I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in December 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.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (December 3)
Legacy of Orïsha #2 – YA Fantasy, Henry Holt and Co.
“After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.”
Reverie by Ryan La Sala (December 3)
YA Fantasy, Sourcebooks Fire
“Ryan La Sala’s debut fantasy is an #OwnVoices story following Kane Montgomery, a gay teenager piecing his life back together after an attack robs him of his memories. As Kane searches for who he was, he uncovers a war for the creative rights to reality itself, each battle played out in an imagined world turned real: a reverie.
Reveries are worlds born from a person’s private fantasies, and once they manifest they can only be unraveled by bringing their conflicts to resolution. Reveries have rules and plots, magic and monsters, and one wrong step could twist the entire thing into a lethal, labyrinthine nightmare. Unraveling them is dangerous work, but it’s what Kane and The Others do.
Or did, until one of The Others purged Kane of his memories. But now Kane is back, and solving the mystery of his betrayal is the only way to unite his team and defeat reality’s latest threat: Poesy, a sorceress bent on harvesting the reveries for their pure, imaginative power.
But what use might a drag queen sorceress have with a menagerie of stolen reveries? And should Kane, a boy with no love for a team that betrayed him, fight to stop her, or defect to aid her?”
All YA Spec Fic
Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene (December 3)
Amber & Dusk #2 – YA Fantasy, Scholastic Press
“As Mirage uncovers more secrets from her family’s past, she proposes a series of ancient, grueling trials to determine the most deserving heir. But in Mirage’s fight to defend her vision for the empire, she begins to splinter all of her alliances. Will the battle for control leave anyone untainted?”
The Jinni Key: A Little Mermaid Retelling by Bethany Atazadeh (December 3)
Stolen Kingdom #2 – YA Fantasy, Grace House Press
“She watches a Jinni fall from the sky–and chooses to save him, despite her mother’s warnings that all Jinn are evil. Once she meets Gideon, she can’t get him out of her mind. So, why not convince him that he feels the same way?”
The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi (December 3)
YA Historical Fantasy, Flux
“She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister. But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnar k -a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction. Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s even willing to kill.”
To Whatever End by Lindsey Frydman (December 3)
YA Fantasy, Entangled: Teen
“With one touch, she sees a death she simply cannot ignore. Not this time. Not when, dying in her arms, he whispers three simple words that change everything. Even if Quinn can’t change the future, can’t save him, she at least has to try. Even if it means taking the bullet meant for him.”
The Pretenders by Rebecca Hanover (December 10)
The Similars #2 – YA Science Fiction, Sourcebooks Fire
“More importantly, she is grappling with who she really is. Emma can’t accept the hard truths she learned last year and refuses to share her secrets with anyone, isolating herself from the Similars and Ollie. But when more of the Similars’ creator’s plot is revealed, Emma and her friends will have to try to stop him from putting a plan into motion that could destroy everyone she loves.”
Everafter Song by Emily R. King (December 10)
The Evermore Chronicles #3 – YA Fantasy, Skyscape
“Because the elusive relic threatens more than the very power that drives her clock heart. In Killian’s hands, it can lead to the dismantling of the seven worlds. With everything–and everyone–Everley loves at stake, she must depend on Killian’s one weakness to outwit him: in his mad ambitions, Killian has underestimated her once again. For Everley is the Time Bearer. This is her destiny.”