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Get Rec'd: Eight YA SFF reads to pick up in August

By Zoraida Córdova

The latest batch of YA SFF is here. August promises epic debut fantasy worlds, the return of everyone's favorite sparkly vampire, ALIENS, nine-tailed foxes, space operas, and so much more. YA SFF has a wide range of books to kick you out of that reading slump or give you something to take your mind off the state of the world, even if it's just for even an evening.

Stephenie Meyer's long-awaited Midnight Sun has had a 12-year lead-up, but it's finally here. For debut authors, releasing during a pandemic is tough. There's uncertainty and fear, which is the natural state of authors, but even more so for those whose first novels are entering the market. So if you're looking to support some SFF, give them some extra consideration. We have a dazzling few for you to choose from! 

Midnight Sun - Stephenie Meyer (August 4)

Midnight Sun - Stephenie Meyer (August 4)

Edward! Cullen! Twilight needs no introduction. The literary phenomenon about a human girl and the vampire who loves and lusts after her blood has a new iteration. Midnight Sun is Twilight from the vampire’s perspective.

Edward Cullen is over a century old and repeating high school. It is the thing that gives his family a sense of normalcy and ordinary-ness that they crave. But Edward will always feel like a monster playing at being human. Then, he meets Bella. Or rather, smells her. After spending several days contemplating mass murder in order to get at her sweet, sweet blood, he realizes he’s in love. Although we very much know how this romance goes, Meyer offers every single rumination Edward has ever had. This 672-page tome gives fans an insight into the emo-est Cullen and does not disappoint. 

Court of Lions - Somaiya Daud (August 4)

Court of Lions - Somaiya Daud (August 4)

Somaiya Daud caps off the Mirage duology with Court of Lions. Set in a star system dominated by the Vathek empire, Mirage introduces us to Amani. Despite living on an isolated moon, she gets kidnapped and forced to become a body double for the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram who is constantly under the threat of assassination. The two girls are identical.

Court of Lions picks up where Mirage leaves off. Amani is doing her best to stay alive and learn intricate court politics. But when the real princess discovers Amani’s ties to the rebellion, Amani is forced into silence. No matter what, the decoy princess' actions will affect the rebellion, her family’s safety, and her relationship with Maram’s fiancé, Idris.

Star Daughter - Shveta Thakrar (August 11)

Star Daughter - Shveta Thakrar (August 11)

This debut fantasy is full of star magic and Hindu mythology. Sheetal is the daughter of a star and human man. She's tried her best to be ordinary and keep her power to herself. But when her starfire hurts her father, she has to return to her mother's celestial court in order to find a way to heal him. The quest leads Sheetal to become her family's champion in a competition that will decide which house rules the heavens next. Sheetal has no choice but to win, or risk never returning to her father at all.

This is a completely magical and original novel. Star Daughter by Shvete Thakrar is perfect for fans of the fairy-tale-like works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Roshani Chokshi.

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything - Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (August 11)

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything - Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (August 11)

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland's debut novel puts a spin on close encounters with aliens by pairing it with themes of immigration and Mexican folklore. Three years after Sia Martinez's mother disappeared during an ICE raid, Sia is finally beginning to move on. Deemed “an unfortunate incident,” Sia hasn’t heard from her since and knows the worst must be true. Her mother was dead. But one night, after driving into the desert to light candles in vigil, Sia’s mother doesn’t just reappear — she crashes her spacecraft into Sia's car. On the run from alien-soldiers, the Martinez women explore immigration, family, and the universe.

If you’re missing Roswell, New Mexico, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland's Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is for you.

The Faithless Hawk - Margaret Owen (August 18)

The Faithless Hawk - Margaret Owen (August 18)

Slight spoilers ahead if you haven’t read The Merciful Crow. Book 1 follows Fie, poised to become the chieftain of the Crows. She makes a bargain with Prince Jasimir in order to keep her cast of Crows safe.

Now, in The Faithless Hawk, the sequel to Owen’s debut, Fie takes on her role as chieftain and she can only hope that a prince is as good as his word. But when the ruthless Queen Rhusana makes a bid for the throne, everything is upturned. The witch queen (can I root for her just because she’s called the witch queen?) uses a deadly plague to strike. Fie and her people have no choice but to leave the nation at the mercy of the Queen. Fie fights for the future of her Crows, even if it means exposing their own secrets.

Vicious Spirits  - Katherine Cho (August 18)

Vicious Spirits - Katherine Cho (August 18)

My favorite himbo is back. Vicious Spirits, the companion novel to Katherine Cho’s debut, Wicked Fox, brings more romance and more danger. Wicked Fox follows an immortal nine-tailed fox (aka a gumiho) Miyoung as she becomes entangled with a beautiful human himbo, Jihoon. After the fallout of Book 1, Miyoung and Jihoon are picking up the pieces of their lives. But as Miyoung falls ill, getting sicker and sicker, those who love her are powerless to help her get better. To top it all off, supernatural forces are rising. Miyoung and Jihoon upended the balance of life and death, and now, the spirits are back to set things right.

If you’re hungry for paranormal romance, get on this.

Amulet Books

Raybearer - Jordan Ifueko (August 18)

If you’re in the mood for big fantasy, set your sights on this debut novel, Raybearer, by Jordan Ifueko.

Tarisai’s absent mother, The Lady, sends her to the empire’s capital to compete for a chance to be on the prince’s Council of 11. In the empire of Aritsar, being part of this council means being bonded with the other members. For someone like Tarisai, who had a lonely childhood, this kind of connection is something she’s longed for. But The Lady has other plans for her daughter: gain the prince’s trust and kill him. Tarisai’s journey is one of identity, loyalty, and fate. What is she willing to do to break free from her mother and come into her own?

Wednesday Books

Where Dreams Descend - Janella Angeles (August 25)

Moulin Rouge meets The Phantom of the Opera in a lush and dreamy circus? GIVE IT TO ME NOW. Where Dreams Descend has been one of my highly anticipated debuts since the announcement.

Set in a ruined city, a group of magicians face-off to become the next headliner of the Conquering Circus. The acts get dangerous with each turn, but three of them have deadly secrets coming to the surface: Kallia, a showgirl out to prove her skill; Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club who is more lie than truth; and Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past. Even though magicians start to go missing, the show must go on.

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