This time of year is always the lightest in terms of publishing young adult science fiction and fantasy, but don’t assume that means there isn’t anything worth checking out. There are some real gems coming out in November and December, from debut authors to long awaited sequels to titans of the genres returning with new treats.
Moira’s Pen: A Queen’s Thief Collection by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen’s Thief series)—Greenwillow Books; November 1, 2022
The last book in the Queen’s Thief series came out two years ago, concluding a series that had been running over two decades. Now, Megan Whalen Turner has one last treat for fans. This anthology collects related short fiction, both brand new and previously published, poetry, excerpts, fun tidbits and activities, and a recipe.
Gleanings: Stories From the Arc of a Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe #4)—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; November 8, 2022
Return to the world of Neal Shusterman’s beloved Arc of the Scythe series with this collection of short stories. The tales each focus on a different aspect or era, from the beginning of the Scythes to moments readers of the main trilogy will recognize. Authors include Neal Shusterman, David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman.
At Midnight: 15 Beloved Fairy Tales Reimagined edited by Dahlia Adler—Flatiron Books; November 22, 2022
Look, all you really need to know is that this is an anthology put together by Dahlia Adler. Her YA short story collections are always incredible. This time she takes on fairy tales, not just retelling them with updated characters but completely reimagining them with diverse settings, characters, and identities. Authors included: Dahlia Adler, Tracy Deonn, H.E. Edgmon, Hafsah Faizal, Stacey Lee, Roselle Lim, Darcie Little Badger, Malinda Lo, Alex London, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Podos, Rory Power, Meredith Russo, Gita Trelease, and Melissa Albert.
The Future Sucks
Love in the Age of Dragons by Fatima Henson—Sparkpress; November 1, 2022
Ayanna lives underground, scurrying around in subway tunnels. Two years ago, a portal opened and dragons poured through, razing cities and driving what humans remained into hiding. Disease and unsanitary living conditions prove more of an immediate threat than the fire-breathing sky serpents, and what few survivors are left are dropping like flies. With her caregiver Dr. Keaton on death’s door, Ayanna has no choice but to brave the surface to find medicine.
The Q by Amy Tintera—Crown Books for Young Readers; November 8, 2022
Austin, Texas is now known as the Q, a quarantine zone that walled in people infected by a deadly plague while the rest of the US collapsed into a dystopia. There lives Maisie, a teenage lieutenant for the Q’s security team. Lennon, the kidnapped son of the US president, is dropped into the Q by his enemies. With his life on the line, Maisie must do everything in her power to get him back over the wall and hopefully stop the war brewing between political powers.
Born Andromeda by K.M. Watts—Duet Books; November 15, 2022
Andromeda may be a princess and heir to a kingdom on the Moon, but she’s also a cyborg bored with her ivory tower life and not ready to marry her Earther fiance. On the way to meet her prince, her ship is hijacked by the Pirate Lord Captain Bran, and Andromeda is taken hostage. On his ship, she learns the truth about the celestial monarchies and that life is more than the rigid constructs she’s been offered.
Magic with a Twist
The Luminaries by Susan Dennard (The Luminaries #1)—Tor Teen; November 1, 2022
In the hidden town of Hemlock Falls lives Winnie Wednesday. To recover her family’s reputation after her father’s failure, Winnie decides to train to become a Luminary. The Luminaries are a team of elite hunters who protect everyone from the monsters that stalk the forest surrounding Hemlock Falls. During the trials that will determine whether or not she wins the title, she and her trainer, Jay—her ex-friend and a skilled hunter in his own right—discover things the elders of the town want to keep quiet.
Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria—Inkyard Press; November 1, 2022
Devlin lives in Aris, a kingdom trapped in a cage of filigree that keeps the Mists out, but the magic it takes to keep that filigree up is dwindling rapidly. Over in the neighboring kingdom of Cerena, citizens live in the lap of luxury. Dev heads into enemy territory for an espionage mission, partly to help her people and partly to appease her distant mother, the head of Aris’ spy ring. Her job is to acquire by any means necessary a powerful mage to help keep Aris afloat a little longer. She gets more than she bargained for.
Nubia: The Awakening by Omar Epps, Clarence A. Haynes—Delacorte Press; November 8, 2022
Teens Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho are the descendants of Nubians who fled their West African island nation after a devastating storm made living there untenable. Now, they’re eking out an existence in the flood-prone lowlands of New York City as other Manhattanites crow above them in their glistening technology-infused skyscrapers. As the three teens come into their powers, they must decide if they want to use them to join the elites Up High or help their community rise up.
This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy (These Feathered Flames #2)—Inkyard Press; December 6, 2022
Twin sisters Izaveta and Asya were raised separately, Izaveta as the future queen and Asya as the powerful being that would check her sister’s power. Now, Izaveta is surprised to find herself still alive after the events of the previous book. She wakes in a tower far away from the palace in a strange land and must figure out how to get home. Meanwhile, Asya is stuck doing the politics thing as she struggles to reunite with her missing sister.
Outcasts, Outlaws, & Rebels
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (The Legendborn Cycle #2)—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; November 8, 2022
Nick is missing, Sel is being hunted, and Bri cannot control her new powers. As Bri tries to sort truth from fiction in the legends of King Arthur, the adults running the Legendborn Order are determined to prevent a Black girl from becoming their king. Bri and her crew go on the run in the South, trying (and failing) to keep one step ahead from some very bad people.
The Nightland Express by J. M. Lee—Erewhon; November 8, 2022
In this historical fantasy set in the mid 19th century, queer teens Jesse and Ben pair up to work for the Pony Express to fund their dreams of going West. But the West is a lot weirder than they anticipated. Strange creatures live in a realm just beyond the human world, and the riders quickly end up in the middle of an escalating conflict.
A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; November 29, 2022
After her mother succumbs to the mysterious illness racing across the land, Vega becomes the new Astronomer. The Theorists believe she is the key to solving the illness and set after her. Vega, however, knows she needs to find the Architect, who turns out to be a teenage boy carrying the weight of too many secrets. The Astronomer and the Architect head out on a wild journey, pursued by the riled up Theorists, as they try to save the world.
The Shattered City by Lisa Maxwell (The Last Magician #4)—Margaret K. McElderry Books; December 6, 2022
The Last Magician series comes to a roaring conclusion with the fourth book. In a world where magic was believed to be extinct, Esta has seen the most dangerous sides of that kind of power. After heisting her way through the last few books, she has one last theft. She and her companion Harte must track down the one remaining artifact that will help them save magic, but time is quickly running out…
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).