Young adult is KILLING it this year with so many amazing releases. As a Barnes & Noble bookseller, I get to personally see all of these amazing new releases hit the shelves, and I want to make sure you don’t miss out! Therefore, I’ve compiled this list in order to keep you up to date on all the YA sci-fi/fantasy you need to be reading!
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1 || The Darkening by Sunya Mara
Badass protagonist name: Vesper Vale. Wildly unique and riveting plot featuring a deadly storm which curses or kills any living creature it touches and devours Vesper’s kingdom one sector at a time. Includes monsters, curses, enemies-to-lovers, and one-of-a-kind magic!
Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate. Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic. Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers. Even cheat her way into his cold heart. But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.
“If nightmares had music, they’d sound like the storm”The DARKENING
2 || Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
Nothing sounds more thrilling than a cursed prince, a morally grey witch, and the tried and true enemies to lovers trope!
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it. But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus. Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.
“Sometimes I want to kiss him and sometimes I want to ruin him, but most of the time, I want those actions to be one and the same”VIOLET MADE OF THORNS
3 || This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede
A girl whose touch kills every suitor + demons + a cynical bodyguard + a slow burn romance = ideal binge read.
Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches. Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her. Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?
“Sympathy, kindness, love, and friendship—all those precious human experiences that made for a full life—those were for other people, not her”This vicious grace
4 || Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
Orphaned, yet wealthy protagonist, gothic vibes, an alliance with Death himself. Intriguing, and certainly un-put-downable.
Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer. However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.
“You are no soft thing to be coddled… You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn“Belladonna
5 || Lightlark by Alex Aster
A Book-Tok phenomenon, long before it ever became published. A six figure book deal. Already in the works to become a movie. Definitely a lot of hype, we just need to read it to see if it lives up to it.
Welcome to the Centennial. Every 100 years, the island of Lightlark appears to host the Centennial, a deadly game that only the rulers of six realms are invited to play. The invitation is a summons—a call to embrace victory and ruin, baubles and blood. The Centennial offers the six rulers one final chance to break the curses that have plagued their realms for centuries. Each ruler has something to hide. Each realm’s curse is uniquely wicked. To destroy the curses, one ruler must die. Isla Crown is the young ruler of Wildling—a realm of temptresses cursed to kill anyone they fall in love with. They are feared and despised, and are counting on Isla to end their suffering by succeeding at the Centennial. To survive, Isla must lie, cheat, and betray…even as love complicates everything.
“The Centennial was many things. A game. A chance at breaking the many curses that plagued the six realms. An opportunity to win unmatched power. A meeting of the six rulers. A hundred days on an island cursed to only appear once every hundred years. And for Isla… Almost certain death“LIGHTLARK
6 || Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin
From the Nature of Witches author comes a new release featuring a witch with a knack for curses and a witch-hater, embarking on a bird-hunt to save the town from a curse gone wrong.
Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them. Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch. New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.
“‘You looked… free,’ he finally says. ‘Wild.’ He pauses, and his gaze falls to the ground. ‘Beautiful.‘”wild is the witch
7 || Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Witch community, an attractive palace guard, a handsome kidnapper, and two sisters separated at birth and raised as enemies. What’s not to love in this new release?
Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble… Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing. Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?
“Since we’re trying to avoid suspicion on our way in, I’d rather not leave eighteen bodies behind us”TWIN CROWNS
LET’S CHAT IN THE COMMENTS
What are some new YA fantasy titles that you’d recommend to other readers? Or new YA titles that you have on your TBR that you’d like to share? Were there any on this list that you found interesting and added to your TBR?