This week’s new YA releases have everything: hate-to-love romantic comedies, parallel universes, a feminist Lord of the Flies, and a Victorian England road trip! If that’s not enough to thrill you, check out Sarah Rees Brennan’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina prequel or Ann Aguirre’s new horror novel, perfect for when you’ve finished inhaling Stranger Things.
Spin the Dawn, by Elizabeth Lim
An alumni of Disney’s Twisted Tales series, Lim is the perfect person to write a fantasy quest that Mulan herself would be proud of. If given a chance, Maia Tamarin could become the best tailor in A’landi, but girls aren’t allowed such ambitions, so she poses as her brother during a fierce competition at the Summer Palace. Court magician Edan, an enchanter with his own secret, is much tougher to fool than everyone else, and that’s before they join forces seeking impossible items throughout the kingdom. Inspired by Chinese mythology and culture, this inventive fairy tale will keep readers riveted.
Me Myself & Him, by Chris Tebbetts
Chris Schweitzer has a choice to make. After huffing whippets and passing out, breaking his nose, he must decide whether to come clean to his parents about the cause of his accident. In Universe A, this means he’ll be sent to live with his estranged dad, a physicist, for the summer, and attend drug counseling. In Universe B, he remains at home with his parents none the wiser but discovers something about his best friends that changes everything. Fans of multiverses and “What If…?” storylines will enjoy this smart, unpredictable, and engaging read.
Maybe This Time, by Kasie West
In this adorable hate-to-love rom-com, florist Sophie and chef’s son Andrew are thrown together at every party and social occasion in town over the course of a year. At first, Andrew’s constant proximity (okay, his very existence) irritate Sophie; in her view he’s a cocky jerk and she doesn’t have time for his antics, what with a deadline looming to finish her sketches for design school applications. But as the year progresses, Sophie comes to see there’s a lot more to Andrew than meets the eye, and perhaps more to herself as well.
Wilder Girls, by Rory Power
Rory Power’s electrifying debut combines speculative fiction with a feminist Lord of the Flies. When a highly contagious disease, known as the Tox, hits the Raxter School for Girls, killing the teachers and altering the students, the Navy puts everyone under quarantine. A year and a half later, Hetty and the other students are completely isolated, left to survive on their own. After her best friend, Byatt, vanishes, Hetty will do whatever it takes to retrieve her, even if that means venturing past the school boundaries and into the horror-filled woods. This looks to be a fast-paced sci-fi thriller full of complicated and wonderful monster girls.
The Storm Crow, by Kalyn Josephson
Fans of Daenerys Stormborn and her dragon eggs will love this fantasy debut about two princesses who raise a mythical crow egg in secret, hoping it will aid their vengeance against the invaders who destroyed their kingdom. Pre-invasion, elemental Crows provided magic and protection for the kingdom of Rhodaire, and sisters Anthia and Caliza are determined to avenge their mother and take back everything that was stolen from them by the usurper Illucians. A ticking clock in the form of a marriage alliance forces them to work quickly in a scheme that may backfire.
Season of the Witch, by Sarah Rees Brennan
Can’t stand waiting for season two of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina? Brennan (The Demon’s Lexicon; In Other Lands) has got you covered with a series prequel that finds our favorite half-human, half-witch casting an ill-advised spell to find out if her maybe-boyfriend and first love Harvey is the real deal or not. What could possibly go wrong? Alternating chapters provide deep dives into supporting characters’ backstories and motivations, making this an ideal companion to the show.
Past Perfect Life, by Elizabeth Eulberg
Allison Smith’s quietly contented life in Wisconsin is thrown into chaos when she learns, via the college application process, that her social security number is a lie—and so is her entire identity. Allison’s always had a fantastic, loving relationship with her dad, but it turns out fifteen years earlier, he kidnapped Allison from her mother. Not only does her mother want her back, she wants Allison to be the girl she might have been without the lie that defines her. Fans of The Deep End of the Ocean and other complex family dramas will tear through this brilliant contemporary.
Heartwood Box, by Ann Aguirre
Once you’ve binged Stranger Things on July 4th, this suspense-filled horror story should be next on your list. Araceli Flores Harper is new in town, sent to spend senior year of high school with her great-aunt in upstate New York. Mysterious disappearances, a fiendish research lab in a far-flung location, and unexplained phenomena that the locals refuse to discuss compel Araceli to search for answers. This looks to be an intriguing mixture of sci-fi, supernatural, and romantic thrills.
The Last Word, by Samantha Hastings
This Victorian England-era road trip, a Junior Library Guild selection, finds avid reader Miss Lucinda Leavitt devastated to discover that her favorite author, Mrs. Smith, has died, leaving the fate of her characters—who star in a serialized novel Lucinda adores—up in the air. Determined to find answers by locating the reclusive author’s former stomping grounds, Lucinda enlists David, a young businessman who does not have time for such folly, for help. Together, she and David take off across the country, and the results will warm the hearts of everyone who’s ever fallen head over heels for a story.
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World, by Amy Reed
The hard-hitting contemporary author is back today with a brand-new speculative fiction as well as a reprint (The Nowhere Girls). Her new book has elements of fantasy and finds two teens living on the wrong side of the tracks whose opposing viewpoints about the world bring them into conflict but also save their lives. Billy Sloat is an optimist, despite his difficult home life. He attends Rome High School, the decades-long blood-enemy rival school of nearby Carthage High. When the two schools are forced to merge, he meets Lydia Lemon, a pessimist who just might be the missing piece in Billy’s life. So why does their friendship seem to bring on the apocalypse?