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Most Anticipated Young Adult SFF/H for May & June 2024

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Most Anticipated Young Adult SFF/H for May & June 2024

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Books Young Adult Spotlight

Most Anticipated Young Adult SFF/H for May & June 2024

If you're looking for some excellent new young adult fiction to read, we've got you covered with 15 great suggestions.

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Published on May 13, 2024

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Cover images of the novels listed in this article.

Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a little vacation time with a good book. If you’re stocking up for your summer reads, these 15 books should be at the top of your list.

Outcasts, Outlaws, & Rebels

Blood at the Root by LaDarrion Williams
When he was young, Malik’s mother vanished the same night he discovered his magical powers. All he wants now is to keep his magic a secret and help build a new life with his younger foster brother, Taye. Instead he winds up at the hidden magical university his mother once attended. Things get more chaotic as students start disappearing, which may have something to do with whatever his mother was dabbling in. (Labyrinth Road; May 7, 2024)

Markless by C. G. Malburi (Levine Querido)
Ruti and Dekala live in Somanchi where a mark on a person’s hand binds you to magic and offers great privilege. Although Ruti never gained her mark, she is still a powerful witch. Princess Dekala catches Ruti doing witchcraft and, needing a soulbond to ascend to the throne, blackmails her into teaming up. Ruti wants to protect the Markless while Dekala only cares about ruling. Nevertheless, the fate of the kingdom is in their hands. (Levine Querido; June 4, 2024)

Moonstorm by Yoon Ha Lee (Moonstorm #1)
It’s slim pickings out here for YA sci-fi fans this year, making me all the more excited for Moonstorm. In the Empire of New Joseon, 16 year old Hwa Young struggles with finding her footing. Her rebel parents were murdered by the empire years ago, but now she is joining an imperial school to learn how to be a lancer pilot. As dangerous secrets are revealed, Hwa Young’s rebel training might be the only thing that keeps her alive. (Delacorte Press; June 4, 2024)

Retellings

Rapunzella, Or, Don’t Touch My Hair by Ella McLeod
This genre-bending, second person POV, novel-in-verse by spoken word poet and performer Ella McLeod is truly one of a kind. You, the protagonist, first meets sisters and witches Kam and Zella in the dreamland of Xaymaca as a child. Now as a teen living in the rainy land of London, you must return to your dreams to help Kam who has lost her magic and rescue Zella from a forest prison made of her own afro. Only the three of you can defeat the evil King. Inspired by “Rapunzel” and Jamaican folklore. (Yellow Jacket; June 11, 2024)

Sleep Like Death by Kalynn Bayron 
Princess Eve’s entire life has been leading toward one thing: kill the Knight. The Knight is a monster who grants wishes, but only after corrupting them into something cruel. One of Eve’s mother was lost to the Knight, and now her other mother seems to be suffering some strange malady. When the Knight surges into power, Eve and her companion Mekhi must take him down before he destroys Queen’s Bridge. Inspired by “Snow White.” (Bloomsbury YA; June 25, 2024)

Folklore & Mythology

It Waits in the Forest by Sarah Dass
After her father is killed and her mother falls into a coma from a violent attack, 18 year old Selina resigns herself to selling fake talismans and divinations to tourists visiting her small Caribbean island of St. Virgil. When one of those tourists is connected to a series of murders, Selina and her ex-boyfriend Gabriel venture into the forest to hunt the evil lurking there. Maybe, just maybe, they can find the thing that attacked her parents. Inspired by Caribbean folklore. (Rick Riordan Presents; May 14, 2024)

Hearts That Cut by Kika Hatzopoulou (Threads That Bind #2)
Io and Bianca have spent the last several weeks traversing the Wastelands following a golden thread. Io can cut the threads of other people, killing them, but it also requires her to cut one of her own threads. Along the way, they pick up with Edei, Io’s love interest, and Nico. Their alliance is tenuous at best, but they’re going to need each other to survive the harsh landscape and even harsher city of Nanzy. Inspired by Greek mythology. (Razorbill; June 18, 2024)

Thrills & Chills

Flawless Girls by Anna-Marie McLemore
A new Anna-Marie McLemore? And it’s horror? Hell yes! Sisters Isla and Renata are forcibly enrolled in Alarie House, an all-girls finishing school, by their strict grandmother. Isla ditches the place early on, but when Renata returns from her stay, she’s like a Stepford wife. To figure out what happened to her sister, Isla returns to the school. Isla, who is intersex, struggles with the rigid, conservative gender roles, and is haunted by nightmarish visions. Something terrible is lurking in Alarie House. (Feiwel & Friends; May 28, 2024)

Lockjaw by Matteo L. Cerilli
TRANS. YA. HORROR. Inject it into my eyeballs. Jumping across time and POV, this story centers on Paz, an 11 year old in the small town of Bridlington, and her queer friends. When another kid named Chuck is found dead at an old mill, she knows a monster did it. Unfortunately for her, Chuck’s family blames her instead. Paz needs to stop the monster before anyone else gets hurt… and before the town may have its way with her and her friends first. Don’t let the ages fool you. This is closer to Stephen King and Stranger Things than middle grade fiction. (Tundra Books ; June 4, 2024)

Malicia by Steven dos Santos
A book about a bunch of young people trapped in a haunted location is guaranteed to hook my interest. Ray, Joaquin, Sofia, and Isabella set out to make a Blair Witch style documentary about Malicia, an abandoned theme park in the Dominican Republic. Years earlier, the park was the site of a brutal massacre that claimed the lives of Ray’s family. Each teen plays along with the documentary ruse while having their own personal secret plans. It’s Halloween weekend and a hurricane is about to hit. What could go wrong? (Page Street YA; June 4, 2024)

Now, Conjurers by Freddie Kölsch
Massachusetts, 1999. New to town Nesbit Nuñez and star quarterback Bastion Attia are members of a secret coven of witches. When Bastion’s partially eaten body is discovered in a local cemetery, Nez and the North Coven kids decide to solve the case. Part supernatural thriller and part queer horror, the story unfolds around terrible secrets and dark pasts. (Union Square & Co.; June 4, 2024)

Gods & Monsters

We Mostly Come Out At Night, edited by Rob Costello
This anthology leans into the metaphor that society sometimes equates being queer as being monstrous. From cryptids to legendary creatures to characters from folklore to urban legends, this collection has it all. Authors include: Rob Costello, Kalynn Bayron, David Bowles, Shae Carys, Rob Costello, H.E. Edgmon, Michael Thomas Ford, Val Howlett, Brittany Johnson, Naomi Kanakia, Claire Kann, Jonathan Lenore Kastin, Sarah Maxfield, Sam J. Miller, Alexandra Villasante, and Merc Fenn Wolfmoor. (Running Press Kids; May 21, 2024)

We Shall Be Monsters by Tara Sim (We Shall be Monsters #1)
When Kajal’s sister Lasya dies, Kajal does the unthinkable: brings her back from the dead. Sorta. Lasya’s soul turns into a bhuta, a malevolent ghost, and goes on a killing spree. While imprisoned for her sister’s crimes, she’s offered her freedom in exchange for resurrecting a dead prince and helping them overthrow the king. Once again, Kajal’s magic fails her and the person she brings back isn’t the one she set out to retrieve. And she has to do it all before her sister’s spirit tracks her down. (Nancy Paulsen Books; June 25, 2024)

Empires Rise and Fall

Of Jade and Dragons by Amber Chen (Fall of the Dragon #1)
After her father is murdered, Aihui Ying enters the Engineers Guild to uncover his killer. Disguising herself as a boy, she enters the intense trial to earn a spot as an apprentice. Ying befriends two candidates, one of whom promises to keep her secret. Participation in the guild means building war machines for the empire, and politics and romance collide. (Viking Books for Young Readers; June 18, 2024)

Children of Anguish and Anarchy by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orïsha #3)
The very long awaited conclusion to the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy (the sequel came out way back in 2019!) is finally here. Zélie restored magic to Orïsha, but it has only fractured the kingdom more. Now, she and her friends are being shipped overseas by the cruel King Baldyr who wants to use her powers for his own. Can they protect the maji from this outside enemy, or will all of Zélie’s hard work be for nought? (Henry Holt & Company; June 25, 2024)

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About the Author

Alex Brown

Author

Alex Brown is a Hugo-nominated and Ignyte award-winning critic who writes about speculative fiction, librarianship, and Black history. Find them on twitter (@QueenOfRats), bluesky (@bookjockeyalex), instagram (@bookjockeyalex), and their blog (bookjockeyalex.com).
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