Last year Between the Lines brought you a list of upcoming books that we just couldn’t wait to read. This year we’ve decided to do it all again, as our ‘to-read’ list just gets bigger…and bigger…and bigger! All the books below are due to be released in the first half of 2017, though we can’t promise they’ll all be on time! In this post, we’re highlighting famous YA authors, graphic novel adaptations and historical literature. Check back soon for part two…
YA authors strike back!
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (author of Divergent) released 17th January 2017
Veronica Roth tested her fans’ loyalty in 2013 when her Divergent series ended with a controversial death. We can’t tell whether Carve the Mark is the first book in a series of two, three, four or more novels, but the words ‘space opera’ keep cropping up in early reviews- prepare yourself for a cliffhanger ending and a saga of epic Star Wars-esque proportions! Carve the Mark is set on a planet where young people are born with unique powers. Protagonists Cyra and Akos are susceptible to manipulation, which makes them a valuable target for people who need others to do their ‘dirty work’. It sounds like Roth is covering some familiar ground- both Divergent and Carve the Mark feature corrupt leaders and a population ranked by their abilities- but the off-world location has certainly peaked our interest. Our post on dystopian literature features more teenage rebels, political tussling and the occasional love story.
Veronica Roth’s Divergent series spawned a franchise that included four movies, spin-off novellas and this collectable Barbie doll!
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) released 1st April 2017
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was the breakout hit of 2016- the audiobook read by Lin-Manuel Miranda topped the Audible best seller list and readers praised Saenz for writing a book with two LGBT, Latinx protagonists. Unlike Aristotle and Dante, which was set in 1987, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life takes places in the modern day, as main character Sal starts his senior year of high school. Sal used to be able to handle the bullies who can’t get to grips with his family- Sal is adopted, and his father is a single, gay Mexican. This year, something has snapped within Sal, and suddenly all of his problem seem to start and end with his fists. He still loves his dad, so where does his rage stem from? The Inexplicable… has already drawn comparisons with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a classic introspective YA novel. You can read an excerpt here; check out our review of The Broken Bridge by Philip Pullman for more unconventional family drama.
Release by Patrick Ness (author of A Monster Calls) released 4th May 2017
Patrick Ness had a great year in 2016- A Monster Calls was released in cinemas, Class (a Doctor Who spin-off) was shown on the BBC and The Rest of Us Just Live Here was shortlisted for multiple book awards. Ness’ work can usually be categorised as magical realism or even straightforward sci-fi, but his upcoming novel Release was inspired by 20th century Modernist novels like Mrs Dalloway. The action will take place on a single fateful day when gay protagonist Adam confronts his evangelical father. Ness has said that Release is the “most personal” of all his books to date, and he hasn’t shied away from themes like death, sexuality, mental health and parental abuse in the past. You can find The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, A Monster Calls and More Than This in our EXPRESS FICTION section.
Patrick Ness’ novel A Monster Calls is in cinemas now- have you seen it?
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, released 7th February 2017
This release is timed to coincide with the premier of American Gods, the TV series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel. In this retelling of the Prose Edda (a collection of Norse myths from the 13th century) Gaiman recounts the battles between Odin, God of Wisdom, and Loki the trickster god. You might recognise Odin’s son Thor from the MCU– sadly none of the movies have featured his pet goats or his marriage to the king of the giants.
Other adaptations of Norse sagas include Bloodtide, reviewed here on Between the Lines, and Beowulf, which was written in England but set in Viking mead halls on the Scandinavian coast. The 2008 film adaptation was scripted by Neil Gaiman and Pulp Fiction co-author Roger Avary. Our reviews of Good Omens and The Graveyard Book both capture Gaiman’s signature wit and his fascination with all things otherworldly!
The goddess Freya is sure to appear in Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology- we hope she brings her cats along!
Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz, released 11th April 2017
It’s official- Hamilton is coming to London in 2017! If you fail to snag tickets on January 30th, fear not- Alex and Eliza will be available to read from April. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is famously faithful to the real-life story of founding father Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Schuyler. We’re interested to see how the novel will portray Eliza’s sister Angelica (and her not-quite-unrequited crush on Alexander) and Alexander’s mistress Maria Reynolds, who was scandalised in a one hundred page long pamphlet about their affair. Alex and Eliza were 23 when they married- perhaps a little old for a YA title. We wouldn’t be surprised if the novel focused on their early lives apart, and ended just as soon as they got together. We wouldn’t rule out a sequel, though- as the musical proves, the truth of their marriage was stranger than fiction! See below for a link to our collection of books on American history, or click here to read about stage adaptations of other famous stories.
Alexander Hamilton might have been a strange choice for a YA romance prior to the success of Hamilton the musical.
Graphic novel adaptations and spin-offs
Adventure Time: Ice King published by Titan Comics, released 30th December 2016
Adventure Time started out simply: two wisecracking brothers- one dog and one human!- live together in a fantasy land called Ooo. Slowly, the writers revealed that ‘Ooo’ exists in a nuclear bombsite, where human life has been all but replaced by mutants and magic. With the help of a magical artefact, one human survived for thousands of years to become the villain now known as the Ice King. Formerly a one-dimensional character, Ice King now has a legion of fans desperate to learn more about his complicated (and often very sad) back story. This book is comprised of six single issue comics that chart Ice King’s adventures with his penguin sidekick Gunter. Gunter has a connection to the Ice King’s powerful crown which, when removed, causes the King to revert back to his human form, with all his human memories. We told you it was complicated- but Adventure Time: Ice King is still filled with cute and colourful illustrations, puns, non-sequiturs and cameos by a giant cast of characters. Existing fans will love it! Find our review of WALL:E, another animation set in a distant, dystopian future, here.
Ice King: an unlikely hero for a cartoon series.
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E Butler and John Jennings, released 10th January 2017
Octavia E Butler is famous for her sci-fi novels, which- like all great sci-fi- question the roles that class, race, sex and gender play in our own society. Kindred has a few things in common with Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander series: Dana, a black woman from the 1970s, travels back in time to a slave plantation in the 1860s. In order for her to live in the modern day, she must protect her ancestor Rufus, a vicious white slave owner, from various threats to his life. Dana is able to bring her white husband Kevin back in time with her, but they are quickly separated when Dana is forced to pose as a slave. They repeatedly fail to save slaves from Rufus’ cruel whims, and question whether his life is really worth the effort! The tortures that were inflicted on enslaved people by their white masters are illustrated in full colour, so this book is undoubtedly not for the squeamish. We still think the graphic novel format is a great way to experience a sci-fi classic, and learn about a dark period in history. We covered American politics and history in this post on Between the Lines last year; click here to read our review of Shaun Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival, which deals with immigration and alienation.
Kindred was originally published in 1979 by Hugo Award-winning sci-fi novelist Octavia E Butler.
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer, released 1st February 2017
Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is one of the top-rated YA series on Goodreads. Ostensibly a retelling of the Cinderella story, it features a bisexual, Asian protagonist and a cast of fairytale heroines who can engineer cyborgs, hack security networks and pilot spaceships. Wires and Nerve is the first volume in a spin-off that pits Cinder’s android Iko against a renegade band of hybrid soldiers. Artist Douglas Holgate previously worked on Gail Simone’s Legends of Red Sonja– comic book writer Simone contacted ten women writers from film, TV, comics and fantasy, and together they rewrote the story of the warrior princess who first appeared in Conan the Barbarian comics back in the 1930s. We can think of no-one better to bring this feminist fairytale to life! Check out our review of Disney’s Frozen to learn about other updated folk tales.
Sherlock: A Study in Pink By Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Jay, released 28th February 2017
Sherlock is hugely popular in Japan, China and South Korea, partly due to the recurring ‘tension’ between lead actors Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. A Study in Pink is adapted from the pilot episode of the BBC TV series, which was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. Recovering army medic John Watson moves into 221B Baker Street and helps brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes solve a series of apparent suicides. The TV series uses text overlays to help the audience keep up with Sherlock’s lightning-fast deductions, a technique which translates easily to the manga format. The book should be released a month after the final episode of Sherlock series 3- check it out during the agonising wait for series 4! There have been many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes over the years- check out some of them here.
Sherlock fans responded to the series 2 finale by promoting “John Watson”‘s fictional blog.
You can also click here to read about the book-to-film adaptations coming to cinemas in 2017.
Christmas, Eli (2011) Macro Ten Dollar Bill Available at: https://flic.kr/p/avCdBx (Accessed: 4 January 2017)
Drumm, C (2009) kindred Available at: https://flic.kr/p/6XMfcY (Accessed: 3 January 2017)
duncan c (2012) I believe in Sherlock Holmes Available at: https://flic.kr/p/bD8kVQ (Accessed: 3 January 2017)
Mozart, M (2014) Barbie Divergent Available at: https://flic.kr/p/oFp8V6 (Accessed: 4 January 2017)
prettybooks (2011) A Monster Calls Available at: https://flic.kr/p/9YMBLZ (Accessed: 4 January 2017)
Rankin, S (2015) Freyja and Her Cat-Drawn Chariot Available at: https://flic.kr/p/rvCx5T (Accessed: 4 January 2017)
Selbert, F (2011) Ice King with Tongue Sticking Out – Special Pose Available at: https://flic.kr/p/amDC1Y (Accessed: 3 January 2017)