The Season’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in YA

Sci-fi and fantasy readers have much to be thankful for this holiday season, what with all the series continuations and conclusions headed their way, including Tomi Adeyemi’s eagerly awaited followup to Children of Blood and Bone, the final volumes of Neal Shusterman’s Arc of the Scythe series and Holly Black’s Folk of the Air, and more. Eslewhere on the list, you’ll find a fantasy debut loosely based on the tale of Anastasia; a murder mystery featuring a teen with cerebral palsy; and a Camelot-set fantasy starring a witchy Princess Guinevere.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
Tomi Adeyemi stunned the world with Children of Blood and Bone, her hugely successful fantasy debut set in a world inspired by her West African heritage. At the close of that volume, its fearsome heroines Zélie and Amari succeeded in carrying out a powerful ritual that restored magic to the lands of Orïsha. But the spell had powerful consequences they never expected, returning magic not only to their people, the maji, but to all the power-hungry nobles with magic in their blood as well. Rather than lifting up those who were being subjugated, the ritual has only set the stage for a far deadlier conflict, as Zélie attempts to unite the maji and secure Amari’s place on the throne in the face of opposition from the military and the powers-that-be. The stakes or only higher, and the worldbuilding is only more imaginative, in this epic continuation of the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy. Available in a Barnes & Noble exclusive edition featuring an interview with the author and a double-sided poster.

The Toll, by Neal Shusterman
Fans of this bestselling series know that death isn’t always—or even often—final in the Arc of a Scythe universe, so here’s hoping Citra and Rowan survive long enough to weed out the corruption they discovered in books one and two. Set a few years after the events of Thunderhead, the conclusion of this sci-fi trilogy promises to keep readers riveted, as well as provide insight into Shusterman’s writing process: the B&N limited edition of The Toll includes exclusive chapter-by-chapter commentary from the author, providing background for characters and scenes and explanations of why he made specific decisions in writing this novel.

The Queen of Nothing, by Holly Black
The thrilling, final installment of Holly Black’s Folk of the Air trilogy finds Jude back in the mortal world, where she hasn’t lived since before her kidnapping at age seven. It’s a far cry from Jude’s life as Queen of Faerie, and Jude is not loving her exile. When her twin sister, Taryn, seeks her out in need of a favor, Jude finally gets the chance to confront Cardan and reclaim her power. Of course, there’s the small matter of a curse needing to be broken first.

Girls of Storm and Shadow, by Natasha Ngan
In the bestselling queer fantasy opener Girls of Paper and Fire, orphaned country girl Lei was chosen, along with seven other girls in the low-ranking Paper caste, to become a consort to the king. The most dangerous thing she could have done during her training was fall in love—especially with one of the other consorts, Wren. But once she slayed the Demon King and earned the nickname “the Moonchosen,” everything changed. Now, with a bounty on her head, Lei and Wren must convince the rebel clans scattered throughout the kingdom to join them in overthrowing the monarchy.

Supernova, by Marissa Meyer
In the first installment of the Renegades series, readers met Nova and Adrian, superheroes on opposite sides of the war between the publicly adored Renegades and the villainous Anarchists. While tackling questions of vengeance versus justice, and the responsibilities of those with special powers, fantasy expert Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), added a complex love story to the mix. In Archenemies, Nova infiltrated the Renegades and stole Ace Anarchy’s helmet, while readers wondered if she and Adrian would ever uncover each other’s secret identities. As Nightmare and The Sentinel, they loathe each other, and Supernova begins with Nova’s reluctant return to her role as spy extraordinaire even as she wishes she could shout the truth about her alter ego.

Blood Heir, by Amelie Wen Zhao
Crown princess Anastacya Mikhailov spends her days behind the palace walls, keeping her blood magic a secret, because in the Cyrilian Empire, those with “unnatural” abilities are feared and reviled. When Ana’s emperor father is murdered, Ana is framed for the crime and becomes a hunted fugitive. The only person who may be able to clear her name is Ramson Quicktongue, a crime lord who is currently in prison—so step one is to break him out.

I Have No Secrets, by Penny Joelson
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter meets Pretty Little Liars in this original and compelling murder mystery featuring a teenage girl with cerebral palsy. 14-year-old Jemma is intelligent and insightful, but she cannot talk or move, so when a murderer confesses his crime to her, she has no way of alerting the authorities. However, with a new technology on the horizon, there’s a chance Jemma will be able to share the horrifying truth and prevent the killer from striking again.

The Guinevere Deception, by Kiersten White
If you love Arthurian legends, look no further than Kiersten White’s (And I Darken; The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) latest reimagining for all your royal intrigue needs. Princess Guinevere is no ordinary young woman. In fact, she may not be a woman at all, but a changeling summoned by Merlin to wed King Arthur and keep him safe. Add some jousting, witchcraft, and the perfect amount of forbidden romance, and The Guinevere Deception is the start of a new series you don’t want to miss.

Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater
Although some characters—and love interests—were introduced in the Raven Cycle (Pynch! Pynch!) this fresh offering from Stiefvater can be read on its own. Ronan Lynch is a dreamer who can pull elements of dreams into his own version of reality. He wants nothing more than to visit his boyfriend, Adam, at college, but the lack of control he has over his abilities keep him sequestered on the family farm. Art thief Jordan can’t risk falling into REM sleep, and government operative Carmen is tasked with preventing a dreamer-instigated apocalypse. When the characters’ lives intersect, it makes for an addictive series opener.

Winterwood, by Shea Ernshaw
It’s common knowledge that the Walker women of Fir Haven are witches. Ostracized and living in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest, Nora Walker enjoys a special connection with the nearby forest, as explained via the family book of spells threaded throughout the narrative. When Oliver, a student from the local Wayward Boys’ school, goes missing it’s Nora who finds him two weeks later. How did he survive out there alone during a snowstorm? As she works to uncover Oliver’s secrets, Nora becomes convinced there is more to his story than meets the eye. Ernshaw’s sophomore effort will please newcomers as well as fans of his debut, The Wicked Deep.

What new books are on your wishlist this holiday season?

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