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 May 2019. 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.
Carmilla by Kim Turrisi (May 7)
YA Fantasy, Kids Can
“Newly escaped from the stifling boredom of a small town, college freshman Laura is ready to make the most of her first year at Silas University. But when her roommate, Betty, vanishes and a sarcastic, nocturnal philosophy student named Carmilla moves into Betty’s side of the room, Laura decides to play detective. Turns out Betty isn’t the first girl to go missing ? she’s just the first girl not to come back. All over campus, girls have been vanishing, and they are completely changed when (or if) they return. Even more disturbing are the strange dreams they recount: smothering darkness, and a strange pale figure haunting their rooms. Dreams that Laura is starting to have herself. As Laura closes in on the answers, tensions rise with Carmilla. Is this just a roommate relationship that isn’t working out, or does Carmilla know more than she’s letting on about the disappearances? What will Laura do if it turns out her roommate isn’t just selfish and insensitive, but completely inhuman? And what will she do with the feelings she’s starting to have for Carmilla?”
Nocturna by Maya Motayne (May 7)
A Forgery of Magic #1 – YA Fantasy, Balzer + Bray
“To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.”
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (May 14)
Sands of Arawiya #1 – YA Fantasy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.”
The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (May 14)
YA Fantasy, Scholastic
“Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.”
The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta (May 14)
YA Fantasy, Candlewick
“Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill.”
Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi (May 21)
YA Science Fiction, Viking
“For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.
But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.
Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.
What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?”
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist (May 21)
YA Fantasy, Greenwillow
“With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club. But Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge. Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.”
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (May 28)
These Witches Don’t Burn #1 – YA Fantasy, Razorbill
“Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.”
The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos (May 28)
YA Fantasy, Balzer + Bray
“Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.”
All YA Spec Fic
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (May 7)
The Aurora Cycle #1 – YA Science Fiction, Knopf
“A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm. A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates. A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder. An alien warrior with anger management issues. A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering.”
Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard (May 7)
Red Queen #4.5 – YA Fantasy, Orion
“…features three brand-new novellas, two previously published novellas, Steel Scars and Queen Song, and never-before-seen maps, flags, bonus scenes, journal entries, and much more exclusive content.”
Castle of Lies by Kiersi Burkhart (May 7)
YA Fantasy, Carolrhoda
“Meanwhile, an ancient magic is awakening within the castle, with the power to destroy the whole kingdom. Can Thelia find a way to protect her future–and her life?”
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (May 7)
Dark Shores #1 – YA Fantasy, Tor Teen
“When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.”
Finale by Stephanie Garber (May 7)
Caraval #3 – YA Fantasy, Flatiron
“Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything…”
Romanov by Nadine Brandes (May 7)
YA Historical Fantasy, Thoma Nelson
“Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them…and he’s hunted Romanov before.”
The Path Keeper by NJ Simmonds (May 14)
The Indigo Chronicles #1 – YA Fantasy, H2O
“What if all our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?”
Tomb of Ancients by Madeleine Roux (May 14)
House of Furies #3 – YA Fantasy, HarperTeen
“To save herself, Louisa is desperate enough to do whatever it takes—even if it means returning to Coldthistle House and striking another deal with Mr. Morningside. To uphold her end of the bargain, Louisa will have to rejoin his supernatural staff to venture to a gateway between worlds, a place of legend: the Tomb of Ancients. But, as always, there’s a catch…”
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (May 14)
YA Fantasy, Scholastic
“One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.”
The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields (May 21)
YA Fantasy, Page Street Kids
“Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.”
Kingsbane by Claire Legrand (May 21)
Empirium #2 – YA Fantasy, Sourcebooks Fire
“Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.”
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (May 28)
YA Science Fiction, Henry Holt
“But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.”