Books·Fall Book Preview

9 Canadian young adult books we are excited to read

Yay for YA!

Here's a collection of nine YA books to look forward to in fall 2017.

You can see the complete CBC Books fall preview here. Want a PDF of the entire preview? You can find that here.

Ride or Die by Wanda Lauren Taylor

Wanda Lauren Taylor's novel Ride or Die is about teen sex trafficking and is based on true events in Canada. (CBC/Lorimer)

What it's about: Nova Scotia teen Kanika is looking into the disappearance of her best friend when she meets Danny, an attractive older teenager. Danny ends up selling Kanika into the sex trade in Toronto, where she tragically reunites with her friend. 

Why we chose it: Though Ride or Die is a novel, it is based on true events in Nova Scotia and Toronto. This book is brought to us by the multi-talented Wanda Lauren Taylor, who is a former CBC TV producer, a social justice activist and the author of Birchtown and the Black Loyalist.

When you can read it: Aug. 15, 2017

The Winnowing by Vikki VanSickle

This spooky tale by Vikki VanSickle follows a young girl named Marivic Stone. (Mischa Bartkow/Scholastic Canada)

What it's about: Marivic Stone lives in a small town famous for a medical invention that saved humankind, but at a significant cost. A tragedy separates Marivic from her best friend Saren, and the young heroine will stop at nothing to avenge her friend.

Why we chose it: Vikki VanSickle is a seasoned YA writer, whose previous books include Days That End in Y and Summer Days, Starry Nights, which was nominated for a Red Maple Award.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2017

The Assassin's Curse by Kevin Sands

The Assassin's Curse is the third in a series by Kevin Sands, featuring a resourceful, rebellious apothecary's assistant. (

What it's about: Christopher Rowe, an apothecary-in-training, breaks an assassin's coded message and is sent to Paris to investigate a curse that's plagued the French throne for centuries.

Why we chose it: This series by Kevin Sands has been nothing but heart-pounding, good fun. The first book, The Blackthorn Key, won the 2016 John Spray Mystery Award, among many other honours.

When you can read it: Sept. 5, 2017

#NotYourPrincess edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale

#NotYourPrincess is an anthology of art, essays, interviews and poetry edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale. ( Press/

What it's about: #NotYourPrincess highlights the voices of Native American women across North America, using poetry, essay writing, interviews and art to explore their experiences.

Why we chose it: This edited collection from CBC Radio host Lisa Charleyboy and educator Mary Beth Leatherdale provides a much-needed platform for voices that have long been invisible.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

On the Spectrum by Jennifer Gold

In Jennifer Gold's On the Spectrum, a teenager with an eating disorder learns valuable lessons from her six-year-old brother. (Twitter/Second Story Press)

What it's about: Clara, the daughter of a famous ballerina, is obsessed with healthy eating. A public debacle sends her Paris, where she stays with her estranged father and takes care of her six year-old brother, who is on the autism spectrum.

Why we chose it: Jennifer Gold's two previous books, Soldier Doll and Undiscovered Country, were well-received by critics and, like this new novel, both tackle emotionally challenging subjects.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

​To Look a Nazi in the Eye by Kathy Kacer, with Jordana Lebowitz

To Look a Nazi in the Eye is a nonfiction book about Jordana Lebowitz (right), who attended a war criminal trial in 2015. Kathy Kacer writes her story. (Second Story Press)

What it's about: Jordana Lebowitz, 19, is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. In this nonfiction book written by Kathy Kacer, Lebowitz reflects on what it was like to attend the 2015 trial of Oskar Groening, known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz."

Why we chose it: Lebowitz and Kacer have a powerful and important story to share — we're all ears. Kacer is experienced at tackling difficult historical subjects for a YA audience.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

Caterpillars Can't Swim by Liane Shaw

Caterpillars Can't Swim by Liane Shaw recounts the creation of an unexpected friendship between two boys. ( Story Press)

What it's about: Ryan, 16, is unable to walk and finds joy in swimming. His classmate Jack, tired of being bullied for rumours about this sexuality, attempts to drown himself. Ryan saves Jack's life, creating a bond between the unlikely pair.

Why we chose it: Liane Shaw is an accomplished Canadian YA writer, who fearlessly explores difficult topics. Her previous books include and Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

Adele's Garden by Linda Amyot, translated by Norman Cornett

Adele's Garden, originally published in French, won a Governor General's Literary Award in 2014. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press/Coteau Books/Center for Dialogic Education)

What it's about: A close friendship blossoms between Elaine, a young woman, and Adele, who lives in a stately home and is old enough to be Elaine's grandmother. The younger woman seeks romantic wisdom from her new companion, who reflects on the great love of her life.

Why we chose it: This novel by Linda Amyot won the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature in its original French in 2014.

When you can read it: Nov. 15, 2017

Strangers by David Alexander Robertson

In the novel Strangers, a young man returns home to find his community in shambles. (David A. Robertson/Highwater Press)

What it's about: Cole Harper is called back to Wounded Sky First Nation a decade after a terrible event forced him out. The community he returns to is reeling from a series of recent murders and a terrible plague is ripping through residents. Harper gets help from his oldest friends, plus an unhelpful spirit, to find his purpose.

Why we chose it: David Alexander Robertson has an impressive array of literature to his name, including the graphic novels Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story and Will I See?, the children's book When We Were Alone and the novel The Evolution of Alice. We're excited to see what he comes up with next.

When you can read it: Nov. 20, 2017


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?