I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to all the young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in September 2018. Up first is a short list of the books I highly recommend, followed by a long list of basically every book being published. Did I miss a book? Lemme know in the comments.
Also, if you’re an author/agent/publicist/editor/etc with an upcoming YA spec fic book by or about a marginalized community, drop me a line for a possible review.
Get your library cards and indie bookstore pre-orders ready, y’all.
Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan (September 4)
YA Science Fiction, Albert Whitman
“Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.
A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.
Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?” (via Goodreads)
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (September 4)
YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, Sky Pony Press
“In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.” (via Goodreads)
A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (September 4)
YA Fantasy, Algonquin Young Readers
“Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.
Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…” (via Goodreads)
The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember (September 13)
The Seafarer’s Kiss #2 – YA Fantasy, Duet
“After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.
She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?
Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.” (via Goodreads)
Wildcard by Marie Lu (September 18)
YA Science Fiction, Penguin Teen
“Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?” (via Goodreads)
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig (September 25)
YA Fantasy, Greenwillow
“Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.” (via Goodreads)
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney (September 25)
YA Fantasy, Imprint
“The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.” (via Goodreads)
All YA Spec Fic
And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai (September 4)
YA Fantasy, Walker Books
“With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…“ (Goodreads)
Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel (September 4)
YA Fantasy, Entangled Teen
“What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.“ (Goodreads)
Not Even Bones by Elly Blake (September 4)
YA Paranormal, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
“Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.“ (Goodreads)
Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell (September 4)
Twisted Tales #5 – YA Fantasy, Disney Press
“What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula? Five years after the (twisted) events of the film, Ariel is now the queen of Atlantica, and Ursula is running Eric’s kingdom on land. But when the sea witch threatens Atlantica once more, Ariel finds herself returning to a world (and a prince) she thought she’d left behind forever.“ (Goodreads)
Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (September 4)
YA Fantasy, HarperTeen
“Katharine sits on the throne, Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.“ (Goodreads)
Uncharted by Erin Cashman (September 4)
YA Paranormal, Page Street
“Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.“ (Goodreads)
As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows (September 11)
Fallen Isles #2 – YA Fantasy, Katherine Tegen
“Mira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies?“ (Goodreads)
Imposters by Scott Westerfeld (September 11)
YA Dystopia, Allen & Unwin
“Impostors introduces new characters, new tech and a new city within the legendary Uglies world. This first book in a new quartet is a thrilling return to the world of the New York Times bestselling Uglies series.“ (Goodreads)
Rule by Ellen Goodlett (September 11)
Rule #1 – YA Fantasy, Little, Brown
“The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos. Or rather, three unexpected options.“ (Goodreads)
The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse (September 11)
YA Science Fiction, Tor Teen
“Rett wakes on the floor of a cold, dark room. He doesn’t know how he got there, only that he’s locked in. He’s not alone—a girl named Bryn is trapped in the room with him. When she finds a mysterious bloodstain and decides she doesn’t trust Rett, he tries to escape on his own.“ (Goodreads)
The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck (September 11)
YA Fantasy, Delacorte
“Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.“ (Goodreads)
Afterimage by Naomi Hughes (September 18)
YA Paranormal, Page Street
“In a race where the fabric of time and space is at stake, they must figure out who caused the explosion before the culprit comes back to finish Camryn―and her city―off for good.“ (Goodreads)
Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (September 18)
Stalking Jack the Ripper #3 – YA Historical Mystery, Jimmy Patterson
“It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?“ (Goodreads)
The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo (September 18)
YA Fantasy, Harper Teen
“As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.“ (Goodreads)
The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest (September 18)
The Black Witch Chronicles #2 – YA Fantasy, Harlequin Teen
“Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.“ (Goodreads)
What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra (September 18)
YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, Imprint
“As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.“ (Goodreads)
Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis (September 25)
YA Fantasy, Razorbill
“When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.“ (Goodreads)
Nightingale by Amy Lukavics (September 25)
YA Horror, Harlequin Teen
“Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.“ (Goodreads)
Rabbit and Robot by Andrew Smith (September 25)
YA Science Fiction, Simon & Schuster
“Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they’ll be stranded alone in space forever.“ (Goodreads)
The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli (September 25)
Iskari #2 – YA Fantasy, HarperTeen
“Then a chance to right every wrong arises—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Reliquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good. All she has to do is kill the king.“ (Goodreads)
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (September 25)
YA Science Fiction, Delacorte
“Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets…until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.“ (Goodreads)
The Wrong Girl by R.L. Stine (September 25)
YA Horror, HarperTeen
“Poppy Miller swears she will get payback for Jack Sabers’s cruel prank that humiliated her in front of all her friends. Then her classmates start turning up dead. All eyes are on Poppy. Is Poppy being framed? Or did the kids of Shadyside High mess with the wrong girl?“ (Goodreads)