The New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp often refers to themselves as "a lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas." Born and raised in the Netherlands, they spend as much time in fictional worlds as they do in the real one. Their debut young adult novel, This Is Where It Ends, tracks four teens during the 54 minutes of a school shooting.
They've also written Before I Let Go, a YA murder mystery set in a brutal Alaskan winter, and they are the writer of the recently released DC graphic novel The Oracle Code, which follows a teenage Barbara Gordon dealing with the aftermath of the gunshot that has left her paralyzed and undergoing both physical and mental rehabilitation at the Arkham Center for Independence — only she can't shake the feeling that something strange is going on within its walls.
In celebration of Women's History Month, SYFY FANGRRLS asked Nijkamp to recommend some of their recent favorite genre reads, as a nonbinary author.
Elatsoe - Darcie Little Badger
"Elatsoe's America is an America shaped by the stories of its people — both Indigenous and not — where magic and monsters are part of life. Elatsoe herself can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. But when her cousin is murdered, she has to use her skill, her determination, and her heart to uncover the truth.
Darcie Little Badger is the co-writer of the Strangelands comics, author of many fantastic short stories, and her YA debut is utterly magical."
Crier's War - Nina Varela
"In the kingdom of Rabu, 'Automae' — made mechanical humans — usurped power during the War of Kings. Now, a human girl wants to avenge her family by killing the new sovereign's Made daughter. But when Ayla and Crier meet, it changes both their trajectories. Crier’s War is a fantastic exploration of love, rebellion, and what it means to be human.
The sequel, Iron Heart, will be out later this year, and I can’t wait to read it!"
We Hunt The Flame - Hafsah Faizal
"We Hunt The Flame is the story of two living legends. Zafira, the Hunter, who hunts in the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. And Nasir, the Prince of Death, the king's most lethal assassin. Their stories entwine when they're both sent on a quest to retrieve a magical artifact — and the world may never be the same again. This book doesn't just shine because of its vibrant, rich worldbuilding, but the characters are absolutely amazing.
And here too, the sequel, We Free The Stars, will be out this year!"
Belle Révolte - Linsey Miller
"In a world reminiscent of revolutionary France, Emilie des Marais longs to be a physician, a position considered far below her noble sentiments. Annette Boucher wants to escape her background and train the nighttime arts, magics like illusion and scrying. A chance encounter causes the two girls to swap lives, and follow their dreams — until war and uprising turn their world upside down.
A story about class, privilege, and revolution, Belle Révolte is a wonderful standalone."
The Midnight Lie - Marie Rutkoski
"Nirrim's life in the Ward follows strict rules. Her low status forbids her from enjoying pretty much any aspect of life, and every perceived breaking of the rules can lead to harsh punishments. Nirrim more or less accepts it. It is what it is, after all. Until she meets Sid. Sid, who doesn’t follow the rules, who tells tales of other lands far beyond the Ward, who whispers of magic. To people like Nirrim, someone like Sid is dangerous. But maybe, just maybe, Nirrim wants to be tempted.
The Midnight Lie is set in the same world as the Winner’s Trilogy and another triumph of worldbuilding and storytelling."