There’s a bumper crop of new young adult fantasy and science fiction coming your way! From monsters and monster hunters to gods and demons, from outcasts and dreamers to wannabes and rebels. These are some of the books I’m most looking forward to for March and April 2022.
Gods & Monsters
Serving girl Miuko is the kind of girl most people wouldn’t give a second thought to. After she’s cursed by a demon and cast out of her village, she sets off on a great journey across the land of Awara to save her soul. Along the way she encounters spirits, gods, and demons, as well as dangerous humans.
Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson—Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); April 5, 2022
To some, the Ladybird Scouts seem like a knockoff of the Girl Scouts. But Pru Perry knows the truth: that they are a select group of humans with the uncanny ability to see interdimensional monsters. Her best friend was killed by said monsters a few years ago, but her mother forces her out of slayer retirement to train a new batch of preteen recruits. She and her scouts are the only thing that stand between the demons and a town of civilians.
The Genesis Wars by Akemi Dawn Bowman (The Infinity Courts #2)—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; April 19, 2022
Ten months after the terrible events of The Infinity Courts, Nami is on the run from Ophelia, the omnipotent and all-powerful AI that rules the Underworld. Betrayed, alone, and desperate to rescue her imprisoned family, Nami will have to make some big sacrifices and compromises.
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi—Marvel Press; March 22, 2022
Fan favorite Okoye gets an origin story with this new novel set at the start of her training with the Dora Milaje. She is sent on a mission to accompany King T’Chaka to New York to visit a humanitarian organization with a long, sinister shadow. There she uncovers a plot to flood drugs into Brownsville, targeting mostly poor BIPOC residents. She must bring her Wakandan sensibilities and skills to Brooklyn to save her king’s reputation and the innocent people being harmed by capitalistic greed.
Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders (Unstoppable #2)—Tor Teen; April 5, 2022
Tina Mains, the teenage alien clone protagonist of Victories Greater than Death, shares the stage with two of her closest friends in this sequel. Artist Rachael Townsend is struggling with the sudden loss of her ability to draw after a dangerous encounter with an alien artifact. Elza Monteiro is dating Tina while also trying to secure a position as a princess. Tina, meanwhile, is working her way through the politics of the Royal Space Academy.
Outcasts, Outlaws, & Rebels
Gallant by V.E. Schwab—Greenwillow Books; March 1, 2022
Fourteen-year-old Olivia Prior lives at an austere school for girls where she’s bullied by her classmates for being mute (she communicates through sign language). Her ancestral home, Gallant, is a rambling, rundown manor, and her only family is a grumpy cousin. A chance discovery leads her to a shadow version of Gallant—and the monstrous being lurking there.
The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta—Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); March 1, 2022
In this ancient Mesoamerican-inspired story, two girls, Indir the Dreamer and Saya the seer, meet just as their kingdom is under threat. Indir has spent her life in the Temple of Night, dipping into the spirit world called the Dream, while Saya is dragged from town to town by her cold mother, always on the run from mysterious forces. To save the Dream and the Waking World, the two girls must combine their talents and stop the man trying to destroy their way of life.
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown—Balzer + Bray; March 8, 2022
After a deadly plague wipes out most of the global population, two teen boys find each other. Jamie is making do on his own when Andrew collapses at his door, starving and wounded. They’re forced to flee after their hideout is breached, and on the road they go. Both boys harbor secrets that they fear could tank their fledgling friendship, but the only way to survive the end of the world is together.
Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate—Disney-Hyperion; April 5, 2022
It’s 2072 and a volcano is set to erupt and destroy the planet. Leigh Chen, the American president’s daughter, is sent with other children of world leaders on a tour of one of the generation ships that will transport humans off the dying planet. Disaster comes early and Leigh and 52 other teens find themselves alone in space. As much as Leigh wants peace and cooperation, earthly fights and a turn toward tyranny threatens their survival.
Winner Takes It All
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye (Blood Scion #1)—HarperTeen; March 8, 2022
Sloane can’t let anyone know her true identity. She’s a Scion, a descendant of gods, and has dangerous magic flowing through her veins. Conscripted into the army, Sloane decides to take on the corrupt authoritarian government. To do that, she’ll need to compete against her fellow soldier trainees and become the best of the best.
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin (The Book of Tea #1)—Feiwel & Friends; March 29, 2022
After accidentally poisoning her mother and sister, killing the former and mortally wounding the latter, Ning enters into a once-in-a-lifetime competition. If she can master the magical art of tea-making, called shennong-shi, she’ll win a favor from the princess, which she hopes to use to save her dying sister’s life. But winning isn’t just being the best; she’ll also have to survive court politics, dangerous competitors, and her own heart.
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore—Feiwel & Friends; March 8, 2022
This lush, intersectional fantasy centers on Lore and Bastián, two Mexican American nonbinary and neurodivergent teens. Years ago they met in a hidden world beneath the lake, and now they’re brought together again when Lore’s parents move to Bastián’s lakeside hometown. No longer a refuge, the world is populated by Bastián’s alebrijes, papier-mâché creatures they brought to life as a way to manage their ADHD. As the lake world begins to rise, Lore and Bastián are pulled together like the moon pulls the tides.
So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens—Margaret K. McElderry Books; March 29, 2022
What happens after “happily ever after”? Arek is finding out the hard way. He and his motley crew saved the Kingdom of Ere and defeated the great evil…and now he’s unexpectedly been crowned king. That would be bad enough, but he also must find and marry a spouse before his 18th birthday or suffer the magical consequences. Arek stumbles his way through wooing his friends, but maybe the boy of his dreams is right in front of him.
Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley—Margaret K. McElderry Books; April 19, 2022
Sofi’s entire life has been leading to this moment. She’s about to perform in a competition to earn her father’s title as Musik. The Kingdom of Aell only allows five musicians at a time to compose and perform original pieces, and Sofi is determined to take that honor for herself. Until she’s bested by Lara, an untrained performer who Sofi suspects used magic to bewitch the judges. As Sofi spends time with Lara to figure out how she worked her scam, she uncovers heavy truths about Musik, her father, and Lara herself.
Magic With a Twist
Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak+Black Fiction edited by Rafeif Ismail and Ellen Van Neerven—Fremantle Press; April 1, 2022
This Australian anthology collects 21 Black and Indigenous authors, known and unknown, to tell speculative stories from across time. Includes: Tuesday Atzinger, Flora Chol, Claire Coleman, Zena Cumpston, Lisa Fuller, Meleika Gasa-Fatafehi, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Chemutai Glasheen, Genevieve Grieves, Rafeif Ismail, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Laniyuk, Maree McCathy Yoelu, Jasmin McGaughey, SJ Minniecon, Sisonke Msimang, Merryana Salem, Mykaela Saunders, Aïsha Trambas, Alison Whittaker and Jasper Wyld.
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan—Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; April 12, 2022
It’s 1991 and Luna and Hunter are straining under the pressure of their Taiwanese immigrant parents’ high expectations. The pair are thrust together by fate, but love may not be enough to keep them together. The earth is cracking open in their town and fireflies are stalking Luna, and it is all somehow connected to their families’ enmity and Hunter’s parents’ dark secret. Inspired by the story of Houyi and Chang’e and Romeo & Juliet.
Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes (Flirting With Fate #1)—Razorbill; April 19, 2022
Ava is racing to see her nana before she passes when she gets into a car accident with a cute boy, Rion. She makes it to her nana’s deathbed just in time to say goodbye but too late to receive a magical family blessing. Now Nana is stuck as a ghost while Ava tries to figure out how to retrieve her blessing from Rion, who somehow got it instead.
Alex Brown is an Ignyte award-winning critic who writes about speculative fiction, librarianship, and Black history. Find them on twitter (@QueenOfRats), instagram (@bookjockeyalex), and their blog (bookjockeyalex.com).