I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in April 2021. Up first is a short list of the books I highly recommend, followed by a long list of basically every book being published. Books that are
crossed out and have no description or link are not recommended, either because they contain problematic/offensive content or are written by authors I find problematic.
Get your library cards and indie bookstore pre-orders ready, y’all.
April 6, 2021
The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.
It’s hard for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.
And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.
With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present. – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman (The Infinity Courts #1)
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her–including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human. – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Oculta by Maya Motayne (A Forgery of Magic #2)
After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.
That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime syndicates.
Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. The mysterious organization responsible for his brother’s murder has resurfaced–and their newest target is the summit. And when these events converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass.
But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom? – Balzer + Bray
April 13, 2021
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:
x Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
x Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.”
x If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.
If only surviving in real life were this easy…
New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep…and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.
Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose. – Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders (Universal Expansion #1)
Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’–she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic–she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.
But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed–and everyone in the galaxy is expecting her to actually be the brilliant tactician and legendary savior Captain Thaoh Argentian, but Tina….is just Tina. And the Royal Fleet is losing the war, badly–the starship that found her is on the run and they barely manage to escape Earth with the planet still intact.
Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself. – Tor Teen
April 20, 2021
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens
Prince Tal has long awaited his coming-of-age tour. After spending most of his life cloistered behind palace walls as he learns to keep his forbidden magic secret, he can finally see his family’s kingdom for the first time. His first taste of adventure comes just two days into the journey, when their crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel.
Tasked with watching over the prisoner, Tal is surprised to feel an intense connection with the roguish Athlen. So when Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, Tal feels responsible and heartbroken, knowing Athlen could not have survived in the open ocean.
That is, until Tal runs into Athlen days later on dry land, very much alive, and as charming–and secretive–as ever. But before they can pursue anything further, Tal is kidnapped by pirates and held ransom in a plot to reveal his rumored powers and instigate a war. Tal must escape if he hopes to save his family and the kingdom. And Athlen might just be his only hope… – Margaret K. McElderry Books
These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy (These Feathered Flames #1)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.
But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.
As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love–and who killed their mother. – Inkyard Press
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart (Witches Steeped in Gold #1)
Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom–and vengeance.
Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.
Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain–except the lengths they will go to win this game. – HarperTeen
April 27, 2021
On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig (Shadow Players #3)
Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war. Le Trépas–the deadly necromancer–has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos.
The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. – Greenwillow Books
April 1, 2021
The Stone Eater by Carol Beth Anderson (The Magic Eaters Trilogy #3)
With both the crown and her heart at stake, Nora must give her all to defeat her father. Otherwise, his tyranny will overwhelm the land…giving Nora no escape but death. – Eliana Press
April 6, 2021
Blessed Monsters by Emily A. Duncan (Something Dark and Holy #3)
Go the Distance by Jen Calonita (A Twisted Tale #11)
After Hercules proves he’s a true hero and regains his godship, all seems right in the world. That is, until Zeus tells Meg that she can’t be with Hercules because she’s, well, mortal. – Disney-Hyperion
Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson
But what is the true cost of keeping up with the fast crowd–and is it a price Estella is willing to pay? – Disney Press
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night. – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld (Imposters #3)
If their father is deposed from Shreve, who will take control? And what other forces may be waiting in the wings? – Scholastic Press
Poison Priestess by Lana Popović (Lady Slayers #2)
A charged rivalry between sorceress and magician leads to Black Masses, tangled deceptions, and grisly murder–and sets Catherine on a collision course that threatens her own life. – Amulet Books
April 13, 2021
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni (The Prison Healer #1)
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun. – HMH Books for Young Readers
The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell (The Last Magician #3)
Saving Harte–and magic itself–will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined… – Margaret K. McElderry Books
April 20, 2021
Delta of Dead River sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power in the Wastes and discovers a secret that will reshape her world in this postapocalyptic Western mashup. – HMH Books for Young Readers
Southern Sun, Northern Star by Joanna Hathaway (Glass Alliance #3)
As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace. – Tor Teen
April 27, 2021
Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (CatNet #2)
Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen (Dark Shores #3)
Their battles ended in victory. But the war has only just begun. – Tor Teen
Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #3)