The Best YA Books of 2022…So Far!

We’re only three months in to 2022 and this year already looks like another great one for YA publishing. Here’s a preview of some of the books released over the last three months that have earned multiple starred reviews.

NOTE: The supply chain issues of the past few years have impacted the publishing industry too, as book vendors struggle to make new titles available in a timely manner. Although all of these books have already been released, not all of them are available yet in the CA Library New Books section. However, if eBook and/or audiobook copies are available in the Sora digital reading app, links are provided.


All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir — A brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary YA novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents. Lahore, Pakistan…then. Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds’ Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start. Juniper, California…now. Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until ‘The Fight’, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. “An unyieldingly earnest generational story for contemporary audiences, All My Rage is a knife-sharp narrative with an obliterating impact that will leave readers thinking of it long after turning the last page” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys — In a country governed by isolation, fear, and a tyrannical dictator, seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer, but he decides to use his position to try to outwit his handler, undermine the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. “Sepetys is a formidable writer, and her stories declare the need to write about global issues of social injustice. For that reason and her attention to detail, this is a must-read” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram — On boy band Kiss & Tell’s first major tour, lead singer Hunter Drake grapples with a painful breakup with his first boyfriend, his first rebound, and the stress of what it means to be queer in the public eye. “Hunter grapples with his label’s pressure to be someone he’s not and ultimately has a meltdown on national TV — an experience made worse by a falling out with Kaivan, the drummer for another band. Khorram handles these dramatic complexities like a master, and readers will be grateful for his skill” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore — Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastian Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there…then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it and to do that, they have to work together. “McLemore does not shy away from the realities of being nonbinary, neurodivergent, and brown, but the focus remains on Bastián and Lore’s growing acceptance of who they are, and the depiction of Bastián’s ADHD ventures into realities beyond the typical descriptions of hyperactivity and impulsivity. An especially important purchase for school libraries” (School Library Journal).

Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk — From acclaimed author Ashley Woodfolk, this is an impassioned story about queer love, grief, and the complexity of female friendship that will keep your heart racing, and breaking, until the very last page. Two girls. One wild and reckless day. Years of tumultuous history unspooling like a thin, fraying string in the hours after they set a fire. “Even the blank space on the page helps to carry this piece to its full potential as a feverishly gripping, immersive, and emotional ride that will stick with readers for a long time. A masterfully crafted love letter to tumultuous, young, queer love and its lessons” (School Library Journal).

Reclaim The Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space, edited by Zoraida Córdova — In this collection of stories by acclaimed young adult authors, the Latin American diaspora travels to places of fantasy and out into space. “There is a lot more here about finding oneself in tales of empowerment and growth, of letting go, punching up, and celebrating love in all its incarnations and colors of the rainbow. There is a little something for everyone in this powerful, essential anthology” (Kirkus Reviews).

A Thousand Steps Into The Night by Traci Chee — From best-selling author Traci Chee comes a Japanese-inspired fantasy brimming with demons, romance, and plans gone awry. When a girl who’s never longed for adventure is hit with a curse that begins to transform her into a demon, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life, but along the way is forced to confront her true power within. “A dark fantasy with welcome moments of levity, this story will charm fans of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. A captivating read rich in atmosphere” (Kirkus Reviews).


Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor’s Life by Marilyn Nelson — Augusta Savage was arguably the most influential American artist of the 1930s. She flourished during the Harlem Renaissance, and became a teacher to an entire generation of African American artists, and would go on to be nationally recognized as one of the featured artists at the 1939 World’s Fair. She was the first-ever recorded Black gallerist. After being denied an artists’ fellowship abroad on the basis of race, Augusta Savage worked to advance equal rights in the arts. Deftly written and brimming with photographs of Savage’s stunning sculpture, this is an important portrait of an exceptional artists who, despite the limitations she faced, was compelled to forge a life through art and creativity. “A master poet breathes life and color into this portrait of a historically significant sculptor and her remarkable story” (School Library Journal).

Ain’t Burned All The Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin — Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Bestselling author Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW. “There’s nothing Reynolds can’t do, and his readers know it. This creative, timely reflection will be particularly admired by teens seeking change” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao — Seamlessly toggling between past and present, this funny graphic memoir follows a queer Chinese American’s immigration to Texas where she just wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why she is attracted to girls. “A tender story of self-acceptance that lifts the story of Wuhan beyond COVID and shines light on a region with a rich culture and history” (School Library Journal).

Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried To Commit The Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming — Taking readers back to 1924, this shocking true crime story follows two eighteen-year-old college students who kidnapped and murdered a child they both knew, their trial, and how a renowned defense attorney enabled them to avoid the death penalty. “The engrossing true-crime narrative style and high-interest subject will likely make this a very popular pick among teen readers, while the comprehensive look at Darrow’s defense strategy gives it lots of heft. Thought-provoking reading sure to spark further conversations about crime and punishment” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Where Have All The Birds Gone: Nature in Crisis by Rebecca E. Hirsch — Since 1970, nearly 30 percent of all birds in the United States and Canada have vanished. Scientists are scrambling to figure out what may be causing such a drastic decline. The answer: humans. City lights and tall glass skyscrapers disorient migrating birds. Domesticated cats prowling outdoors kill billions of birds each year. Pesticides contaminate fish and insects, which are then consumed by birds of prey. And climate change might disrupt and even wipe out feeding grounds for entire species. Discover the vast impacts birds have on ecosystems, food systems, and human communities, and learn more about what scientists are doing to protect them. “It’s impossible to read this and not recognize the seriousness of the problem, but Hirsch also highlights birds’ resilience when given a helping hand, and she devotes the book’s final chapter to positive actions readers can take” (Booklist). Get the eBook

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