New Young Adult Speculative Fiction September 2020

I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in September 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.

 

Recommended

September 1, 2020

sff2_cemeteryboysCemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
“When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.” – Swoon Reads

 

GoldWingsRisingGold Wings Rising by Alex London (The Skybound Saga #3)
“The war on the ground has ended, but the war with the sky has just begun. After the Siege of the Six Villages, the ghost eagles have trapped Uztaris on both sides of the conflict. The villagers and Kartami alike hide in caves, huddled in terror as they await nightly attacks. Kylee aims to plunge her arrows into each and every ghost eagle; in her mind, killing the birds is the only way to unshackle the city’s chains. But Brysen has other plans. While the humans fly familiar circles around each other, the ghost eagles create schemes far greater and more terrible than either Kylee or Brysen could have imagined. Now, the tug-of-war between love and power begins to fray, threatening bonds of siblinghood and humanity alike.” – Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

LostBookWhiteThe Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (The Eldest Curses #2)
“Life is good for Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. They’re living together in a fabulous loft, their warlock son, Max, has started learning to walk, and the streets of New York are peaceful and quiet–as peaceful and quiet as they ever are, anyway.

Until the night that two old acquaintances break into Magnus’s apartment and steal the powerful Book of the White. Now Magnus and Alec will have to drop everything to get it back. They need to follow the thieves to Shanghai, they need to call some backup to accompany them, and they need a babysitter.

Also, someone has stabbed Magnus with a strange magical weapon and the wound is glowing, so they have that to worry about too.

Fortunately, their backup consists of Clary, Jace, Isabelle, and newly minted Shadowhunter Simon. In Shanghai, they learn that a much darker threat awaits them. Magnus’s magic is growing unstable, and if they can’t stop the demons flooding into the city, they might have to follow them all the way back to the source–the realm of the dead. Can they stop the threat to the world? Will they make it back home before their kid completely wears out Alec’s mom?” – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

 

NeverLookBackNever Look Back by Lilliam Rivera
“Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy . . .

Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.” – Bloomsbury YA

 

SanctuaryMendozaSherSanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher
“It’s 2032, and in this near-future America, all citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked–from buses to grocery stores. It’s almost impossible to survive as an undocumented immigrant, but that’s exactly what sixteen-year-old Vali is doing. She and her family have carved out a stable, happy life in small-town Vermont, but when Vali’s mother’s counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and the Deportation Forces raid their town, they are forced to flee.

Now on the run, Vali and her family are desperately trying to make it to her tía Luna’s in California, a sanctuary state that is currently being walled off from the rest of the country. But when Vali’s mother is detained before their journey even really begins, Vali must carry on with her younger brother across the country to make it to safety before it’s too late.

Gripping and urgent, co-authors Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher have crafted a narrative that is as haunting as it is hopeful in envisioning a future where everyone can find sanctuary.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

 

WaywardWitchWayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #3)
“Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she’s been feeling lost. She has brand new powers that she doesn’t understand, and her family is still trying to figure out how to function in the wake of her amnesiac father’s return home. Then, on the night of her Death Day party, Rose discovers her father’s memory loss has been a lie.

As she rushes to his side, the two are ambushed and pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. There Rose is forced to work with a group of others to save Adas. Soon, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the troubling truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters. But if Rose wants to return home so that she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.” – Sourcebooks Fire

 

 

September 8, 2020

IronHeartIron Heart by Nina Varela (Crier’s War #2)
“For too long, Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing its human citizens. But the human revolution has risen, and at its heart is Ayla. Once a handmaiden, now a fugitive, Ayla narrowly escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl she would’ve killed if she hadn’t fallen in love first.

Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, who can help accomplish the human rebellion’s ultimate goal: destroy the Iron Heart. Without its power, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction. Ayla wants to succeed, but can’t shake the strong feelings she’s developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among traveling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

Even as their paths collide, nothing can prepare them for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.” – Quill Tree Books

 

NightShineNight Shine by Tessa Gratton
“In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince.

As the empress’s army searches fruitlessly, Nothing and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, through demon-filled rain forests and past crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress wields her power. There, Nothing will discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.” – Margaret K. McElderry Books

 

 

September 15, 2020

EachOfUsADesertEach of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
“Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes. Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit. One night, Xo’s wish is granted–in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.” – Tor Teen

 

Legendborn-coverLegendborn by Tracy Deonn (Legendborn #1)
“After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape–until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts–and fails–to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets–and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down–or join the fight.” – Margaret K. McElderry Books

 

ArtSavingTheWorldThe Art of Saving the World by Corinne Duyvis
“When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift tore open near her family’s home, which prompted immediate government attention. They soon learned that if Hazel strayed too far, the rift would become volatile and fling things from other dimensions onto their front lawn–or it could swallow up their whole town. As a result, Hazel has never left her small Pennsylvania town, and the government agents garrisoned on her lawn make sure it stays that way. On her sixteenth birthday, though, the rift spins completely out of control. Hazel comes face-to-face with a surprise: a second Hazel. Then another. And another. Three other Hazels from three different dimensions! Now, for the first time, Hazel has to step into the world to learn about her connection to the rift–and how to close it. But is Hazel–even more than one of her–really capable of saving the world?” – Amulet Books

 

Scapegracers-coverThe Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke (The Scapegracers  #1)
“Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now-unbelievably-Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?” – Erewhon

 

WayBackThe Way Back by Gavriel Savit
“For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.

But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe– just maybe–find a way to make it back alive.” – Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

 

September 22, 2020

EarlyDeparturesEarly Departures by Justin A. Reynolds
“What if you could bring your best friend back to life–but only for a short time?

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and that he’s about to die . . . again. He doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven’t been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents.

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? A new technology allows Q to be reanimated for a few weeks before he dies . . . permanently. And Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin this miracle by telling Q about his impending death. So how can Jamal fix everything if he can’t tell Q the truth?” – Katherine Tegen Books

 

MissMeteor-coverMiss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
“There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history.

But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world–and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands.

So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough–they are everything.” – HarperTeen

 

SilveredSerpentsThe Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #2)
“Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.” – Wednesday Books

 

VampiresNeverGetOldVampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker
“Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out–and going out for their first kill–and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire–and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida C rdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.” – Imprint

 

WhiteFoxWhite Fox by Sara Faring
“After their world-famous actor mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean island home–sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive. Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into the island’s surreal society, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother–and themselves.” – Imprint

 

 

September 29, 2020

NeonDarknessA Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen (The Bright Sessions #2)
“Robert Gorham always gets what he wants. But the power of persuasion is as potent a blessing as it is a curse.

Robert is alone until a group of strangers who can do impossible things–produce flames without flint, conduct electricity with their hands, and see visions of the past–welcome him. They call themselves Unusuals and they give Robert a new name too: DAMIEN.

Finally, finally he belongs. As long as he can keep his power under control.

But control is a sacrifice he might not be willing to make.” -Tor Teen

 

SkyhunterSkyhunter by Marie Lu (Skyhunter #1)
“The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death – transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara. The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable. Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope. Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs. But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?” -Roaring Brook Press

 

 

Full list

September 1, 2020

As the Shadow Rises by Katy Rose Pool (The Age of Darkness #2)
“In this sequel to the critically-acclaimed There Will Come a Darkness, kingdoms have begun to fall to a doomsday cult, the magical Graced are being persecuted, and an ancient power threatens to break free. But with the world hurtling toward its prophesized end, Anton’s haunting vision reveals the dangerous beginnings of a plan to stop the Age of Darkness.” – Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers

 

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin (Serpent & Dove #2)
“Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church–fugitives with nowhere to hide. To survive, they need allies. Strong ones. But as Lou becomes increasingly desperate to save those she loves, she turns to a darker side of magic that may cost Reid the one thing he can’t bear to lose. Bound to her always, his vows were clear: where Lou goes, he will go; and where she stays, he will stay.” – HarperTeen

 

Fable by Adrienne Young (Fable #1)
“But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.” – Wednesday Books

 

Greythorne by Crystal Smith (Bloodleaf #2)
“Princess Aurelia’s life is upended when the kingdom she thought she saved falls to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country turns against her. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor–her best friend’s family mansion–only to find that Greythorne has sinister secrets of its own. With enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia is caught in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left–her family. In her darkest moments, when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

 

Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game #3)
“Return to the City of Sin, where the perilous final game is about to begin…The players? Twenty-two of the most powerful, most notorious people in New Reynes.” – Inkyard Press

 

 

September 8, 2020

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (The Other Side of the Sky #1)
“Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction–hope. North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined–though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.” – HarperTeen

 

When Villains Rise by Rebecca Schaeffer (Market of Monsters #3)
“Nita finally has Fabricio, the boy who betrayed her to the black market, within her grasp. But when proof that Kovit’s a zannie–a monster who eats pain in order to survive–is leaked to the world, Nita must reevalute her plans. With enemies closing in on all sides, the only way out is for Nita and Kovit to take on the most dangerous man in the world: Fabricio’s father. He protects the secrets of the monsters who run the black market.” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

 

 

September 15, 2020

Horrid by Katrina Leno
“Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?” – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 

The Ninth Life by Taylor B. Barton
“What if your deepest wish came with dark consequences? At the end of Caesar’s feline life, he makes a deal with the goddess Zosma to rejoin Ophelia, the girl he loves, for his ninth and final life. However, waking in the body of seventeen-year-old Austin Price isn’t what he anticipates. Neither is Austin’s handsome roommate, Cooper–a boy who moves him in unexpected ways. And coming face-to-face with a messy past he can’t remember living makes being human even harder than he would have thought.” – Inkyard Press

 

 

September 22, 2020

A Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan (Touch of Gold #2)
“With no other choice, Kora sets out to find Dionysus, journeying to the mysterious disappearing island of Jipper. If she wants to save her kingdom and have any chance at reversing her father’s curse, she will have to enter into a deadly game with Dionysus, the greatest trickster the world, or the underworld, has ever seen.” – Blink

 

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
“In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.” – Katherine Tegen Books

 

 

September 29, 2020

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer (Crownchasers #1)
“Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy, even leaving behind the Kingship and her uncle, the emperor, for a life of exploring. But when her dying uncle announces a crownchase–a search for the royal seal hidden in the empire that will determine the next ruler–Alyssa is thrust into her greatest, most dangerous adventure yet.” – HarperTeen

 

Crush by Tracy Wolff (Crave #2)
“I’m in the fight of my life. For my humanity. For Jaxon. And for the world I’ve only just begun to be a part of. I’m all in, even if saving the people I love means I risk losing myself forever.” – Entangled: Teen

 

Disclose by Joelle Charbonneau
“But though Meri and her band of truth-seeking Stewards did lose the first battle in their quest to enlighten the public, they have not yet lost the war. Meri can start the revolution she seeks, if the powerful figures who profit from the status quo don’t find her–and kill her first.” – HarperTeen

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