I come bearing gifts of great reading! Here’s a comprehensive guide to young adult speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) being published in December 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.
December 7, 2021
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling – Razorbill
Elise Beaumont is cursed. With every touch, she experiences exactly how her loved ones will die. And after her brother’s death–a death she predicted but was unable to prevent–Elise is desperate to get rid of her terrible gift, no matter the cost.
Claire Montgomery also has a unique relationship with death, mostly because she’s already dead. Technically, anyway. Claire is a vampire, and she’s been assigned by the Veil to help Elise master her rare Death Oracle powers.
At first, Elise is reluctant to work with a vampire, but when she predicts a teacher’s imminent murder, she’s determined to stop the violent death, even if it means sacrificing her own future to secure Claire’s help.
The trouble is, Claire and Elise aren’t the only paranormals in town–a killer is stalking the streets, and Claire can’t seem to shake the pull she feels toward Elise, a romance that could upend the Veil’s mission. But as Elise and Claire grow closer, Elise begins to wonder–can she really trust someone tasked with securing her loyalty? Someone who could so easily kill her? Someone who might hold the key to unraveling her brother’s mysterious death?
The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska – Sourcebooks Fire
Karnawał season is a time for mischief and revelry. For the next few weeks, all will be wintry balls, glittery disguises, and nightly torch-lit sleigh-parties.
Unbeknownst to the merrymakers, two uninvited girls join the fun. Zosia and Marynka are drawn to each other the moment they meet, until they discover they’re rivals, who both have their sights set on the prince’s heart. If one consumes a pure heart, she’ll gain immeasurable power. Marynka plans to bring the prince’s back to her patron in order to prove herself. While Zosia is determined to take his heart and its power for her own.
Their ambition turns into a magical contest with both girls vying to keep the prince out of the other’s grasp, even as their attraction to one another grows. But their attempts on his life draws the attention of the city that would die for him, and suddenly their escalating rivalry might cost them not just their love for each other, but both their lives.
The Righteous by Renée Ahdieh (The Beautiful #3) – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pippa Montrose is tired of losing everything she loves. When her best friend Celine disappears under mysterious circumstances, Pippa resolves to find her, even if the journey takes her into the dangerous world of the fey, where she might find more than she bargained for in the charismatic Arjun Desai.
Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes – Bloomsbury YA
All Luis Gonzalez wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his “progressive” school still doesn’t allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis’s parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He’s determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve (while also not risking his chance to be prom king, just saying…).
When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he’s going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis’s estranged father). Luis is in over his head, trying not to make things worse-and hoping he makes it back to present day at all.
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba – HarperTeen
During arguably the worst week of Esso’s life, an accident knocks him into an incredible world–a place beyond space or time, where he can see glimpses of the past and future. But if what he sees there is true, he might not have much longer to live, unless he can use his new gift to change the course of history.
Rhia’s past is filled with questions, none of which she expects a new physics tutor to answer. But Dr. Esso’s not here to help Rhia. He’s here because he needs her help–to unravel a tragedy that happened fifteen years ago. One that holds the key not only to Rhia’s past, but to a future worth fighting for.
December 1, 2021
The Shattered Crown by Maxym M. Martineau (The Beast Charmer #3) – Sourcebooks Fire
When Leena Edenfrell swore herself to the Frozen Prince, Noc Feyreigner, she never dreamed she’d ignite the flames of war.
December 7, 2021
Heart of the Impaler by Alexander Delacroix – Swoon Reads
Vlad Dracula has long lived in the shadows cast by his bloodthirsty father, the voivode, and his older brother, Mircea. Despite their cruelty, Vlad has yearned to prove himself worthy of the throne his whole life.
No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen – Delacorte Press
Welcome to Twentynine Palms, where nothing is what it seems.
The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White (Camelot Rising #3) – Delacorte Press
While journeying north toward the Dark Queen, Guinevere falls into the hands of her enemies. Behind her are Lancelot, trapped on the other side of the magical barrier they created to protect Camelot, and Arthur, who has been led away from his kingdom, chasing after false promises.
The Last She by H. J. Nelson (The Last She #1) – Wattpad Books
Ara…I made a mistake, we all did…go back to the beginning…it’s not too late.
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