The spooky season definitely isn’t letting up this week, as books about monsters, demons, goddesses, and dragonriders bring magic to bookshelves near you. And for those whose tastes lean away from Halloween fare, not to worry, because some of your favorite authors have got you covered on the contemporary front, or you can just focus on the two brand-new voices coming your way this week! One way or another, the perfect read for you lies ahead.
War Girls, by Tochi Onyebuchi
Set in a 2172 Nigeria that’s been ravaged by war, this first YA sci-fi by Onyebuchi follows sisters Onyii and Ify, who will do whatever it takes to ultimately find peace together, no matter what battle after battle throws at them, even when it tears them apart. Convinced her sister is dead, Onyii becomes a notorious Biafran rebel, complete with a bionic arm. Meanwhile, Ify lives in captivity, using her brilliant technological skills to explore the world and her confusing lineage, and to get closer to her own kidnappers. Both are rapidly changing as the land around them fills with blood, but nothing will keep them apart for good.
Our Wayward Fate, by Gloria Chao
Ali is Taiwanese American, but survival instincts force her to try to blend in as much as possible among the white population of her rural Indiana town. Then another Taiwanese kid comes to school, and not only is Ali no longer the Only One, but uhhhh…Chase is pretty freaking great. And cute. And it’s really, really nice to have someone else who gets where she’s coming from. He should be a slam dunk for a boyfriend choice, but Ali’s mom doesn’t feel that way; she wants Ali to end it. When Ali learns why, it’ll turn her entire world upside-down.
Tarnished Are the Stars, by Rosiee Thor
Anna’s an outlaw with a secret: she’s the Technician, providing illegal medical technology to the sick and injured, despite the Commissioner forbidding it. Her newest patient, Nathaniel, has a big secret, too: he’s the Commissioner’s son, on a mission to capture the Technician. (He’s also discovering he’s aroace, by the way.) It’s a dangerous game, especially when Eliza, a deadly lesbian spy, enters the mix, looking for information on the Commissioner. But as she and Anna get closer, she begins to question everything, including where her allegiances lie. Soon, a tenuous alliance is formed between them, and when they discover a secret about a lethal epidemic, they’ll have to work together against the Commissioner powerful enough to end them all.
Jackpot, by Nic Stone
The New York Times bestseller is back, this time with a book about a girl named Rico who knows there’s better out there than the rut she’s stuck in, if only she could afford to get out of it. It’s hard to make waves when your entire day consists of school, work, and watching your little brother. Then she sells a winning lotto ticket, and when no one cashes it in, she takes it upon herself to find the winner…together with Zan, her rich and popular classmate, with whom she strikes up an unexpected friendship. But when push comes to shove, can these friends who come from two completely different backgrounds stay on the same team?
Monster of the Week, by F.T. Lukens
The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic has got to be one of the cutest YA fantasies of all time, so learning there’d be a sequel to this bi YA was an utter delight, especially since it kicks off with Bridger’s life being fine and dandy. Boyfriend? Check. Best friend? Check. College acceptance? Check. Great job in the world of magic? Check. Concerns about the future? Check. Return of estranged dad? Check. Investigation opening into the strange events of last fall, threatening to put the myth world back at risk? Check. Huh. Maybe things aren’t that smooth after all…
Mooncakes, by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
It’s been a fantastic year for queer YA witches, and this graphic novel is the perfect novel for the spooky season. (It also happens to be a great read for the holiday of Sukkot, as the main character celebrates it in a scene that may or may not have made this Jewish reader tear up.) Nova Huang spends a lot of time around spell books while working at her grandmothers’ New England bookshop, but a white wolf in the woods yields some next-level magic…on Nova’s heart. It turns out that wolf is none other Tam Lang, Nova’s childhood crush who it turns out is now Nova’s teen crush. With a demon on the loose in the woods, Tam needs help, and Nova is only too happy to help them and save the day, no matter what dangers and betrayals it means facing.
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The Never Tilting World, by Rin Chupeco
It’s getting almost impossible to keep track of all of Chupeco’s outstanding series, but vivid worlds, an intense magic system, well-drawn main characters, and queer girls in complicated love should ensure this duology opener stays on your radar. This fantasy, billed as Frozen meets Mad Max: Fury Road, is set in a world where twin goddesses have ruled for centuries, until one sister betrayed it all. Now there are two realms, one in which it’s forever night and one that’s a perpetual sunny desert, and each has a daughter…who doesn’t know the other daughter exists. When each one sets out toward the Great Abyss in order to repair their broken world, they face unimaginable dangers and romantic surprises. But that’s nothing compared to what awaits them if they finally complete their respective journeys.
Fireborne, by Rosaria Munda
If, in the wake of the end of Game of Thrones, you’re among the readers looking for something to fill that gap, welcome to the Aurelia Cycle, a new series starring Annie and Lee, two teens on the rise in a new regime borne of a revolution that gave everyone an equal chance to test into the ruling class of dragonriders. Though they were raised in the same orphanage after their families’ respective executions, the rivalry for the top spot in the dragonriding fleet is tearing them apart…until survivors from the old regime return with a plan for vengeance and reclamation. Now Annie and Lee have to make impossible choices about home and about each other.