It’s siblings to the rescue this week in new YA releases. Grimoire Noir finds a teenage boy searching for his kidnapped sister (who, like every other female in the town of Blackwell, is a witch), while Before I Disappear sends Rose on a mission to locate her little brother after he vanishes without a trace. Space opera fans will delight in the sequel to Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron, and contemporary readers will adore books about roller derby and the importance of friendship while surviving life in a toxic town.
Arrival of Someday, by Jen Malone
High school senior Lia is tough, athletic, and full of spirit, a combination that’s served her well as a jammer on the local roller derby team. She rarely thinks about the rare liver disorder she was born with—until it takes control of her body with frightening consequences at a derby bout. Suddenly, the future looks fragile. While waiting for a transplant that may never come, Lia and her family and friends must take stock of what matters most to them in this realistic and heartfelt contemporary.
The Spaces Between Us, by Stacia Tolman
In this YA debut full of quietly powerful moments, town outcasts Serena Velasco (whose fierce intelligence doesn’t seem to get her anywhere) and Melody Grimshaw (daughter of the poorest family in town, suffocating under her family’s reputation) know their only hope of a better life is to leave their hometown of Colchis in the rearview mirror. But how much are they willing to risk in order to escape, and will they need to become completely different people to achieve their goals?
Grimoire Noir, by Vera Greentea, illustrated by Yana Bogatch
In a town where every girl and woman is a witch possessed of magick, what’s a 15-year-old boy to do when his little sis is kidnapped? For Bucky Orson, this means pushing aside his recent personal problems—he’s jealous he can’t do magick; he’s been ditched by his best friends; and he can’t stand living in Blackwell—and figure out a way to solve young Heidi’s disappearance. To succeed he’ll need to search every nook and cranny of gothic, noir-infused Blackwell, and what better way for his story to be told than as a graphic novel with gorgeously moody illustrations?
Before I Disappear, by Danielle Stinson
This dual narrative, string theory-tinged, sci-fi debut will appeal to fans of A Wrinkle in Time, Twin Peaks, and Stranger Things. The only thing Rose Montgomery wants is to start over with her younger brother Charlie and their mom. That’s why they packed up the family trailer and relocated to Fort Glory, Oregon. But Fort Glory is no ordinary place, as evidenced when the entire town is suddenly wiped off the map, taking all the townspeople, including Charlie, with it. Stuck in the Fold, a limbo location neither here nor there, Rose and four other teens must figure out not only how to save their loved ones, but how to survive their own perilous circumstances.
How We Became Wicked, by Alexander Yates
A dystopian horror story by the author of The Winter Place, Wicked revolves around three groups of people: those who’ve been infected by ultraviolent mosquitoes, turning them into sadists and sociopaths; those who live beneath a dome, safe (so far…) from the infected; and those who seem to be immune from the plague and possibly hold the key to longterm survival for the previous group. Against this backdrop, Astrid, Hank, and Natalie have some impossible choices to make, and readers will remain glued to their pages through every twist and turn.
Soul of Stars, by Ashley Poston
In Heart of Iron, a queer sci-fi space adventure loosely based on the tale of Anastasia and the Romanovs, 17-year-old Ana spent her formative years as an outlaw and scoundrel on the run before claiming her rightful position as Empress of the Iron Kingdom. In Soul, Ana is presumed dead and must confront the Great Dark, a deity of immense power. Luckily, her friends Jax and Robb—whose intense romantic feelings for one another are about to be tested—join her her for the epic, life-or-death journey.