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.
All These Monsters by Amy Tintera (Monsters #1) – July 7, 2020
“Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.
When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – July 7, 2020
“ It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.” – Bloomsbury YA
The Damned by Renée Ahdieh (The Beautiful #2) – July 7, 2020
“Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.
But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.” – G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy (Faith Herbert Origin Story #1) – July 7, 2020
“Faith Herbert is a pretty regular teen. When she’s not hanging out with her two best friends, Matt and Ches, she’s volunteering at the local animal shelter or obsessing over the long-running teen drama The Grove.
So far, her senior year has been spent trying to sort out her feelings for her maybe-crush Johnny and making plans to stay close to Grandma Lou after graduation. Of course, there’s also that small matter of recently discovering she can fly….
When the fictional world of The Grove crashes into Faith’s reality as the show relocates to her town, she can’t believe it when TV heroine Dakota Ash takes a romantic interest in her.
But her fandom-fueled daydreams aren’t enough to distract Faith from the fact that first animals, then people, have begun to vanish from the town. Only Faith seems able to connect the dots to a new designer drug infiltrating her high school.
But when her investigation puts the people she loves in danger, she will have to confront her hidden past and use her newfound gifts–risking everything to save her friends and beloved town.” – Balzer + Bray
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – July 7, 2020
“There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.” – Flatiron Books
The Unleashed by Danielle Vega (The Haunted #2) – July 7, 2020
“After everything that went down at Steele House, Hendricks just wants her life to return to normal. Prom is coming up and the school is in full preparation mode. Hendricks tries to pitch in, to mimic her best friend Portia’s enthusiasm, but the events of the last few months still haunt her. Steele House. Raven. Eddie.
Hendricks believes Eddie is still out there. She just has to find a way to reach him. Together with her friends, she forms a circle of seven and attempts to summon his spirit. Suddenly things start happening again. Flickering lights in the school library. Mysterious girls roaming the halls. The same song playing on a loop wherever she goes.
It all culminates in a violent attack and Hendricks realizes what they summoned may not be Eddie at all. The one thing she does know is that Steele House was only the beginning. And whatever they’ve unleashed is more dangerous than anything they’ve ever seen before.” – Razorbill
Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood of Stars #2) – July 7, 2020
“Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.” – Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune (The Extraordinaries #1) – July 14, 2020
“Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).” – Tor Teen
The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig – July 14, 2020
“The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town.
Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it.
An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.” – Feiwel & Friends
Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters – July 14, 2020
“Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.
But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.
In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.” – HarperTeen
Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Shadow of Kyoshi by F. C. Yee (The Kyoshi Novels #2) – July 21, 2020
“Kyoshi’s place as the true Avatar has finally been cemented–but at a heavy cost. With her mentors gone, Kyoshi voyages across the Four Nations, struggling to keep the peace. But while her reputation grows, a mysterious threat emerges from the Spirit World. To stop it, Kyoshi, Rangi, and their reluctant allies must join forces before the Four Nations are destroyed irreparably. This thrilling follow-up continues Kyoshi’s journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice still feared and admired centuries after becoming the Avatar.” – Amulet Books
The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson (The Storm Crow #2)
“Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.
But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.
As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.” – Sourcebooks Fire
A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer (The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead #1)
“Jonathan Lambshead stands to inherit his deceased grandfather’s overstuffed mansion–a veritable cabinet of curiosities–once he and two schoolmates catalog its contents. But the three soon discover that the house is filled with far more than just oddities: It holds clues linking to an alt-Earth called Aurora, where the notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley has stormed back to life on a magic-fueled rampage across a surreal, through-the-looking-glass version of Europe replete with talking animals (and vegetables).
Swept into encounters with allies more unpredictable than enemies, Jonathan pieces together his destiny as a member of a secret society devoted to keeping our world separate from Aurora. But as the ground shifts and allegiances change with every step, he and his friends sink ever deeper into a deadly pursuit of the profound evil that is also chasing after them.” – Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning (The Princess Will Save You #1)
“When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in–she goes to rescue him.
When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.
But Amarande was raised to be a warrior–not a sacrifice.
In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.” – Tor Teen
Mayhem by Estelle Laure
“There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.
But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.” – Wednesday Books
Now & When by Sara Bennett Wealer
“There’s something about Truman Alexander that Skyler Finch finds incredibly annoying. Actually, several things: his voice (grating), his arrogance (total know-it-all), his debate-team obsession (eyeroll), and his preppy vibe (does he iron his shorts?). She does her best to avoid him and focus on the important stuff: friends, school, and her boyfriend, Eli. His promposal was perfect–just like he is–and the future is looking bright. Or is it?
For some unexplainable reason, Skylar’s phone is sending her notifications from the future . . . a future in which, to her horror, she appears to be with Truman. As in, romantically. As in, Skyler cannot let that happen.
But trying to change the future means messing up the present, and what Skyler sees keeps shifting. Classmates disappear and reappear, swap partners and futures. Turns out there are no actions without reactions, and life doesn’t come with a road map. But sometimes the wandering leads you exactly where you need to be, and people–like glitchy phones–are full of surprises.” – Delacorte Press
The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn
“Emelia has always wanted to fit in with the A crowd. So, when Ben, the hottest guy in school, asks her out, she chooses him over Alistair, her best friend–even after he confesses his feelings to her.
Six months later, Emilia wonders how her life would have been different if she’d chosen Alistair instead. Haunted by her mistake, she finds a magical solution that promises to rectify the past. As a result, everything in her life is different.
Different, but not better.
What happens if her second chance is her only chance to make things right?” – Swoon Reads
River of Dreams by Jan Nash
“Finn Driscoll is counting down the days until she can leave for college. With her beloved brother, Noah, in a coma and her high school social life sinking every day, she’s ready for a fresh start.
Until the night she sees Noah in a dream. He begs for her help. At first, she shakes it off as just a nightmare. Then it happens again. And again. Frightened, Finn confides in her grandmother, only to learn the shocking truth about her family. They’re Dreamwalkers–heroes who step into the River of Dreams and fight the monsters in other people’s nightmares, freeing them to face the problems in their real lives.
Awake or asleep, Finn has never thought of herself as any kind of hero, and walking through other people’s dreams seems much worse than just hiding at school. But as hard as facing this challenge might be, Finn knows she has no choice: she will do anything she can to save her brother.” – Roaring Brook Press
Shielded by KayLynn Flanders (Shielded #1)
“The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.
As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.
Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.” – Random House Children’s Books
Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy
“For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her blood, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up–after all, it killed her sister–and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve’s side. She decides to risk the Firn and uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.
But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaards’ jewel mines–and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she’s come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her–if it doesn’t kill her first.” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Windswept by Gwen Cole
“Every day, Sam endures the same subway ride on her way to school, but when she meets a boy named Reid, suddenly her daily commute isn’t so ordinary. Reid has the ability to teleport–or, drift, as he calls it–and for the first time, Sam has the opportunity to travel anywhere without a passport or plane ticket.
But as their two worlds come together, Sam discovers her family had been keeping secrets from her, and meeting Reid was just the beginning of unraveling the truth. When drifters begin to disappear, Sam has no choice but to face the threat when she finds out her family is among the missing.
As Reid and Sam start their search for the missing drifters, help comes from the most unexpected of places. After a significant breakthrough, Reid is taken, and Sam finds herself alone in a world she knows nothing about. With the enemy closing in, she soon realizes she’s the only person who can save them all.” – Sky Pony Press
A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens
“Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless. During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured? Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with. When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen? Set in the atmospheric wilds of California’s northern coast, Sasha Laurens’s thrilling debut novel is about the complications of friendship, how to take back power, and how to embrace the darkness that lives within us all.” – Razorbill
Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu
“The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.
Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing–the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.
But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell–Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought–as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.
Told through the eyes of Reagan and Jane–the witch and the bewitched–this insightful twist of a fairy tale explores power in a patriarchal kingdom not unlike our own.” – Simon Pulse
The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen (The Merciful Crow #2)
“As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows–and add numbers to her monstrous army–Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows–secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.” – Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers