I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in August 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.
Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud (Mirage #2) – August 4, 2020
“On a planet on the brink of revolution, Amani has been forced into isolation. She’s been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Maram’s trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems, and now Amani is once more at her capricious nature. One wrong move could see her executed for high treason.
On the eve of Maram’s marriage to Idris comes an unexpected proposal: in exchange for taking her place in the festivities, Maram will keep Amani’s rebel associations a secret. Alone and desperate, Amani is thrust into the center of the court, navigating the dangerous factions on the princess’s behalf. But the court is not what she expects. As a risky plan grows in her mind, and with the rebels poised to make their stand, Amani begins to believe her world might have a future. But every choice she makes comes with a cost. Can Amani risk the ones she loves the most for a war she’s not sure she can win?” – Flatiron Books
The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska (The Dark Tide #1) – August 4, 2020
“Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.
Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.” – Sourcebooks Fire
Lobizona by Romina Garber – August 4, 2020
“Some people ARE illegal.
Lobizonas do NOT exist.
Both of these statements are false.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious Z emblem–which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobiz n, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.” – Wednesday Books
Prelude for Lost Souls by Helene Dunbar – August 4, 2020
“In the town of St. Hilaire, most make their living by talking to the dead. In the summer, the town gates open to tourists seeking answers while all activity is controlled by The Guild, a sinister ruling body that sees everything.
Dec Hampton has lived there his entire life, but ever since his parents died, he’s been done with it. He knows he has to leave before anyone has a chance to stop him.
His best friend Russ won’t be surprised when Dec leaves–but he will be heartbroken. Russ is a good medium, maybe even a great one. He’s made sacrifices for his gift and will do whatever he can to gain entry to The Guild, even embracing dark forces and contacting the most elusive ghost in town.
But when the train of Annie Krylova, the piano prodigy whose music has been Dec’s main source of solace, breaks down outside of town, it sets off an unexpected chain of events. And in St. Hilaire, there are no such things as coincidences.” – Sourcebooks Fire
Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons (Set Fire to the Gods #1) – August 4, 2020
“Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else–something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games, throwing Madoc in Ash’s path. She realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs–but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal–it will unravel the world.” – Balzer + Bray
The Challenge by Taran Matharu (Contender #2) – August 11, 2020
“Cade Carter and his friends have survived the qualifying round of the mysterious overlords’ twisted games, decimated by the loss of so many of their comrades during the fight. But they have no time to mourn, for the next round of trials is about to begin.
When the group discovers that their next foe will be even more ferocious than the last, Cade leads them on a quest out into their strange new world to find anything that might give them an edge. But what they find in the wilds could prove to be even more dangerous than the impending battle…” – Feiwel & Friends
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland – August 11, 2020
“It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”
Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.
Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.
As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.” – Simon Pulse
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar – August 11, 2020
“The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.” – HarperTeen
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer #1) – August 18, 2020
“Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.
That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?” – HarperTeen
Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho (Gumiho #2) – August 18, 2020
“After the events of Wicked Fox, Somin is ready to help her friends pick up the pieces of their broken lives and heal. But Jihoon is still grieving the loss of his grandmother, and Miyoung is distant as she grieves over her mother’s death and learns to live without her fox bead. The only one who seems ready to move forward is their not-so-favorite dokkaebi, Junu. Somin and Junu didn’t exactly hit it off when they first met. Somin thought he was an arrogant self-serving, conman. Junu was, at first, amused by her hostility toward him until he found himself inexplicably drawn to her. Somin couldn’t deny the heat of their attraction. But as the two try to figure out what could be between them, they discover their troubles aren’t over after all. The loss of Miyoung’s fox bead has caused a tear between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and ghosts are suddenly flooding the streets of Seoul. The only way to repair the breach is to find the missing fox bead or for Miyoung to pay with her life. With few options remaining, Junu has an idea but it might require the ultimate sacrifice. In usual fashion, Somin may have a thing or two to say about that. In Vicious Spirits, Kat Cho delivers another beguiling and addictive read full of otherworldly dangers and romance.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Pérez (Sweet Black Waves #3) – August 25, 2020
“To save the kingdom, Branwen embraced the darkest aspects of her magic. But she may have lost herself–and the two people she loves most.
Tristan and Eseult are missing. As Branwen searches for them, she must hide the truth surrounding their disappearance from both the king and her lover. Above all, she must find the Queen and her Champion first.
New and old enemies circle Branwen, clamoring for power and revenge, and threatening to destroy the fragile peace that she has sacrificed everything to secure.” – Imprint
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and Rovina Cai – August 25, 2020
“Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.
There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.
Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
Darcie Little Badger is an extraordinary debut talent in the world of speculative fiction. We have paired her with her artistic match, illustrator Rovina Cai. This is a book singular in feeling and beauty.” – Levine Querido
Ironspark by C.M. McGuire – August 25, 2020
“For the past nine years, ever since a bunch of those evil Tinkerbells abducted her mother, cursed her father, and forced her family into hiding, Bryn has devoted herself to learning everything she can about killing the Fae. Now it’s time to put those lessons to use.
Then the Court Fae finally show up, and Bryn realizes she can’t handle this on her own. Thankfully, three friends offer to help: Gwen, a kindhearted water witch; Dom, a new foster kid pulled into her world; and Jasika, a schoolmate with her own grudge against the Fae.
But trust is hard-won, and what little Bryn has gained is put to the test when she uncovers a book of Fae magic that belonged to her mother. With the Fae threat mounting every day, Bryn must choose between faith in her friends and power from a magic that could threaten her very humanity.” – Swoon Reads
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (Kingdom of Cards #1) – August 25, 2020
“In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide.” – Wednesday Books
Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran – August 31, 2020
“When Lia, an idealistic queen, falls for Xania, her new spymaster–who took the job to avenge her murdered father–they realise all isn’t fair in love and treason.
Lia won’t mourn her uncle: he’s left her a bankrupt kingdom considered easy pickings by its neighbors. She’s sworn to be a better ruler, but if she wants to push through her reforms, she needs to beat the Court at its own games. For years, Xania’s been determined to uncover her father’s murderer. She finally gets a chance when Lia gives her a choice: become her new spymaster, or take a one way trip to the executioner’s axe. It’s an easy decision.
When they fall for each other, their love complicates Lia’s responsibilities and Xania’s plans for vengeance. As they’re drawn together amid royal suitors and new diplomats, they uncover treason that could not only end Lia’s reign, but ruin their weakened country. They must decide not only what to sacrifice for duty, but also for each other.” – O’Brien Press
August 4, 2020
The Good for Nothings by Danielle Banas
“Cora Saros is just trying her best to join the family business of theft and intergalactic smuggling. Unfortunately, she’s a total disaster.” – Swoon Reads
Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (Courting Darkness #2)
“When you count Death as a friend, who can stand as your enemy?” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Reader
It Came From the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti
“Gideon Hofstadt knows what really happened. When one of his science experiments went wrong, he and his older brother blamed the resulting explosion on extraterrestrial activity. And their lie was not only believed by their town–it was embraced. As the brothers go to increasingly greater lengths to keep up the ruse and avoid getting caught, the hoax flourishes. But Gideon’s obsession with their tale threatened his whole world. Can he find a way to banish the aliens before Lansburg, and his life, are changed forever?” – Sourcebooks Fire
Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #5)
Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?” – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Salvation by Caryn Lix (Sanctuary #3)
“Sacrifice is nothing new for Kenzie. She’ll do anything–anything–to destroy the aliens that killed both of her parents. But how can Kenzie save Earth if she can’t even save the people she loves?” – Simon Pulse
August 11, 2020
Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay
“Each contestant has their own reasons–and their own secrets–for joining the new virtual reality show CUT/OFF that places a group of teenagers alone in the wilderness. It’s a simple premise: whoever lasts the longest without “tapping out” wins a cash prize. Not only that, new software creates a totally unprecedented television experience, allowing viewers to touch, see, and live everything along with the contestants. But what happens when “tapping out” doesn’t work and no one comes to save you?” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Reader
Scorched Earth by Tommy Wallach (Anchor & Sophia #3)
“Accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Paz Dedios is on the run from the law…and the man she loves. Traumatized by the near-genocide of her people and the death of her lover, Athène is bent on revenge. Newly reunited in the Anchor, Clive and Clover Hamill will struggle to come to terms with the reappearance of a ghost from the past.” – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
August 18, 2020
Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard
“Sixteen-year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. That’s because Queen Iyzabel shrouded the kingdom in shadow upon her ascent to the throne, with claims it would protect her subjects from the dangerous Light.” – Blink
The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton (The Notorious Virtues #1)
“At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.” – Viking Books for Young Readers
Skywatchers by Carrie Arcos
“In this thrill of a novel inspired by real events, one group of teens will come face to face with the UFO phenomenon and the vastness of the unknown as they try to save one another, and possibly, the world. A powerful exploration of what if.” – Philomel Books
August 25, 2020
The Burning Kingdoms by Sally Green (The Smoke Thieves #3)
“Aloysius will send his demon smoke-powered boy army to kill them all, if he can. But what nobody knows is that there is more to the smoke than meets the eye…” – Viking Books for Young Readers
Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
“Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.” – HarperTeen
The Companion by Katie Alender
“Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
“Things I know about Harrow Lake: 1. It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film. 2. There’s something not right about this town.” – Dial Books
The Nemesis by S.J. Kincaid (The Diabolic #3)
“But there is a muttering among the Excess. They say that Nemesis is not truly gone. They whisper of her shadow spotted in distant star systems. They say that Nemesis lives. That she will rise, and rally the people to topple the man who was once her truest love–and is now her fiercest enemy.” – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Twin Daggers by Marcykate Connolly
“Aissa’s life is a web of carefully constructed lies. She and her twin sister, Zandria, are Magi spies, a magical people most believe to be extinct. And they’re on a mission for revenge.” – Blink
The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian
“The threads of the tales are familiar: An arranged marriage. An impulsive proposal bitterly refused. Secret affairs. And pregnancies, both welcome and not. Each young woman fights her own lonely battle in the generations-long war of those who would no longer settle for haunting the margins of a world that wants to ignore them.” – Dutton Books for Young Readers