From romance with a magical twist to bloodthirsty monsters to dark and stormy nights, the young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels coming out this summer have you covered. Here are my recommended reads for July and August 2022.
Love Is in the Air
The Charmed List by Julie Abe—Wednesday Books; July 5, 2022
It’s the summer before senior year, and Ellie Kobata is going to be brave. She has a list of 13 things to try, and one of them includes getting back at her ex friend Jack Yasuda. After that backfires, she and Jack end up on a cross country road trip to the California Magical Retailer’s Convention. That’s when the sparks really begin to fly.
A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic by Debbie Rigaud—Scholastic Press; August 2, 2022
Haitian American Cicely Destin’s 15th birthday happens to be the same day as her favorite event: the West Indian Day Parade. She’s spending the day with her aunt, an influencer with an interest in vodou who gets in over her head. Cicely, her bestie Renee, and Kwame, the cute boy from school, work together to de-possess Tati Mimose and take in the festivities.
How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez—Katherine Tegen Books; August 2, 2022
This older YA is about a premed college student in a world of superheroes. Astrid keeps her life on a tight schedule, planning everything in advance. Her boyfriend, Max, is exactly the opposite, but for good reason: he’s secretly a superhero. Things do not, unfortunately for Astrid, go according to plan, and holding onto her relationship in the midst of all the chaos of life will be harder than she thought.
Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, Sandhya Menon—Wednesday Books; August 30, 2022
Three novellas tell the stories of three teen witches who cast a love spell. This Halloween mkars the 400th anniversary of their hometown, Moon Ridge, and it’s also the night when, according to legend, the Lady of Moon Ridge returns to bless those who need it. Ash, Onny, and True each want and need something different. This is the night when wishes come true.
Outcasts, Outlaws, & Rebels
The Darkening by Sunya Mara (The Darkening #1)—Clarion Books; July 5, 2022
In the outermost edge of a city surrounded by an encroaching, malevolent Storm, Vesper Vale hides with her father, a failed revolutionary. Her mother was left to the Storm after she was captured. Now that her father has been discovered by soldiers led by a disconcerting prince, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him. With the help of another outcast, she’s able to get close to the prince, and what she learns will change everything.
The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner (The Helheim Prophecy #1)—Entangled: Teen; July 26, 2022
Stable hand Sigrid dreams of becoming a valkyrie. As her kingdom is attacked and a group of valkyries try to steal the Eye of Hnitbjorg, Sigrid inadvertently sees her future, one where she’s riding the eight-legged horse Sleipnir and leading a troop of valkyries. She convinces the enemy valkyrie Mariam (who also happens to be very attractive) to lead her on a great quest to find her destiny. Inspired by Norse mythology.
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones—Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; August 16, 2022
Mer wants nothing more than to stay out of the prince’s grasp. Years ago, he used her abilities as the last living water diviner to kill hundreds of his enemies. But now she has the chance to do something good with her powers and take down the wicked prince. She and her new crew form a plan to destroy the one thing keeping the kingdom safe, but magic has a will of its own. A standalone novel set in the same world as The Bone Houses.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle—Scholastic Press; July 26, 2022
Logan arrives in Haelsford, Florida, to start school at Mesmortes Coven Academy. There, she joins the Red Three, a small coven of girls, each with their own special powers and dark pasts. With the approach of the Haunting Season, where Wolves emerge from the swamplands to feast on people, two boys get tangled up in the coven’s uncontrollable magic. Danger and curses lurk at every turn.
Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury (Blood Like Magic #2)—Margaret K. McElderry Books; August 9, 2022
Things didn’t end the way Voya hoped in Blood Like Magic. Now her grandmother is dead, her family don’t trust her to lead their coven as Matriarch, her ancestors are ignoring her, and Luc, the boy she cares about, blames her for his father’s death. Now she’s having visions about the destruction of the Black witches of Toronto, and Luc might be at the center of it all.
Gods & Monsters
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin—Swoon Reads; July 19, 2022
Orphaned as a child, Seri finds family in violence. She lives in a world where the People live surrounded by trees and are hunted by terrible beasts. Much of the world is unknown and unseen, that is until Tsana arrives from a land beyond. Strangely, Tsana can communicate with the beasts. Soon Seri’s world is turned upside down, truth becomes lies, and nothing and no one is safe.
Youngblood by Sasha Laurens—Razorbill; July 19, 2022
Kat, like most vampires, drinks synthetic blood as human blood is now toxic to them. A lucky break lands her at the prestigious all-vampire Harcote School, but her luck sours when she finds out her new roomie is her ex-BFF Taylor. Secrets abound at Harcote, and when a vampire turns up dead, Kat and Taylor get sucked into the middle of a vast conspiracy, not to mention romance.
The Man or the Monster by Aamna Qureshi (The Marghazar Trials #2)—CamCat Books; July 26, 2022
In the first book, The Lady or the Lion, Durkhanai Miangul, princess of Marghazar, lost her love Asfandyar when he was forced to choose between two doors: one with a lion behind it and the other with a woman he must marry. In this duology conclusion, Durkhanai must again choose, this time between ruling her kingdom and her vengeful father.
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen (Violet Made of Thorns #1)—Delacorte Press; July 26, 2022
As the Seer for the kingdom of Auveny, Violet holds a place of power. That power is temporary, however, as Prince Cyrus has threatened to give her the boot once he takes over. Then Violet has another vision, one where whichever woman Cyrus marries will determine whether or not the kingdom survives. But Violet doesn’t just want to get back at Cyrus; she wants power, too.
A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin (The Book of Tea #2)—Feiwel & Friends; August 23, 2022
Ning, a shénnóng-shi who does magic through the art of tea-making, is on the run with exiled Princess Zhen of the kingdom of Dàxi and her royal guard Ruyi, as well as Ning’s sister Shu, who nearly died in the first book. The Banished Prince is attempting a coup and the only way to stop him is to build an army of allies big enough to fight back. Ning also has to find a way to clear her name and deal with the coming storm of powerful, ancient magic.
Thrills & Chills
The Honeys by Ryan La Sala—PUSH; August 16, 2022
After the tragic death of his sister Caroline, Mars, a genderfluid teen, is sent to a conservative, elite summer camp rigid with patriarchy and strict gender roles. There he meets the Honeys, a group of girls his sister used to hang with and whom Mars believes had something to do with her death. There is something strange going on at Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy, and if he isn’t careful, he might share his sister’s fate.
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan—Algonquin Young Readers; August 30, 2022
In 1987, Sam vanished off the face of the earth. Now it’s 1993 and Sam has mysteriously reappeared, still 12-years-old and wondering why his old crew of Cori and Maz no longer talk. Sam claims he was sucked into an alternate reality through an evil pinball machine. As thrilled as Maz is, Cori realizes something’s not quite right with Sam.
Alex Brown is a Hugo-nominated and 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).