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    40 YA Fantasy Books We're Highly Anticipating In 2021

    Add a bit of magic to your bookshelves.

    Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

    1. Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

    Page Street, Via joannaruthmeyer.com

    Release Date: Jan. 12

    What it's about: If you love lyrical, fairy-tale books such as Among the Beasts & Briars or Uprooted, you'll love this! For centuries, a witch has harvested souls lured by siren songs into the forest, using them to feed the heartless tree and growing its, and thereby her, power. Owen is one of the souls being led into the wood, but Seren, a tree-siren daughter of the witch, breaks all the rules to save him, leading to an impossible love story amid Seren's quest to become human.

    For more forest-aesthetic fantasies, check out Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker and Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    2. We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr), Via hafsahfaizal.com

    This title was previously included in our 29 YA Fantasy Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2020; but the release date pushed to 2021, so here it is again!

    Release Date: Jan. 19

    In case you haven't yet read book one We Hunt the Flame: Zafira is the Hunter, searching for a lost artifact that can restore magic to her world. Nasir is the Prince of Death, sent to assassinate those who defy his father, the King — including the Hunter. Set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame has exquisite worldbuilding and characters you'd follow into the darkness.

    What it's about: In the final chapter of this delectable fantasy duology, the dark forest of the Arz has fallen, but that doesn't mean their world is safe. Nasir and Zafira have returned to a ghostly sultan's keep, both fighting against darkness — Nasir against the power in his blood, Zafira against her bond with the Jawarat.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    3. Shadow City by Francesca Flores

    Wednesday Books, Sarah Deragon

    Release Date: Jan. 26

    In case you haven't yet read book one Diamond City: This wonderful series follows Aina Solís, an assassin in a city built by magic. She took the job after the murder of her parents.

    What it's about: After taking control of the assassin empire previously owned by her old boss Kohl, the only thing she has to fear is two men trying to get their power back. Kohl will do anything to get his empire back, and Aina sets out to kill him before he kills her. Alsane Bautix, a corrupt army general who lost his government seat because of Aina, will destroy anyone in his way to power. And to defeat Bautix, Aina might need to team with Kohl, with the knowledge that once he's gone, they'll be facing each other.

    For more sequels, check out Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis, Rising Like a Storm by Tanaz Bhathena, and When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    4. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

    Simon & Schuster, Via wingsofebony.com

    Release Date: Jan. 26

    What it's about: If you've been looking for a dynamic new series starter, Wings of Ebony is here for you! After her mother is shot (and subsequently dies), Rue is taken to Ghizon, a hidden island of magic wielders, to live with her father. She leaves her younger sister behind. The only half-god/half-human there, Rue breaks a big rule (no leaving) and returns to Houston, where her sister is in danger from the very forces that took their mother. And when it turns out that the evil in her home and the evil in Ghizon are the same, Rue must embrace the full power of her ancestors to save her neighborhood from the gods.

    For more series starters, check out Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard, Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier, and Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    5. Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease

    Flatiron, Tim Trelease

    Release Date: Feb. 2

    In case you haven't yet read book one All That Glitters (previously titled Enchanteé): Camille uses magic to transform scraps of metal into money, buying food and medicine for herself and her siblings after the deaths of their parents. But when her brother disappears with their savings, Camille must find a new mark and finds it in the Court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

    What it's about: In this intricately woven sequel, Louis XVI declares magic a crime and all magicians, including Camille, traitors to France. Safety may no longer be possible. Camille has been working for the rebellion, printing pamphlets telling stories of girls on the outskirts of society. But as bonfires ignite enchanted books and special patrols search for magic users, Camille might lose everything she worked so hard to keep.

    For more historical fantasy, check out Under a Starlit Sky by Em Castellan, Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare, A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth, and The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    6. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

    Delacorte, Via goodreads.com

    This title was previously included in our 29 YA Fantasy Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2020; but the release date pushed to 2021, so here it is again!

    Release Date: Feb. 9

    What it's about: On the day of Deka's blood ceremony, the ceremony that determines whether she will become a member of her village, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity. And Deka knows she will face the consequences. But that's before a mysterious woman offers her a choice: Stay in the village to face the backlash or join an army of girls like her — they're called alaki, near-imortals with rare gifts — who fight for the emperor. And as she journeys to the capital for training, she will discover that nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be. Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore this one.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    7. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

    Margaret K. McElderry Books, Ashley Shuttleworth

    Release Date: Feb. 23

    What it's about: Sure to be a new obsession for fans of The Mortal Instruments, A Dark and Hollow Star is certainly one of my new favorites. The Eight Courts of Folk have peacefully lived, concealed, among humans for centuries, but there's war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal realms, thrown to the forefront after a series of ritualistic murders in Toronto. Four queer teens — a half-fae outcast of a royal family, a Fury in exile, a fae prince, and the prince's guardian — are trying to track down the killer, before one of them tips the scales of war.

    For more books featuring fae, check out The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa and The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    8. Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

    Wednesday Books, Lisa DeNeffe Photography

    Release Date: March 2

    What it's about: This gorgeous book definitely has that "must...keep...reading" power (I read it in one sitting!). After being dismissed from the Queen's Guard and separated from the girl she loves, Wren is summoned to Colwick Hall, an estate owned by the reclusive Lord Alistair Lowry, to cure a servant from a mysterious illness. When she arrives, she discovers, to her dismay, her patient is Hal Cavendish. Not only is he not a servant, but he's also a killer and a sworn enemy of her kingdom. She could heal him and commit treason against her kingdom, or she could kill him, which goes against the ethics of being a healer. Regardless, as she spends more time in the crumbling mansion, she realizes that deception has infected both kingdoms; and the facts she's been taught are less than truthful.

    For more Gothic-feeling fantasy, check out Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone and Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    9. Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

    Quill Tree, Elliot Knight

    Release Date: March 2

    In case you haven't yet read book one Infinity Son: Silvera's twisty fantasy series follows Brighton and Emil, brothers who have always idolized the Spell Walkers — a vigilante group born with powers who rid the world of specters (those who take magic for themselves). Brighton always dreamed of powers of his own, while Emil wishes for peace... But when powers manifest for one of the brothers, it ends up being Emil.

    What it's about: After Brighton drank the Reaper's Blood and both brothers escaped, Emil is in a race for an antidote to the poison killing his brother. Not only that, but the Spell Walkers are fracturing, Maribelle is out for revenge, Ness is keeping Emil at a distance, and there may be more enemies out there than the brothers ever knew.

    For another sequel featuring phoenix imagery, check out Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    10. A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Via amandajoywrites.com

    Release Date: March 16

    In case you haven't yet read book one A River of Royal Blood: In the Queendom of Myre, only the strongest heir survives. Eva is preparing to face her older sister Isa in a battle to the death where the winner takes the throne. But before the battle, she's attacked by an assassin, leading her to seek out a fey instructor and a khimaer prince to grow her magick —the magick of marrow and blood, previously unseen for generations — into something to fear.

    What it's about: The eagerly anticipated sequel to the fantastic River of Royal Blood (one of my favorites from 2019) finds Eva on the run with her sister in tow, heading to the north in the hopes of finding allies. With the past on their heels, Eva is convinced that peace between her and Isa is needed for the queendom to survive, despite the fact that after the Entwining ceremony, Isa and Eva are the only ones that can kill each other.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    11. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

    Feiwel & Friends, Christina Grout

    Release Date: March 16

    Content Note: This book deals with sexual assault, which is mentioned in the summary below.

    What it's about: Ciela and a boy she barely knows were both sexually assaulted at the same party. After, she loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce, and mirrored glass appears alongside reckless magic. When the boy Lock shows up at her school, it becomes clear that while Ciela remembers everything, including who assaulted them, Lock has no memory of the night. And Lock has no idea that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart.

    For more books with fairy tale inspirations (The Mirror Season is inspired by The Snow Queen), check out Little Thieves by Margaret Owen (The Goose Girl) and Small Favors by Erin A. Craig (Rumpelstiltskin).

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    12. Oculta by Maya Motayne

    Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, Via mayamotayne.com

    Release Date: April 6

    In case you haven't yet read book one Nocturna: This magnificent fantasy follows Finn Voy, a faceshifter, who just got caught by a powerful mobster offering her a choice: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan's royal palace or be stripped of her magic. Alfie is first in line for the Castallan throne after the death of his brother, but he's become obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back. And when Finn and Alfie collide, an ancient power will be unlocked.

    What it's about: The only thing better than a sequel is a competition fantasy, and this is both! Finn has been unexpectedly installed as the new Thief Lord of one of the crime families of Castallan, which forces her to preside over the illegal, underground Oculta competition. Alfie is dealing with the reemergence of Los Toros, the syndicate responsible for his brother's murder, who are targeting the International Peace Summit Alfie has been preparing for (and that coincides with the Oculta competition). Though they haven't seen each other in months, Finn and Alfie will need to work together again to stop the assassins.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    13. Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

    Harperteen, Via ciannonsmart.com

    Release Date: April 20

    What it's about: I cannot even properly describe how incredible this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is. Two witches — one who has spent her life in a cell awaiting vengeance, the other a princess unwilling to die to strengthen her mother's power — band together to take down the Witch Queen. Deftly teetering her characters on a line above the murky abyss that is heroism and villainy, Smart proves her writing chops, and Witches Steeped in Gold is poised to become one of the next big things in YA.

    For more debuts, check out The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski, The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin, Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson, and For All Time by Shanna Miles.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    14. Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

    Little, Brown, Sarah Younger

    Release Date: May 11

    In case you haven't yet read book one Incendiary: When Renata was young, she was kidnapped and brought to the Andalucia palace, where she was used to carry out a siege that brought about the deaths of thousands of her own people. Though she was rescued by a group of rebel spies called the Whispers, she is unable to escape the memories of her time in the palace. When the commander of her unit Dez is taken captive, she must return to Andalucia. Now faced with completing his mission, Renata has to keep her cover, even when faced with a chance at vengeance against the prince.

    What it's about: Incendiary was one of the best books of last year, and this sequel is bound to be twisty and intense. With the king's forces on their heels, Ren is on the run with none other than Prince Castian, aligned by the common goals of finding the Knife of Memory and killing King Fernando. But Ren's grip on reality is threatened by the crumbling of the Gray, her fortress of stolen memories.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    15. In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland

    Imprint, Lukas Strickland

    Release Date: May 18

    What it's about: Rovan lives in Thanopolis, where those with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard and control them. When she accidentally reveals her powers, a fate her father died trying to keep her from, she's bound to Ivrilos and thrust into a world of intrigue and deception. Not only does she find herself falling for Ivrilos, but she's also falling for Lydea, a rebellious princess, despite the fact that she can't trust either of them. Strickland is a master of incredible worldbuilding, and her characters are so very easy to adore.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    16. A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown

    Balzer & Bray, Ashley Hirasuna

    Release Date: June 1

    In case you haven't yet read book one A Song of Wraiths and Ruin: After a vengeful spirit takes Malik's younger sister, Nadia, he makes a deal to get her back. Meanwhile, Karina is reeling from the assassination of her mother, the Sultana, and the threat of mutiny from her court. But she can resurrect her mother, for a price. Both Malik and Karina plan to act around the Solstasia festival — Malik competing to get close to Karina, as he is meant to kill her, and Karina offering her hand in marriage to the winner, since she needs the beating heart of a king to bring back her mother. This was one of the very best books of last year, and the sequel promises to delve even more into the world and mythology.

    What it's about: After a violent coup left her without kingdom or throne, Karina is the most wanted person in Sonande, searching for a divine power hidden in the long-lost city of her ancestors. The resurrection of Karina's sister and the subsequent chaos lead Malik to use magic to try and lure Karina back to their side, as she may be the key to restore the balance.

    For more sequels, check out Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron and Ravage the Dark by Tara Sim.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    17. A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

    Tor Teen, Via bethanycmorrow.com

    Release Date: June 1

    In case you haven't yet read book one A Song Below Water: Tavia is a siren, but since society is unkind to sirens, who are Black women, that identity is kept firmly a secret. She lives in Portland with her best friend Effie, where there are only a handful of Black folk and even fewer with powers. But after a murder trial flips on its head when it's revealed the victim may have been a siren, Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past and Tavia's magical voice makes an accidental appearance.

    What it's about: Morrow's worldbuilding is some of the best in the entirety of the book world, and I'm so excited to follow Naema's story! After being cast as the awful person who exposed Tavia's powers, teen influencer Naema Bradshaw is being dragged by the media. Her boyfriend, her friends, and even her Eloko community don't seem to understand her side; and when a new segment of her online supporters start targeting Black girls, Naema must discover the power and purpose of her magic.

    For another companion/sequel, check out Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    18. Fire With Fire by Destiny Soria

    Houghton Mifflin, Southern Grace Photography

    Release Date: June 8

    What it's about: Sisters Dani and Eden Rivera have taken wildly different approaches to life as dragon slayers. While Dani prioritizes her high school normalcy, Eden throws herself into training first. But when Dani comes face to face with a dragon named Nox and forms a rare magical bond with him, she comes to realize that everything she's been taught about dragons, like the kill-or-be-killed instincts they've been trained to have, is wrong. Destiny Soria's books have always been some of the most remarkable additions to a bookshelf, and this one is no different.

    For more dragons, check out Flamefall by Rosaria Munda and Bloodbath Ring by Amparo Ortiz.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    19. Broken Web by Lori M. Lee

    Page Street, PrettyGeeky Photography

    Release Date: June 15

    In case you haven't yet read book one Forest of Souls: Sirscha Ashwyn has undergone years of training to become the queen's next royal spy, but her plans are derailed when her best friend Saengo is killed by shamans. And then Sirscha, somehow, brings Saengo back to life. Summoned to the domain of the Spider King, who uses his influence over the Dead Wood — an ancient forest possessed by souls — to enforce peace, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities as a soulguide. For only a soulguide has the power to restrain the trees.

    What it's about: This atmospheric fantasy saga continues as Sirscha journeys to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. On the other side of things, the Soulless lurks in the Dead Wood, recovering strength from his centuries-long imprisonment. If anyone discovers that Sirscha is a soulrender like the Soulless, and not a soulguide, she'll be executed. But if Sirscha can discover what or who the Soulless has as his familiar, she might be able to cut him off from his power.

    For more sequels, check out The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke, The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning, Stormbreak by Natalie C. Parker, and All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    20. Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

    Harperteen, Via sarenasashabooks.com

    Release Date: June 15

    What it's about: This sister-penned debut uses one of my all-time favorite tropes: switching places! Rani is a princess, desperate for a chance to prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing to stay alive. And as luck would have it, they are identical. The two decide to switch places, but they'll have to combine forces to defeat the dangers living in both of their worlds.

    For another co-authored book, check out All of Us Villains by Christine Lynn Herman and Amanda Foody.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    21. Witchshadow by Susan Dennard

    Tor Teen, Via susandennard.com

    Release Date: June 22

    In case you haven't yet read book one Truthwitch: The story takes place on a continent where many people are born with a "witchery." A truthwitch with the rare ability to tell truth from lie must flee to keep from being killed or captured for her power. Along the journey, other characters take the lead, including her threadwitch best friend, a windwitch prince, and a bloodwitch mercenary monk.

    What it's about: The fourth entry of this series is Iseult's book, following her as she flees Cartorra after a very brief reunion with her heartsister Safi. These books get better with every entry into the series, and I can't wait to see where Dennard takes these characters.

    For more new additions into long-running series and worlds, check out Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore, Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo, and The Desolation of Devil's Acre by Ransom Riggs.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    22. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

    Bloomsbury, Via kalynnbayron.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: Briseis can grow plants from seeds to blooms with a single touch, but she doesn't quite know how to control her gift. When her aunt dies and leaves her a dilapidated, rural New York estate, it comes with specific instructions, an apothecary, and a garden filled with some of the world's deadliest botanicals. And as strangers begin to arrive, asking for elixirs and such, Bri discovers that not only does she have a talent for making them, but that there is also more to her inheritance than she ever could have imagined. Bayron showed off her inventiveness last year with the remarkable Cinderella Is Dead and this is bound to be another new favorite.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    23. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, Via elizabethlim.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: After Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, loses control of her forbidden magic on the morning of the betrothal ceremony she never wanted, her stepmother Raikama banishes her — turning her brothers into cranes and making it so that every word that escapes Shiori's lips will cost a brother his life. On her journey to find her brothers, voiceless and alone, she realizes that she has to place her trust in the boy she fought so hard not to marry. Lim is an incredible writer, and I'm so excited about the start of a new series from her (set in the same world as Spin the Dawn!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    24. It Ends in Fire by Andrew Shvarts

    Little, Brown, Via ew.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: Alka is attending Blackwater Academy, the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic. But it's all a lie. She's undercover, attempting to draw closer to vengeance against Wizards, who murdered her parents when she was a child. Suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek a traitor in their midst, and Alka will have to use every trick in the book to keep them from discovering that it's her.

    For more great standalone fantasies, check out Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley, The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould, and What We Devour by Linsey Miller.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    25. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: July 13

    What it's about: It's hard enough fitting in at St. Clair Prep, where he is one of the only Black kids, but Jake Livingston also see the dead. Though most are harmless, stuck in a loop where they relive their death over and over again, every rule about ghosts is thrown out when Sawyer — who shot and killed 16 kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life — arrives. As Sawyer begins to haunt Jake, high school turns into a survival game, as bodies begin turning up in his neighborhood. This book is absolutely incredible, chilling, and a must-read.

    For another horror book, check out What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    26. The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

    Margaret K. McElderry Books, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: When Paheli escapes the man her mother sold her to in exchange for a favor, she comes across a boy with stars in his eyes. Before he disappears, he tosses her a box of stars that grants her access to the Between, a place of pure magic. Along her journey, she collects girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed, and they travel the world to save others. But it turns out the boy who gave Paheli the stars is in danger; and if he's not safe, neither are they. In addition to the stunning cover, this book was written by Nafiza Azad, who wrote the absolutely magnificent Candle and the Flame, so all around this is destined to be a beautiful addition to shelves.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    27. A Beautiful Doom by Laura Pohl

    Sourcebooks, Via onlybylaura.com

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: Nani Eszes has just arrived at Grimrose Académie and is thrust into the center of a mystery. After all, her new roommates — Ella, Yuki, and Rory — lost a best friend last year in what police ruled a suicide. As they retrace their friend's last steps, they discover connections to ancient fairy tale curses and the brutal endings to their stories they're doomed to repeat if they can't break the cycle. Pulling inspiration from Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty, this book is a must for mystery and fantasy fans alike!

    For another retelling, check out Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    28. Cazadora by Romina Garber

    Wednesday Books, Drew Bordeaux

    Release Date: Aug. 17

    In case you haven't yet read book one Lobizona: Manuela, or Manu, is on the run from her father's Argentine crime family, and she's living as an undocumented immigrant in a small apartment in Miami, Florida. After her mother is arrested by ICE, Manu follows the only clue she has about her past, a mysterious "Z" emblem that leads her to a world connected to her late father's criminal past and filled with Argentine folklore.

    What it's about: While there isn't a whole lot of info in regard to the plot of this sequel yet, if Garber's previous series (Zodiac, written as Romina Russell) is any indication, this will be even better than the first.

    Also check out these titles: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and Legendborn by Tracy Deonn.

    Get it from Bookshop or Target.

    29. The Endless Skies by Shannon Price

    Tor Teen, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Aug. 17

    What it's about: This standalone fantasy about shape-shifting warriors sounds like it's gonna be great! Rowan is 16 and about to become a Leonodai Warrior, an elite magical fighter that protects Heliana, a floating city, from the world of Men. Following orders from the king after disaster strikes, Rowan sets out to track down a Warrior team. But along the way, she finds herself face-to-face with a man who holds dark secrets from her past, and with the man she loves.

    For another book with a warrior lead, check out Daughter of Sparta by Claire Andrews.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    30. Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston

    Margaret K. McElderry Books, Via margiefuston.com

    Release Date: Aug. 24

    What it's about: Since the first vampire revealed his existence on live TV, Victoria and her dad have shared a love of the undead, even when the vampires were driven back into hiding. After her dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Victoria is determined to find a vampire so that she can become one and save her dad. With the help of her estranged best friend Henry, she heads to New Orleans, where she meets Nicholas. Before he can potentially give her what she desires, she'll need to prove she loves life enough to live forever, even if the challenges feel like a betrayal while her father is dying. I love a good melancholy contemporary fantasy, and this looks to be a wonderful read.

    For more vampires, check out The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl, Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury, and The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling.

    Get it from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    31. Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

    Delacorte, Via Twitter: @JLew100

    Release Date: Aug. 24

    What it's about: Katrell is paid by clients to talk to their deceased loved ones, even if they don't pay her enough. So when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings, she's willing to call the bluff. And when a summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, she realizes that it's a much more lucrative business idea. But dark forces are closing in, because magic doesn't come for free. Bad Witch Burning sounds absolutely incredible and unique, and I cannot wait to read.

    For another amazing debut, check out Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury and Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    32. A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

    HMH Books, Sarah Hollowell

    Release Date: Sept. 14

    What it's about: Derry and her eight siblings are separated from the rest of the world, isolated in a house by the lake near a menacing forest, as the world is not safe for those with magic. When Derry's siblings start going missing, she'll need to head to the forest that is calling to her in the voices of her missing siblings. I'm always grateful for more fat rep in YA, and to have it in contemporary fantasy and by the great Sarah Hollowell? *chef's kiss*

    Get it from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    33. The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

    Rachel Strolle, Greg Samborski

    Release Date: Oct. 12

    What it's about: Ren Scarborough has collected souls in the London streets for centuries. Half–British Reaper, half–Japanese Shinigami, Ren's failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives her out of 1890s London to Japan and to the Japanese underworld, where she seeks to serve the Goddess of Death. To prove herself worthy, she must find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons in the hope of finally claiming a place of her own, even if that place is at Death's side. Every time I read this summary, I crave this book a little bit more.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    34. Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

    June CL Tan, Via junecltan.com

    Release Date: Oct. 12

    What it's about: What if Katara were the Dark Avatar and Zuko was hunting her down? That's June CL Tan's elevator pitch for this debut that I cannot wait to read. A peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls must enter an alliance with an exiled prince in order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests.

    For more fiery fantasies, check out These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy, check out Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland, This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria, and We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor.

    Get it from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    35. A Crown So Cursed by L.L. McKinney

    Imprint, Nicole McLaughlin

    Release Date: Nov. 9

    In case you haven't yet read book one A Blade so Black: This Alice in Wonderland retelling follows Alice from real-world Atlanta, with her overprotective mom, to Wonderland, where keeping the Nightmares under control has turned into a full-time job. And when her mentor Hatta is poisoned, she will journey further into Wonderland than ever before to get the antidote.

    What it's about: In the third and final entry in this series, which is one of the best YA contemporary series in recent memory, members of Alice's crew keep having weird dreams — and they're having the same dreams. Someone is building an army of Nightmares to attack the mortal world, and the evil in Wonderland they thought was defeated needs to be fought once again.

    For another final book in a trilogy, check out On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig, The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala, Blessed Monsters by Emily A. Duncan, and The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    36. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

    Rachel Strolle, Via sarahraughley.com

    Release Date: 2021

    What it's about: As someone who loves historical fantasy, Sarah Raughley books, and the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman, I must say this truly is my most anticipated fantasy book. Iris is an African tightrope walker in Victorian England, and she has a secret: She cannot die. When she gets involved with a mysterious society that is under the impression that the world is ending, she's entered in the Tournament of Freaks...a fight to the death.

    Preorder links are not yet available.

    37. The Mirror: Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

    Rachel Strolle

    Release Date: 2021

    What it's about: Zora arrives in 1928 New Orleans after a tragic accident caused by her magic. Though music is her only means of escape, the powers make her a target, especially as a Black woman in the South. When she gets the chance to perform in a prominent jazz club, she comes across a sweet white pianist named Phillip and a strange mirror that foretells their future together. As they fall into a forbidden romance, they learn of a complicated connection between their families that could lead to Zora risking everything. Ever since the announcement of The Mirror series (four books across different time periods by different authors), I could not wait to see what Dhonielle's book would be about; and now that I know, the wait is even tougher!

    For more historical fantasy set in the 1920s, check out The Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke and Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe.

    Preorder links are not yet available.

    38. The Witch Owl Parliament by David O. Bowles and Raúl the Third

    Rachel Strolle, Via raulthethird.com davidbowles.us

    Release Date: October 2021

    What it's about: After apprentice shaman Cristina was killed by witch owls, her brother brought her back to life, the use of alchemy and engineering leading to her being partly mechanical. She is determined to protect the Republic of Santander against the supernatural attacks rocking the country, even if she isn't sure if she will still be able to access the green magic she was trained to wield. I've been excited about this graphic novel for a very long time, and the day is almost here.

    For another horror book, check out The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag and The Sprite and the Gardener by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego.

    Preorder links are not yet available.

    39. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

    Rachel Strolle

    Release Date: 2021

    What it's about: Darcie Little Badger, author of Elatsoe (which was one of my favorite books released last year), is back with this new story that is influenced by traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure. A girl from Earth and a Cottonmouth kid from the land of spirits and monsters decide to help each other and save their families in the process.

    Preorder links are not yet available.

    40. Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle

    Rachel Strolle, Via goodreads.com lisasterle.com

    Release Date: Fall 2021

    What it's about: I might not know a lot about this graphic novel yet but what I do know is that it follows Becca as she's pulled into a clique of teen girls who get dressed up to go to parties on the full moon. There they target entitled, date-rapey bros, and then turn into wolves and eat them. And honestly? I can't wait to read it.

    Preorder links are not yet available.

    Note: The book recommendations that are not linked did not have buy links at the time this article posted.

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