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Reading Recs

Sci-Fi & Fantasy reads to move up on your TBR asap

2020 has brought a LOT of amazing reads to our shelf. Here are just a few of our favorite sci-fi/fantasy reads you’ll want to make sure you didn’t miss!


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The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae


You will laugh. You will cry. You will find yourself seriously debating between #TeamKasta and #TeamJet.

About the book: Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, The Kinder Poison is an enthralling fantasy adventure that follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.


A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell


If you can’t tell, we love stories here at Penguin Teen. And 16 short stories by 16 amazing authors? Obsessed.

About the book: Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. With stories by: Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Patrice Caldwell, Dhonielle Clayton, J. Marcelle Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, L. L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.


Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson


We were obsessed with Andra from page one. Get ready for like 7 plot twists you will NOT see coming.

About the book: Andra wakes up from a cryogenic sleep 1,000 years later than she was supposed to, forcing her to team up with an exiled prince to navigate an unfamiliar planet in this smart, thrilling sci-fi adventure, perfect for fans of Renegades and Aurora Rising.


The Damned by Renée Ahdieh


One of our most HOTLY anticipated reads. Romance and vampires and New Orleans, oh my!

About the bookThe Damned, Renée’s latest installment in The Beautiful series is just as decadent, thrilling, and mysterious as her last, as she continues her most potent fantasy series yet.


War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi


This one came out at the end of 2019, but is on this list because Rebel Sisters is out in just two months! If you haven’t caught up yet, now is the time.

About the book: Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria.



Rebelwing by Andrea Tang


Pru may be one of our favorite protagonists of 2020. Smart, sassy, kickass, and very good at flying robotic dragons.

About the book: Set in a wonderfully inventive near-future Washington, D.C., this hilarious, defiant debut sparkles with wit and wisdom, deftly exploring media consumption, personal freedoms, and the weight of one life as Pru, rather reluctantly, takes to the skies.


Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson


You know that *feeling* that is picking up a new series? Like the beginning of something you KNOW you’re going to be obsessed with? This one gives us that feeling.

About the bookGames of Thrones meets An Ember in the Ashes in this action-packed fantasy from the internationally bestselling author of the Nightshade series.


The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

vanishing deep

Astrid Scholte stunned us with her genre-bending universe in Four Dead Queens, and she’s back with a new (VERY watery) world in which the dead can be brought back…for a price.

About the book: Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.


Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho


We fell madly in love with Miyoung and Jihoon in Wicked Fox. Now, we’re dying to know what comes next–and thankfully, we don’t have to wait long! Vicious Spirits is hitting shelves this month!

About the book: The loss of Miyoung’s fox bead in Wicked Fox has caused a tear between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and ghosts are suddenly flooding the streets of Seoul. The only way to repair the breach is to find the missing fox bead or for Miyoung to pay with her life. With few options remaining, Junu has an idea but it might require the ultimate sacrifice. In usual fashion, Somin may have a thing or two to say about that.


Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons


We’re all missing gatherings and festivals, but at least zombies hanging out at the booths aren’t a problem.

About the bookShaun of the Dead meets Clueless in this hilarious YA horror comedy set at a local zombie convention–featuring a teenage girl gang that has to save the world from a horde of actual zombies. Perfect for fans of Geekerella, Undead Girl Gang, and Anna and the Apocalypse.


Skywatchers by Carrie Arcos



About the book: From National Book Award Finalist Carrie Arcos comes a thrilling, genre-bending mystery about the history of the Cold War and the UFO phenomenon. Perfect for fans of In the Woods by Tana French and Netflix’s Stranger Things.



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