Contemporary YA Fiction 2012 Book List of 2013 Contemporary Titles to Watch For

I have one more book list, and this one is by request. I’ve been keeping tabs on forthcoming 2013 contemporary YA titles, and I’ve done a quick survey to grab titles I might miss. I’ve pulled them together for an incomplete list of titles to keep on your radar. Please note that the bulk of these are in the early portion of the year simply because I had access to publisher catalogs for winter and spring 2013, but not for fall. 

If you know of a contemporary title — and I reemphasize contemporary meaning realistic — coming out next year some time, please feel free to leave a comment. I am including only traditionally published books, be they from big presses or smaller ones. I have included title images where they’re available, and descriptions come from WorldCat, Goodreads, or publisher catalogs. I’ve done my best to make this list alphabetical, as well. Note that not all of the books have covers yet, but I’ve included a handful to break up the blocks of text.

Because I am crazy, I’ve starred debut novels, too. 

* Canary
by Rachele Alpine (August): Kate
Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at
Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball
teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and
quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement,
learning that there are perks to being an athlete. But those perks
also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and
Kate is assaulted at a party. She knows she should speak out, but her
dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that
Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must
decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying
her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.
of Way

by Lauren Barnholdt (July): Told
in their separate voices, seventeen-year-old Peyton convinces
eighteen-year-old Jace to drive her from a Florida wedding toward her
Connecticut home with the intention of staying in North Carolina
rather than face her parents’ marital and financial problems, while
both avoid the obvious attraction they have felt since they met at
* 45
by KA Barson (July): Ann, a
sixteen-year-old girl who doesn’t fit—not in her blended family
and certainly not in Snapz! clothes—is convinced that if she could
only lose 45 pounds, her life would be perfectly normal. She soon
learns that there is nothing perfect about normal.
by Nora Raleigh Baskin (March): Though
only a sophomore, Maggie Paris is a star on the varsity swim team,
but she also has an uncanny, almost magical ability to draw out
people’s deepest truths, even when they don’t intend to share
them. It’s reached a point where most of her classmates, all but
her steadfast best friend, now avoid her, and she’s taken to giving
herself away every chance she gets to an unavailable — and
ungrateful — popular boy from the wrestling team, just to prove she
still exists. Even Maggie’s parents, who are busy avoiding each
other and the secret deep at the heart of their devastated family,
seem wary of her. Is there such a thing as too much truth?
* Dancing
in the Dark

by Robyn Bavati (February): Ditty
was born to dance, but she was also born Jewish. When her strictly
religious parents won’t let her take ballet lessons, Ditty starts to
dance in secret. But for how long can she keep her two worlds apart?
And at what cost?
dramatic and moving story about a girl who follows her dream, and
finds herself questioning everything she believes in.
Known As
by Robin Benway
(February): As
the active-duty daughter of international spies, sixteen-year-old
safecracker Maggie Silver never attended high school so when she and
her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment,
Maggie is introduced to cliques, school lunches, and maybe even a
& Oliver

by Robin Benway: The
story of two childhood friends who grew up next door to one another
until they were six years old, when Oliver was kidnapped by his dad
during a custody dispute. Ten years later, Oliver comes home and he &
Emmy are forced to deal not only with their losses, but also with
their new romantic beginnings.
by Ilsa J Bick: While
serving in Afghanistan, Ben writes about incidents from his senior
year in a small-town Wisconsin high school, when a neighbor he was
trying to help out becomes the victim of an apparent hate crime and
Ben falls under suspicion.
* Dear
Life, You Suck
by Scott Blagden
(March): In
this emotionally powerful, funny debut, Cricket Cherpin needs to
figure out what to do with his life before he turns eighteen. But
life sucks–so why not just give up?
* Leap
of Faith

by Jamie Blair: Now
that Leah Kurtz has a place to call home, there’s no way she can
tell the truth.
her name is Faith, not Leah.
she’s seventeen, not nineteen.
the baby isn’t hers—she kidnapped her.
had to kidnap Addy though. She couldn’t let her newborn sister grow
up like she did, with parties where the drugs flow all night and an
empty refrigerator in the kitchen holding nothing but pickle juice
and ketchup packets inside.
can’t risk losing Chris—the only guy she’s ever given herself
to completely—by telling him she’s been lying. He’s the most
generous person she’s ever known, and he’s already suffered the
tragic deaths of his mom and infant sister.
being on the run with a newborn catches up with her when a cop starts
asking questions, and Chris’s aunt finds a newspaper article about
Faith and a missing baby. Faith knows it’s time to run again—from
Chris and the only place that’s ever felt like home.
by Jennifer Brown (May):
into sending a nude picture of herself to her boyfriend while she was
drunk, Ashleigh became the center of a sexting scandal and is now in
court-ordered community service, where she finds an unlikely ally,
* Anthem
for Jackson Dawes
Celia Bryce (April): When Megan, thirteen, arrives for her first
cancer treatment, she is frustrated to be on the pediatric unit where
the only other teen is Jackson Dawes.
* Out
of This Place

by Emma Cameron (May): Luke
spends his days hanging out at the beach, working shifts at the local
supermarket, and trying to stay out of trouble at school. His mate
Bongo gets wasted, blocking out memories of the little brother that
social services took away from his addict mom and avoiding the
stepdad who hits him. And Casey, the girl they both love, longs to
get away from her strict, controlling father and start anew in a
place where she can be free. But even after they each find a way to
move on and lead very different lives, can they outrun their family
stories — and will they ever be able to come together again? Set in
Australia and narrated in alternating points of view, here is an
affecting look at the evolving lives of three friends from talented
new author Emma Cameron.
by Ally Carter (February):
When feisty teenaged thief Kat’s on-again off-again boyfriend,
Hale, suddenly inherits his family’s billion dollar company, Kat gets
a tip-off that the will is a fake.
* Me,
Him, Them, and It
by Caela
Carter (February): Playing the “bad girl” at school to get
back at her feuding parents, sixteen-year-old Evelyn becomes pregnant
and faces a difficult decision.
* Red
by Alison Cherry (October): Felicity
St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic
talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant.
Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long,
wavy, coppery red hair. Having red hair is all that matters in
Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it.
That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives
an anonymous note: I
know your secret.
Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a
bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social
outcast faster than she could say “strawberry blond.” Her
mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her
boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown
and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her
to fulfill her dream of going to art school. Felicity isn’t about
to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she
willing to go to protect her red cred?
to Me
by Justina Chen
(January): Always
following her parents’ wishes and ignoring her psychic inner voice
takes eighteen-year-old Rebecca Muir from her beloved cottage and
boyfriend on Puget Sound to New York City.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti (May): Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

* A Point So Delicate by Brandy Colbert: A ballet prodigy’s life begins to unravel when she is forced to admit to the role she played in her childhood friend’s abduction.

* Pretty
Liz Coley (March): Sixteen-year-old Angie finds herself in her
neighborhood with no recollection of her abduction or the three years
that have passed since, until alternate personalities start telling
her their stories through letters and recordings.
* Blaze
by Laurie Boyle Crompton (February): Blaze
is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and
feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice
her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie,
it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her
minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to
have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets
her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the
Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her “sext” photo,
and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That
life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now.

by Chris Crutcher (March): Paul
“the Bomb” Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was
something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can
cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding
the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be
that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe
haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately)
and his other classmates don’t know is that the ultimate bully, the
ultimate liar, is in their midst. 

by Christa Desir (November): Ben
could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl —
sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s
everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.
that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani
goes to alone.
Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the
truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?
wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes
Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save
the girl he loves.
Moon and More

by Sarah Dessen (June): Set
in the fictional beach town of Colby, where several of Dessen’s
novels take place, it features 18-year-old Emmeline, who is spending
her last summer before college working for her family’s vacation
rental business and enjoying a summer romance with a young aspiring
* How
My Summer Went Up in Flames

by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (May): Placed under a temporary
retstraining order for torching her former boyfriend’s car,
seventeen-year-old Rosie embarks on a cross-country car trip from New
Jersey to Arizona while waiting for her court appearance.
All That Was Lost by Trish Doller (October — note the title may change): Callie is skilled in the art of leaving. She and her mother have crisscrossed the country for more than a decade, on the run since the day her mother–who suffers from borderline personality disorder–abducted her. When her mom is arrested, Callie is reunited in Tarpon Springs, Florida, with a father she doesn’t remember. There Callie must learn to navigate the life of a normal 17-year-old girl–one that includes friends, guys, and an extended Greek American family she never knew existed. But a childhood secret and her mother’s reappearance threaten the tentative security of her new life, and Callie must choose between staying and leaving–and what she’s willing to leave behind.

by Sharon Draper (March): As rehearsals begin for the ballet version
of Peter Pan, the teenaged members of an Ohio dance troupe lose their
focus when one of their own goes missing.
of the Girl with the Great Personality

by Elizabeth Eulberg (March): Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular,
smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty
ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her
seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of
a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help
of fake hair and tons of makeup). Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of
being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s
sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of
being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick
of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of
perfection. The time has come for Lexi to step out from the
sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know
what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and
she’s in it to win it.
Liz Fichera (January): HE
Oday is a girl? Why is a girl taking my best friends spot on the
boy’s varsity golf team?
I seriously do this? Can I join the boys’ team? Everyone will hate me
– especially Ryan Berenger.
expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad.
Fred’s got to go – especially now that I can’t get her out of my
head. So not happening.
can be nice, when he’s not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my
golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the
suburbs? So not happening.
there’s no denying that things are happening as the girl with the
killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile.
One Day
by Gayle Forman (January): Sparks fly when American good
girl Allyson encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem, so she follows
him on a whirlwind trip to Paris, upending her life in just one day
and prompting a year of self-discovery and the search for true love.

Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg (May): Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place. Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession. Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone

39 Deaths of Adam Strand
by Gregory
Galloway (February): Adam Strand isn’t
depressed. He’s just bored. Disaffected. So he kills himself—39
times. No matter the method, Adam can’t seem to stay dead; he wakes
after each suicide alive and physically unharmed, more determined to
succeed and undeterred by others’ concerns. But when his
self-contained, self-absorbed path is diverted, Adam is struck by the
reality that life is an ever-expanding web of impact and forged
connections, and that nothing—not even death—can sever those

* Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory (October): A girl determined to flee her small town finds a reason to stay when she falls in love with twin brothers, one who can’t remember his past and the other who doesn’t want him to remember, told in three alternating points of view.

* Nobody
But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
(January): Told
in their separate voices, eighteen-year-old Will who has aged out of
foster care, and fifteen-year-old Zoe whose father beats her, set out
for Las Vegas together, but their escape may prove more dangerous
than what they left behind.
* Crash
and Burn
Michael Hassan (February): Steven “Crash” Crashinsky
relates his sordid ten-year relationship with David “Burn”
Burnett, the boy he stopped from taking their high school hostage at
Love Story

by Corey Ann Haydu (July): In an instant, Bea felt
almost normal with Beck, and as if she could fall in love again, but
things change when the psychotherapist who has been helping her deal
with past romantic relationships puts her in a group with Beck–a
group for teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
With Stupid
Geoff Herbach (May): Felton
Reinstein, dork-turned-athlete, must make peace with his father’s
death and accept his own ability to be brutal like his dad once was.
Final chapter in the Stupid Fast series.
* That
Time I Joined the Circus

by J.J. Howard (April): After
her father’s sudden death and a break-up with her best friends,
seventeen-year-old Lexi has no choice but to leave New York City
seeking her long-absent mother, rumored to be in Florida with a
traveling circus, where she just may discover her destiny.
* Nantucket
by Leila Howland (May):
Cricket Thompson is planning on spending a romantic summer on
Nantucket Island near her long time crush, Jay–but the death of her
best friend’s mother, and her own sudden intense attraction to her
friend’s brother Zach are making this summer complicated.
by Shaun Hutchinson (June): At a party near the end of senior year,
seventeen-year-old Simon Cross imagines his life with and without
Cassie, the girl he has yearned for since they were freshman, and
begins to discover the unpredictable wonders of life his best
friends, Ben and Coop, have urged him to explore.

I Can’t Forget
by Miranda Kenneally
(March): Seeking God’s forgiveness for a past sin, eighteen-year-old
Kate finds summer employment at a church camp, where she is tempted
to have a fling with co-counselor Matt.
by Kody Keplinger: About
a teen dealing with the fallout from her failed suicide attempt and
her romance with a boy with secrets of his own.
by Jessi Kirby (May): Seventeen-year-old
Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has
never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential
good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having
kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in
her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a
town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.

* Five Summers by Una LaMarch (May): The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . . The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . . The summer we were eleven : Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . . The summer we were twelve : Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . . Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable . . . and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters.

* Alice in Everville by S. C. Langgle (March): Alice Little thinks she’s read every word the world-famous poet Sylvie Plate published before her untimely death…until she discovers a coded message hidden in Sylvie’s final collection of poems–a message that may explain the poet’s mysterious demise. All she has to do is decipher the code and she knows she can convince her beloved English teacher, Miss A, that Sylvie’s message is real. Unfortunately, she only has one manic day at Everville Mall to do it. And between keeping track of her fountain-splashing, havoc-wreaking sister, finding a new copy of Sylvie’s poems, and…oh yeah…dealing with the blue-eyed, guitar-playing, majorly swoon-worthy Jaden Briar, who keeps popping up everywhere she goes, Alice wonders if she will ever finish deciphering in time.
by Lindsay Leavitt
(March): When sixteen-year-old Mallory learns that her boyfriend,
Jeremy, is cheating on her with his cyber “wife,” she
rebels against technology by following her grandmother’s list of
goals from 1962, with help from her younger sister, Ginnie.
by Chris Lynch (March): Eighteen-year-old
Eric deals with the loss of his older brother Duane by meeting three
of the seven recipients of Duane’s organs a year after his death, and
pondering who they are to him, and he to them.
Mr. Glaser

by Erin McCahan: Brainy
16-year-old Josie Sheridan falls in love with a guy who falls in love
with her older sister who is engaged to a man Josie hates. When
Josie’s sister appears to return the feelings of Josie’s love
interest, Josie finds herself armed with the ammunition she has been
looking for that will stop her sister’s wedding. But emotions cloud
Josie’s normally logical mind, and she struggles to balance her
feelings with her sister’s. At the same time, she must learn what to
do when the person she loves might never love her back.
* Brianna
On the Brink

by Nicole McInnes (January): Sixteen-year-old
Brianna Taylor finds herself lost, alone and pregnant after a
one-night-stand (let’s just say it’s complicated). Just when she’s
got nowhere left to turn, help arrives from the one person who is
closest to her big mistake, but accepting that help will leave
Brianna forced to choose between clinging to the ledge of fear and
abandonment – or jumping into the unknown where a second chance at
hope might just be waiting.
Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Meg Medina (March): One
morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui
Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even
know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word
is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she
walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and
no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch
her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out
more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors
courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as
the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take
over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without
closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel,
Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who
she really is.
* The
Summer I Became a Nerd

by Lisa Rae Miller: On
the outside, seventeen-year-old Emma Jean Summers looks like your
typical blond cheerleader. But inside, Emma spends more time
agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite
comic book than planning pep rallies with her quarterback boyfriend.
That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown,
it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way. Summer break is
the only time Emma lets her real self out to play, but when she slips
up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter
uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom,
Emma’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action
role playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it.
But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies
become, and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
* If
You Find Me
by Emily Murdoch (March): A
broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home
fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her
threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger
sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they
have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with
greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears
for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and
taken to re-enter the “normal” life of school, clothes and
by Michael Northrop (April): When
troubled sixteen-year-old Jimmer “JD” Dobbs returns from a
mysterious summer “upstate” he finds that his mother has
adopted an abused Rottweiler that JD names Johnny Rotten, but soon
his tenuous relationship with the dog is threatened.
of Broken Hearts
by Sarah Ockler
(May): Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most
important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious
heartbreakers. But as Jude begins to fall for Emilio Vargas, she
begins to wonder if her sisters were wrong.
by Anne Osterlund (January): Salvador
Resendez–Salva to his friends–appears to have it all. His Mexican
immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill
them. He’s student body president, quarterback of the football team,
and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.
Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is
used to blending into the background. But she’s also smart, and she
has serious plans for her future.
guy and bookish girl–the two have almost nothing in common. Until
fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon
Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever–because she
knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.
tragedy strikes–and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has
worked for. Will Beth’s love be enough to save him?
Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Robin Palmer (June):
Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Jacobs never asked
to be famous, but as the daughter of Janie Jacobs, one of the biggest
TV stars in the world, she is. Growing up is hard enough. Having to
do it in public because your mother is a famous actress? Even harder.
When your mom crashes and burns after her DUI mug shot is splashed
across the internet? Definitely not fun. Then your mom falls for a
guy so much younger than she that it would be more appropriate for
you to be dating him? That’s just a train wreck waiting to happen.
and the Happily Ever After
Stephanie Perkins (May): Falling
in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless
dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their
senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are
quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that
happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey
is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and
Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in
a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin (June): THE RULES OF SUMMER is about two 17 year-old girls living in the same beachfront mansion in East Hampton for the summer, one “upstairs” (the daughter of a very blue-blooded family) and one “downstairs” (the niece of the family’s housekeeper.) Isabel is the privileged daughter who’s used to having guys fall at her feet. Rory is the no-nonsense girl from a small New Jersey town who’s always been the friend, never the girlfriend.  Besides becoming each other’s unlikely allies, both Rory and Isabel have a summer romance that will change her life.

* The
S Word
by Chelsea Pitcher (May):
Angie’s quest for the truth behind her best friend’s suicide drives
her deeper into the dark, twisted side of Verity High.
This Is How I Find Her by Sara Polski: Sophie Canon has just started her junior year when her mother tries to kill herself. Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother’s bipolar disorder, monitoring her medication, rushing home after school to check on her instead of spending time with friends, and keeping her mother’s diagnosis secret from everyone outside their family. But when the overdose lands Sophie’s mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, from whom she has been estranged for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family’s house is easy. What’s harder is figuring out how to build her own life.
Me, Leonard Peacock
by Matthew
Quick (August): Today
is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in
his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best
friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
* The
Symptoms of My Insanity

by Mindy Raf (April): When
you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that
could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be
wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really
wrong–with her friendships, her romantic entanglements, and even her

by Amy Reed (June): A novel about two girls on the run from their
problems, their pasts, and themselves. Max and Sadie are escaping to
Nebraska, but they’ll soon learn they can’t escape the truth.
* Dr
Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

by Evan Roskos: A
sixteen-year-old boy wrestling with depression and anxiety tries to
cope by writing poems, reciting Walt Whitman, hugging trees, and
figuring out why his sister has been kicked out of the house.
Suicide Playlist

by Leila Sales: 16-year-old named Elise Dembowski, who stumbles on an
underground dance club in her town and gains entry to a world of
late-night dance parties, until, as Barbara explained, “her
ordinary life threatens to intrude.”
* Riptide
by Lindsey Scheibe (May): For
Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment.
Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford
Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can
forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego.
She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high
Ford enters Grace into a surf competition— the only way she can
impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and
prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the
only things that ever mattered?
* Uses
for Boys
Lorraine Scheidt (January): Anna
remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made
sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them
against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing
the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on
her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From
Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what
they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the
other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna’s
new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the
loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can’t know.
comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just
useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories,
the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it
feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. 
Heads, Broken Hearts

by Robyn Schneider (June): Star
athlete and prom king Ezra Faulkner’s life is irreparably transformed
by a tragic accident and the arrival of eccentric new girl Cassidy
for You
by Lisa Schroeder (January): Very good friends, her
poetry notebooks, and a mysterious “ninja of nice” give
seventeen-year-old Rae the strength to face her mother’s neglect, her
stepfather’s increasing abuse, and a new boyfriend’s obsessiveness.
* Bruised
by Sarah Skilton (March): When Imogen, a
sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup
at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and
she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed
that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else — more
responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been
challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes
redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love
with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With
action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant
new voice to the young adult world — full of dark humor and hard
by Andrew Smith: Two years younger than his classmates at a
prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West
grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his
female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing
on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new
is What Happy Looks Like
Jennifer E. Smith (April): Perfect
strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet online when Graham
accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. When
the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether
their relationship can be the real thing.
by Kirsten Smith (March): When
three Lake Oswego High School girls from different social groups,
good-girl Elodie, popular Tabitha, and tough Moe, meet in a
rehabilitation group, they discover they have much more in common
than shoplifting.
* The
Reece Malcolm List
by Amy
Spalding (February): While
attending a performing arts school, making new friends, landing the
lead in the musical, and falling for the attractive Sai,
sixteen-year-old Devan attempts to forge a relationship with her
enigmatic mother, Reece Malcolm, after her father’s death.
Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding (December): Kellie has a pretty easy life: great friends and a job at her mom and stepdad’s tattoo shop, the Family Ink. But when Kellie’s sister Sara’s birth mother contacts her, and Sara starts to slip away from the family she’s always known for the one she’s just discovering, Kellie can’t help but feel that everything is falling apart. When the college guy she hooked up a few months ago makes a reappearance in her life–just when everything else seems to be going wrong–Kellie finds an intense relationship may be just what she needs — or is it?
You Were Gone

by Lauren Strasnick (January): Adrienne and Dakota’s long-term best
friendship has been over for two years, but when Dakota goes missing,
a presumed suicide, Adrienne is overwhelmed, leading to problems at
school and with her boyfriend.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers (Fall): A 17-year-old girl’s attempt to blackmail her rich classmates results in her waking up on a dirt road with no money, no memory of how she got there and a semi-erased message she left for herself the only clue as to why. When she tries to piece together the evening before and all the events leading up to it, a dark and sinister game is revealed. 

Language Inside

by Holly Thompson (May): Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader
Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother’s
breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma’s heart remains with
her friends recovering from the tsunami.

by E. E. Charlton-Trujillo (March): Angie
is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school
tormenters, and by being the only one who thinks her
varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a
mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of “crazy
mad cow!”) away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a
gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make
it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the
kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. A girl who is one
hundred and ninety-nine percent wow! A girl who never sees her as Fat
Angie, and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match
what’s inside. With an offbeat sensibility, mean girls to rival a
horror classic, and characters both outrageous and touching, this
darkly comic anti-romantic romance will appeal to anyone who likes
entertaining and meaningful fiction.
* OCD,
the Dude, and Me
Lauren Roedy Vaughn (March): Danielle Levine stands out even at her
alternative high school–in appearance and attitude–but when her
scathing and sometimes raunchy English essays land her in a social
skills class, she meets Daniel, another social misfit who may break
her resolve to keep everyone at arm’s length.
* My
Life After Now

by Jessica Verdi (April): When she loses a leading role and her
leading man to another girl, sixteen-year-old Lucy, a member of the
high school drama club, does something completely out of character
that has life-altering consequences.
Too Deep

by Coert Voorhees (July): Annie
Fleet, master scuba diver and history buff, knows she can’t fight
her nerd status as a freshman at her Los Angeles private school. And
she doesn’t care—except for the fact that her crush, Josh, thinks
she’s more adorable than desirable. Annie is determined to set him
straight on their school trip to Mexico. But her teacher has other
plans: he needs Annie to help him find Cortez’s lost-long treasure.
Annie finds herself scuba diving in pitch-black waters, jetting to
Hawaii with Josh, and hunting for the priceless Golden Jaguar. But
Annie and Josh aren’t the only ones lured by the possibility of
finding the greatest treasure ever lost at sea. Someone else wants
the gold—and needs Annie dead. In deeper danger than she ever
imagined, can Annie get the boy and find the Jaguar, or is she in
over her head?
by KM Walton (January): Deeply depressed after her father cheated on
and divorced her mother, seventeen-year-old Adele has gained over
seventy pounds and is being bullied and abused at school–to the
point of being raped and accused of being the aggressor.
Distance Between Us

by Kasie West: Seventeen-year-old
Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science
experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure
they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff,
like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop. So when Xander
Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it
only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich.
Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who
actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t
last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her
mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention
span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to
scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his
company. She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve.
She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t
been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty
are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character
flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their
relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the
only one she should’ve been worried about.
You Were Here
by Daisy Whitney
(June): An
American teenager travels from California to Tokyo to uncover the
secrets surrounding the death of his mother, all while trying to both
hold onto and let go of the girl he’s been in love with his whole
of Stars

by Kelley York: 18-year-old
Hunter Jackson and his half-sister, Ashlin, have been summer-friends
with Chance Harvey since they were kids. Chance, charismatic and
adventurous, was everything from their first friend to their first
kiss, always bringing their summers to life.
when they’re reunited with Chance for the first time in years, they
start to see Chance’s oddities in a whole new light. Like the bruises
he tries to hide, or how he refuses to go home for days at a time.
What the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the lies
about his parents, his clinginess and dangerous impulsiveness—are
now warning signs that something is seriously wrong.
Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes turn to
Chance and his dad. Hunter thinks Chance is innocent…he just has to
prove it. But how can he protect the boy he loves when Chance keeps
running away?
Lucy Variations
by Sara Zarr
San Franciscan Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a
concert pianist. Her chance at a career has passed, and she decides
to help her ten-year-old piano prodigy brother, Gus, map out his own

Feel free to add others in the comments. Remember that these are contemporary realistic novels. Not just any novels published in 2013.

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  1. says

    OMG! I've been waiting so long for a new Gregory Galloway novel! You have no idea what a hit this has been with my students. They all loved As Simple as Snow so much!

  2. says

    So awesome seeing so many of my fellow 2013 debut authors here! My book PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL is a contemporary mystery and will be out next July as well :)

  3. says

    Oops. I forgot to send you a message about BLACK HELICOPTERS. It's coming out from Candlewick on March 12, 2013. That still seems so far away… It doesn't seem like I should be harassing people already. I'm putting the cover and some early blurbs up on my main page soon.

    • says

      I added yours then deleted it because I couldn't get a clear sense of the story from the publisher's catalog description. I thought it was contemp but I didn't want to mislead, either! So this is totally not pushing or harassing people — this is the right forum for telling people.

  4. says

    Weee! So completely psyched to have BRIANNA ON THE BRINK included on this list. It's going to be a busy reading year for all contemporary YA fans, and I can't wait to check out as many of these titles as possible. :)

  5. says

    This has me wishing I'd gotten one of the ARCs of Andrew Smith's Winger at the YALSA YA Lit Symposium. It looks like it's going to be an exciting year for contemporary YA lit fans!

  6. says

    Wow! Thanks for the wonderful list of upcoming Contemporary books! Contemporary has always been my favorite genre so i'm so happy to see so many to look forward too. another contemporary YA i'm looking forward to is Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett. Can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After too. I just re-read Anna and the french kiss and wow, its still amazing the second time.

  7. says

    I wonder if you've heard of my novel BURNING? It's contemporary YA, out June 11 2013 from Random House/Delacorte. I'm especially excited about USES FOR BOYS, BRUISED, WINGER, and THE S WORD. So many great books!

  8. says

    Excellent list! Thanks so much for compiling these. I'm so excited that ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER is finally coming out, among others.

    Will you do a list like this for other genres as well?

  9. says

    Just asking for my own list-keeping purposes…do you happen to know if any of these titles include LGBTQ main characters? It can be hard to tell from the jacket copy. Thanks!

  10. says

    I'm thrilled to see so many contemp YA titles! My next one will also be out in 2013, from Viking/Penguin:

    UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP (September), in which a former victim of middle-school bullying struggles to navigate the high-school world of love and relationships.

  11. says

    This list is amazing. I am SO GLAD to see so many contemporary YA novels coming out. Five of them are from authors I love! So pumped about a new Justina Chen book, I love all her stuff. And of course, Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti, but there's even two new Robin Benway books! And some oldies but goodies, like Lauren Barnholdt. Yea, 2013 is going to be a GOOD reading year for me! 😀 😀 😀

    • says

      Hey Dot, if you like contemporary mysteries check out my books in the Super Spies series! They're like an edgy Nancy Drew. :) Their titles are "The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer" and "The Super Spies and the High School Bobmber". Both have life lessons woven through out the story.

  12. says

    So excited about OCD, the Dude, and Me and the cover art is fantastic! As a teacher of students with social skills issues, I'm most intrigued by the title of this book. I can't wait to get a copy!

  13. Anonymous says

    LOVE the cover art for "OCD,The Dude, and Me", and can't wait to read the book. I think any and all fans of "The Big Lebowski" should do likewise. In fact, I think anyone that survived high school should read this book!

  14. says

    Such a great list! I have a contemporary coming out in Fall 2013 with Random House Childrens called THE SILO about a teenage girl named Lyla who has been living in a religious cult after the disappearance of her sister. While her parents are hopelessly under the sway of the group’s leader, Pioneer, Lyla is drawn into a dangerous situation when she begins to question Pioneer’s prophecy about the impending apocalypse.

  15. Ilona S says

    Interesting. Alternative high school; romance of two misfits; mixed with OCD; a fool plate. The cover with the bowling ball… what does it means? When is this book coming out? March? Well, time to read it before getting it as gifts to the young in the family. Too bad it’s not out for this holiday season. Patiently waiting for March.

  16. says

    As an educational therapist who works with students with learning disabilities, ADHD, OCD, and a plethora of other issues, it is so refreshing to see someone REALLY looking to tackle the teenage experience of students with issues that interfere with their self-esteem, academic success, and life in general. Like someone else said, I am wondering if this is an homage to The Big Lebowski?! I have officially ordered 3 copies via amazon and have encouraged my clients' parents to do the same.

  17. says

    I am so glad you included "OCD, the Dude and Me" by Lauren Roedy Vaughn. Her fresh, creative, captivating voice makes for great story telling for teenagers as well as adults.

  18. says

    Cannot wait for Lauren Roedy Vaughn's "OCD, the Dude and Me"! I heard about this at a reading 2 weeks ago. Pre-ordered it that day. Cover art is fantastic!

  19. Anonymous says

    We loved "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and Lauren Roedy's new book, "OCD, the Dude and Me" is the next book on my 16 year old's reading list. Can't wait!!

  20. Anonymous says

    Thank you for this list! I am a avid YA Contemporary reader and haven't found a challenge for 2013 to follow so this list has been perfect.

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