New Young Adult Speculative Fiction July 2020

I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in July 2020. Up first is a short list of the books I highly recommend, followed by a long list of basically every book being published.

Get your library cards and indie bookstore pre-orders ready, y’all.

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YA Book Bundles – Horror and Mysteries

Libraries – especially public libraries – are gearing up for reopening or are rethinking what and how services might work in the future. One of those options we should be considering are book boxes or bundles. Many libraries are already offering them or, as in the case with my system, in development. With patron access to our buildings restricted or limited, now is the perfect time to implement or expand this service.

Since many libraries don’t have staff who specialize in teen services or aren’t able to carve out the time to design reader’s advisory lists, I figured I’d help my professional colleagues out. Each set of recommendations contain five YA books that are either already published as of summer 2020. Preference given to #ownvoices, marginalized authors and characters, and books teens are unlikely to read for school. Feel free to borrow or build on these sets.

Click here to see other bundles.

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Short Speculative Fiction: May 2020

While the rest of the country seems hellbent on reopening in the middle of a pandemic, I intend to continue hiding in my house as much as humanly possible. Fortunately, there is a lot of excellent speculative short fiction to keep me occupied. These stories, full of ghosts and mythological beasties and mechas and brain implants, make up ten of the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories I read this past May…

Read the rest of this spotlight at


Publishers and Diversity – YA SFF/H 2020

In light of the ongoing conversation about diversity in publishing, I decided to take a look at the stats for 2020. For the last few years I’ve kept track of all the books being published in young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror). This year I started tracking whether or not the author is BIPOC and if the author and/or characters have marginalized identities (such as disability, being queer, BIPOC, etc.). Jumping off of that, I broke out the stats for the Big 6 publishing houses and other smaller companies that are publishing more than 5 YA SFF/H books this year.

I intend to continue collecting this data for future years and doing comparisons, but here’s where we stand as of 2020.

There were 294 young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror books published by 31 publishing companies in 2020. Of those, 26% were by BIPOC authors, and 39% were either by authors with marginalized identities or featured a main character/cast with marginalized identities.

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Black History in Napa County, California

In light of everything going on, I decided to offer an excerpt of my chapter on Black history in Napa County, California, from my book Hidden History of Napa Valley, out 2019. I did extensive research for this chapter and it covers 1846-1940. This chapter is not a meditation on The Struggle (TM), but a celebration of Black culture, traditions, and survival.

In April 2020, my second book, Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and their Recipes, was published. Like Hidden History, it also looks the history of marginalized communities in Napa County, but it focuses on food history.

If you can, please buy my books through an independent book store. And if you’re not Black and in need of some anti-racist resources, there are a ton available on twitter.

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