Need a little magic in your life? We thought so. To celebrate the start of a new season, we’ve rounded up this spring’s must-read young adult sci-fi and fantasy books. These twelve novels take readers on a wide array of incredible adventures. You can travel to the future where a magical virus is plaguing our world, or take a journey to the past with an Arabian tale. There are reluctant princesses and reincarnated kings, assassins and hackers, and aliens and girl gangs. All you need to do is decide which book to read first.
Victoria Lee’s novel takes place over 100 years in the future in the former United States. Noam Álvaro, the son of undocumented immigrants, survives a magical virus that leaves him with the ability to control technology. His new gift attracts the attention of Calix Lehrer, the minister of defense of Carolina, a nation known for its deportation of refugees. Calix invites Noam to train privately with him, and Noam agrees, all the while plotting to take down the Carolina government. But his plans are threatened when he begins to fall for Dara, Calix’s son. The first in a series, this dystopian tale will have you itching for the next installment.
On shelves: March 1
Readers, prepare to return to Orléans. Last year, Dhonielle Clayton introduced us to the Belles, girls gifted with the ability to create, enhance, and manipulate beauty. Camille fought her way to becoming the palace’s resident Belle, only to discover dark secrets hidden within its gilded walls. This installment picks up where the last left off, with Camille on the run and the ruthless Sophia poised to claim the throne. To save her Belle sisters, Camille knows she must return the lost Princess Charlotte to the palace. Clayton blew us away with the series’ exploration of oppression, commodification, and beauty. Fans of the first won’t want to miss the second, and newbies should start at the beginning to enjoy every moment of this stunning tale.
On shelves: March 5
Years ago Mega City was decimated by a massive earthquake. In the aftermath, women rose to power, but this is no feminist utopia. A privileged few call the luxurious Mega Towers home, while economic inequality plagues the rest of the population. Nalah dreams of moving into the Towers, and when the city’s ruler sends her and her gang, Las Mal Criadas, on a secret mission, she believes success could result in a coveted room. But as she leaves the borders of Mega City behind, Nalah encounters new ideas that challenge everything she’s ever known. It’s a novel that is sure to leave readers thinking about the ways society shapes behavior and people’s sense of self.
On shelves: March 5
YA authors Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta team up for an exciting genderbent retelling of Arthurian legends. Poor Merlin and Morgana—their destinies have been tied to King Arthur’s, and now they’re summoned each time he’s reincarnated. Merlin is determined that this reincarnation, lucky number 42, will be the last one. Unfortunately, Ari, the Excalibur-wielding 17-year-old from the planet Ketch, has no interested in helping him break the curse. But when Ari realizes that helping Merlin could mean taking down the villainous Mercer Company, who imprisoned her mothers, she agrees to do whatever it takes. Ari and Merlin set off to put together a round table of knights and plan their victory.
On shelves: March 26
This spring Cindy Pon returns with with the thrilling concluding volume in her Want duology. This series takes place in a near-future Shanghai where pollution and disease kill anyone who can’t afford the Jin Corporation’s expensive protective suits. In the last book, Jason Zhou and his team of hackers succeeded in destroying Jin Corp headquarters and now Jin, the billionaire behind the company, is hot on their trail. When Jin steals a valuable piece of tech, Jason and his friends come together once again to take it back. Along the way, Jason finds himself falling for Jin’s daughter, Daiyu. But can she be trusted?
On shelves: March 26
In this standalone fantasy novel, a young princess finds herself unsure of who to trust after her father dies. Princess Hesina is convinced that her father was murdered, and in the wake of his death she struggles to find allies in court. It seems as though everyone is out to grasp power and further their own agenda. With the weight of the kingdom of Yan on her shoulders, Hesina decides to turn to a soothsayer who can see the future for help, despite the laws against using magic. She also enlists Akira, an investigator and criminal, who she believes could hold the key to uncovering the truth behind her father’s death. Hesina never wanted to rule, but readers will hope her reign never ends.
On shelves: April 2
Longing for an adventure? Take a trip to ancient India this spring with The Tiger at Midnight, the first book in a new series. Inspired by Hindu mythology, the novel follows an assassin seeking revenge and the soldier hell-bent on capturing her. Seventeen-year-old Esha is known as the Viper of Dharka and she serves the rebellion that hopes to overthrow King Vardaan. Her latest target is General Setu Hotha, though he’s being protected by his nephew Kunal. As a soldier, Kunal knows he must stop the Viper at any cost, but in his heart Kunal would rather make art than fight. Sparks fly when Esha and Kunal finally meet, but can either choose between love and duty? Readers looking for a blend of politics, romance, and danger will devour the first novel in this new trilogy.
On shelves: April 23
Authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff took readers on a trip to the stars in the Illuminae Files series, and now they’ve teamed up again on a new galactic adventure. Kristoff says the Aurora Cycle trilogy is The Breakfast Club meets Guardians of the Galaxy. If that description alone doesn’t have you slamming the pre-order button, here’s a little more: Tyler Jones graduates from Aurora Academy in 2380 assuming he’ll be able to hand-pick the ideal squad to captain. Instead, he winds up stuck with the leftovers. To add to his troubles, he finds himself responsible for Auri, who’s been asleep for two centuries. If you’re a sucker for ragtag groups, heists, and space operas, this is the book for you.
On shelves: May 7
Readers, are you ready for one last trip to Caraval? Stephanie Garber’s fantasy series comes to a dramatic close this spring. The trilogy kicked off with sisters Scarlett and Tella traveling to a distant island to experience Caraval, an annual show packed with performers and a mysterious competition. Over the course of the series, the sisters uncovered the dark secrets behind the show’s glittering facade. The final book takes place two months after the last Caraval ends, and it finds Tella in the middle of an attempt to stop a coronation and Scarlett pitting Julian and Nicolas against each other in a competition to win her hand in marriage. Newbies, you’ll want to start at the beginning. Longtime fans, get ready for a wild ride.
On shelves: May 7
The first book in the Sands of Arawiya duology introduces readers to two characters who aren’t who they appear to be. In the kingdom of Arawiya, Zafira is known as the Hunter. Disguised as a man, she risks her life to help her people. When she learns of an artifact that is rumored to have the power to return magic to her world, she sets off on her most dangerous mission yet. Along the way, she meets Nasir. Known as the Prince of Death, his reputation for cruelty precedes him, and he’s been ordered by his father, the king, to kill the Hunter. Inspired by ancient Arabia, this is an adventure readers won’t want to miss.
On shelves: May 14
Nafiza Azad’s debut novel takes readers to Noor. A city along the Silk Road, Noor is home to a variety of cultures, religions, and languages. It’s also being rebuilt after tragedy. Eight years earlier, a tribe of chaotic djinn entered Noor and killed all but three humans living there. Fatima was one of the survivors, and she’s witnessed the way the Ifrit tribe, djinn of order and reason, stepped in to protect the city after the attack. But when one of the most prominent Ifrit dies, Fatima discovers that the gift of djinn fire has awakened within her. With decadent descriptions of food, a fiercely feminist Muslim heroine, and magic, this is sure to be a hit with fantasy lovers.
On shelves: May 14
As much as Penguin Teen likes to tease Arvin Ahmadi, we know they love him as much as we do. His debut novel was a contemporary tale set in modern-day Washington, DC, and his latest transports readers to a near future packed with virtual reality. Opal Hopper is determined to use her hacking skills to win a contest hosted by the virtual reality platform WAVE. The prize includes a meeting with WAVE’s billionaire founder, who worked with Opal’s father. Opal is hoping WAVE’s creator will have the answers to questions that have plagued her since she was ten: Why did her dad leave? And what’s the secret behind the strange message he left her? Fans of Marie Lu’s Warcross duology will want to add this VR adventure to their TBR immediately.
On shelves: May 21