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 December releases in science fiction, urban fantasy, and epic fantasy. Today’s column examines new releases in YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL.
The Symptoms: Teens are collapsing under the weight of previously unknown powers, all of which seem to have earth-saving import, and young women are following the trail of sexy werewolf boys into the dark, dangerous forest.
The Diagnosis: Eleven new YA paranormals start high school in December, including four secret-power tales, three werewolves, three vampires, and a lonely band of dystopian survivors.
The Cure: Okay, girls, here’s the deal. If there’s a new boy in school, and he’s moody and totally hot and seems drawn to you despite your utter lack of social skills and dating history, just figure he’s a werewolf and go with it. After all, the full moon only comes once a month.
Last Sacrifice, by Richelle Mead (Dec. 7, Razorbill)
The finale in Mead’s bestselling Vampire Academy series finds Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne. Although this technically ends the Vampire Academy story for Rose, a spinoff series set in the Vampire Academy world featuring side characters and a new storyline is expected in 2011.
Alanna: The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce (Dec. 7, Atheneum)
In this Song of the Lioness outing, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.
The Gift, by James Patterson and Ned Rust (Dec. 13, Little, Brown)
Second in the Witch & Wizard series. When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order. But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is “The One Who Has the Gift.”
Tempestuous, by Lesley Livingston (Dec. 21, HarperTeen)
“I don’t love Sonny Flannery.” That’s the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn’t know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae hidden deep underneath New York City. But Kelley’s not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she’s got to find out who’s after his magick—and how to use her own. The intrigue and romance that began with Wondrous Strange and Darklight come to a head in Tempestuous, the conclusion to Lesley Livingston’s urban Faerie trilogy.
Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2, by Alexander Gordon Smith (Dec. 21, Farrar Straus Giroux)
Alex Sawyer and his mates should have known there was no way out of Furnace Penitentiary. Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the guts of this prison for young offenders, and then into solitary confinement. And that’s where a whole new struggle begins—a struggle not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them. Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless nights.
Bloody Valentine, by Melissa de la Cruz (Dec. 28, Hyperion)
In the world of the popular Blue Bloods series, vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, and the ability to shapeshift. But in matters of the heart, no one has control. In Bloody Valentine, Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps—the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing.
The Lost Saint, by Bree Despain (Dec. 28, Egmont)
In the highly anticipated sequel to The Dark Divine, Grace Devine receives a haunting phone call from Jude and knows she must become a Hound of Heaven. Desperate to find her brother, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer who promises he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace and she becomes prideful in her new abilities, not realizing an old enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.
Vampire Crush, by A.M. Robinson (Dec. 28, HarperCollins)
Sophie McGee swears her life was always totally normal. And James was always in it, the boy next door who used to steal her sandwiches in fourth grade and who, these days, seems to have the ability to make her heart race. But now James is hanging out with a new group of kids in school, ones with a wardrobe straight out of a 19th-century romance novel, and an inexplicable desire to stay at school until sundown….
Once in a Full Moon, by Ellen Schreiber (Dec. 28, HarperCollins)
Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend’s Run is famous for them. She’s used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves in and Celeste finds herself drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.
Deadly Little Games, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Dec. 28, Hyperion)
Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend. Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia’s life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about.
Fallen Angel, by Heather Terrell (Dec. 28, HarperCollins)
Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael. Michael is handsome, charming, sweet—and totally into Ellie. But Michael has a secret, and he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers that are otherworldly. The two are determined to uncover what they are and how they got this way. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson vaguely remembers being a teenager and wonders why none of the boys in her school ever howled at the moon. 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.