Summer is a great time to dive into YA fiction for many reasons. First of all, there are so many new releases to choose from. Second, reading YA is often slightly easier than reading adult fiction because of how it’s written. That doesn’t mean it’s any less worth reading; it just can be easier to inhale (which is great if, like me, you get impatient if you’re reading a book for too long).
YA is doing excellent things with sci-fi and fantasy novels; it’s pushing diversity and inclusion forward in a more purposeful way than is happening with adult fiction. If you want to broaden your SFF reading horizons, you should definitely pick up a book or two off this list.
The Chosen - Taran Matharu (June 4)
Cade has just entered boarding school and is settling into his new life when he discovers there’s nothing normal about his new surroundings. He discovers he’s been transported to another place entirely, one where ancient creatures still roam, and he’s forced to participate in a game he doesn’t understand at the behest of the mysterious people in charge. It's the first in a new trilogy, and I love the mystery surrounding the entire premise of this book and how you know so little going into the story.
Sorcery of Thorns - Margaret Rogerson (June 4)
This high fantasy novel features a young woman named Elisabeth who wants to become a warden, so she can protect the kingdom from the powers of sorcery. But when she’s implicated in a crime and torn from her home, she has no choice but to turn to her enemy, a famous sorcerer, for aid. As she travels this new path, trying to clear her name, she discovers that the lessons she’s been taught from childhood are much more complex than they seem.
Stronger than a Bronze Dragon - Mary Fan (June 11)
This steampunk YA novel is based on China’s Qing dynasty and features warrior girl Anlei, who is married off against her wishes. When her village is attacked, a viceroy comes to their rescue. The village pays him a precious River Pearl to provide them with permanent protection and arranges a match between him and Anlei to solidify the agreement. But before they can be wed, a thief steals the pearl, and Anlei vows to go after it, knowing it’s the only way to protect her people.
Eve of Man - Giovanna & Tom Fletcher (June 18)
Another first in a trilogy, Eve of Man is set in a future in which, for some reason, girls stopped being born. For 50 years, there were no female children and then Eve was born, the only girl who is supposed to save humans from extinction. She’s grown up in a bubble, protected from the world. But what she wants most of all — more than her grand destiny — is the freedom to choose her own fate.
All of Us with Wings - Michelle Ruiz Keil (June 18)
This fantasy debut novel features Xochi, a seventeen-year-old who can count on no one except herself — that is until she meets Pallas, a wealthy young girl who she becomes a governess to. She finds contentment in her new family until her careless actions put them in danger — she and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient beings who are determined to avenge the wrongs that Xochi has suffered, and they don’t care who stands in the way.
Wicked Fox - Kat Cho (June 25)
Gu Miyoung may look like an ordinary girl, but she’s actually a nine-tailed fox who survives only by eating the energy of men. But when she intervenes to save Jihoon, a stranger who is being attacked by a goblin, it’s a violation of the rules she lives by and she loses her fox soul. As these two grow closer, Miyoung must figure out how to regain her true self while also keeping this new relationship she’s gained.
Shatter the Sky - Rebecca Kim Wells (July 30)
Maren wants nothing more from her life than to stay with her girlfriend, Kaia, and live a quiet life. But when Kaia is kidnapped by the Emperor’s evil forces, Maren knows she can’t sit idly by. She decides her best recourse to save Kaia is to become a dragon trainer, with the aim of eventually stealing a dragon to storm the castle. But on her journey to save her beloved, Maren becomes embroiled in prophecy, political unrest, and more, and her quest may shake the very foundations of her world.