Is it spring yet? No? Well, let’s pretend it is by checking out this big ol’ list of some exciting forthcoming young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror books. We have time loops, space horror, god magic, ghosts, and more!
Promises Stronger Than Darkness by Charlie Jane Anders (Unstoppable #3)—Tor Teen; April 11, 2023
The Unstoppable space opera series comes to a roaring conclusion as Rachel and Elza make one last attempt to save the world. With Tina (sorta) gone and Thaoh Argentian (sorta) back, Rachel and Elza are left picking up the pieces from the second book in the series. They and their motley crew have only a few days before the Bereavement is unleashed upon the galaxy, destroying everything in its wake.
Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby—Dutton BYR; April 25, 2023
One hundred and seventy-five years in the future, Jessica Mathers is set to teleport to a space station orbiting about the distant, desolate planet Carver 1061c. The process will create a 3D copy of her body and destroy the original one, creating an interesting “ship of Theseus” conundrum. Something goes haywire on the journey and she wakes up alone and surrounded by bloody handprints and graves. Through dual timelines, we follow Jessica as she attempt to survive on a post-apocalyptic planet.
Magic with a Twist
A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen (A Door in the Dark #1)—Margaret K. McElderry Books; March 28, 2023
Ren has clawed her way from being a derided scholarship student to the top of Balmerick University, an elite magic school. Her next goal is to get into one of the top Houses of magic, a plan that gets derailed when a portal spell goes wrong. She and several other students are dropped into the Dires, an uncharted land full of dangers and dragons.
Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker—Tor Teen; April 4, 2023
Sixteen-year-old twins Clement and Cristina Trudeau are shocked to discover someone has cursed their mother to the point where she’s on the verge of death. The siblings are heir to a stolen throne and may be next up in the crosshairs. The Savants, who now control the Generational Council in New Orleans, aren’t about to give up their power without a fight.
Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens—Margaret K. McElderry Books; April 4, 2023
F.T. Lukens is back with another crackling fantasy romance, this time featuring rival apprentice sorcerers forced to work together. Rook works for Antonia, a sorceress who runs a magical call center while Sun works for Fable, Antonia’s competition. When Fable and Antonia are arrested, the two teens reluctantly partner up to save the day. Sparks, as you can expect, fly.
Past Is Present
My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron (Remixed Classics #6)—Feiwel & Friends; March 7, 2023
Based on the book Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Years ago, Gabriel and Henry Jekyll had a secret affair, and the scandal and gossip tore them apart. Now it’s 1885 and Gabriel has returned to London eager to rekindle his friendship with his old friend. But Henry is acting odd and distant, and it may have something to do with the charming yet unnerving young man lurking around Henry’s property. With his white hair and intense attitude, he couldn’t be more different than Henry, but something seems so familiar…
That Self-Same Metal by Brittany N. Williams (Forge & Fracture Saga #1)—Amulet Books; April 25, 2023
Twins Joan and James Sands work with William Shakespeare and his acting company The King’s Men in early 17th century London. Both harbor a powerful secret: that they’re connected to the Orisha and are able to channel godlike magic. Joan uses her to manipulate metal, the perfect skillset for a highly trained swordswoman and stage fight choreographer. When the pact between Fae and humans is shattered and monsters start pouring into England, Joan and her coterie of magical allies must save the human world and each other from power-hungry fairies.
Gods & Monsters
The Memory Eater by Rebecca Mahoney—Razorbill; March 14, 2023
Two centuries ago, the Harlows were tasked with trapping and keeping the monster known as the Memory Eater in a cave just outside the town of Whistler Beach, Maine. Seventeen-year-old Alana takes over after her grandmother’s death, but after an accident in the cave she discovers that the monster has been stealing her memories and has escaped. To protect the town, Alana will have to confront family secrets long hidden.
Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia—Make Me a World; March 21, 2023
Lucha and her little sister Lis are barely scraping along on the money Lucha makes hunting monsters. They live in the city of Robado, a place of extreme wealth and crushing poverty and nothing in between, with their neglectful mother until she suddenly vanishes. Forced to deal with a supernatural entity, Lucha, Lis, and Paz, the cute priestess-in-training, escape the city and head out into the great unknown.
Spin by Rebecca Caprara—Atheneum BYR; March 28, 2023
Set in the ancient Greece-inspired city of Colophon, sixteen-year-old Arachne hides behind her weaving. When her best friend Celandine suffers a vicious assault, the young women flee the city and start anew. Meanwhile, Arachne becomes famous for her weaving skills, something that infuriates the goddess Athena, pitting the two against each other.
Funeral Songs for Dying Girls by Cherie Dimaline—Tundra Books; April 4, 2023
Winifred’s father runs the crematorium at the Winterson Cemetery in Toronto, but the place is on the verge of financial ruin. Winifred cooks up a scheme to make people think the cemetery is haunted, which makes things awkward when a real ghost shows up. Even more awkward when Winifred falls in love with her.
The Immeasurable Depth of You by Maria Ingrande Mora—Peachtree Teen; April 4, 2023
After Brynn posts something on Tumblr she shouldn’t have, her mother banishes her to live with her off-the-grid father in Florida. Three months without internet access—and therefore no access to her only friends—feels like a lifetime. Then she meets Skylar, a wild girl who died five years ago and is now trapped in the bayou. Skyler makes Brynn bolder and more daring, but also makes her face the things she fears the most.
Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith—Candlewick Press; April 11, 2023
We first met Hughie Wolfe as the younger brother to the protagonist in Cynthia Leitich Smith’s YA contemporary novel Hearts Unbroken. Now he gets his own speculative story. When Hughie is cast as the “Indian ghost” at a roadside Halloween attraction, he’s hurt and frustrated. Rumors of an “Indian maiden” haunting the property have made Harvest House popular. Although it turns out the ghost at the crossroads is very real, the real horror is the mysterious man hunting teenage girls.
In It to Win It
The Moonlight Blade by Tessa Barbosa—Entangled Publishing; March 21, 2023
Cursed since birth, Narrah Jal has spent her entire life being looked down on as an outcast. But when her mother is arrested, Narrah’s only choice is to volunteer for the Sundo trials. Whoever wins the competition is crowned ruler of Tigang, but the challenges are brutal and deadly, and her chances slim.
Last Sunrise in Eterna by Amparo Ortiz—Page Street Kids; March 28, 2023
After her father is murdered by elves, Sevim earns extra cash selling elf corpses to a local university. When elf prince Aro catches her, he kidnaps her mother to blackmail her into participating in the Exchange, an annual event that takes place on the island of Eterna. She must give up her ability to dream so she can compete in magical trials. Aro is keeping secrets from her, and Eterna is not what it seems.
Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz—Delacorte Press; March 14, 2023
Lowly Anaïs is supposed to find a husband at the ball celebrating the kingdom of Ivarea’s 400th anniversary, but instead she dies in an explosion. Except she doesn’t. She wakes up and the day has started all over again. Every night she dies and every morning she wakes. Anaïs tries to figure out how to break her time loop and ends up discovering terrible secrets about the history of Ivera.
If I See You Again Tomorrow by Robbie Couch—Simon & Schuster BYR; April 18, 2023
For 309 days, Clark has been stuck reliving September 19th. Every day is exactly the same…until Beau turns up on day 310. Clark and Beau hit it off instantly, and the two explore Chicago and get to know each other. Now if only Clark could break his time loop and find Beau for real.
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), instagram (@bookjockeyalex), and their blog (bookjockeyalex.com).