#Cybils2022 Young Adult Speculative Fiction


A Snake Falls to Earth
Darcie Little Badger
Levine Querido
Nominated by: Sondra Eklund

Beyond our world lies the mirror world, populated by monsters, spirits, and animals that can take human form. In this mirror world Oli, a cottonmouth, is finding his way for the first time away from his family. His found family forms quickly to include the wolves, Reign and Risk, and a small silent gentle toad named Ami. When calamity strikes and one of Oli’s friends is in deadly danger, he must take the treacherous journey to our world to seek a cure. Once here, he meets Nina. Nina, a Lipan teenager, has always believed in the old stories. She recognizes Oli for what he is and seeks to help him find a cure for his friend while coping with her own family crisis. This gorgeously layered story balances the old and the new, science and myth, family and foe into a unique tale for the ages. – Molly Mack, Silver Button Books

From Dust, a Flame
Rebecca Podos
Balzer + Bray
Nominated by: Mistrunner

Rebecca Podos brings Jewish folklore to life in her captivating new mystery From Dust, a Flame. Podos skillfully develops a dynamic and compelling relationship between the protagonist, Hannah, and her brother, Gabe, who must uncover the family and cultural history their mother deliberately hid from them in order to break an intergenerational curse. The intricate plot progresses masterfully and Podos introduces an authentically rendered group of characters along the way. I particularly appreciated the layered mythologies, intergenerational conflict, and brilliant representations of Jewish and LGBTQ+ identities. From Dust, a Flame is a must-read for all fans of young adult speculative fiction. – Jennifer Miller, Raise Them Righteous

How To Succeed in Witchcraft
Aislinn Brophy
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Christopher Helton

In their debut novel How to Succeed in Witchcraft, Aislinn Brophy crafts a magical world where Shay Johnson, a Black biracial witch, is working twice as hard to be a perfect student so she can achieve her goals of getting into a top-tier licensing college. But when she gets wrangled into the school’s play to help her earn a scholarship, she realizes that her enemy, Ana Alvarez, might not be her enemy after all. But worse still, Mr. B., who’s in charge of the play, might be using his connections to the scholarship to take advantage of Shay and the other scholarship winners who came before her. This story delves into issues surrounding race, classist systems, and diversity. Shay’s story serves as a reminder that not all adults have teens’ best interests at heart, but teens can turn to adults they trust when they get into trouble. – Jessie Maimone, The Library Coven

Little Thieves
Margaret Owen
Henry Holt & Co.
Nominated by: ChristaS

Little Thieves is a loose retelling of “The Goose Girl” fairy tale – from the perspective of the maid who stole the princess’s identity. And that’s not all that Vanja has stolen. She plans to steal enough from the wealthy houses she visits to be able to flee the Blessed Empire, but everything conspires to stop her – the brutal Margrave coming back to his castle, a Prefect of the Godly Courts investigating the jewel heists, and especially a curse that will turn her into a jeweled statue if she can’t break it by the full moon. Set in a medieval world where same-gender relationships and transgender folks are not remarkable, this is a wonderfully woven page-turner where Vanja must learn to make friends and trust them to help her if she wants to survive.- Sondra Eklund, Sonderbooks

See You Yesterday
Rachel Lynn Solomon
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Becky L.

Barrett Bloom hopes that college will be the fresh start she needs to recover and rise above her miserable high school experience. But after a disastrous first day, from unexpectedly being roommates with her high school BFF-turned-enemy to accidentally burning down a frat house, she finds herself walking up the next morning… only for it to be the very same morning. When she finds out that she isn’t the only student trapped in a time-loop, her physics 101 classmate Miles having been stuck in the same loop for months, the two embark on an exciting adventure to try and find their way to tomorrow. Hilarious, romantic, and full of heart, See You Yesterday is a story about growing up and the reassurance that no matter how embarrassing or unpleasant one’s past may be, there will always be a tomorrow waiting on the other side. – Sarah Yael, Sarah Yael

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Axie Oh
Feiwel & Friends
Nominated by: Melissa Fox

This gorgeous, gripping fantasy holds readers spellbound from the moment Mina jumps into the sea in hopes of saving her brother, Joon, and Shim Cheong, the girl he loves, from a watery death—or a fate worse than death. Mina’s impulsive decision sweeps her into a realm of menace and magic where a Sea God slumbers, spirits connive, and dragons cavort. With lush prose, satisfying romance, and perfectly interwoven notes of whimsy and suspense, Axie Oh’s brilliant reimagining of a classic Korean fairy tale explores themes of found family and true love—all kinds of true love. This wholly fresh take on the “chosen one” trope shows that even though you’re bound by the Red String of Fate, you still have agency. – Melissa Wiley, Here in the Bonny Glen

The Weight of Blood
Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen Books
Nominated by: Rebecca J. Allen

Maddy Washington lives a hidden life in a small town until her peers learn her secret and puts her into a devastating spotlight that will have extreme consequences for everyone. Jackson crafts a thrilling homage to the classic horror story Carrie by Stephen King that will resonate with contemporary teens by adding elements of podcasts and tackling social justice themes like racism, colorism, sundown towns, and, just as in the original, bullying and family relationships. The twists and turns keep readers fully invested while making them think about the world that we live in and the heritage that continues to impact who we are and how we live, for good or ill. The mastery and skill necessary to craft such an updated homage to a classic horror tale while making it fully original and relevant to today’s teen audiences put this on the shortlist. – Karen Jensen, Teen Librarian Toolbox