Whether you want to brush up on your TBR list or fulfill your New Year’s Resolution of reading some more, there are always some new releases to look forward to in the YA genre. Therefore, if you’re looking for the newest of new, we recommend giving some love to debuting authors this year! From fantasy to romance, we’re going to put the stoplight on debut YA novels releasing in 2022.
Content Warning: The following books may contain triggering and upsetting material such as mentions of rape, racism, and death. The Honey POP encourages mindful reading and always checking the author’s website for any additional content warnings.
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The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea By Axie Oh
Expected Release Date: February 22
If you love Spirited Away, then you’ll love this YA novel! For generations, disastrous storms have been wreaking harm on Mina’s homeland. In the hopes to appease the Sea God, her people each year sacrifice a beautiful maiden — believing that one day she will become the Sea God’s bride and end the carnage. Shim Cheong, is the lover of Mina’s older brother and is the next in line to be sacrificed. When her older brother goes to interfere, Mina saves him from punishable death by falling into the sea — taking Cheong’s place.
Luckily, she doesn’t die. Instead, she enters the Spirit Realm and discovers that the Sea God is in an enchanted sleep (Sleeping Beauty anyone?). Unluckily, however, humans can not live long in the realm. Now, it’s a race against time as Mina tries to find a way to wake the Sea God and save her people, though some would rather keep the Sea God asleep. Who exactly? We don’t know, but we will once February comes around!
Content Warning: Death
Blood Scion By Deborah Falaye
Expected Release Date: March 8
We’ve already talked about Blood Scion before but because we still can’t wait for it to come out, we’re bringing it up just one more time! Inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, this dark military fantasy follows Sloane, a 15-year-old with the power to burn any opponent at will due to being a Scion — a descendant from the ancient Orisha gods. To avoid death under Lucis’ rule, Sloane must keep her Scion identity hidden. However, flying under the radar does not become an option once she gets drafted into the Lucis army. However, she soon finds a silver lining: if she can stay undercover, she might be able to take down Lucis’ rule from the inside.
According to Deborah Falaye herself, this story is a combo of Beasts of No Nation and Wonder Woman, mixing up bravery, revenge, and the horrors of child soldiers. It definitely seems like an emotional read that will stick with you even after you’re finished. So if you’re intrigued, make sure to pick up a copy when it officially releases!
Content Warnings: Mentions of rape, sexual abuse, violence, racism, torture, colonization, genocide
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
Expected Release Date: March 29
If you’re easily enchanted by historical fantasy, and C-Dramas, then run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore when this comes out! Young tea-maker Ning is stricken with grief over the death of her mother, a death fallen to her by Ning’s own hands after accidentally brewing some poisoned tea. And, it soon becomes the same poison tea that puts Ning’s sister, Shu on the path towards death too. Desperate to save her sister’s life, Ning heads to the imperial city to participate in the kingdom’s magical competition of the ancient art of tea-making in order to win favor from the princess.
But, soon, Ning is going to be dealing with a lot more than the competition. Like dirty politics, and whatever that cute, mysterious boy she meets is hiding. Something’s brewing in this novel, and we can’t wait to see what it is when it comes out this 2022.
Content Warnings: Death of a loved one, murder, and attempted murder
Speech and Debacles by Heather Diangelis
Expected Release Date: May 31
Pre-Order Coming Soon!
Buckle up because this book contains heavy dosages of mutual pining and pain, both inside and out! Seventeen-year-old Taryn Patt has it bad for the Speech and Debate team’s strongest competitor, Ryan Lucas. She hopes he’ll get the hint and maybe make a move, as she likes girls and boys. Unknown to her though, Ryan really wants to talk to her! But between Taryn’s pelvic pains and Ryan’s self-deprecating thoughts, it starts drifting them away as soon as they start floating towards each other. In order to not miss out on each other and their performance goals, they both try to find ways to cope.
If you’re looking to read a book with bi-representation, dorks falling in love, and adversity, then keep watch for this debut YA novel when it drops in Summer 2022.
The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman
Expected Release Date: June 28
Make way for Juliana Goodman’s YA novel debut this 2022 because it’s certainly going to be a powerful one! Beau Willet dreams of one day becoming an artist and leaving Chicago. But after her older sister, Katia, is killed by an off-duty police officer, Beau soon has other plans. Now, Beau needs to clear her sister and she can only do that if she finds Jordan, Katia’s boyfriend and the only witness to the murder. Except Jordan is missing. Beau is going to stop at nothing to make sure her sister’s death won’t be forgotten, just like the wrongful killings of other Black women.
Goodman’s novel not only features some elements of mystery but alludes to important social conversations such as #SayHerName and police brutality. It’s definitely a worthy read for this summer!
Content Warnings: Racism, police brutality, murder
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
Expected Release Date: July 26
If you stalk the Enemies to Lovers tag on AO3, then you gotta pick up a copy of Gina Chen’s book as soon as it hits this summer! Violet is a prophet for the royal court, though she can sometimes, maybe “embellish” her divinations, which may or may not be always true. Well, Prince Cyrus doesn’t like that and as soon as he gets crowned at the end of the summer, Violet is going to have to kiss her job bye-bye. Things get even dicier when the king asks Violet to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love life, causing her to awaken a curse that’ll damn the whole kingdom, depending on who Cyrus marries, that is.
Now, Violet is at a crossroad: should she take advantage of the impending doom and carve out her own destiny or save the kingdom and possibly give in to the growing attraction she and Cyrus clearly have?
Content Warnings: Racism, themes of emotional manipulation, fantasy-like violence including death and body horror, self-harm in a ritual/magical situation, non-explicit sex scene
Cake Eater by Allyson Dahlin
Expected Release Date: August 9
She’s an icon. A legend. And, she is the moment. Introducing Marie Antoinette from the year 3070.
On social media, Marie is a sensation, and she’s about to get even bigger once she arrives in the Franc Kingdom to marry Prince Louis. Her husband, however, is anything but fun. So, Marie spends her time indulging herself with the promising high-tech and exhilarating parties with the Versailles Palace. Yet it isn’t long before things go wrong. Between the mega-corporations of the First Estate blocking any efforts to help the royals’ suffering subjects to image-damaging posts on social media, Marie and Louis are going to have to use their respective talents to get everything under control. Or else. Who else is ready for a re-telling of history with a sci-fi twist?
Last of Talons by Sophie Kim
Expected Release Date: September 27
So, Sophie Kim said if you like Pied Piper from BTS, then this is the book for you. Which means two things. One, the author might be a BTS stan, and two, this book is for sure going to slap. From what we know, Last of the Talons is based on Korean legend with a mix of assassins, swords, and romance. A teen assassin goes out to rescue her gang’s leader from an immortal goblin emperor, only to find herself falling in love with him instead. Hm, is it us or is it starting to look like a summer full of sweet enemies-to-lovers romance?
Content Warnings: Violence
Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer
Expected Release Date: November 1
It’s the year 1979 and Jasmine Zumideh needs a win. Because…she told a lie on her NYU college application that she’s Senior Class President-Elect! This would be no biggie — after all, she is running against rigid rule follower Gerald Thomas. Except, when a group of students in Iran takes the American Embassy in Tehran hostage, and now it’s everywhere on the news, Iranian-American Jasmine decides in order to guarantee her to win, she needs to downplay her heritage. Yet, doing so comes with its own set of challenges. While the book is set in the late ’70s, Susan Azim Boyer’s debut YA novel brings to the table discussions that are still important in 2022.
Content Warnings: Xenophobia, mentions of a hostage situation
The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
Expected Release Date: December 22
Are y’all ready for a love triangle, family shenanigans, and South Asian rep? In this romantic comedy, Bangladeshi-American teen Zhara Khana gets caught up falling for two guys after her mother decides to play a matchmaker in her love life. Good gravy, something tells us there is going to be a whirlpool of emotions going on in this book.
With a lineup like this, we can already tell it’s going to be a fantastic year for YA literature! All these debut YA authors worked hard crafting such amazing stories, so why don’t you give them a chance and dive into one of these novels this 2022 when they release? Tell us what debut novel you’re anticipating for down in the comments or over on our Instagram and Twitter!
And if you’re looking for more book news and recs, buzz on over here!