New Young Adult Speculative Fiction October 2021

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

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“Kill your ex. You’ll feel better.” — The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Release Date: September 14, 2021
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Description

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town–at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex–even though she is trying to kill him.

Continue reading ““Kill your ex. You’ll feel better.” — The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl”

Review: “Folklorn” by Angela Mi Young Hur

Release Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Erewhon
Genre: Magical realism

Description

Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she’s put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she’s run from all her life. But it isn’t long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.

Years ago, Elsa’s now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.

When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.

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Haunted Houses and Magic Brownies: New Young Adult SFF/H September & October 2021

Summer is waning and the season of pumpkin spice, jack o’lanterns, and 12-foot skeletons is right around the corner. Autumn brings with it a host of intriguing new young adult speculative fiction stories. We’ve got books that will give you goosebumps, books that will give you feels, and books that will make you want to jump out of your seat in excitement. Dust off that library card, friendos. Your TBR is about to grow…

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.

Feature: “Rites” by Savannah Johnston

Release Date: September 27, 2021
Publisher: Jaded Ibis Press
Genre: Literary, Short Stories

Description

Set in Oklahoma, this collection of short stories documents the quiet sorrow of everyday life as Johnston’s characters traverse the normalized, heartbreaking rites of passage such as burying a grandfather, mother, or husband, becoming a sex worker, or reconnecting with family after prison; the effects are subtle, yet loud, and always enduring. Johnston delivers this economy of loss and resilience with biting, captivating prose.

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Review: “The Necessity of Stars” by E. Catherine Tobler

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction

Description

Plagued by the creeping loss of her memory, diplomat Bréone Hemmerli continues to negotiate peace in an increasingly climate-devastated world, ensconced in the UN-owned estate Irislands alongside her longtime friend and companion Delphine.

The appearance of the alien Tura in the shadows of Bréone’s garden raises new questions about the world’s decline. Perhaps, together, Tura and Bréone will find a way forward… if only Bréone can remember it.

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Review: “Comfort Me with Apples” by Catherynne M. Valente

Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Fantasy

Description

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…

But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?

Continue reading “Review: “Comfort Me with Apples” by Catherynne M. Valente”

Review: “And What Can We Offer You Tonight” by Premee Mohamed

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy

Description

In a far future city, where you can fall to a government cull for a single mistake, And What Can We Offer You Tonight tells the story of Jewel, established courtesan in a luxurious House. Jewel’s world is shaken when her friend is murdered by a client, but somehow comes back to life. To get revenge, they will both have to confront the limits of loyalty, guilt, and justice.

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Review: “Flowers for the Sea” by Zin E. Rocklyn

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Description

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.

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