Magic Pies, Haunted Woods, and Daring Revolutionaries in This Season’s Young Adult SFF

This year is going out with a bang with some seriously amazing young adult science fiction and fantasy. While November and December have fewer (yet just as enticing) books, October is a veritable feast. From future dystopias to historical fantasies, from robots to sentient flutes, from small town magic to enchanted woods, there’s a little something here for everyone.

 

October

Crier’s War by Nina Varela (Crier’s War #1)

As an Automa, Princess Crier was not born by Made. Her Automa father, King Hesod, takes great interest in human traditions, much in the same way a colonizer seeks out the culture of those they oppress. He takes and modifies at the same time he subjugates and slaughters. One of his victims now lives as a servant in his palace. Ayla’s entire family was murdered by Hesod’s soldiers, and the woman who raised her has left to join the Uprisings in the south. When Ayla’s tapped to become Crier’s handmaiden, she thinks she finally has the chance to exact her deadly revenge, but her proximity to Crier’s fiance, the shady Scyre Kinok, gives her the chance to topple the whole empire. Will the growing attraction between her and Crier get in the way?

Oct. 1, 2019, HarperTeen


 

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis (The Good Luck Girls #1)

In a world where some people are born with shadows (fairbloods) and others aren’t (dustbloods), five young women are taken from their destitute homes and sold as prostitutes, the titular Good Luck Girls. But when Clementine accidentally kills her first john, she, Tansy, Aster, Mallow, and Violet go on the run. To hide, they must first remove the magical tattoos that brand them as Good Luck Girls. Their chance at freedom comes at a high price, however, and there are plenty of wicked men trolling the land waiting to extract an extortionate toll. If they want to survive, they’ll have to learn to work together.

Oct. 1, 2019, Tor Teen


 

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Survival runs through the Larkin family like good luck, but so too does tragedy. After her brother goes into treatment for attempting to take his life, Violet is packed off to live with her uncle in Lyric, Maine. The tiny coastal town was founded by her great-great-great-grandmother Fidelia after she barely survived a shipwreck. Once there, she sets out to find Fidelia’s sunken ship and instead discovers the alluring Liv and her band of charming weirdos. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Oct. 1, 2019, Disney-Hyperion


 

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh (The Beautiful #1)

With this brand new series about bloodthirsty vampires, Renée Ahdieh sticks to her comfort zone of historical fantasy but moves the setting to New Orleans in 1872. After getting into major trouble, half French half Asian Celine Rousseau flees Paris for the Big Easy and tries to restart her life. She’s taken in by Ursuline nuns and is taught all about the sinister underworld of La Cour des Lions, led by the handsome Sébastien Saint Germain. When of of the girls under the sisters’ protection turns up dead, all fingers point to Sébastien, no matter how much Celine wants to believe he’s innocent. He’s not the only suspect, but Celine is the only one who can solve this mystery before the city descends into chaos. The official publisher’s description makes this sound like a YA version of paranormal romance, and I am Here. For. It.

Oct. 8, 2019, G.P. Putnam’s Sons


 

A Kingdom for a Stage by Heidi Heilig (For a Muse of Fire #2)

Following the events of the first book, the second opens with Jetta imprisoned by the mad scientist Theodora. Forced to use her magic to imbue souls into Theodora’s planes, Jetta feels more and more of herself slipping away every day. Theodora uses her weapons of mass destruction to terrorize the colonized citizens of Chakrana and her “cure” for Jetta’s bipolar disorder to keep her prisoner in check. But secretly Jetta fears she might become too much like Le Trépas, a wicked sorcerer working for Theodora and who also happens to be her biological father. And what has become of her family (what’s left of it anyway) and Leo, the dance hall owner turned revolutionary?

Oct. 8, 2019, Greenwillow Books


 

Rogue Heart by Axie Oh (Rebel Seoul #2)

In Neo Beijing, a teenage girl called Ama hides out. She works at a cafe and as a lounge singer but keeps a low profile. The last thing she needs is the Alliance’s attention. They experimented on her and now she’s a telepath, but as long as she stays under the radar… Too bad that’s no longer an option. She joins a rebel group known as PHNX and infiltrates an Alliance base. Using her powers, she manipulates the mind of the only person who could expose her cover, war commander Alex Kim. This series has been compared to everything from K-dramas to Blade Runner to Pacific Rim, so fans of dystopian YA, this one’s for you.

Oct. 8, 2019, Tu Books


 

Monster of the Week by F.T. Lukens (The Rules #2)

The end is so close Bridger can almost taste it. It’s spring semester of senior year and he has a great boyfriend, a great job, and an acceptance letter to a great college. All he has to do is make it to graduation. Easier said than done. Journalist Summer Lore arrives in his small Michigan hometown to investigate all the paranormal activity Bridger and his boss Pavel Chudinov try hard to keep under wraps. At the same time, his deadbeat dad reappears and tries to reassert his fatherly authority over his wayward son. For Bridger, humans may prove to be more difficult to manage than monsters.

Oct. 15, 2019, Duet Books


 

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls #1)

In a future version of Nigeria, war ravages the land. A refugee camp is attacked and two sisters, Onyii and Ify are captured. With her technological genius, Ify is put to use and eventually becomes a high-ranking advisor to the Nigerians while Onyii, taken by the Biafran revolutionaries, has earned the moniker of the Demon of Biafra for her kill count. The civil war rages over who owns the land from which the mineral Chukwu is mined, and Ify and Onyii stand on opposing sides. The bonds of sisterhood will be tested by blood and battle.

Oct. 15, 2019, Razorbill


 

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Eighty years in the future, London is underwater. When her father is arrested on trumped up charges, Leyla McQueen, a teenage Muslim girl of Afghan and Pashtun descent, will do anything to get him back. She signs up for the London Submersible Marathon hoping that if she wins she can use her victory to secure her father’s release. But since this is a young adult novel, of course the government is lying to her and keeping dangerous secrets from its subjects. Leyla escapes—with Ari, the son of a family friend, in tow—and heads out into the wilds of the deep blue sea.

Oct. 29, 2019, Disney-Hyperion


 

November

A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

Yesterday Trixie McCabe was a gifted pickpocket living in a rundown motel after her mother abandoned her. Then she got caught. With only two choices on the table—jail or go live with family members she’s never met in a small town in middle-of-nowhere Kansas—Trix’s whole life changes. Today she’s surrounded by women who also have uncanny gifts: with a touch, cousin Ember discovers your deepest, darkest secrets; Aunt Mia’s pies contain miraculous cures; and Auntie can tell your future by reading your palm. Just as Trix decides Rocksaw might not be as bad as she thought, her past comes roaring back.

Nov. 5, 2019, HarperTeen


 

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (Girls of Paper and Fire #2)

After killing the Demon King of Ikhara who kidnapped Lei and forced her to become one of his courtesans, she and her fellow courtesan Wren flee the palace. The lovers need allies to help spread their rebellion, but some of the clans who claim to be on their side may not be any better than the evil ruler they’re trying to replace. And it all may be for naught when the girls learn the Demon King survived their attack and is holed up in the bowels of his palace waiting for the right moment to strike.

Nov. 5, 2019, Jimmy Patterson


 

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao brings us back to the fantastical world of Feng Lu with this new standalone novel of love and curses. Eight years have passed since the events of the Rise of the Empress series and things are going well for the kingdom and its people. Except for orphaned Bao, the physician’s apprentice who had the dual misfortune to have his marriage proposal rejected by Lan, the royal minister’s daughter, and his soul trapped in a flute by a wicked witch. Only true love can break his curse, but his broken heart and her guilt mean the only way to solve this dilemma is with a quest. Along the way they meet Empress Jade, Commander Wei, and others from the Rise of the Empress series.

Nov. 5, 2019, Philomel Books


 

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Witchcraft runs in the blood of the Walker women, and teenage Nora is no exception. She and her kin are the only people who dare to enter the woods around the town of Fir Haven, well, she and the mysterious Oliver Huntsman. He disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys and spent two frigid weeks freezing in a snowstorm that blanketed the Wicker Woods. And he’s not the only one go missing in the woods lately. Oliver doesn’t remember what happened to him in the woods, but as Nora begins to investigate a series of murders, she may discover things about Oliver she’ll wish she never knew.

Nov. 5, 2019, Simon Pulse


 

December

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orïsha #2)

In this much delayed sequel we pick up right where we left off. Zélie restored magic to Orïsha, but the hard part has only just begun. Her homeland is thrown into chaos as maji emerge, willingly and unwillingly. Amari, meanwhile, is busy not only discovering her new magical abilities but securing her claim to the throne.

Dec. 3, 2019, Henry Holt


 

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Reveries are magically created worlds where the creator can live out their wildest dreams. Others are people who “unravel” reveries before the fantasy spirals out of control. One of those Others is Kane, a boy who remembers almost nothing of his life after another Other erased his memories. While Kane tries to sort out his own life and regain his lost memories, a drag queen sorceress named Posey is busy going after Reveries. In other words, the plot is as flashy and gaudy as the Reveries.

Dec. 3, 2019, Sourcebooks Fire


 

Alex Brown is a high school librarian by day, local historian by night, author and writer by passion, and an ace/aro Black woman all the time. Keep up with her on Twitter and Insta, or follow along with her reading adventures on her blog.

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