with the power to reverse the decision, challenges her to work on her humility . . . by not singing at all.
Without her voice, Bridget will have to get out of her comfort zone and find a new way to shine. Good thing she is unstoppable!
Wren Martin Ruins It All by Amanda DeWitt (Fall 2023, no cover yet)
Now that Wren Martin is student council president (on a technicality, but hey, it counts) he’s got it all figured out. His first order of business: abolish his school’s annual Valentine’s Day Dance, a drain on the school’s resources and general social nightmare—especially when you’re asexual. His greatest opponent: Leo Reyes, vice president and all-around annoyingly perfect student, who has a solution to Wren’s problem with the budget. A sponsorship from Lovr, the anonymous dating app that’s swept the nation. The theme: 21st Century Masquerade. Suddenly, Wren’s plan for a dance-less senior year has turned into heading the biggest dance Rapture High has ever seen. He’s even secretly signed up for the app, just to start a list of grievances for the student council advisor.
When Wren accidentally starts up a conversation with one of his matches, who was forced to join the app by meddling friends, he realizes that things might be getting a little out of his control. He never meant to like his anonymous match, nicknamed Lovr Boy, and he certainly didn’t mean to develop a crush on him. Wren decided a long time ago that dating while asexual wasn’t worth the hassle, but the anonimity of the app has made things more complicated, not less, when it gives him permission to start catching feelings he always avoided before. The Valentine’s Day Dance is rapidly approaching, and Wren isn’t sure what will kill him first: the dance, his love life, or the growing realization that Leo’s perfect life might not be so perfect after all.