New Young Adult Speculative Fiction January 2019


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 January 2019. 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 one? 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.


Recommended Reads

The Girl King by Mimi Yu (January 8)
The Girl King #1 – YA Fantasy, Bloomsbury
GirlKing-cover“Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.” (via Goodreads)

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (January 15)
The Gilded Wolves #1 – YA Historical Fantasy, Wednesday Books
GildedWolves-cover“Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.” (via Goodreads)

Firestarter by Tara Sim (January 15)
Timekeeper #3 – YA Science Fiction Fantasy, Sky Pony Press
FIrestarter-cover“The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause, or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan—to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes—Prague, Austria, India—nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.” (via Goodreads)

Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh (January 22)
Reign of the Fallen #2 – YA Fantasy, Razorbill
SongOfTheDead-cover“Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.” (via Goodreads)

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (January 29)
Nikolai Duology #1 – YA Fantasy, Imprint
KingOfScars-cover“Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.” (via Goodreads)


All YA Spec Fic

The Similars by Rebecca Hanover (January 1)
The Similars #1 – YA Science Fiction, Sourcebooks Fire
“When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.” (Goodreads)

Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake (January 8)
YA Fantasy, Entangled Teen
“When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool.” (Goodreads)

Slayer by Kiersten White (January 8)
Slayer #1 – YA Fantasy, Simon Pulse
“But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next. One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.” (Goodreads)

The Wicked King by Holly Black (January 8)
The Folk of the Air #2 – YA Fantasy, Little, Brown
“You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself strong.” (Goodreads)

Undying by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner (January 8)
Unearthed #2 – YA Science Fiction, Disney-Hyperion
“Trapped aboard the Undying’s ancient spaceship and reeling from what they’ve learned there, scavenger Mia and academic Jules are plunged into a desperate race to warn their home planet of the danger humanity’s greed has unleashed.” (Goodreads)

White Stag by Kara Barbieri (January 8)
Permafrost #1 – YA Fantasy, Wednesday Books
“After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.” (Goodreads)

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (January 15)
YA Fantasy, Page Street
“In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up—otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.” (Goodreads)

Stain by A.G. Howard (January 15)
YA Fantasy, Amulet
“To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.” (Goodreads)

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (January 22)
Circle of Shadows #1 – YA Fantasy, Balzer + Bray
“So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.” (Goodreads)

Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen (January 22)
The Elementae #2 – YA Fantasy, Bloomsbury
“Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.” (Goodreads)

Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler (January 22)
The Wells of Sorcery #1 – YA Fantasy, Tor Teen
“When her ability to access the Well of Combat is discovered by the Empire—an ability she should have declared and placed at His Imperial Majesty’s service—she’s sent on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship—a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.” (Goodreads)

The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale (January 22)
YA Fantasy, Margaret K. McElderry
“Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.” (Goodreads)

Unnatural Disasters by Jeff Hirsch (January 22)
YA Science Fiction, Clarion Books
“Will the Class of 2038 be the last class ever?” (Goodreads)

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda (January 29)
YA Science Fiction, Crown Books
“Drawn together by these strange signals–and their family tragedies–Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything’s connected–even their pasts–as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand.” (Goodreads)

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (January 29)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1 – YA Fantasy, Bloomsbury
“A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back.” (Goodreads)

The Lonely Dead by April Henry (January 29)
YA Fantasy/Thriller, Henry Holt & Co.
“A killer is on the loose, and only one girl has the power to find him. But in this genre-bending YA thriller, she must first manage to avoid becoming a target herself.” (Goodreads)

Ransacker by Emmy Laybourne (January 29)
Berserker #2 – YA Historical Fantasy, Feiwel & Friends
“Sissel is torn between the two men, both determined to have her secrets. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could summon great fortune…or doom them all.” (Goodreads)

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