13 YA Books Coming in November to Wake Your Brain Cells

Here are 13 buzzy YA books that have gotten starred reviews. All are coming out in November. Enjoy!

Cover for All of Us Villains

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

Cover for Graceling (Graphic Novel)

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore, illustrated by Gareth Hinds

Cover for Himawari House

Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Cover for Listen, Layla

Listen, Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Cover for Revolution in Our Time

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon

Cover for Skin of the Sea

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Cover for A Snake Falls to Earth

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

Cover for Sway with Me

Sway with Me by Syed M. Masood

Cover for Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea J. Fennell

Cover for Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

Cover for The Words in My Hands

The Words in My Hands by Asphyxia

Cover for Year of the Reaper

Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier

Cover for You'll Be the Death of Me

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

The Swallow’s Flight by Hilary McKay

Cover image for The Swallow’s Flight.

The Swallow’s Flight by Hilary McKay (9781665900911)

From the dawn of World War II through the course of the war, four young people grow up. There is Ruby, born with speckled birthmarks on her face, who is bullied for them and spends much of her time alone or in her family’s British news shop. There is Kate, who has a constant cough and anxiety and who is looked after by her older siblings until they have to leave the house. In Germany, Erik and Hans grow up as best friends living in the same building. They tend to swallow chicks together, dream of working in a zoo and pastry shop, and spend time at the airfield. As the war progresses and the Nazis take over, they become part of the Luftwaffe. The girls are also impacted by the war, rescuing a dog who has been released by his owner, moving to safer areas due to the bombing, and helping neighbors understand what is happening in Europe. Both the English and German characters have loving uncles who appear in their lives, fix things and set things up and then disappear again. As these characters survive the war, their lives impact upon one another in tragic and unexpected ways.

I am a great fan of McKay’s work. Her writing takes on serious issues yet she manages to truly show the deep humanity of all of her characters through small memorable moments that impact their lives. It may be a wild and drunken Christmas that ends with a crash, it may be saving a diminutive elderly woman with fierceness and physical strength, it may be rescuing a very smelly dog from the streets, or it could be visiting with women who have staunch victory gardens and a tendency toward hoarding. Each one of these is so well written and described that the scenes are vivid and the moments uniquely special.

The characters themselves are also beautifully written, each with their own tone and style. It is particularly noteworthy to have two German characters from World War II who retain their humor and humanity through the entire story. They are written with a deep empathy for the situation of the German people during the Nazi regime and an eye towards also showing that families did what they could to save neighbors. The English girls are a delightful mix of bravery, steadiness and wild adventures that keep the book lighter than it could have been.

Another gorgeous read from McKay, this time illuminating both sides of World War II. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy provided by Margaret K. McElderry Books.