Some of the best fantasy, science fiction, and horror storytelling is happening in the young adult book world—if you need some specific examples, check out Den of Geek’s picks for the best fiction books of 2018.
There’s so much to look forward to in our speculative fiction future. Here are some of the young adult speculative fiction books (and maybe a few that fall outside of that classification, too) we’re most excited about and/or are currently consuming…
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in September 2019
The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
Type: NovelPublisher: ImprintRelease date: 9/24/19
A haunted Argentinian mansion.A family curse.A twist you’ll never see coming.Welcome to Vaccaro School.
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi―a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother―it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house―despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored… and one of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence.
The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen
Type: First in The Bright Sessions seriesPublisher: Tor TeenRelease date: 9/24/19
Lauren Shippen’s The Infinite Noise is a stunning, original debut novel based on her wildly popular and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy―he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist―who seems to know a lot more than she lets on―and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Type: Sequel to Carry OnPublisher: St. Martin’s PressRelease date: 9/24/19
Simon Snow is back and he’s coming to America!
The story is supposed to be over.
Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…
So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?
What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light.
That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West. They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place.
With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.
Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in August 2019
Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry
Type: NovelPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: 8/6/19
An engrossing and thoughtful contemporary tale that tackles faith, friendship, family, anxiety, and the potential apocalypse from Katie Henry, the acclaimed author of Heretics Anonymous.
There are many ways the world could end. A fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one.
What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.
Despite Ellis’s anxiety—about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones—the two girls become friends. But time is ticking down, and as Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, their search for answers only raises more questions.
When does it happen? Who will believe them? And how do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova
Type: NovelPublisher: Disney LucasFilm PressRelease date: 8/6/19
Izzy and Jules were best friends until Izzy’s family abruptly left Batuu when she was six. But now she’s back, and Jules, the boy who never left, is unsure what to make of her. While on the run from vengeful smugglers and an angry pirate, Jules and Izzy will come to terms with who they are, and what they mean to each other.
Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
Type: NovelPublisher: Inkyard PressRelease date: 8/27/19
For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…
Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.
Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in July 2019
Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller
Type: NovelPublisher: HarperTeenRelease date: 7/2/19
A crucial, genre-bending tale, equal parts Ned Vizzini and Patrick Ness, about the life-saving power of friendship.
Solomon and Ash both experienced a traumatic event when they were twelve.
Ash lost all memory of that event when she fell from Solomon’s treehouse. Since then, Solomon has retreated further and further into a world he seems to have created in his own mind. One that insulates him from reality, but crawls with foes and monsters . . . in both animal and human form.
As Solomon slips further into the place he calls Darkside, Ash realizes her only chance to free her best friend from his pain is to recall exactly what happened that day in his backyard and face the truth—together.
Fearless and profound, Sam J. Miller’s follow up to his award-winning debut novel, The Art of Starving, spins an intimate and impactful tale that will linger with readers.
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Type: First book in the Blood of Stars seriesPublisher: Knopf Books for Young ReadersRelease date: 7/9/19
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined. Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed
Type: NovelPublisher: Simon PulseRelease date: 7/9/19
The Astonishing Color of After meets Eleanor & Park in this breathtaking and beautifully surreal story about a friendship between two teens that just might shake the earth around them or at the very least make them face some painful truths about the nature of what drives us apart…and what brings us together.
Billy Sloat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common, unless you count growing up on the same (wrong) side of the tracks, the lack of a mother, and a persistent loneliness that has inspired creative coping mechanisms.
When the lives of these two loners are thrust together, Lydia’s cynicism is met with Billy’s sincere optimism, and both begin to question their own outlook on life. On top of that, weird happenings including an impossible tornado and an all-consuming fog are cropping up around them—maybe even because of them. And as the two grow closer and confront bigger truths about their pasts, they must also deal with such inconveniences as a narcissistic rock star, a war between unicorns and dragons, and eventually, of course, the apocalypse.
With a unique mix of raw emotion, humor, and heart, the surreal plotline pulls readers through an epic exploration of how caring for others makes us vulnerable—and how utterly pointless life would be if we didn’t.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in June 2019
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Type: NovelPublisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release date: 6/4/19
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
The Chosen by Taran Matharu
Type: First book in the Contender trilogyPublisher: Feiwel & FriendsRelease date: 6/4/19
Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still―people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option. Fans of fantasy and LitRPG will welcome this new character and world from the author of the Summoner series.
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Type: First book in the Harbinger seriesPublisher: Inkyard PressRelease date: 6/11/19
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.
When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…
All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil
Type: NovelPublisher: Soho TeenRelease date: 6/18/19
Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rockstar family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in the girl’s tight-knit household, which operates on a free-love philosophy and easy warmth despite the band’s growing fame.
But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas perform a riot-grrrl ritual in good fun, accidentally summoning a pair of ancient beings bound to avenge the wrongs of Xochi’s past. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family Xochi’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Type: NovelPublisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Release date: 6/25/19
Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to men. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in May 2019
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Type: First book in Aurora Cycle seriesPublisher: Knopf Books for Young ReadersRelease date: 5/7/19
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 . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder An alien warrior with anger-management issues A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And 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.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Type: First in Sands of Arawiya duologyPublisher: Farrar, Straus and GirouxRelease date: 5/14/19
Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame―first in the Sands of Arawiya duology―is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya―but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds―and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Disclaimer: This one isn’t technically YA, but it has a lot of YA sensibilities.
Type: StandalonePublisher: GriffinRelease date: 5/14/19
What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in April 2019
We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Type: NovelPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersRelease date: 4/2/19
Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.
Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.
We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.
The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston
Type: Book 2 in Once Upon a Con universePublisher: Quirk BooksRelease date: 4/2/19
Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: to save her favorite Starfield character, Princess Amara, from being killed off. On the other hand, the actress who plays Amara wouldn’t mind being axed. Jessica Stone doesn’t even like being part of the Starfield franchise—and she’s desperate to leave the intense scrutiny of fandom behind.
Though Imogen and Jess have nothing in common, they do look strangely similar to one another—and a case of mistaken identity at ExcelsiCon sets off a chain of events that will change both of their lives. When the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, with all signs pointing to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. The deal: Imogen will play Jess at her signings and panels, and Jess will help Imogen’s best friend run their booth.
But as these “princesses” race to find the script leaker—in each other’s shoes—they’re up against more than they bargained for. From the darker side of fandom to unexpected crushes, Imogen and Jess must find a way to rescue themselves from their own expectations…and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
Riverland by Fran Wilde
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Amulet BooksRelease date: 4/9/19
When things go bad at home, sisters Eleanor and Mike hide in a secret place under Eleanor’s bed, telling monster stories. Often, it seems those stories and their mother’s house magic are all that keep them safe from both busybodies and their dad’s temper. But when their father breaks a family heirloom, a glass witch ball, a river suddenly appears beneath the bed, and Eleanor and Mike fall into a world where dreams are born, nightmares struggle to break into the real world, and secrets have big consequences. Full of both adventure and heart, Riverland is a story about the bond between two sisters and how they must make their own magic to protect each other and save the ones they love.
Nyxia Uprising by Scott Reintgen
Type: Book 3 in the Nyxia Triad trilogyPublisher: Crown Books for Young ReadersRelease date: 4/16/19
In the highly anticipated Nyxia Triad series finale, Emmett and the Genesis team must join forces with a surprising set of allies if they’re ever to make it home alive.
Desperate to return home to Earth and claim the reward Babel promised, Emmett and the Genesis team join forces with the Imago. Babel’s initial attack left their home city in ruins, but that was just part of the Imago’s plan. They knew one thing Babel didn’t. This world is coming to an end.
Eden’s two moons are on a collision course no one can prevent. After building eight secret launch stations, the Imago hoped to lure Babel down to their doomed planet as they left it behind. A perfect plan until the Genesis team’s escape route was destroyed.
Now the group must split up to survive the hostile terrain and reach another launch station. As both sides struggle for the upper hand, the fight leads inevitably back into space, where Emmett, his crewmates, and their new allies will fight one final battle for control of the Genesis ships. Win this time, and they’ll survive Babel’s twisted game once and for all. As the Imago world falls, this is the last chance to rise.
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
Type: First book in planned seriesPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: 4/23/19
A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.
Esha lost everything in the royal coup—and as the legendary rebel known as the Viper, she’s made the guilty pay. Now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has only been growing more volatile.
When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.
As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.
King of Fools by Amanda Foody
Type: Second book in The Shadow Game seriesPublisher: Inkyard PressRelease date: 4/30/19
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…
On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Séance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.
Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with the estranged son of mafia donna Vianca Augustine. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by Vianca’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.
As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…
Or die as legends.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in March 2019
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Type: NovelPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: 3/5/19
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.
But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.
Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.
Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro
Type: Book 4 in the Charlotte Holmes seriesPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: 3/5/19
In the explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Charlotte Holmes series, Holmes and Watson think they’re finally in the clear after graduating from Sherringford…but danger awaits in the hallowed halls of Oxford.
Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson finally have a chance to start over. With all the freedom their pre-college summer program provides and no one on their tail, the only mystery they need to solve, once and for all, is what they are to each other.
But upon their arrival at Oxford, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents befell the theater program at Oxford last year, culminating in a young woman going missing on the night of a major performance.
The mystery has gone unsolved; the case is cold. And no one—least of all the girl’s peculiar, close-knit group of friends—is talking.
When Watson and Holmes join the theater program, the “accidents” start anew, giving them no choice but to throw themselves into the case. But as the complicated lines of friendship, love, and loyalty blur, time is running out—and tragedy waits in the wings.
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Type: NovelPublisher: Little, Brown Books For Young ReadersRelease date: 3/19/19
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.
The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
Type: Book 2 in the Belles seriesPublisher: FreeformRelease date: 3/5/19
In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies—a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely—and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.
Sherwood by Meaghan Spooner
Type: NovelPublisher: HarperTeenRelease date: 3/19/19
Robin of Locksley is dead.
Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.
Who is there to stop them?
Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.
Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta
Type: First in planned trilogyPublisher: Jimmy PattersonRelease date: 3/26/19
King Arthur as you’ve never imagined! This bold, sizzling YA retells the popular legend with the Once and Future King as a teenage girl — and she has a universe to save.I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur. Now I’m done hiding. My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.No pressure.
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in February 2019
The Waning Age by S.E. Grove
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Viking Books for Young ReadersRelease date: 2/5/19
The Waning Age is set in a parallel San Francisco where, when you turn 10, you begin to lose you emotions. This process is known as waning. When Natalia’s little brother is captured by RealCorp, a shady pharmaceutical corporation to be tested on because he does not seem to be losing his emotions like everyone else, Natalia must use her martial arts skills and perhaps her love for her brother to get him back. Pretty cool premise, right?
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Simon PulseRelease date: 2/19/19
When Dino DeLuca’s ex-best friend July dies and then comes back to life on the table in Dino’s family’s funeral home, things start to get weird. What follows is an examination into why Dino and July’s friendship fell apart, with two very different perspectives: July thinks it’s because of Dino’s boyfriend Rafi. Dino thinks it’s because July was jealous of Rafi. As is often the case with these situations, the answer lies somewhere in between.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: 2/26/19
Welcome to Medio, a divided island nation. One side of wall is impoverished. The other side is, um, not. On the latter, the upper-class women are trained at the Medio School for Girls to be wives who either a) run the household or b) raise children. Daniela Vargas was born on the “wrong” side of the wall, but forged her papers to become a top student at the Medio School for Girls. When she is matched with a powerful man to run his household, a resistance group recruits her to spy on her new family.
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
Type: Book three in the Witchlands seriesPublisher: Tor TeenRelease date: 2/12/19
Threadsisters Safiya and Iseult work to fight their way back to each other in Bloodwitch, the third book in Susan Dennard’s badass series that is set in a magical world ruled by three empires that, when the series starts, are about to come to the end of a Twenty-Year Truce that has halted a centuries-long war. Oh yeah: and, in this world, every member of the population is born with a magical skill set, known as a “witchery.”
In Bloodwitch, we learn more about Bloodwitch Aeduan’s backstory as he teams up with Iseult and magical girl Owl to stop raiders from destroying a monastery that “holds more than just faith.” These books are being adapted into a live-action TV series by The Jim Henson Company, so now is a great time to dive in, if you haven’t already!
Best New Young Adult Speculative Fiction Books in January 2019
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Type: Book Two in The Folk of the Air seriesPublisher: Little, Brown Books For Young ReadersRelease date: 1/8/19
If you haven’t heard of The Cruel Prince, then you probably didn’t read any YA in 2018. The story picks back up in The Wicked King, with Jude bound to Cardan after having tricked him into becoming king. When it becomes apparent that someone close to Jude is looking to betray her, Jude must uncover the traitor while also navigating her feelings for Cardan. #itscomplicated
Slayer by Kiersten White
Type: Set in Dark Horse continuityPublisher: Simon PulseRelease date: 1/8/19
A new novel set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kiersten White’s story follows not Buffy, but another Chosen One trying to figure out her role in the supernatural fight while also coming of age into a confusing world.
The eponymous Slayer here is Nina Jamison-Smythe, the daughter of Buffy’s first Watcher, and the Last Slayer. Slayer is the perfect entry point for new Buffy fans, while also sure to delight existing fans. You can read our full review here.
The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Type: First book in Girl King seriesPublisher: Bloomsbury YARelease date: 1/8/19
You’ve heard of sibling rivalry, right? Asian-inspired fantasy The Girl King takes the theme to the next level, telling the story of two sisters who become somewhat reluctant rivals in the quest to rule the empire. When their emperor father gives Lu’s birthright to her nephew, Lu leaves home to find a new path to power, while her younger sister, Min, quietly gains power from within the empire.
Imprison the Sky by A.C. Guaghen
Type: Book Two in the Elementae seriesPublisher: Bloomsbury YARelease date: 1/22/19
In the sequel to Reign of Earth, trading vessel ship captain Aspasia works to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can, using her powerful magic. As Cyrus, the leader of the black market empire, gets closer to uncovering Aspasia’s secrets (that she is a wind Elementae, and that she is looking for her lost family), Aspasia finds herself at the center of a brewing war.
Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Type: Book Two in the Reign of the Fallen duologyPublisher: RazorbillRelease date: 1/22/19
In this follow-up to 2018’s fantasy breakout Reign of the Fallen, Odessa is back. This time, she is facing a Karthia where the kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in 300 years. Raising the dead has been outlawed and Odessa sets out on an ocean voyage with Meredy that takes them to “a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets.” I’m in!
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Type: Book One in King of Scars duologyPublisher: ImprintRelease date: 1/29/19
Leigh Bardugo wrote one of our 2017 faves—Wonder Woman: Warbringer—so we are here for this start to a fantasy duology (is it just me or are duologies very in right now?). King of Scars is a Slavic-influenced fantasy about Nikolai Lantsov, a young ruler with a dark magic growing inside of him following a bloody civil war.
Nikolai teams up with a young monk and ‘a legendary Grisha Squaller,” and journeys to “the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him.” Sounds like Nikolai has some big goals for 2019. Good for him.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Bloomsbury YARelease date: 1/29/19
Recent on-screen adaptations of Beauty and the Beast have done nothing to modernize the tale, which is one of the many reasons why I am so into the concept for this book. A cross between portal fantasy and contemporary YA, A Curse so Dark and Lonely follows Harper, a young woman with cerebral palsy who is sucked through a portal into the world of Emberfall where she meets a cursed prince. Yep, I’m in.
What new YA speculative fiction books are on your radar? Let us know in the comments below or over at the Den of Geek Book Club!