The summer of 2019 was something of a bumper season for awesome YA books. We had Margaret Owens’s The Merciful Crow, Emily Lloyd-Jones’s The Bone Houses, and many more, which I rounded up. Some of those were standalones. But others were parts of series, and – where the next installment is just as good as the first – I’ve brought them together below, along with some other YA sequels that knocked my socks off.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention that I’m currently reading Sarah Henning’s The Princess Will Save You. It’s not a sequel, so it can’t go on the list, but it’s a cute (if loose) retelling of The Princess Bride which you may enjoy.
9 Must-Read YA Sequels of Summer 2020
#1. Unravel the Dusk (Blood of Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim (7/7/20)
In Spin the Dawn, Lim’s debut novel, we saw Maia Tamarin disguise herself a man in order to enter the palace as an imperial tailor. Her plan worked a little too well. Along with Edan, the court magician, she was forced to go on a journey to create dresses from the sun, moon, and stars. Now she’s back – but she’s not the same Maia who set out. She is in thrall to a demon, the kingdom is teetering on the edge of war, and Edon is gone.
I hugely enjoyed this Chinese-inspired fantasy duology. I even have Spin the Dawn in paperback, which is an honour I give only to books I know I’ll want to reread.
#2. The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow #2) by Margaret Owen (18/8/20)
The Merciful Crow was one of my favourite books of 2019. I’m pleased to announce that the next installment is one of the best YA sequels of this year. Fie, a second-class citizen in Sabor thanks to her designation as a Crow, has just become the new chieftain of her band. She’s in charge of mercy-killing those suffering from the painful Sinner’s Plague. A new alliance with Crown Prince Jasimir should help Crows get the recognition they deserve, but his evil stepmother Rhusana is determined to suppress them. Her power is so great that it even seem to have infected the boy Fie loves…
This is the second book in the duology, and it suffers slightly from feeling a little rushed at the end. The characters are brilliant, though, and I can’t wait to read Owens’s next book.
#3. When Villains Rise (Market of Monsters #3) by Rebecca Schaeffer (8/9/20)
I featured the second book of this trilogy, Only Ashes Remain, in my article on 2019 summer YA. The whole series ranks as some of my all-time favourite books. Largely that’s down to Nita and Kovit, a pair of remarkably morally grey characters who are absolutely vicious (not to mention viciously loyal to each other). Schaeffer’s complex exploration of choice, freedom, and revenge completely revitalises the genre of YA paranormal, which frankly was getting pretty repetitive.
I was initially thrown off slightly by the resolution to the romance. But in hindsight, the presence of a relationship which doesn’t revolve around the conventional metrics of mainstream YA is another element of the impressive diversity which populates this book.
#4. Salvation (Sanctuary #3) by Caryn Lix (21/7/20)
Here we have the conclusion of a spellbinding sci-fi trilogy. In the first book, Lix introduced us to Kenzie. She was the daughter of two prison guards on a giant floating juvie known as Sanctuary. But then, things went wildly wrong, with aliens attacking the prison and the supernatural criminals escaping.
At the time, Kenzie discovered that she had more in common with the teenaged delinquents than she thought she did. Now she’s one of them, and her boyfriend is their leader Cage Hu. But the aliens are still menacing the interstellar highways, and worse – Kenzie might be the reason they’re at risk.
#5. Vicious Spirits (Gumiho #2) by Kat Cho
In Wicked Fox we met the lethal fox spirit Gu Miyoung, who feeds on men’s energies to survive. Not to worry, though: she only kills bad people. When prowling Seoul one night, though, she saved the life of a human boy named Jihoon. That forbidden act sparked off a series of events which resulted in her losing the only family member she’s ever had.
In the sequel, she’s older and wiser. She’s also sicker, dogged by a mysterious wasting illness, to which only her frenemy Junu might have the cure.
#6. The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi
This Six of Crows–like band of misfits first appeared in The Gilded Wolves, spearheaded by a wealthy hotelier named Severin. There, in the depths of 1889-era Paris, they had to hunt down a mysterious artifact. It did not exactly go as planned.
That was then. This is now – and Severin is on the lookout for yet another artifact, this time in Russia. With a murderer on their tail, the crew must confront their own pasts to survive their latest heist.
#7. The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks (Montague Siblings #3) by Mackenzi Lee (1/12/20)
This is the finale to Lee’s award-winning trilogy following the adventures of the Montague siblings – starting with Henry (AKA Monty), who in the first book was gallivanting around Europe with his crush Percy.
This time the book focuses on Monty’s younger brother Adrian. He’s just discovered that he isn’t an only child: Monty and their sister Felicity vanished years ago. Now Adrian’s determined to recover them. But what if Monty doesn’t want to come back?
Note: when I first compiled this list, I’m positive that this title was actually scheduled for a summer release. It now seems to be this December. Well, that’s summer in Australia…
#8. The Nemesis (Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid (25/8/20)
So good. Soooo good. Soooo soooo sooo good.
This conclusion was a long time in the making. Publishing is a world where YA sequels tend to be scheduled almost a year to the day after the preceding installments. Book one, The Diabolic, came out in 2016, and The Empress dutifully came out in 2017. But we had a three-year drought until…this.
I don’t want to give too many spoilers away. I don’t even think I can do justice to these characters. So I’ll leave you with a few salient words: antiheroine, antihero, space-fiction world based on the Roman Empire, vengeance, love, and murder.
#9. My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
This one actually came out in June. It marks the end of a trilogy centred on famous ‘Janes’ from history: Lady Jane Grey, Jane Eyre, and now frontierswoman Calamity Jane.
Other key figures in the book are sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler. Essentially, My Calamity Jane is a wild-west romp filled with paranormal intrigue, humour, and romance.
See here for a full range of books (not just YA sequels) that came out this spring!