Release Date: May 30, 2023
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Horror, Young Adult
Bronwyn is only supposed to be in rural Hillwoods for a year. Her grandmother is in hospice, and her father needs to get her affairs in order. And they’re all meant to make some final memories together.
Except Bronwyn is miserable. Her grandmother is dying, everyone is standoffish, and she can’t even go swimming. All she hears are warnings about going in the water, despite a gorgeous lake. And a pool at the abandoned rec center. And another in the high school basement.
Anais tries her hardest to protect Bronwyn from the shadows of Hillwoods. She follows her own rituals to avoid any unnecessary attention–and if she can just get Bronwyn to stop asking questions, she can protect her too. The less Bronwyn pays attention to Hillwoods, the less Hillwoods will pay attention to Bronwyn. She doesn’t get that the lore is, well, truth. History. Pain. The living aren’t the only ones who seek retribution when they’re wronged. But when Bronwyn does more exploring than she should, they are both in for danger they couldn’t expect.
Continue reading “Fantastical Horror Rooted in Real History: We Don’t Swim Here by Vincent Tirado” →
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Make Me a World
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
An edge-of-your-seat fantasy about a girl who will do anything to protect her sister–even if it means striking a dangerous bargain. Dark forces, forgotten magic, and a heart-stopping queer romance make this young adult novel a must-read.
A scorned god.
A mysterious acolyte.
A forgetting drug.
A dangerous forest.
One girl caught between the freedom she always wanted and a sister she can’t bear to leave behind.
Under the cover of the Night Forest, will Lucha be able to step into her own power…or will she be consumed by it?
This gorgeous and fast-paced fantasy novel from acclaimed author Tehlor Kay Mejia is brimming with adventure, peril, romance, and family bonds–and asks what it means for a teen girl to become fully herself.
Continue reading “Deconstructing the Chosen One: Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia” →
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Publisher: Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
What happens when your enemy becomes your friend … with benefits?Red, White and Royal Blue meets The Magicians in this surprising, wildly original and joyously funny LGBTQ YA novel set in a magical boarding school.
Tim Te Maro and Elliott Parker – classmates at Fox Glacier High School for the Magically Adept – have never gotten along. But when they both get dumped the day before the big egg-baby assignment, they reluctantly decide to ditch their exes and work together. When the two boys start to bond over their magically enchanted egg-baby, they realize that beneath their animosity is something like friendship … or physical attraction.Soon, a no-strings-attached hook-up seems like a good idea. Just for the duration of the assignment. After all, they don’t have feelings for each other … so what could possibly go wrong?
From debut Kiwi author H.S. Valley, the latest winner of the Ampersand Prize, comes this gleefully addictive romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. In a word – it’s magic.
Continue reading “Review of Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by H.S. Valley” →
I hope you like fantasy, because that’s the overwhelming majority of what you’re getting this summer in the realm of young adult speculative fiction. A few horror and science fiction/dystopian novels have squeezed through, but otherwise this is a season of magic, gods, and other paranormal beasties. Here are some of the YA speculative books coming out in May and June that have peaked my interest.
Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.
For this spotlight on ten of my favorite short science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories I read in April, I’ve got stories that will make you angry, stories that will make you anxious, stories that will empower you, stories that will rankle you, and stories that are just plain weird.
Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Deftly leading readers to the literary crossroads of contemporary realism and haunting mystery, Cynthia Leitich Smith revisits the world of her American Indian Youth Literature Award winner Hearts Unbroken. Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He’s excited to take part in the fun, spooky show–until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an “Indian maiden,” a ghost inspired by local legend, will headline. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House. A creepy man is stalking teenage girls and young women, particularly Indigenous women; dogs are fretful and on edge; and wild animals are behaving strangely. While Hughie weighs how and when to speak up about the bigoted legend, he and his friends begin to investigate the crossroads and whether it might be haunted after all. As Moon rises on All Hallow’s Eve, will they be able to protect themselves and their community? Gripping and evocative, Harvest House showcases a versatile storyteller at her spooky, unsettling best.
Continue reading “Smaller Stakes YA Fantasy: Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith” →
I’ve seen a lot of chatter lately about how generative AI is going to replace everyone’s jobs, including librarians. That generative AI can easily do the job of a reference librarian because all we do is look up a patron’s question and then give them the answer, right?
Continue reading “School libraries and generative AI: a match made in hell” →
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.
But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house–the home they have always wanted–will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.
Continue reading “Review of She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran” →
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Series: Blood Debts #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeau–the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family–are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick–she’s cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.
Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.
Cristina and Clement used to be each other’s most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other and their family’s magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city’s magical and non-magical communities. And if they don’t succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.
Continue reading “Blood-Soaked Magic: Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker” →
Release Date: April 27, 2023
Publisher: Nyx Publishing
I used to know the Devil, only back then he was called Arthur, and he was a seventy-eight-year-old dairy farmer from Yorkshire.
Kat is haunted by memories of her past. Memories of her first job at a nursing home, where Arthur Shipton would raise hell in search of his flat cap. Of boyfriends who preferred prettier girls, and the cakes she ate to fill her hungry heart. Now thirty, no amount of comfort food can help her get over her divorce. But Stella-Arthur’s granddaughter-might.
Beautiful and mysterious, there’s something about Stella that inspires Kat to leave the safety of her couch. She can’t help but think Stella has something to do with Arthur’s recent death, but the closer she gets to Stella, the less it matters. With Stella’s magical pull, Kat feels an old hunger-one long since buried with the crumbs of cake-reawaken.
Cake Craft is a dark, bisexual novella set in the Gothic moors of Yorkshire with a pinch of the paranormal. It’s a story of trauma, desire, and hunger-and a whole lot of Grandma’s ginger sponge.
This edition also contains the following short stories by Hannah-Freya Blake: ‘Mother Magpie’, ‘House Proud’, and ‘Old Jack’.
Continue reading “Review: “Cake Craft” by Hannah-Freya Blake” →