SFF Reading Recommendations for the Characters of Ted Lasso

I never thought I’d get so obsessed with a show about a middle-aged cishet white man doing sports stuff, but Ted Lasso has become one of my all-time favorite shows. The current and presumably final season in particular has struck a chord with me in terms of how it has leaned in hard on Blackness with Sam and queerness with Keeley, Colin, and Trent…and don’t even get me started on headcanons and fanfic with Jamie x Roy x Keeley. One of the creators, Jason Sudeikis, has talked a lot about how heavily the show is influenced by Star Wars—everything from the Hero’s Journey to Nate’s Empire-inspired office decor—and as a huge Star Wars nerd and hella queer Black person, it’s no wonder I love this show so much.

Another thing I love? Reader’s advisory. So, in the spirit of book recommendations, here is a list of adult and young adult science fiction and fantasy books I’d give to each of the characters if they came into my library.

For the rest of this listicle, head over to Tor.com.

Fantastical Horror Rooted in Real History: We Don’t Swim Here by Vincent Tirado

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.

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Deconstructing the Chosen One: Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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.

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Review of Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by H.S. Valley

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.

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New Young Adult SFF for May & June 2023

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.

Smaller Stakes YA Fantasy: Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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”