Fall 2016’s Must-Read Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: Clones, French Aristocrats, and Retellings Galore

Fall 2016’s Must-Read Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: Clones, French Aristocrats, and Retellings Galore

If this season were any more packed with must-read books, we’d need a time turner just to find enough hours to read them all. Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo are returning with new installments in their fantasy series, and Marissa Meyer is delivering a fairy tale retelling that we can’t wait to get our hands on. Add in two Shakespeare reimaginings and a visit to France that is both historical and futuristic, and we’re just about bursting with anticipation. The days are getting shorter, so we’d better get started if we want to be finished before Thanksgiving dinner gets cold.

As I Descended

What’s done cannot be undone

Maria Lyon and her girlfriend Lily Boiten need to get rid of Delilah Dufrey. Delilah is expected to win the Cawdor Kingsley Award, which would grant her a full scholarship to the school of her choice. But Maria needs to win. If she doesn’t, she won’t be able to attend Stanford with Lily in the fall. To knock Delilah out of the running, Maria and Lily decide to turn to the dark spirits that are rumored to haunt their school. Robin Talley’s haunting Macbeth retelling is ideal for readers looking for a chilling gothic read.

On shelves: September 6

Empire of Storms

Rattle the stars

When readers first met Celaena Sardothien in Throne of Glass, she was a deadly assassin who cared about one thing: securing her freedom. She’s grown from a girl who works alone and for herself, into a powerful woman ready to take back her ancestral kingdom with the help of her hand-picked court. She is now Aelin Galathynius, and she will stop at nothing. With war looming ever closer and enemies on all sides, this book promises to test Aelin more than ever before. Sarah J. Maas’ fifth installment in the Throne of Glass series is one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, and fans wouldn’t dream of missing this one. For readers who can’t get enough of Maas’ fantasy universe, there’s also The Throne of Glass Coloring Book.

On shelves: September 6

The Reader

Take a look, it’s a book

Sefia knows that the package she’s spent her life guarding holds the answers to her most burning questions—why was her father murdered? Why was her aunt Nin kidnapped? When she finally decides to open it, she discovered a mysterious object: a book. Bound tightly and covered in strange symbols, the book is utterly foreign to Sefia, who lives in an illiterate society. She can’t read it, but she knows that there are people out there who think that it’s worth killing for. She also knows it’s her only hope of rescuing Nin. With the help of a boy who can’t speak, Sefia sets out on a thrilling and treacherous journey to save her aunt and protect the book. The first in a new series by Traci Chee, this is a tale that will speak to the hearts of all book lovers.

On shelves: September 13

Three Dark Crowns

And then there was one

The island of Fennbirn can be a cruel place for siblings. In every generation, a set of triplets is born and each child has the chance to ascend the throne at the age of sixteen. Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe are the latest triplets to be born. They’re all gifted with magical abilities, which will aid them in the battles to come. You see, to become queen, one of the triplets must kill her own sisters. Mirabella, the most reluctant participant, possesses elemental magic that can create fires and storms at her will. Katharine’s gift is that she is unaffected by poisons. Arsinoe is a naturalist who is able to control flowers and lions. You’ll want to clear your schedule for this one. Kirkus calls Kendare Blake’s fantasy novel “completely addicting.”

On shelves: September 20

The Swan Riders

The ability to adapt and change

Erin’s Bow’s The Scorpion Rules introduced readers to Greta, a princess and a hostage. After a torturous death, she was remade and brought back to life as an AI. The technology that now keeps her alive is wondrous—she possesses an unlimited library of knowledge. But her still-mortal body isn’t a proper vessel, and she’s once again dying. Talis, the leader of the AIs, believes that she can take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, humans who have dedicated their lives to serving the AIs. Greta doesn’t see that she has any other choice, but first she has to stay alive long enough to journey with Talis to the Red Mountains. With danger around every corner and spies within the Swan Riders, this sequel packs in all that readers loved about the first book and more.

On shelves: September 20

Crooked Kingdom

Forgive enemies, but not before they are hanged

Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows took the YA world by storm, but the adventure didn’t end there. Kaz Brekker and his motley crew pulled off the impossible and survived! But celebrations are cut short when one of their own is kidnapped. Matters are made worse by the fact that the drug jurda parem has caused Ketterdam to be swarmed with people from across the globe, including some familiar faces who would like nothing more than to see Kaz lose everything. Still, he’s faced hopeless and bleak odds before and come out the other side. Plus, this time he’s got his team, and they’re itching to take out their aggression on a pack of double-crossers. This is the final book in Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, though fans can hold out hope that she’ll continue to explore her fascinating Grishaverse in other novels.

On shelves: September 27

Replica

Clone club

Those looking for a unique reading experience this fall won’t want to miss Lauren Oliver’s Replica. Oliver tells one story from two perspectives, asking readers to flip the book around to switch from Gemma to Lyra. Gemma’s lived her entire life around hospital visits, constantly fighting off illness and dealing with different medical issues. Lyra spends her days trapped within the Haven Institute, a research facility where she and other clones are studied. When Gemma begins to investigate the institute and Lyra escapes, their lives become irrevocably linked. Readers have the option of reading each girl’s story separately, or alternating between their chapters—meaning a second reading of the book can be an entirely different experience from the first.

On shelves: October 4

When the Moon was Ours

Just say the word, and I’ll throw a lasso around it

Everyone in town believes that Miel, who appeared at the water tower when she was five and grows roses from her wrist, is strange—everyone but Sam, the transgender boy who found her at the tower and brought her home. Sam and Miel have been thick as thieves ever since, relying on each other for everything. Most people leave them alone, so it’s a surprise when they’re approached by the Bonner girls, four sisters who are said to be witches. The girls want the roses that grow from Miel’s wrist, and they’re prepared to threaten and blackmail her until they get what they want. Anna-Marie McLemore weaves a stunning tale of friendship and magical realism that readers won’t soon forget.

On shelves: October 4

Glitter

Take away my crown

While the rest of the world moves forward, within the palace of Versailles, men and women act as though they’re living in the 18th century (with all the benefits of 22nd century technology, that is). It’s all fun, games, and ballgowns at first, until the king commits murder. Danica’s mother uses the crime as a way to blackmail the king into making Dani his queen when she turns 18. But the last thing Dani wants is to wed a killer. With only six months left before her fateful birthday, Dani begins dealing in glitter, a powerful and highly addictive drug that sells at a high cost. If she can save enough money, she can leave the palace and enter the real world. If she can’t, she’ll be trapped forever at the king’s mercy. Aprilynne Pike brings drama and elegance to the YA readers this fall.

On shelves: October 25

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Saving Hamlet

To thine own self be true

To read or not to read—if that’s the question, then “to read” is the answer when it comes to Molly Booth’s Hamlet retelling. High school sophomore Emma Allen can’t believe her bad luck when she’s named stage manager for her drama club’s performance of Hamlet. She has no experience, but is desperate to impress her crush and the play’s director, Brandon. After a tough rehearsal, Emma accidentally falls through a trap door and lands in the Globe Theater in 1601. Rocking a pixie cut, Emma is assumed to be a boy by the Bard himself and is given the role of backstage assistant. As Emma learns how to travel back and forth in time, suddenly the success of two productions of Hamlet are falling squarely on her shoulders. Not to mention, she’s starting to develop feelings for a boy in the past. High school’s never easy, is it?

On shelves: November 1

Heartless

The coldest story ever told

Readers, rejoice! Marissa Meyer has returned with another fairy tale retelling. While we were sad to see the Lunar Chronicles come to an end, we can’t wait to dive into this stand-alone novel inspired by the Queen of Hearts. Our heroine Catherine is rumored to be a favorite of the King of Hearts and many expect that he’ll propose at the upcoming royal ball. But the life of a queen doesn’t appeal to Cath. She’d be much happier covered in flour and running her own bakery—a dream her mother considers absurd. On the evening of the ball, Cath is prepared for the King’s marriage offer; it isn’t as though one can refuse the king. Then she meets Jest and the spark she feels for him eclipses everything else. They enter into a secret and passionate affair, risking everything for a chance at true love. But as readers familiar with the original tale know, Cath is not destined to get her happily ever after.

On shelves: November 8

Scythe

A small fact: You are going to die

Neal Shusterman’s latest takes place in a world where disease is nonexistent and humans don’t age. The only way to die is to be gleaned (read: killed) by scythes, professional grim reapers. Teenagers Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are far from thrilled when they’re chosen to be apprentices to Scythe Faraday, but they aren’t given much of a choice in the manner. The training they must endure is brutal, and they find no consolation in each other’s company. They are forbidden from relying on each other for anything, a rule they later learn is in place because only one of them will be chosen to be an apprentice, and the first task of the new apprentice will be to execute the loser.

On shelves: November 22

Honorable Mention

The Graces by Laure Eve (September 6)

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West (September 15)

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (November 22)

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