14 New Installments in Popular YA Series

We’ve wrapped up some reviews for the newest installments in different YA series for consideration in your collection development. From fae courts to the fields of Troy, this list has something for every fan of YA.

We’re turning to books to escape this winter weather, so we’ve wrapped up some reviews for the newest installments in different YA series for consideration in your collection development. From fae courts to the fields of Troy, this list has something for every fan of YA. Fortress of Snow and Wind Daughter can technically stand alone, but all the rest need the context of previous books.


Middle School

Andrews, Claire. Blood of Troy. 480p. (­Daughter of Sparta: Bk. 2). Little, Brown. Sept. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316366748.
Gr 7 Up–Daphne ended Daughter of Sparta promising the Olympian gods to answer if they called upon her again. When they do, she is directed to become one of Queen Helen’s guards and discovers the conclave King Menelaus is hosting wants nothing more than a reason to go to war with Troy. Headstrong Helen and Daphne flee to warn them and discover a city that values culture over warfare—until the Achaeans arrive with 1,000 ships. Not even Apollo’s wall can protect the city if the gods have turned against them. Andrews’s writing and worldbuilding run closer to the Homeric epic than other retellings, while abandoning the traditional story of Helen’s abduction and giving the women more agency. VERDICT This myth-infused adventure grounded in historical details is recommended for all YA collections.

Dickerson, Melanie. Fortress of Snow. 352p. (Dericott Tale: Bk. 4). Thomas Nelson. Dec. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780785250807.
Gr 6 Up–The fourth installment of the ­Dericott Tales is a retelling of the Snow Queen fairy tale. The father of Mazy, 16, has died and her brother has abandoned her, forcing her to seek out her other brother, Sir John, who is training in a great castle. There Mazy meets Sir Berenger of Dericott, who is 21, before circumstances force them apart for a couple years. Sir Berenger is offered a title and a chance at marriage to the widow of Bristow Castle, but the castle has many unanswered questions and Mazy realizes she may need to be the one who rescues the hero rather than the other way around. Dickerson is a staple of the YA Christian romance genre, and this installment emphasizes the friendship between love interests prior to their romance. VERDICT Recommended for collections in need of YA Christian romances.

Dittemore, Shannon. Rebel, Brave and Brutal. 400p. (Winter, White and Wicked: Bk. 2). Abrams/Amulet. Jan. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419757709.
Gr 7 Up–After braving the Shiv Road and learning more about her power over Winter, Sylvi and her friends are on the run from the Majority. Sylvi comes up with a plan to avoid war, which takes them back to where everything began. Sylvi’s ­romance with Kyn is entangled with a curse binding them together. The unique Mad Max: Fury Road meets Frozen worldbuilding and adrenaline-infused writing style are not enough to counter the simplistic plot elements—like the underdeveloped Majority villain—as a complex story devolves into a superficial adventure with an abrupt ending. VERDICT This duology had a strong start that faltered at the finish line. A secondary purchase for collections that own the first book.

McCombs, Victoria. Silver Bounty. 320p. (The Royal Rose Chronicles: Bk. 2). Enclave Escape. Jan. 2023.
Gr 7 UpOathbound was a seafaring adventure full of magic, romance, and piracy that ended with a cliff-hanger, where this sequel picks up. When Emme accidentally takes out the wrong target, not even her friends can keep her safe. As the betrayals pile up, Emme learns the adage is true: you can never trust a pirate. Emme has a mission to finish before the Oathbinding kills her—or her illness does—and it’ll take all her considerable seafaring skills to do it. The worldbuilding and magic are further explored, as are the stakes of Emme’s illness, which has been wearing away at her. Emme and Arn, her friend-turned-love-interest, grow as individuals and as a couple through this installment, and additional POV chapters help add stakes to the plot, which is ­unfortunately rather predictable. VERDICT A secondary purchase for larger collections, but worth having if patrons enjoyed the first volume.


High School

Bowen, Natasha. Soul of the Deep. 304p. (Of Mermaids and Orisa: Bk. 2). ­Random. Sept. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593120989.
Gr 9 Up–In Skin of the Sea, Simi saved a human boy and broke the rules laid down by the gods. She gave up her freedom to pay the price and now watches over the Land of the Dead. When she learns that her bargain isn’t being upheld, that the trickster god Esu is free and demons are crossing over, she must break her word and venture back to the world above to set things right. Bowen’s lush fantasy is steeped in West African mythos, and this installment expands upon the worldbuilding with new villains and deeper characterizations. The writing is cinematic and suspenseful, though readers might throw up their hands at the open ending. VERDICT Interesting and inventive, this installment is worth purchasing for libraries that own the series opener.

Cavallaro, Brittany. Manifest. 384p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Jan. 2023. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062840295.
Gr 9 Up–This sequel to Muse expands on the alternate history where America has a monarchy, stepping back from the magic and ­science aspects of the first installment to focus on politics. Claire has found the ­freedom she always wanted in her marriage to Remy despite its consequences, and she uses it to assist in a revolution that might end the American monarchy. The plot is rather too convoluted to come together without some deus ex machina, and Claire’s romance with Remy feels unfinished in many ways. An author’s note explains that the series is supposed to be a commentary on the perils of white feminism, but sadly it misses the mark. VERDICT Not recommended for purchase.

Deonn, Tracy. Bloodmarked. 576p. (The ­Legendborn Cycle: Bk. 2). S. & S. Nov. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534441637.
Gr 9 Up–Bree has discovered she is the Scion of her ancestor, the legendary King Arthur. Bree is unique in the Pendragon Line, having both Welsh ancestry and the Bloodcraft that originated in the American South during chattel slavery. The blending of these has made her the most powerful person either side of her family tree has ever seen. Despite this, she isn’t accepted by the other Legendborn, primarily because she is Black. Navigating her powers is the primary plotline, moving away from the examination of grief that was Legendborn to an exploration of identity. Deonn explores the insidiousness of racism and Bree’s growing confidence in herself as she takes up the mantel of king of all ­Legendborn. VERDICT Readers will wish the story wasn’t over. A must for all library collections.

Gray, Ayana. Beasts of Ruin. 496p. (Beasts of Prey: Bk. 2). Putnam. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593405710.
Gr 9 Up–In this follow-up to Beasts of Prey, Koffi is now a servant to the god of death and uses her magic in his continental conquest. In Thornkeep, the fog-shrouded domain where she is prisoner, she learns to use her magic powers alongside other daraja. Ekon has been hiding in the jungle city of Lkossa, searching for a way to rescue Koffi before it’s too late. Gray’s writing balances high stakes with strong narrative voices as she expands on the cast of characters. Themes of heritage, segregation, and erasure all play roles in Ekon and Koffi’s growth, and readers will easily draw parallels to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. VERDICT Recommended for general purchase.

Meyer, Joanna Ruth. Wind Daughter. 352p. Page Street. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645674368.
Gr 8 Up–In this companion to Echo North, Meyer crafts a new fairy tale about the daughter of the North Wind. Satu has grown up hearing her parents’ love story, how her ­father gave up his power to marry her ­mother, but the bargain has thrown them centuries into the future. When they vanish before her very eyes and the Winter Lord appears, Satu must reclaim her father’s magic before the entire world unmakes itself. ­Poetic and richly atmospheric, Satu’s coming-of-age story has adventure, romance, and a strong identity as she navigates her anxiety and a deep sense of empathy to save the world. VERDICT A uniquely crafted fairy tale recommended for general purchase.

Phelps, Rebecca. Yesterworld. 352p. (Down World: Bk. 2). Wattpad. Dec. 2022. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781990259265.
Gr 8 Up–In Down World, Marina started at a new school and discovered a door to alternate realities in the basement. Now she lives in a reality where her brother Robbie is alive, even while she can never share with anyone what’s really happened or what she’s lost. Marina and Christy are making plans for college and crushing on their history teacher Mr. Martel, who is more than he seems and shares a connection with ­Marina that pulls her back towards the doors. The confusion and lack of characterization that plagued the first installment are unfortunately not cleared up in the sequel. VERDICT While the series has a fun dystopian premise, it ultimately fails to come together. Not recommended for purchase.

Ryan, Lexi. These Twisted Bonds. 496p. (These Hollow Vows: Bk. 2). HarperCollins/Clarion. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358386582.
Gr 9 Up –When her sister was sold to the Unseelie king, Brie thought nothing could get worse—but now she knows better. Forced to play a role in the fae courts she despises, caught in a love triangle between two courts and their princes, Brie struggles with her new powers and unwelcome prophecies. The romances highlight the differences in healthy and toxic relationships by displaying differences in possessiveness, communication, and jealousies. Brie’s character arc highlights duty, free will, and independence as important coming-of-age themes, and the love readers have for the character will keep them going through a familiar fantasy plot. VERDICT Romantic and satisfying, hand this series to fans of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses and Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Sambury, Liselle. Blood Like Fate. 480p. (Blood Like Magic: Bk. 2). S. & S./McElderry. Aug. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534465312.
Gr 9 Up–In this Afrofuturistic fantasy, Voya is facing the consequences of her choices in Blood Like Magic after passing her Calling and being the youngest Matriarch crowned by her family. When her grandmother dies, Voya joins the ancestors who have failed to answer any of her calls for help, adding to the tension as she tries to gain everyone’s respect. When she has a terrifying vision of the future, Voya realizes that Luc, the boy she loves, may be the mastermind behind everything that’s about to happen. This urban fantasy takes place in 2049 Toronto and is filled with a diverse cast of well-developed characters. Sambury leans on the character growth and worldbuilding from Blood Like Magic to create a well-structured mystery around her established cast. Voya and her family are Trinidadian Canadian whose heritage brings into relief themes of inclusion, independence, and generational trauma. VERDICT A solid end to this genre-blending duology and worth having on the shelf. Recommended for general purchase.

Sebastian, Laura. Stardust in Their Veins. 576p. (Castles in Their Bones: Bk. 2). Delacorte. Feb. 2023. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593118207.
Gr 9 UpCastles in Their Bones sent three princesses to political marriages in three different countries; their mother the empress has now conquered one of them, leaving ­Beatriz imprisoned in Cellaria and Daphne in a tenuous position in Friv. Firmly a middle book, the plot is full of coded messages, espionage, betrayals, and the world’s mysterious star magic. Daphne must come to terms with her mother’s machinations, while ­Beatriz tries to get a handle on her magic with help from an unlikely source. ­Sebastian weaves the story together with a firm handle on pacing and worldbuilding, placing twists and turns throughout as characters leave their assigned countries. Exciting events are on the horizon for the final installment. ­VERDICT A fun political fantasy that fans will be happy to have. ­Recommended for purchase.

Smith, Sasha Peyton. The Witch Hunt. 352p. (The Witch Haven: Bk. 2). S. & S. Oct. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534454415.
Gr 9 Up–Two years have passed since the fateful night in 1911 when Frances and the boy she loved ripped open the veil to the afterlife. Consequences are still following her, with her magic acting unreliably ever since. Frances is now a teacher at Haxahaven, the magic school pretending to be a sanatorium to the outside world. Frances and her friends set off to Paris on holiday, only to discover that Frances’s meddling with the veil has created problems even an ocean away. Smith casts the story back in time to a glamorous society full of magic and secrets, with cinematic prose and deeply developed characters readers can’t help but root for. VERDICT A fun and atmospheric conclusion recommended for secondary purchase.

Emmy Neal is a teen librarian at Lake ­Forest Library, IL

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