I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in March 2021. 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.
March 2, 2021
“He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend–the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Love makes monsters of us all.” – Wednesday Books
“Emil and Brighton defied the odds. They beat the Blood Casters and escaped with their lives–or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed it would make him invincible, but instead the potion is killing him.
In Emil’s race to find an antidote that will not only save his brother but also rid him of his own unwanted phoenix powers, he will have to dig deep into the very past lives he’s trying to outrun. Though he needs the help of the Spell Walkers now more than ever, their ranks are fracturing, with Maribelle’s thirst for revenge sending her down a dangerous path.
Meanwhile, Ness is being abused by Senator Iron for political gain, his rare shifting ability making him a dangerous weapon. As much as Ness longs to send Emil a signal, he knows the best way to keep Emil safe from his corrupt father is to keep him at a distance.
The battle for peace is playing out like an intricate game of chess, and as the pieces on the board move into place, Emil starts to realize that he may have been competing against the wrong enemy all along.” – Quill Tree Books
“Maddie Morrow thought her problems were over. She saved the Inn at Havenfall–a sanctuary between magical worlds hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado–from the evil Silver Prince. Her uncle the Innkeeper is slowly recovering from a mysterious spell that has left him not quite human. And there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her handsome, more-than-just-a-friend Brekken, even though she can’t stop thinking about Taya.
But Maddie soon realizes there’s more work to be done to protect the place her family has run for centuries. She must embark on a dangerous mission to put an end to the black-market trading of magical objects and open the Inn’s doors to Solaria, the once feared land of shapeshifters.
As she tries to accomplish both seemingly impossible tasks, Maddie uncovers family secrets that could change everything. What if saving everyone means destroying the only home she’s known?
This next breathtaking fantasy from New York Times bestselling Everless author Sara Holland is perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black.” – Bloomsbury YA
“Lilac’s birthright makes her the Queen of Renovia, and a forced marriage made her the Queen of Montrice. But being a ruler does not mean making the rules. For Lilac, taking the throne means giving up the opportunity to be with love of her life, the kingdom’s assassin, Caledon Holt.
Worse, Cal is forced to leave the castle when a horrific set of magical attacks threatens Lilac’s sovereignty. Now Cal and Lilac will have to battle dark forces separately, even though being together is the only thing that’s ever saved them.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
March 9, 2021
“Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM–a Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate–created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and taken into the Withers–a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinkerer, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy who makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for–even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic fail-safe in their GEMs–a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay–and die–with the boy he loves.” – Flux
“For seven long years, while she was imprisoned on a debtor’s ship, Amaya Chandra had one plan: to survive. But now, survival is not enough. She has people counting on her; counting on her for protection, for leadership, for vengeance. And after escaping Moray by the skin of her teeth, she’s determined to track down the man who betrayed her and her friends.
Cayo Mercado has lost everything: his money, his father, his reputation. Everything except his beloved sister. But he’s well on his way to losing her, too, with no way to afford the treatment for her deadly illness. In a foreign empire also being consumed by ash fever, Cayo has no choice but to join Amaya in uncovering the mystery of the counterfeit currency, the fever, and how his father was involved in their creation. But Cayo still hasn’t forgiven Amaya for her earlier deception, and their complicated feelings for each other are getting harder and harder to ignore.
Through glittering galas, dazzling trickery, and thrilling heists, Cayo and Amaya will learn that the corruption in Moray goes far deeper than they know, and in the end the only people they can trust are each other.” – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
March 16, 2021
“When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season…
Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.
But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.” – Feiwel & Friends
“Now on the run, Eva is desperate for answers about her transformation and her true heritage. Along with Aketo, a small contingent of guards, and the sister she could not kill, Eva flees Ternain in hopes of finding friends and allies to the north–not to mention Baccha–to help her decide what to do next. Princess Isa is a difficult, unremorseful captive, and Eva knows better than to trust her sister, but she wants to. Despite their history, Eva is convinced that to survive the growing unrest in the queendom, she and her sister must make peace. Since the Entwining ceremony, Eva’s and Isa’s lives have been bonded, and each can only die by the other’s hand. This perhaps provides an opening for a truce and a more hopeful future for both the sisters and the queendom, if only Isa would see reason and give up the battle for the throne.
With the two princesses on the run, the Queendom of Myre is on the brink of a revolution. And without Baccha to guide and train her magick, Eva must find a way not only to survive her own metamorphosis, but to unite all the people of Myre, including her sister, by finally taking the Ivory Throne.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
March 23, 2021
“It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road…
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.” – Swoon Reads
“Viola Park’s life is over.
She’s gone from planning her future as a pilot-in-training to resigning herself to life on the ground. And it’s all because she made one tiny, not-altogether-legal maneuver on the prestigious GAN Academy’s entrance exam. It’s bad enough that she didn’t get into the Academy, but getting caught cheating? It’s probably the worst thing Vi could imagine.
Still, there are perks that come with Vi’s family legacy at the school, and when Vi learns that recent pilot disappearances have left the Academy desperate for recruits, she does what any good Park would do–uses her connections to wiggle her way back in. But instead of matriculating with the regular class of future Peacekeepers, Vi is forced to enter as a probationary student, which means she’ll have to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy of a place in the cockpit of one of the legendary dragon mechs.
Lucky for Vi, the Academy has set up a combat tournament for all students, and the prize is a guaranteed spot in the Peacekeeper corps. Unlucky for Vi, she’ll have to compete against her probie classmates, including Nicholas Lee, a mysterious boy prone to throwing Vi off her game. And as more Peacekeepers go missing, what starts out as a ploy to save her reputation turns into a fight for the future of Peacekeepers everywhere, and if Vi can’t master her mech combat skills, she might not survive the battle.” – Razorbill
“Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer–even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.
Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own.
But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.” – HarperTeen
March 30, 2021
“The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm–and even the monster within–to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.” – Imprint
March 2, 2021
“Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed on her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice.” – Quill Tree Books
“James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. ” – Margaret K. McElderry Books
“I may have reached my breaking point. As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire.” – Entangled: Teen
“Without a ship, it should be impossible for Dorothy to travel through time. But Dorothy will do anything to protect Ash–and to save what’s left of their ruined world.” – HarperTeen
“Unsure if she can rebuild her relationship with her mother, Cat is realizing she must confront her past, her future, and herself in the fight to try.” – AW Teen
“For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings.” – Tor Teen
March 9, 2021
“As the Kingpin’s dark magic spreads and his army conquers Creije, these four unlikely friends have to decide just how far they’ll go–and how much they are willing to sacrifice–to win.” – Feiwel & Friends
“Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know.” – Inkyard Press
“When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.” – Margaret K. McElderry Books
March 16, 2021
“As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger.” – Wednesday Books
“People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. Sophia is the only one who can break the cycle–or risk becoming nothing more than another echo haunting the island.” – Viking Books for Young Readers
“David Elliott’s latest novel in verse explores the unintended consequences of our actions, no matter our intentions, and is filled with powerful messages teased from a Grimms’ fairy tale.” – HMH Books for Young Readers
March 23, 2021
“With famine tearing Callipolis apart and the Pythians determined to take back what they lost, it will be up to Annie, Lee, and Griff to decide who–and what–to fight for.” – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
“The girls of Innovations Academy escaped the confines of their unethical school, fought against the system protecting predators who targeted girls for harassment, and they’re not done yet. They’re still not free.” – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
“An epic fantasy trilogy from Norway about thousand-year-old secrets, forbidden romance, and what happens to those who make a deal with the devil comes at last to the United States!” – Arctis
March 30, 2021
“Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.” – Walker Books US
“This pulse-pounding follow-up to Bone Crier’s Moon is a story of love, sisterhood, and determination as three friends find the courage and power to shatter the boundary between the living and the dead.” – Katherine Tegen Books