Book List: Quiet YA releases for every genre

You know them. The quiet books that don’t get a lot of hype but are brilliant and deserving of attention. Let’s check out a few favorites across genres. 

Fantasy: The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

In an Italian-esque fantasy world, the heads of the famous mafia families are simultaneously poisoned by the new ruling power. Except one doesn’t die. His daughter teams up with a genderfluid witch to bring down the capital, and in the process learns more about herself than she had imagined. / Goodreads

Historical: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

This poignant historical novel takes place during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, from the perspective of the daughter of Chinese immigrants. When her family is destroyed by the quake, her only hope for survival is teaming up with the petulant rich kids of a girls’ school. / Goodreads

Historical Fantasy: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

In the glittering world of the 1920s, two best friends have powers related to their blood. Powers that some people will do anything to control–or stop. / Goodreads

Science Fiction: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Want a good queer superhero story? Look no further. In a dystopian future where a fever has ravaged America, some people get special powers. Including Noam, who finds himself being pressed into service as a government soldier. But the people he works for may be the real enemy. / Goodreads

Contemporary Romance: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmemer

Two rivals accidentally fall in love after exchanging anonymous letters. One is struggling with grief, the other with identity. Together, they might just find healing. / Goodreads

Science Fiction: A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

This sci-fi retelling of an Indian epic features a talking spaceship, a girl exiled from her home, and two warring nations that she’s caught between. / Goodreads

Contemporary Fantasy: Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

In Ireland, a bunch of queer witches are being murdered by an unknown serial killer. Two rival covens must team up to stop the killer before it’s too late for all of them. / Goodreads 

What quiet books do you think deserve more hype?  

Book List: Adult SFF books that read like YA

Young adult books are appealing to so many adult readers because of their character-driven, tightly-plotted formats. But there are some great adult writers doing the same thing. Here are some of my favorites.

For further reading, check out: Kate Elliott, Jay Kristoff, Kacen Callender, Alexis Henderson, Madeline Miller, Erin Morgenstern, V.E. Schwab, Tasha Suri, Kat Howard

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Actually one of my favorite books of all time. A grumpy Black sorcerer and a spunky Indian girl with newfound magic must band together to save the magic of England in this Regency fairy story. 

City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

When a girl in Cairo encounters a djinn, she never realizes that it might be the secret to her heritage, or that there is a secret city of djinn with its own political machinations and wars.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 

In a Chinese-inspired fantasy world, Rin leaves her southern home to go to the famed military academy. But when war breaks out, she’ll have to come to terms with her own budding magical powers and the atrocities of battle. 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I read this as an ARC and the series just keeps getting better. In a universe where people are oppressed by color-coded castes, Darrow is at the lowest level. But with the help of a secret organization, he infiltrates the highest level and goes to their military academy, where he must survive dangerous war games in order to take down the system from within.

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

A girl in Russia is blackmailed into going to magic school–or else her family will be hurt. But as she delves deeper into her own powers, she develops an obsession that could be her making–or undoing. 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

In a town where girls are taken by a magician as tithe, one girl is ready to change the game. She goes to save her friend and ends up finding a love–and a magic–that she never expected. Beautiful writing, clever plotting, and so swoony.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

When a magical crime happens, you hire a private investigator who knows the world. The MC isn’t magical, but her sister is a teacher at a prestigious magical academy. When she’s hired to solve a murder, she has no idea what’s in store. 

What other adult SFF has strong YA vibes?