JJ Reads

37 Most Anticipated 2019 Books

This post is exactly what the title suggests. There are SO MANY amazing books coming out this year (my goodreads shelf has 82 books that sound amazing) but I managed to narrow it down to a top 37. Yes, okay, that might not sound much like narrowing it down but it was super hard. Hopefully there is something for everyone here but a few quick facts:

  • This list has a mix of YA & Adult books (with one MG squeezed in)
  • The majority (2/3) are queer
  • There’s a mix of fantasy, scifi, contemporary and historical (quite a few fit more than one) in lots of sub genres which is why…
  • I’m ordering this post by release date (according to goodreads) rather than deciding which book goes in which genre
  • I’m also sticking to standalone or series starters rather than sequels
  • All links go to goodreads and I’ve tried to include what rep I know about but have undoubtedly missed lots.

I’d love to know what your most anticipated releases are. Are they on this list or have I missed something?


The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Adult //  Fantasy

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

YA // Contemporary

Rukhsana is caught kissing her girlfriend by her conservative Muslim parents, who respond by forcing her to move from Seattle to Bangladesh. 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

YA // Historical Fantasy
POC (Black, Indian) // Biracial (Algerian/French, Filipino/Spanish) // LGBTQ (Bi) // Autism // Jewish rep

Set in a darkly glamorous Paris, it follows a charismatic but cursed heir of a massive fortune as he plots to steal one of three ancient and powerful artifacts of fate. He and his crew will navigate the elite gatherings of secret occult societies, traveling through Paris’s catacombs where they must confront their worst secrets as well as a destiny they never imagined.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Adult // Historical Fantasy

Bookbinders remove unwanted memories and trap them safely in writing where they can be kept from escaping. When Emmett is apprenticed to a binder, he starts to suspect his own recollections may have been tampered with.


Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

YA // Contemporary Thriller 
LGBTQ (Aro/Ace)

For Nari, aka Narioka Diane, aka hacker digital alter ego “d0l0s,” it’s college and then a career at “one of the big ones,” like Google or Apple. Keagan, her sweet, sensitive boyfriend, is happy to follow her wherever she may lead. Reese is an ace/aro visual artist with plans to travel the world. Santiago is off to Stanford on a diving scholarship, with very real Olympic hopes. And Bellamy? Physics genius Bellamy is admitted to MIT—but the student loan she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out her estranged father—one Robert Foster—is loaded. Nari isn’t about to let her friend’s dreams be squashed by a deadbeat billionaire, so she hatches a plan to steal just enough from Foster to allow Bellamy to achieve her goals.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Adult // Fantasy

Ead, undercover as a lady-in-waiting, must protect the queen from lurking assassins; the queen, Sabran IX, theoretically belongs to a magical bloodline whose existence binds the huge and abominable dragon, the Nameless One, at the bottom of the ocean. Half a world away, young Tané, the rider and companion of a more benevolent sort of dragon, breaks her country’s strict ban on allowing seafarers through its borders. This sets in motion a chain of events that reveals that Sabran’s ancestry may not be the true source of the Nameless One’s bindings, and that tests all three women profoundly in their attempts to keep humankind safe from the beast. 

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Adult // Sci-Fi Contemporary

Britain, the not-too-distant future. Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test. He wants his family to belong. Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress. When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death. How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P Djeli Clark

Adult // Historical Fantasy
POC (Egyptian)

In an alternate Cairo where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.

Empire of Light by Alex Harrow 

Adult // Sci-fi
LGBTQ (Gay, Pan, M/M)

Damian Nettoyer is the Empire’s go-to gun. He kills whoever they want him to kill. In exchange, he and his rag-tag gang of crooks get to live, and Damian’s psychokinetic partner and lover, Aris, isn’t issued a one-way ticket to an Empire-sanctioned lobotomy. Then Damian’s latest mark, a suave revolutionary named Raeyn, kicks his ass and demands his help. The first item on the new agenda: take out Damian’s old boss—or Raeyn will take out Damian’s crew.


Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

YA // Contemporary Fantasy

Mae and her brother Rossa get sent to live with their Aunt and her teenage ward, Bevan, for the summer. There’s a dark power lurking in the walls that calls itself Sweet James and Bevan wants to magic it’s offering. Mae and Rossa are the only two people who know what happened after the house burns down. Told as a twisting fairytale with multiple timelines woven in. 

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

YA // Science fantasy

LGBTQ (Pan, Gay, Bi, Nonbinary, Ace, F/F, M/M) // POC (Black, Arab, Latinx)

In a galaxy where corporation is king, an illegal immigrant crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls Excalibur, sealing her fate as the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, and awakening Merlin, who has aged backwards into a teenager; together they spark galactic revolution

The Perfect Assassin by K A Doore

Adult // Fantasy

LGBTQ (Asexual MC, F/F)

As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, Amastan’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs. Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed. Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.

A Time Travellers Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J Reynolds

YA // Sci-fi historical contemporary….???


A Victorian-era boy travels to the future and must choose between the freedom to be with the modern-era boy who captures his heart and the fate of his family in the past.

Internment by Samira Ahmed 

YA // Contemporary

POC & Muslim rep

Set in the near future, Muslim Americans are forced into an internment camp, and 17-year-old Layla Amin must find the courage to fight back against Islamophobia, oppression, and complicit silence.


The Boy who Steals Houses by CG Drews

YA // Contemporary

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K Banker

YA // Fantasy
POC (Indian inspired) // Disability

The young heirs to the vast Krushan empire—one blind, one albino—are threatened by a powerful demonlord who’s determined to bring the empire down

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson

YA // Historical
POC’s (Black, Portuguese) // LGBTQ (Gay, M/M)

The story follows two boys who can only rely on each other as they travel through war-torn Kosovo in the midst of extreme violence that threatens to swallow the country whole.

Finder by Suzanne Palmer 

Adult // Sci-Fi

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder. His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. But the planet he finds it on launches into civil war and his routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around


The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

YA // Contemporary Fantasy
LGBTQ (Nonbinary, Queer, Ace, Bi)

17-year-old Danny is drawn to the redwoods of California by a spell. The cove of queer teen witches who cast it need Danny’s abilities to bring back their friend who’s gone blank—lost to the world

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

YA // Contemporary
LGBTQ (Bi) // Mental Health

Biz, who is floating through life after her father’s death, still sees her dad everywhere: he tells her about the little kid she was, and how much he loves her. But Biz doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. She doesn’t tell them about her dark, runaway thoughts, either, or about kissing Grace and noticing Jasper, the new boy. Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface. But after something happens on the beach, Biz comes undones Her dad disappears, and with him, all her comfort.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

YA // Contemporary
LGBTQ (Nonbinary, Enby/M) // Mental Health (Anxiety Disorder)

A non-binary teen is kicked out by their parents after coming out, but learns that sometimes from disaster one can build a happier new life

Switchback by Danika Stone

YA // Contemporary Thriller 
LGBTQ (Aro/Ace)

An unexpected October snowstorm separates Ash and Vale from the rest of their class on a camping trip. By the time the teens realize they’ve missed the trail, they have wandered deep into the Canadian Rockies. Lost in the wilderness and hunted by deadly predators, their only hope is to work together. But with Vale’s limited supplies and Ash’s inexperience, can the best friends stay alive long enough to find their way back to civilization? 

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

YA // Sci-fi
Biracial MC (Irish/Chinese) // LGBTQ

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch. Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

YA // Contemporary

Structured around a deposition, in which the main character must testify about what really happened the night he was stabbed by his best friend.

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

MG // Contemporary

Nova, an autistic, nonverbal, space-obsessed 12-year-old who is awaiting the Challenger shuttle launch and the return of her big sister, Bridget, as she struggles to be understood, and ultimately, shines in her new foster family.


The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

YA // Contemporary Fantasy
POC (Mexican)

Sisters Marisol and Gabriella Morales make it across the Mexican border only to learn their request for asylum is being denied, unless Marisol participates in a human study for a cutting-edge PTSD treatment.

The Outside by Ada Hoffman 

Adult // Sci-fi

In a galaxy ruled by AI Gods, an autistic scientist is kidnapped after an experiment goes wrong and is forced to hunt down her missing mentor.


Wilder Girls by Rory Power

YA // Dystopian

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.
For people who like survival stories, f/f, horror, boarding school, and thrillers.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

Adult // Contemporary Fantasy

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.


David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Adult // Fantasy
POC (Nigerian) // Muslim rep

Nigerian godpunk. Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.


Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman

YA // Contemporary Thriller

A comedic thriller about a gay teen who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity and is forced to go on the run from murderous cyber-terrorists and government agents, not knowing who he can trust even if they’re disarmingly attractive

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

YA // Contemporary/Historical

Set in St Louis circa 1973, the story follows a young man named Jonathan who spends his days hiding under his hoodie, imagining scifi scenarios to avoid all the awful things in the world. When he meets Web and the two boys fall in love, they struggle to maintain their identities in a world trying to tear then apart.


A Treason of Thorns by Laura E Weymouth

YA // Historical Fantasy

In an alternate history England where the good of the land is tied to five magical and sentient Great Houses, one girl is tasked with serving as Caretaker of a Great House that’s slowly dying.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Adult // Science Fantasy
LGBTQ (Lesbian)

Gideon the ninth is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton. The emperor needs necromancers. The ninth necromancer needs a swordsman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit. Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. A heart pounding epic science fantasy.

Chilling Effect by Valarie Valdes  

YA // Sci-Fi
POC (Cuban)

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy agency that holds people hostage in cryostasis Eva struggles through one unpleasant, dangerous mission after another to pay the ransom debt. To make things worse, she’s stuck with a hold full of psychic cats, a fish-faced emperor wants her dead for rejecting him, and her engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings


Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

YA // Sci-fi
LGBTQ (Aro/Ace, F/F)

A queer outlaw mechanic with a clockwork heart must team up with her worst enemy – the son of the man responsible for a sweeping epidemic of deadly heart disorders and the alluring spy posing as his betrothed – to save her village and the planet.


Refraction by Naomi Hughes

YA // Science fantasy

About a teen wrestling with OCD while working as a black market mirror dealer in a world where reflections spawn deadly cracks in the fabric of reality. Or, as the author puts it, “full of OCD rep and bromance and banter and creeptastic shadowy monsters that crawl out of mirrors”



Phew, lots of books. The ones towards the end of the year don’t have covers yet but they sound awesome enough without them. I’m so excited.

Let me know what you think and what I’ve missed in the comments below! What is your most anticipated book of the year?

Bloglovin / Twitter Etsy / Goodreads

6 thoughts on “37 Most Anticipated 2019 Books”

  1. So. Many. Books.

    All these YA sci-fi romance types are going on my TBR list.

    Surprised you didn’t mention the next Warlock Holmes series book. The 5th book comes out around May I think? Such a kickass series.

    Liked by 1 person

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