Review: “In the Serpent’s Wake” by Rachel Hartman

Release Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: Tess of the Road #2
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

MIND OF THE WORLD,

OPEN YOUR EYES.At the bottom of the world lies a Serpent, the last of its kind.

Finding the Serpent will change lives.Tess is a girl on a mission to save a friend.

Spira is a dragon seeking a new identity.

Marga is an explorer staking her claim on a man’s world.

Jacomo is a priest searching for his soul.There are those who would give their lives to keep it hidden.

And those who would destroy it.But the only people who will truly find the Serpent are those who have awakened to the world around them–with eyes open to the wondrous, the terrible, and the just.

Continue reading “Review: “In the Serpent’s Wake” by Rachel Hartman”

New Young Adult SFF for September & October 2022

It’s hard to tell it’s nearly fall with this heatwave I’m currently boiling alive in, but at least I have a bunch of cool new books to cluttering up my preorders list. I hope you like scary stories, fabulous anthologies, and monstrous mayhem. These are some of the young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels I’m looking forward to in September and October.

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.

Review: “This Wicked Fate” by Kalynn Bayron

Release Date: June 21, 2022
Series: This Poison Heart #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate to save the ones you love? Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. To locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage.

But Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Strengthened by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

Continue reading “Review: “This Wicked Fate” by Kalynn Bayron”

What Is Your Damage, Mars?: The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Release Date: August 16, 2022
Publisher: PUSH
Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Description

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.

Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Continue reading What Is Your Damage, Mars?: The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Untameable Magic: Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert

Release Date: June 28, 2022
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

The suburbs, right now . . .
Ivy’s summer break kicks off with an accident, a punishment, and a mystery: a stranger whose appearance in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, heralds a string of increasingly unsettling events. As the days pass, Ivy grapples with eerie offerings, corroded memories, and a burning question: What if there’s more to her mother than meets the eye?

The city, back then . . .
Dana has always been perceptive. And the summer she turns sixteen, with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, her gifts bloom into a heady fling with the supernatural. As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding toward a violent breaking point. Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should’ve messed with.

Continue reading “Untameable Magic: Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert”

Review: “The Lost Dreamer” by Lizz Huerta

Release Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Series: Lost Dreamer #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end–an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer–she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift–and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.

With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

Continue reading “Review: “The Lost Dreamer” by Lizz Huerta”

Books We Love: “Ballad & Dagger” by Daniel José Older

Release Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Series: Outlaw Saints #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

Almost sixteen years ago, Mateo Matisse’s island homeland disappeared into the sea. Weary and hopeless, the survivors of San Madrigal’s sinking escaped to New York. While the rest of his tight-knit Brooklyn diaspora community dreams of someday finding a way back home, Mateo–now a high school junior and piano prodigy living with his two aunts (one who’s alive, the other not so much)–is focused on one thing: getting the attention of locally-grown musical legend Gerval. Mateo finally gets his chance on the night of the Grand Fete, an annual party celebrating the blended culture of pirates, Cuban Santeros, and Sephardic Jews that created San Madrigal all those centuries ago.

But the evil that sank their island has finally caught up with them, and on the night of the celebration, Mateo’s life is forever changed when he witnesses a brutal murder by a person he thought he knew.

Suddenly Mateo is thrust into an ancient battle that spans years and oceans. Deadly secrets are unraveled and Mateo awakens a power within himself–a power that not only links him to the killer but could also hold the key to unlocking the dark mystery behind his lost homeland.

Continue reading “Books We Love: “Ballad & Dagger” by Daniel José Older”

Mini Review: “Slip” by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya

Release Date: June 7, 2022
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult

Description

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all–if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Continue reading “Mini Review: “Slip” by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya”

Review: “Fire Becomes Her” by Rosiee Thor

Release Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

In Rosiee Thor’s lavish fantasy novel with a Jazz Age spark, a politically savvy teen must weigh her desire to climb the social ladder against her heart in a world where magic buys votes.

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

Continue reading “Review: “Fire Becomes Her” by Rosiee Thor”