Inclusive YA Fantasy
You love YA fantasy. We love YA fantasy. Refresh yr shelf (& yrself) with outstanding books that revel in storytelling, decolonise imaginations & practice the magics of resistance. Thread: 8 British POC authors, then 10 international, A>Z.
A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars / Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe <<buy them here>>
Both of Badoe's gorgeous novels animate our worlds. Gypsy circus and Ashanti heritage combine in Cadiz in Jigsaw of Fire & Stars, while Wolf Light finds three gifted girls – in Mongolia, Ghana & Cornwall – standing together for the planet.
Asha and the Spirit Bird deservedly won the 2019 Costa Children's Books Award, so we've got high hopes for Bilan's second book, due Sept. In both, courageous contemporary children encounter spirits on their beautifully-drawn adventures in the Himalayas.
A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby <<buy it here>>
Safiya's a Studio Ghibli-loving gamer who doesn't get on with her mum. But when Aminah falls ill, it's Saff's gaming skills that might save her in an alternate yet familiar world. Big feels & bold strokes in this lovely London & Kuwait-set debut.
Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress / Ash Mistry and the City of Death / Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness by Sarwat Chadda <<buy them here>>
All-out action-adventure as British schoolboy Ash Mistry finds himself reincarnating Ashoka & battling demons in Varanasi, followed by stone monsters & death itself, (no) thanks to the evil Lord Savage. A rip-roaring trilogy that will win the hearts of Percy Jackson fans.
Sorcerer to the Crown / The True Queen by Zen Cho <<buy them here>>
Jonathan Strange made C19th fantasy A Thing. Zen Cho's Regency-set diptych adds a feminist orphan, the first African Sorcerer Royal & a questing visitor from Janda Baik to the heady mix of London & fairyland high societies. Delightful.
The Girl Who Became A Tree by Joseph Coelho [pre-order]
From winner Werewolf Club Rules to The Girl Who Became a Tree: Joseph Coelho is a poet to reckon with & here he reckons with the myth of Daphne, the girl who escaped Apollo. In this modern retelling, Daphne faces down loneliness & isolation.
Girls of Paper and Fire / Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan <<buy them here>>
You want girls who fight back (& fall in love)? Natasha Ngan's series is for you. Lei and Wren are Paper Girls, humans coerced into serving the Demon King. Finding each other enables them to escape, but they have different ideas about how to resist...
O.M.G.s. (Oh My Gods) by Alexandra Sheppard <<buy it here>>
Comic fantasy's the hardest genre & Alexandra Sheppard's debut smashes it. After her mum's death, Helen moves in with her dad… who's Zeus. It's a divinely difficult situation – but she can't breathe a word, not even to impress the boy she fancies.
Children of Blood and Bone / Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi <<buy them here>>
Instant NYT #1 bestseller, Tomi Adeyemi's Legacy of Orisha series sets a new bar for YA fantasy. Zélie's fight for the right to her maji identity & power is exhilarating and galvanising, not least her unlikely friendship with her apparent enemy.
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell <<buy it here>>
This collection brings together a coven of writers of colour weaving charms of protection for young readers. A great sampler of US stars like Navajo SFF novelist Rebecca Roanhorse, Carnegie winner Elizabeth Acevedo, & Dhonielle Clayton of We Need Diverse Books.
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline <<buy it here>>
Fleeing a govt who literally want his bones, Frenchie joins a band of Indigenous resisters relearning to live on the land. Like the world, The Marrow Thieves reveals horrors & offers healing through the beauties of its writing.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi <<buy it here>>
Gold. In a world of transformative justice, Jam and her best friend Redemption meet a monster they've been told no longer exists. Among its many imaginative generosities, they answer the question "how can we address assault w/o police?"
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [pre-order]
Cosmo calls it one of the best 2020 books by POC authors: The Gilded Ones is set to shine, as Namina Forna's protagonist Deka takes on patriarchal purity codes in a world inspired by West African empires. Bleeding gold makes Deka an outcast – & a warrior.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina <<buy it here>>
Palkyu writer & illustrator Ambelin Kwaymullina's YA debut is a pulse-pounding eco-fantasy: in a utopian community reviving earth powers, a dynamic hero emerges to combat a surveillance dystopia. Bks 2 & 3 pls, Walker!
What Sunny Saw in the Flames / Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi by Nnedi Okorafor <<buy them here>>
Making magic school joyful again, Okorafor's Sunny series follow Sunny and her best friends' secret training as Leopard People. Living books, sentient plants, sarcastic teachers, tricksy soccer games, teen romance & Nigerian youth culture form a heady brew.
Beasts Made of Night / Crown of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi <<buy them here>>
Taj is a gifted aki – a sin-eater indentured to corrupt mages in the city of Kos. Believing he can handle the costs, he has to flee his city with the mage Aliya, as the Queen herself hunts them down. Epic, epic, epic fantasy.
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power / Lumberjanes: The Moon Is Up by Mariko Tamaki <<buy them here>>
Mariko Tamaki & Brooke Allen's MG iteration of the popular Lumberjanes comic series (co-created by She-Ra's Noelle Stevenson) adds unicorns & moon pirates to the Miss Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas [pre-order]
Yadriel's traditional Latinx family aren't on board w his gender, so to prove himself, he… becomes a brujo & accidentally raises the ghost of his school's bad boy. Obvs. Aiden Thomas's debut is an uncannily swoony Teen Vogue Book Club pick!