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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Looking forward to 2013

Last week I attended an AAP Book Buzz (that’s the Association of American Publishers). This is a twice-annual event at which publishers introduce upcoming adult titles. It is a gold mine for me, as you can imagine, as I work to tease out the adult books with potential teen appeal.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the most exciting 2013 titles. Here we go — alphabetically by publisher:


FuseFuse by Julianna Baggott (February)
Fans of Pure will be waiting with bated breath!

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis (January)
This one’s for the mature comic book crowd who can handle the violence. I’ve been assured those guys will love it.


Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield (January)
Lucy Takeda is only a young teenager when the bombing of Pearl Harbor changes her life, and the ramifications will echo through generations of her family.

The Returned by Jason Mott (September)
High expectations here – and the premise is intriguing. All over the world loved ones are returning from the dead. Is it a miracle or a sign of the end?


The Silence of BOnaventure ArrowThe Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski (February)
Set in 1920s to 1950s New Orleans. Bonaventure is mute but has acute hearing – he can even hear flowers grow. His ability to listen helps uncover the mystery of his father’s murder. For fans of magical realism along the lines of Aimee Bender and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley (April)
A love story with supernatural elements, this debut is set on a North Carolina farm. Recommended to readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (April)
When her teen daughter commits suicide after being suspended from school, Kate retraces her daughter’s decision to be on the school’s roof that day through Amelia’s emails, texts, and Facebook posts.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell (February)
Two young sisters who live in the Glasgow projects with their most horrible parents suddenly no longer need to deal with said parents anymore. Perhaps because they buried them in the back garden.


A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins (April)
This one was recommended to Downton Abbey fans, although it is set in 17th century London. A chambermaid must find the killer before her brother, falsely accused, is executed for the crime.

The UninvitedThe Uninvited by Liz Jensen (January)
This near-future psychological thriller/horror novel boasts a creepy, creepy cover. As well it should — across the world, children are killing their families.

Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka  (April)
Another thriller by the author of The Games, this one begins with an archaeological dig and a surprising discovery.


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (March)
A lonely, bullied Tokyo teenager’s diary washes up on shore across the ocean, perhaps as a result of the 2011 tsunami.

The Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell (February)
An historical fiction debut novel for fans of Philippa Gregory.

Rage is BackRage is Back by Adam Mansbach (January)
Was compared to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao for its underdog, New York City narrator. Set in the world of graffiti artists.

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (February)
When she is separated from her twin, Saba is sure she has moved to America. Imagining her sister’s life helps her to endure life under Iran’s harsh Islamic regime.

My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short (February)
A high school senior packs up her younger brother and his mute Siberian Husky dog and heads for Alaska to find adventure.

The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian (February)
A dystopian novel for fans of The Hunger Games and The Passage.

Random House

Child of VengeanceChild of Vengeance by David Kirk (March)
Feudal Japan from the point of view of a teenager born to be a samurai. Yeah, this has winner written all over it. And it already boasts a blurb from Conn Iggulden.

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore (March)
About three young African American women growing up in the Civil Rights era. Compared to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman (January)
A new novel from the author of Alex Award Winner The Night Birds is something to celebrate.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra  (May)
In Chechnya 2004, a young girl who loses her family is harbored by a doctor in an abandoned bombed-out hospital. This debut is being compared to The Tiger’s Wife.

Simon & Schuster

DemonologistThe Demonologist by Andrew Pyper  (March)
Compared to Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, and set at least partly in Venice, this is about a professor who uses his knowledge of mythology to rescue his 12-year-old daughter from the underworld.

Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany (March)
When a young mother dies, a long-buried secret is revealed. Her teen daughter is one of the narrators of this family drama.

W. W. Norton

Finding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon (January)
Compared to Possession and The Thirteenth Tale, this one centers on  the origins of King Arthur.  In truth – this might be too dense to appeal to most teens, but it all depends on the writing. If it is accessible, I know exactly who to hand it to!

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein  (March)
Begins with a 15-year-old who lives through the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach  (April)
Mary Roach, author of Stiff, Packing for Mars and Spook, is back with an exploration of our digestive system.


Where am I Eating? A Journey Through the Global Food Economy By Kelsey Timmerman  (April)
This nonfiction, lively exploration of where our food comes from looks like a natural for school libraries.

Superman: The Unauthorized Biography by Glen Weldon (March)
Did you know that Superman turns 75 next year? This is likely only the first of several books that will appeal to teen fans.


Dancers Among UsDancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday by Jordan Matter (November)
I’m cheating here — this is a 2012 title — but it is too beautiful to ignore. Gorgeous dance photography, about finding beauty in the everyday.

Good Kings Bad Kings by Sussan Nussbaum (March)
The latest winner of the Bellwether Prize (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize) follows the residents of an institution for juveniles with disabilities. A novel full of humor and struggle.

Many thanks to the AAP, to the publishers, and to Random House for hosting the event!

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


  1. Diane Colson says:

    Wow! Sounds like another great year for reading. I’m looking forward to many of these books, most especially Ruth Ozeki novel.