This month is a feast for readers of middle grade and fantasy. If you love exciting novels with big-hearted characters or thrilling novels with captivating twists, you’ll find so much to love this month. As we get closer to the summer, warmer weather means for long sessions of outside reading. So pick up a recommendation from the list from your local library or local bookstore below and enjoy some of the best stories this month has to offer.
Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp (April 5)
Laekan Zea Kemp’s Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was one of the most anticipated YA contemporary releases of 2021 and I know readers are just as eager for her sophomore novel, Heartbreak Symphony. Combining music, grief, and first love together in a novel perfect for fans of Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo, Laekan Zea Kemp will charm readers again with a beautiful, heartfelt novel.
Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk (April 5)
Ashley Woodfolk’s most personal novel yet. Two girls must contend with their tumultuous relationship–once best friends with a history of something more–after a harmless prank exposes the unpredictability of their future. Told over the course of a single day, Nothing Burns As Bright As You is captivating novel-in-verse that has garnered praise from some of the best names in YA and is definitely a breathtaking story that should be savored.
Witchlings by Claribel Ortega (April 5)
If you enjoyed Ghost Squad, or just love witchy middle-grade books with heart, you need to pick up Claribel Ortega’s Witchlings. A fun romp of a read that reminds me of Nevermoor (one of my all time favorite middle-grades), I can’t wait for everyone to meet Seven and the covens.
Portrait of A Thief by Grace D. Li (April 5)
Who doesn’t love a good heist story? Especially one with a diverse set of complex characters on a mission to steal back stolen art. With that synopsis? I’m in. This ambitious and exciting debut will appeal to anyone who loves suspense novels, thriller novels, and just a good story.
Very Bad People by Kit Frick (April 5)
Do you love a good multi-layered mystery? With family secrets, romance, and dark academia? If any of those float your boat, you must check out Very Bad People by Kit Frick. A teenager joins an elite secret society on campus to try and expose the secrets of her mother’s past and what led her to commit a violent act that almost killed her and her sisters.
This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke (April 5)
A stunning historical fantasy set in post-WWII communist Budapest, This Rebel Heart is beautifully written and lush in scope. Through three fascinating character point of views, Katherine Locke sheds light on the Hungarian Revolution, a time in history that many early reviews admit to knowing little about. Through these relatable characters and a thread of poetic writing and magical storytelling, readers are treated to a heartbreaking and important novel. A must read for historical fiction and fantasy readers.
In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power (April 5)
Wilder Girls, Rory Power’s 2019 debut YA novel, is one of the best novels that I’ve ever read and so I was restless for her adult debut. Following magical twins Rhea and Lexos in their quest to protect their world. This incredibly built, Greek-inspired fantasy will appeal to major YA crossover readers and fans of Katherine Arden, V.E. Schwab, and S.A. Chakraborty.
The Matchbreaker Summer by Annie Rains (April 5)
I love when authors switch genres and so I was excited to hear that contemporary romance author Annie Rains, was releasing her debut YA. Start of your summer reading early with this delightful sleep-away camp and enemies-to-lovers romance.
Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor (April 12)
I can think of no better setting than a creepy, old hotel for a fantasy, and one that travels to a new location every morning. Seventeen-year-old Jani dreams of escaping the small port-town she’s barely scraping by and struggling to care for her sister in. When Hotel Magnifique, the titular mysterious traveling hotel known for its majesty and enchantments comes to town, Jani and her sister take their chance to get away by joining the staff. What follows is a dark and decadent story for fans of Stephanie Garber and Erin Morgenstern.
An Arrow To The Moon by Emily X. R. Pan (April 12)
Emily X.R. Pan’s magical sophomore novel is a story showcasing star-crossed lovers and the Asian American experience. Two teens who are modern reincarnations of the god of Archery and the goddess of the Moon fall in love despite their families’ feud. Compelled by their bond, the two start to investigate the mysterious phenomenon occurring in their small suburban and primarily white city before it can threaten their community.
Scout Is Not A Band Kid by Jade Armstrong (April 12)
I love debut graphic novels! They’re so inventive and fun. Scout Is Not A Band Kid is no exception–a relatable graphic novel for fans of Raina Telgemier and Gale Galligan, readers of all ages will be excited to read more of Armstrong’s happy writing.
The Einsteins of Vista Point by Ben Guterson (April 12)
Fans of Ben Guterson’s Winterhouse series will be excited to find out that he has another novel out in April. This family novel has all the charm and excitement of Ben’s previous books. Deep and emotional, older readers will also love this adventure-filled and moving novel about a family that works together to solve the mystery of their town and heal from a horrible and tragic loss.
The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat (April 12)
The synopsis for this book describes Christina Soontornvat as a visionary author and I totally agree. Her writing is exquisite and timely, wondrous and eye-opening. The Last Mapmaker is an adventure story set on the high-seas. This novel introduces readers to another amazing Thai-inspired fantasy world and a girl eager to escape her past and chart her own future.
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum (April 12)
If you loved Lily Anderson’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, I think you’ll love this witty, hilarious private school rivalry. Described in multiple early reviews as a fun, entertaining read, you might want to save this one for your Spring vacay–whether you take some time at home or go away– as it’s a perfect light read.
The Genesis Wars by Akemi Dawn (April 19)
After a compelling series debut, The Genesis War continues Nami’s fight against Ophelia and the Four Courts. Just as original and gripping as The Infinity Courts, readers will devour this book in a desperate attempt to find out more about Nami’s power and her fight to help her friends escape the AI controlled afterlife.
Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes (April 19)
A charming, romantic read with the same sweet feeling of a Laura Taylor Namey novel or Nina Moreno novel. Due to a freak flood and fender-bender with a mysterious boy, Ava is late for her beloved Nana’s blessing. For generations in their family, blessings are passed down upon death, but because Ava was late, her blessing is given to the boy she was stuck with. Now Ava must work with her sisters and her grandmother’s spirit to transfer the blessing to the right person before Nana is stuck as a ghost forever. The blend of magical realism and family feels makes this book a perfect read for Spring, when the warmer air (at least where I am) makes for a refreshing time for finding your next favorite book.
The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale (April 26)
If like me, you love reading fictionalized tales about historic women figures, you must read The Mad Girls of New York. Maya Rodale takes on brilliant journalist Nellie Bly’s story as she goes undercover in the horrible conditions of the New York insane asylum. Using Nellie’s personal account in Ten Days As A Madhouse as her guide, Maya Rodale’s tale is fascinating, gripping, and upsetting, as she sheds light on the injustices patients faced. The witty tone and promise of more stories about Nellie and her fearless pursuit of the truth will also keep readers hooked and clamoring for more.
Jagged Little Pill by Eric Smith (April 26)
Based on the uber popular musical by Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, Jagged Little Pill is Eric Smith’s lyrical and timely novelization that translates the timely topics from the show into a brilliant YA novel. Be sure to have Alanis’s music handy as you delve into this uplifting, powerful and emotional story.
Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller (April 26)
Award-winning middle-grade author Tae Keller is known for her gorgeous, emotional stories. Jennifer Chan is Not Alone is as big-hearted as her previous novels, about friendship, loss, and standing up for what you believe in, even when it alienates you.