Summer 2017’s Best YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads: Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Schwab, and Kiersten White

Summer 2017’s Best YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads: Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Schwab, and Kiersten White

Better pack a survival kit, readers, because this summer you’re going to face a river god, a Warbringer, a variety of nightmare-inducing monsters, and a song you just can’t get out of your dreams. Sure, other people might be taking trips to the beach or the pool, but you are looking for something just a bit different. You have a greater destiny that is unfolding this summer, and it begins by picking up one of these new releases.


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Song of the Current

Don’t go chasing river gods

Readers desperate to get off land and take to the high seas won’t want to miss this adventurous debut from Sarah Tolcser. Seventeen-year-old Caroline Oresteia is tired of waiting for the river god to speak to her. He’s helped her family for generations, keeping their crafts safe as they traveled through the Riverlands. When her father is thrown in jail for refusing to transport a certain piece of cargo, Caroline realizes she can free him and earn the attention of the river god by volunteering to deliver it herself. It’s only when she discovers that the cargo in question is a royal courier named Tarquin Meredios that Caroline realizes that she may be in over her head.

On shelves: June 6


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Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo

The music of the dead

Readers who enjoyed Nimona’s humor and subversion of fantasy tropes are bound to enjoy this graphic novel from James Parks and Ben Costa. Rickety Stitch doesn’t remember how he died, and he isn’t sure why he, unlike other reanimated skeletons, retained his sparkling personality. What he does know is that he has a song in his heart… or at least where his heart used to be, and he’s certain it’ll lead him to the answers that he seeks. Rickety sets out with his best friend, the titular Gelatinous Goo, and along the way the two encounter giants, gnomes, and more fantastic creatures. Starred by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal, this is a must for graphic novel fans.

On shelves: June 6


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Our Dark Duet

The nightmare’s just begun

This is a year of finales for Victoria Schwab. In February she concluded her Shades of Magic series, and now she’s delivering the final installment in her Monsters of Verity duology. Six month after Kate Harker and August Flynn first met, their world has been torn apart. The war between humans and monsters is raging, and they’re right at the center of it. In Verity, trapped with monsters of all kinds, August finds himself giving in to his dark side in ways he never imagined he would. In Prosperity, Kate is finally living up to her family’s legacy and hunting monsters like a pro. But a dark force is about to enter their world, a new kind of creature that is worse than anything they’ve encountered before, and even working together, they might not be strong enough to defeat it.

On shelves: June 13


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Midnight at the Electric

Do you really want to live forever?

In 1919, Lenore Allstock decided to flee England after losing her brother in the war. She writes a letter to an old friend, hoping to reconnect once she arrives in America. In 1934, a girl named Catherine spends her days caring for her sick sister and finds herself tempted by a traveler’s promise of immortality. In 2065, Adri is packing her belongings and preparing to travel to Mars on a special expedition. Jodi Lynn Anderson cleverly weaves these three tales together in ways that will surprise and delight readers. Fans of historical fiction will particularly love the way the past connects with Adri’s futuristic world.

On shelves: June 13

Now I Rise

I will take what is mine with fire and blood

The Wallachian throne belongs to Lada Dracul, and there isn’t anything she won’t do to secure it. She has a battalion of soldiers standing behind her and her best friend Bogdan at her side once more, but Lada knows that her brother, Radu, may be the key to her success. When Radu receives Lada’s call for help, he’s shocked by her request. His loyalty to her is unwavering, but he’s found himself working as a double agent in Constantinople. He longs to help Lada, yet he can’t turn his back on Sultan Mehmed, or the feelings he secretly harbors for him. This is the second installment in Kiersten White’s alternate history series, a genderbent reimagining of Vlad the Impaler. The tale promises blood, pain, and vengeance—and readers are sure to love every moment of it.

On shelves: June 27


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Ash and Quill

It was a pleasure to burn

If you fantasize about life as a brave librarian who risks life and limb to save the Great Library of Alexandria, then this is the series for you. This is the third of five planned books, so newbies will want to start with Ink and Bone, while fans can dive right into this new adventure. Those in control of the Great Library truly believe the knowledge is power, which is why they keep it for themselves and forbid the ownership of books. But Jess Brightwell was raised on illegal reading material, and he knows that books belong in the hands of readers everywhere. Jess and his friends have the power to open the Library to everyone, but there’s one problem: They’re trapped in Philadelphia. Fans of this thrilling series will love every action-packed moment of Ash and Quill.

On shelves: July 11


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The Library of Fates

Change your fate

That’s right, readers, we have two books on our summer preview that revolve around magical libraries. What could be better than that? Aditi Khorana’s novel begins in the kingdom of Shalingar, where Princess Amrita and her father, Chandradev, have been living peacefully for years. But a visit from the emperor changes everything. Emperor Sikander overthrows Chandradev and takes Shalingar for himself. Amrita flees the palace with Thala, the emperor’s oracle. It’s Thala who suggests that they travel to the legendary Library of All Things, a place where they can change their fates: Thala can be free of her bonds and Amrita can save her people. This tale, inspired by Indian folklore, is every bit as stunning as the cover that binds it.

On shelves: July 18


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The Last Magician

The death of magic

Years ago the Order created the Brink, a barrier placed around the island of Manhattan. Mageus, people born with a gift for magic, who entered Manhattan would find themselves trapped there. If they tried to leave, they’d lose their powers and sometimes their lives. Esta, a Mageus and thief, is on a mission to travel back to 1902 and steal the book that the Order used to create the Brink. If she alters the past, she can create a future where magic is thriving rather than dying out. There’s just one problem: She isn’t the only one with her eyes set on the book. Someone known as the Magician is after it, and Esta must beat him to it or risk losing everything.

On shelves: July 18


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The Hearts We Sold

He lost his soul to a woman so heartless

When Dee Moreno was a child, demons revealed themselves to humans. They didn’t seek vengeance or destruction, they instead offered deals: Demons would grant wishes in exchange for a body part. Dee never thought she’d have to bargain, but when her scholarship is taken away and she’s faced with moving back home and living with her alcoholic, abusive parents, she decides the risk is worth it. Dee offers up a two-year lease on her heart in exchange for tuition money. In a cruel twist of fate, it’s only after her heart is gone that she meets the handsome James Lancer. Dee wonders if falling in love is even possible for someone who is heartless, but finding out the least of her worries when her bargain brings her into unimaginable danger.

On shelves: August 8


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Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Change their minds, and change the world

Readers, it is the summer of Diana. The season kicks off with the new movie on June 2, and ends with this exhilarating young adult novel. Leigh Bardugo, a literary goddess in her own right, weaves a Wonder Woman origin story that shines as brightly as the Lasso of Truth. The tale kicks off in Themyscira, the island of the Amazons. In a moment of impulsive bravery, Diana defies the rules of her sisters and saves the life of a drowning mortal girl. It turns out the girl, Alia, is the mythical Warbringer, a descendant of Helen of Troy, destined to bring about an age of warfare and bloodshed. Desperate to do the right thing and to prove herself, Diana travels to the mortal world with Alia and sets off on a dangerous journey to stop the war before it begins. Whether you’re a veteran comic fan or a newbie who loves nuanced portrayals of women learning to own their strengths, this is a must-read.

On shelves: August 29

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