Books·Spring Preview

14 Canadian YA books to watch for in spring 2022

Here are the Canadian YA books we can't wait to read this season.

Here are the Canadian YA books we can't wait to read this season.

Echoes and Empires by Morgan Rhodes

Echoes and Empires is a book by Morgan Rhodes. (Razorbill)

Echoes and Empires is filled with elements of epic fantasy. Josslyn Drake lives in a dangerous world of dark deeds and magic — and soon finds herself embroiled in an adventure involving a robbery gone wrong. Josslyn becomes infected by dark magic and needs the help of a criminal named Jericho Nox to help remove it. But Nox wants the soul magic for himself and the desperate Josslyn has to figure out what to do next.

Echoes and Empires is for ages 12 and up.

Morgan Rhodes is an Ontario writer and YA author. Rhodes's work includes the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series of fantasy books. 

In the Serpent's Wake by Rachel Hartman

In the Serpent's Wake is a YA novel by Rachel Hartman. (Penguin Teen)

In the Serpent's Wake protagonist Tess is on a royal mission to travel across the world to stop war from breaking out at home. But when Tess decides that she also intends to find a powerful entity known as the World Serpent along the way, she embarks on a quest filled with adventure, betrayal and heroism. 

In the Serpent's Wake is for ages 13 and up.

Rachel Hartman is an American Canadian writer and YA author. Her books include Tess of the Road, which won the YA category at the 2019 Sunburst Awards. Hartman was also the recipient of the 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award, which honours a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young-adult literature.

The Devil's Music by Nathan Page and Drew Shannon

The Devil's Music is a YA novel by Nathan Page and Drew Shannon. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, Mike Pereira)

The second book in The Montague Twins series of YA novels features detectives, witches and rock and roll. Magical teen detectives Alastair, Pete, Charlie and Rachel are also members of a local rock band. When a big-time rock star named Gideon rolls into their coastal town of Port Howl, a magical mystery follows as well. The Devil's Music is a story about magical music, hypnotic spells and how the Montague Twins have to solve the mystery before all is lost. 

The Devil's Music is for ages 12 and up.

Nathan Page is an Ontario-based author.

Drew Shannon is a Toronto-based illustrator born in London, Ont.

The Red Palace by June Hur

The Red Palace is a YA novel by June Hur. (Feiwel & Friends, Julie Anna Tang)

Set in Korea's royal court of the 18th century, June Hur's The Red Palace is a murder mystery laced with bits of romance. The novel follows Hyeon, the illegitimate daughter of a concubine, who works hard to earn a position as a nurse at the palace. When four women are suddenly killed and her mentor is accused of the crimes, Hyeon teams up with a young police inspector to find the true killer.

June Hur is a Toronto-based writer, originally from South Korea. She's also the author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls.

Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

Blood Scion is a YA book by Deborah Falaye. (HarperTeen, John Bregar)

In the YA fantasy novel Blood Scion, a teen named Sloane discovers she is a superpowered Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods. But when she is forced to join the army under a brutal warlord, Sloane realizes she has an opportunity to use her magical powers to defeat the enemy from within.

Blood Scion is for ages 13 and up.

Deborah Falaye is a Nigerian Canadian YA author based in Toronto. She grew up in Lagos, where she spent her time devouring African literature, pestering her grandma for folktales and tricking her grandfather into watching Passions every night. Blood Scion is her debut novel.

Mountain Runaways by Pam Withers

Mountain Runaways is a YA novel by Pam Withers. (Dundurn Press)

When an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies kills their parents, three children go on the run to avoid being separated by the authorities. Their parents had run a survival school and the children put their skills to the test while trying to live in the Rocky Mountains. But when they get ill and run out of food, the kids must quickly decide their next move before it's too late. 

Mountain Runaways is for ages 12 and up.

Pam Withers is a Vancouver author of over 20 YA novels, including Red Maple nominees Tracker's Canyon, Stowaway and Drone Chase.

Wrong Side of the Court by H. N. Khan

Wrong Side of the Court is a YA novel by H.N. Khan. (Penguin Teen)

Set in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood, Wrong Side of the Court is a YA novel about basketball, dreams and violence. Fifteen-year-old Fawad wants to be the very first Pakistani Canadian to be drafted into the NBA. But life in his neighbourhood sometimes involves bullies and bad situations — things Fawad is trying to avoid. Fawad navigates love, dating, family life and a passion for basketball as he tries to make a better life for himself. 

Wrong Side of the Court is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: March 15, 2022

H.N. Khan is a Pakistani Canadian writer and author. Khan immigrated to Canada at age seven and grew up in the Regent Park community of Toronto. He is a recent graduate of Humber School for Writers' correspondence program. Wrong Side of the Court is his debut book.

Boys and Girls Screaming by Kern Carter

Boys and Girls Screaming is a YA novel by Kern Carter. (DCB, Filena Arcia)

In the YA novel Boys and Girls Screaming, a teen named Ever is coping with the sudden death of her father. Ever decides to form a support group called Boys and Girls Screaming for kids who have suffered trauma. But while the other students share their stories and find solace, Ever is driven deeper into depression and hits her breaking point. It's up to the group to set Ever onto a path of healing. 

Boys and Girls Screaming is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: April 9, 2022

Kern Carter is a Toronto author and freelance writer. He has written and self-published two books — the novella Thoughts of a Fractured Soul and the novel Beauty Scars. Kern also has writing credits in Forbes, the New York Times, Global Citizen, Elle Magazine and

Wish Upon a Satellite by Sophie Labelle

Wish Upon a Satellite is a book by Sophie Labelle (Second Story Press, Julie Artacho)

The adventure of non-binary teen Ciel and their friends continue in this latest YA book. Ciel is growing up and into their own — but the world is filled with challenges, including climate change, social media and complex relationships. When Ciel becomes romantically entangled with their best friend, they must cope with new questions about loyalty and identity.

Wish Upon a Satellite is for ages 13 and up.

When you can read it: May 3, 2022

Sophie Labelle is a trans cartoonist, public speaker and writer from Montreal. She is the creator of the webcomic Assigned Male and has illustrated several comic books.

The Queen of Junk Island by Alexandra Mae Jones

The Queen of Junk Island is a book by Alexandra Mae Jones. (Annick Press)

Set in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island is a YA novel about gender identity and trauma. A teen named Dell is staying at the family cabin for the summer after a traumatic event. But things take a turn for the worse when they discover the area is filled with trash left by the previous tenant and her mother's boyfriend's irreverent daughter has been invited to stay with them. But for Dell, the trip also becomes a time for self-discovery and uncovering past family secrets that come to light. 

The Queen of Junk Island is for ages 16 and up.

When you can read it: May 3, 2022

Alexandra Mae Jones is a queer writer based in Toronto. Her short fiction has been published in several literary magazines, and she is a freelance reporter for She is the 2020 Prairie Fire Fiction Contest winner.

White Lies by Sara de Waard

White Lies is a YA book by Sara de Waard. (DCB, Magnolia Images)

Missy is turning 16 — but life has been less than sweet lately. Her family has suffered loss and Missy only feels guilt and pain these days. Her troubled home life gets even more different after her mother is arrested and her father suffers from alcohol addiction. But a new student named Luke just might be the one person who truly understands what she is going through. 

White Lies is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: May 14, 2022

Sara de Waard is an Ontario author, screenwriter and elementary school teacher. Her writing is often inspired by her compassion for the trials and tribulations of today's youth.

The Signs And Wonders Of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen

The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad is a YA novel by Natasha Deen. (Running Press Kids,

The Signs And Wonders Of Tuna Rashad is about a girl named Tuna and her struggles to deal with teenage life. Tuna wants to be a screenwriter — but her older brother Robby continues to mock her and her aspirations. Tuna is of Caribbean heritage and is in tune with the traditions of her ancestors and is always on the search for messages from loved ones who have died. Tuna also has a crush on a boy at her school — and is waiting for a sign to see if he is The One. 

The Signs And Wonders Of Tuna Rashad is for ages 13 and up.

When you can read it: June 7, 2022

Natasha Deen is a Canadian writer and YA author of Guyanese heritage. 

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is a YA novel by Jesmeen Kaur Deo. (Viking Books For Young Readers)

TJ Power is a young teen who is highly regarded at school as a debater. But when TJ and her cousin Simran become a meme about body hair on social media, TJ decides to embrace her "hairy self." TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is a YA novel about mainstream expectations and staying true to who you are. 

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: June 7, 2022

Jesmeen Kaur Deo is a Canadian author who grew up in northern British Columbia. TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is her debut novel.

Funny Gyal by Angeline Jackson with Susan McClelland

Funny Gyal is a book by Angeline Jackson, left, with Susan McClelland. (, Dundurn Press)

Funny Gyal is a YA nonfiction book about the real-life story of Angeline Jackson, who stood up to Jamaica's oppression of queer youth to demand recognition and justice. Jackson grew up knowing that she was attracted to other girls, and explored her sexuality in her teens. But growing up in a conservative and religious household meant that she was often at odds with her community. Jackson gives a frank and honest account of her life and how she navigated her sexuality and spirituality along the way. Funny Gyal aims to inspire others to let them know that they are not alone.

Funny Gyal is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: June 7, 2022

Angeline Jackson is an LGBTQ human rights activist, an HIV/AIDS educator and the former executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. In 2015, President Barack Obama recognized Jackson as one of Jamaica's remarkable young leaders at the Town Hall for Youth in Kingston, Jamaica. She also participated on a U.S. Senate briefing panel and attended the first White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights.

Susan McClelland is a YA nonfiction writer who spends her time between Toronto and Dumfries-Galloway in Scotland. Her first book, Bite of the Mango, is the true story of a young Sierra Leonean victim of war and has been published in more than 20 countries. She is a former staff writer at Maclean's and has written for the Sunday Times, Marie Claire, Glamour, Ms Magazine, the Guardian, the Walrus and Chatelaine.

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