These books will transport you right out of real life (because that's what we all need rn)
Feeling like 2021 can't come fast enough? These action-packed, romance-heavy, sooo dramatic reads are sure to make the clock tick by, well, just a little faster. Curl up with a chai and a couple of Christmas cookies, grab one of these page-turners and the year will be over before you know it. Just don't blame us if you miss the countdown to midnight. We're getting to the end of this year in 3, 2, 1...
WHAT YOU WANT: To get a break from your own fam drama...by reading about someone else's.
WHAT YOU NEED: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry
As three sisters grieve the tragic loss of their oldest sister, Ana, they wind up being haunted by her spirit. Jessica, Rosa and Iridian eventually figure out Ana came back to send them a message, and to persuade her sisters to stay together because they need one another. Algonquin Young Readers, $18.
WHAT YOU WANT: A quick break from that stack of extra credit packets you *promised* you'd get to before the semester is out.
WHAT YOU NEED: The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future by Veronica Roth
This collection of short stories delivers six different sci-fi tales by the author of Divergent. Highlights include "The Spinners," where bounty hunter Atleigh tracks and kills leeches—a predatory extraterrestrial race that absorbs humans. And in "Vim and Vigor," Edie explores fandom, anxiety and female friendship when she uses a simulated reality tech to reveal likely outcomes of difficult decisions. Katherine Tegen Books, $19.
WHAT YOU WANT: Reminders that your dreams are *still* out there...even if 2020 placed them temporarily on hold.
WHAT YOU NEED: Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi
In this alternate futuristic tale, 19-year-old Ify is now safe in the Space Colonies—and she's formed an unlikely partnership with Uzo, who remains behind fighting in a Nigeria ravaged by war. They work together to uncover the mystery of the virus that's killing children in space while continuing to help the Alabast refugees. Razorbill, $19.
WHAT YOU WANT: A *total* confidence boost after you send your crush that awkward "Do you like me?" text (to no response).
WHAT YOU NEED: A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
Laia of Serra, love interest Elias and friend Helene are back in this finale of the best-selliing An Ember in the Ashes series. Together, they're risking everything to defeat their enemies, including humans, The Nightbringer and supernatural beings. If they fail, it'll be the destruction of everything they know. Razorbill, $20.
WHAT YOU WANT: A cute read to discuss with your cousin during your next FaceTime chat.
WHAT YOU NEED: Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon
Sick of being bullied and hoping to impress cool-girl Cirrus, Sunny Dae makes a plan: He'll pretend to be in a band like his hip older brother Gray. The only problem is Sunny doesn't actually play an instrument or sing, but he figures he'll "fake it 'til he makes it." When the ruse works and the whole school believes his fake story? Uh-oh. G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR, $19.
WHAT YOU WANT: Twists and turns that are (somehow) more convoluted than the IRL plot of 2020.
WHAT YOU NEED: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
An utterly unique retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai, complete with monsters and creeply-crawly insects. Starting with a killer setting (literally), Roma Montagov is the heir of The White Flowers refugee gang. Juliette Cai is the heir of the brutal Scarlet Gang, the biggest, baddest group in Shanghai. Roma and Juliette were once in love, but they broke up and became enemies. Will they get back together? They may, but they have to save the city first. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $20.
WHAT YOU WANT: To remember that good *does* win in the end (or does it?).
WHAT YOU NEED: Traitor by Amanda McCrina
Based on a true story, Tolya is a 17-year-old Soviet sniper who accidentally-on-purpose shoots an officer he sees harassing a woman. There is a death warrant out for Tolya, but he's rescued by Ukranian Freedom Fighters who want him for his sharpshooting skills. But who can Tolya—or any of us—really trust? Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR, $19.
WHAT YOU WANT: A break from the ups and down of the news for like, one second...
WHAT YOU NEED: You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty does not want to be homecoming queen. But when her college financial aid package falls through, capturing the crown becomes Liz's new plan to score scholarship money. Liz is willing to suffer competitions, social media trolling and whatever else it takes to win and get out of her small Indiana town. The only thing that stands in her way is the competition, which happens to include her new best friend Mack. Scholastic Press, $18.
Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our December/January 2021 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.