I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in November 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.
November 2, 2021
A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #2) – Balzer + Bray
Karina lost everything after a violent coup left her without her kingdom or her throne. Now the most wanted person in Sonande, her only hope of reclaiming what is rightfully hers lies in a divine power hidden in the long-lost city of her ancestors.
Meanwhile, the resurrection of Karina’s sister has spiraled the world into chaos, with disaster after disaster threatening the hard-won peace Malik has found as Farid’s apprentice. When they discover that Karina herself is the key to restoring balance, Malik must use his magic to lure her back to their side. But how do you regain the trust of someone you once tried to kill?
As the fabric holding Sonande together begins to tear, Malik and Karina once again find themselves torn between their duties and their desires. And when the fate of everything hangs on a single, horrifying choice, they each must decide what they value most–a power that could transform the world, or a love that could transform their lives.
Faith: Greater Heights by Julie Murphy (Faith Herbert Origin Story #2) – Balzer + Bray
Faith Herbert can finally admit that she’s not a regular teen–and take advantage of her new flying superpowers. After the chaos of her first semester, Faith just wants to end her senior year in a normal way–enjoying all the hallmarks of graduating high school, like prom, with her best friends Matt and Ches.
But a new journalism teacher at school means things are off to a strange start, and suddenly Colleen Bristow, the quiet nerd-turned-supervillain, reappears, acting as if nothing ever happened. Fires are cropping up all over town. Then Faith hears that psiots have been going missing.
As if that weren’t enough, reports of sightings of Faith’s ex, the beautiful Dakota Ash, start to emerge. Everyone thinks she’s dead, but Faith knows better. . . . Will she make a reappearance?
As Faith tries to balance her quest with a memorable senior year and the heartbreak of Grandma Lou’s increasing decline, she learns to have faith in herself–and that sometimes fate will point you in the right direction.
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen – Random House Books for Young Readers
A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.
Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.
But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable–she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.
To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .
Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.
The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell by Kate Brauning – Page Street Kids
Dinah Caldwell has been filling her father’s role since he abandoned their family four years ago. She and her grief-stricken mom run their subsistence farm deep in the Ozarks, making sure her younger brother never has to worry. Until the day Gabriel Gates, who owns everyone in Charlotte County, kills her mother to steal her family’s well.
Homeless, heartbroken, and alone, Dinah only has a single razor-sharp goal: revenge. And now that Gates has put a ten-thousand-dollar bounty on her head, she can’t trust anyone, but she also can’t take down the most powerful man in the mountains
Her only allies are Kara, Dinah’s best friend and secret crush, and Johnny, a young bootlegger who has as much reason to hate Gates as Dinah does. With their help and resources, and maybe even love, she can spark a revolution and set the whole county free–if their combined secrets don’t get them all killed first.
November 9, 2021
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger – Levine Querido
Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.
Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.
Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.
And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.
Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier – Clarion Books
Three years ago, young Lord Cassia disappeared in the midst of war. Since then, a devastating illness has swept the land, leaving countless dead and a kingdom forever altered. Having survived war and plague, Cas, now eighteen, wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers.
His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
An assassin targets those closest to the queen, drawing Cas into a search for a killer. With the help of a historian-in-training named Lena, he soon realizes that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. Cas and Lena must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret–one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.
November 16, 2021
Briar Girls by Rebecca Kim Wells – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Lena has a secret: the touch of her skin can kill. Cursed by a witch before she was born, Lena has always lived in fear and isolation. But after a devastating mistake, she and her father are forced to flee to a village near the Silence, a mysterious forest with a reputation for luring people into the trees, never to be seen again…
Until the night an enigmatic girl stumbles out of the Silence and into Lena’s sheltered world. Miranda comes from the Gather, a city in the forest brimming with magic. She is on a quest to wake a sleeping princess believed to hold the key to liberating the Gather from its tyrannical ruler–and she offers Lena a bargain. If Lena assists her on her journey, Miranda will help her break the curse.
Mesmerized by Miranda and her promise of a new life, Lena jumps at the chance. But the deeper into the Silence she goes, the more she suspects she’s been lied to–about her family’s history, her curse, and her future. As the shadows close in, Lena must choose who to trust and decide whether it’s more important to have freedom…or power.
Journey to the Heart of the Abyss by London Shah (Light the Abyss #2) – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Leyla McQueen has finally reunited with her father after breaking him out of Broadmoor, the illegal government prison–but his freedom comes at a terrible cost. As Leyla celebrates his return, she must grapple with the pain of losing Ari. Now separated from the boy who has her heart and labeled the nation’s number one enemy, Leyla must risk illegal travel through unchartered waters in her quest for the truth behind her father’s arrest.
Across Britain, the fallout from Leyla’s actions has escalated tensions between Anthropoid and non-Anthropoid communities, bringing them to an all-time high. And, as Leyla and her friends fight to uncover the startling truths about their world, she discovers her own shocking past–and the horrifying secrets behind her father’s abduction and arrest. But as these long-buried truths finally begin to surface, so, too, do the authorities’ terrible future plans. And if the ever-pervasive fear prevents the people from taking a stand now, the abyss could stay in the dark forever.
Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong (These Violent Delights #2) – Margaret K. McElderry Books
The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on a mission. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right–even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.
Believe Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #6.5) – HarperCollins
Juliette and Warner fought hard to take down the Reestablishment once and for all. Life in the aftermath isn’t easy, as they and their friends at the Sanctuary work with their limited resources to stabilize the world.
Warner has his sights set on more than just politics. Since he proposed to Juliette two weeks ago, he’s been eager to finally marry her, the person he loves more than anything and has endured so much to be with. But with so much chaos around them, it’s been nearly impossible for them to have a wedding. And even Juliette has been distracted by everything they need to do.
At long last, Warner and Juliette’s future together is within reach, but the world continues to try to pull them apart. Will they finally be able to be happily, officially, together?
November 30, 2021
Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan (Girls of Paper and Fire #3) – Jimmy Patterson
The final pages of Girls of Storm and Shadow brought a jaw-dropping conclusion that had the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in uncertainty. But one thing was certain – the Hidden Palace was the last place that Lei would ever consider home. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls would plague her forever. She could not be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren. The last Lei saw of the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death. With the two girls torn apart and each in terrorizing peril, will they find each other again or have their destinies diverged forever?
November 2, 2021
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross – Quill Tree Books
The realm of Azenor has spent years plagued by a curse. Every new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life.
Into the Bloodred Woods by Martha Brockenbrough – Scholastic Press
Happily ever after is a lie.
Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards – Sourcebooks Fire
I know seven dirty secrets: One caused the fall. One did nothing. One saw it all. One didn’t care. One used their head. One played the hero. One was left for dead.
Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix (The Old Kingdom #6) – Katherine Tegen Books
In the Old Kingdom, a land of ancient and often terrible magics, eighteen year-old orphan Terciel learns the art of necromancy from his great-aunt Tizanael.
Where Echoes Lie by Shannon Schuren – Philomel Books
In this eerie thriller of a ghost story, a teenage girl must solve the mystery of the ghost bride that has haunted her community in rural Kentucky for more than a century.
Gilded by Marissa Meyer (Untitled #1) – Feiwel & Friends
Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller’s daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue. Or so everyone believes.
November 9, 2021
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody, Christine Lynn Herman (All of Us Villains #1) Tor Teen
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (The Aurora Cycle #3) – Knopf Books for Young Readers
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Roxy by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life.
A Light in the Sky by Shina Reynolds (Clashing Skies #1) – Wink Road Press
Seventeen-year-old Aluma Banks has always dreamed of soaring freely through the skies astride a powerful winged steed of her own. But flying is a privilege granted only to the Riders of the king’s Empyrean Cavalry, the aerial warriors who defend the borders of their land from the fallen kingdom of Laithlann.
November 16, 2021
A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth – Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rowenna Winthrop has always known there’s magic within her. But though she hears voices on the wind and possesses unusual talents, her mother Mairead believes Rowenna lacks discipline, and refuses to teach her the craft that keeps their Scottish village safe.
Starling by Isabel Strychacz – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Strange things have always happened in the small town of Darling…
Under a Starlit Sky by E.M. Castellan (In the Shadow of the Sun #2) – Feiwel & Friends
Spring 1662. In the wake of Fouquet’s defeat, Henriette is keeping her promise to the Sun King and helping him build the enchanted Palace of Versailles he’s always dreamed of. But when her poor health worsens, her magic wanes and her husband Philippe fears for her well being to such an extent that he forbids her to remain Louis’ Source.
Curse of the Midnight King by Yakira Goldsberry (Tales of Faerie Land #1) – Illuminate YA
In this retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and Cinderella, Faye must sacrifice herself to save her sisters, or risk them being trapped in the Underworld forever, suffering from the curse she helped create.
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #3) – Katherine Tegen Books
When a newly found keepsake of hers–a piece of a broken spyglass–comes into Adrian’s possession, he’s thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had.
November 23, 2021
Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson (Skyward #3) – Delacorte Press
Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary.
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