Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of May releases in science fiction, urban fantasy, and epic fantasy. Today’s column examines new releases in YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL.
The Symptoms: May is a month for singing and dancing—well, at least for those teens not trapped in a hellish dystopia. “Glee” comes to YA paranormals this month as superpowered high school students take to the stage.
The Diagnosis: Twenty-two new YA paranormals break out in verse and song this month, including proms, costumes, and a resurgence of Shakespearean melodrama.
The Cure: Make your choice. Perform Shakespeare before a live audience (which could involve kissing your BFF’s guy), or move into the dystopian worlds where the sun never shines. Oh, or find a hot vampire guy in your school to protect you.
Theorem: Petrovitch has a lot of secrets. Secrets like how to make anti-gravity for one. For another, he’s keeping a sentient computer program on a secret server farm—the same program that nearly destroyed the Metrozone a few months back. The people of the OutZone want what citizens of the Metrozone have. And then burn it to the ground. Now, with the heart of the city destroyed by the New Machine Jihad, the Outies finally see their chance. Someone is trying to kill Petrovitch and they’re willing to sink the whole city to do it. Newest in the Samuil Petrovitch series.
Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica—one of the last inhabitable places on earth, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy. But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home—the only one she’s ever known. It’s only when her mother doesn’t come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former “Mainlander,” and her mother’s role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica.
After some time off, Kendall’s ready to begin ghost hunting again. But her life is still in flux. She misses Patrick, her new love. She needs to find a photographer to replace Taylor. Plus, she may have discovered who her real father is, but she has to convince his family she’s not a fake. And then there’s a certain doll that seems to be out to get her and her friends. Unless, perhaps, it’s not just a doll. Maybe it’s a vessel containing the soul of a man so evil in life, not even death could stop his reign of terror. Fifth in the Ghost Huntress series.
It’s springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she’s beginning to worry about where she’ll end up come fall—and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that’s not the only uncertainty Daisy’s dealing with. There’s a vamps-versus-shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of canceling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano home, since Rose and Daisy are both dating werewolves and Poppy’s new boyfriend is a vampire. Can the paranormal community in Nightshade ever find peace? Fifth in the Dead Is series.
Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster. But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen.
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire 16 years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood, and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
Ever since high school student Anastasija Parker discovered she was vampire royalty, her life has been sort of crazy. The half-vampire, half-witch just wants some normalcy, and trying out for the spring musical seems like the perfect fix. But when the ancient talisman that stands between vampire freedom and slavery to witches is stolen, Ana has to skip rehersal and track down the dangerous artifact before someone uses it to make this year’s curtain call her last. Second in the Vampire Princess of St. Paul series.
Desi Bascomb’s job as a princess substitute has gotten a whole lot more glamorous now that she’s advanced to Level 2 within the Facade Agency. Magical make-up, roller-skating celebrities, and the chance to see Prince Karl again are just some of the major perks. Not to mention, she’s landed the role of Fairy Queen in her school’s production of Midsummer’s Night Dream. Life should be perfect, but Desi can’t seem to shake the feeling that there is more going on with the agency’s magic than she’s told. Second in the Princess for Hire series.
Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice. But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail. Third in the Wings series.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. First in the Divergent series.
While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her reawakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a fur-jacker—a skin jacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins, and has his own agenda. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.
Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. Second in the Shade series.
Sophomore Catlyn Youngblood is used to the nomadic existence she and her two older brothers have shared since the death of their parents. When they settle down for good in the sleepy backwoods town of Lost Lake, Fla., Cat thinks they might finally fit in. Instead, they’re shunned by the locals. While riding her horse late one night, Cat meets an enigmatic and handsome boy named Jesse Raven. Even more strange than her overpowering attraction to him is Jesse’s apparent aversion to the sun. As their attraction intensifies, long-kept secrets come to light. Cat learns that the Ravens are a centuries-old vampire clan...and worse still, that she and her brothers are descendents of Abraham Van Helsing, the world-famous vampire hunter. First in The Youngbloods series.
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her 17th birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water’s temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean’s future hangs in the balance.
Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era. Gwyneth must unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. U.S. release. First in the Edelstein Trilogie.
When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple’s tragic deaths, Jamie discovers she looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie’s connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything. Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent. Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. First in the Revenants series.
Mae Crawford’s always thought of herself as in control, but in the last few weeks her life has changed. Her younger brother, Jamie, suddenly has magical powers, and she’s even more unsettled when she realizes that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. Even worse? Jamie hasn’t told Mae a thing about any of it. Will Mae be able to find a way to save everyone she cares about from the power-hungry magician’s carefully laid trap?
Madison Avery’s dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It’s amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn’t think she’s totally nuts. Now Madison has learned that she’s the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it’s time for a major change to the system. Third in the Madison Avery series.
When 16-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left for dead in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two girls who are shocked by the loss of their former friend. At the same time Eve must face the hole left by Lark’s absence, she also can’t shake the guilt that Lark’s death was her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted by Lark’s ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize it is their responsibility to uncover why Lark is trapped in limbo, but only by coming together to find the missing pieces of themselves can they bring peace to Lark.
The twins of prophesy have been divided, and the end is finally beginning. With Scatty, Joan of Arc, Saint Germain, Palamedes, and Shakespeare all in Danu Talis, Sophie is on her own with the ever-weakening Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. She must depend on Niten to help her find an immortal to teach her Earth Magic. The surprise is that she will find her teacher in the most ordinary of places. Fifth in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.
Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life. Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere’s 16th birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is annoyed that she’s far past 16 and still hasn’t discovered her secret powers. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.