This summer, we’re slipping back into a world of fantasy with #TakeMeBack, a celebration of the next chapters in five captivating and beloved worlds from authors Bethany C. Morrow, TJ Klune, Sarah Henning, Susan Dennard, and Charlotte Nicole Davis.
For this month’s YA Shout Outs, the Tor Teen Team reminiscences on their experiences first reading these series and shares what they love about these fantasy worlds.
Read more about the books in Tor Teen’s #TakeMeBack celebration here!
I remember feeling incredibly moved by YA sensation Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water the first time I read it. At the core of this immersive contemporary fantasy, filled with otherworldly beings such as Black sirens and gargoyles, is an intimate tale of two young Black women who are best friends striving to understand their secret magical identities while fighting against the everyday systemic racism and sexism they face.
Tavia and Effie’s unconditional love for each other is the heartbeat of this tale. Through Tavia and Effie’s relationship, Morrow depicts the beauty and incredible lifesaving power of Black sisterhood. In being each other’s safe space, Tavia and Effie are able to navigate through times of hardship and also welcome joy into their lives. You will root for these two best friends as they revolutionize their world by being unapologetically themselves.
For any YA SFF fans who have not read A Song Below Water, I encourage you to bump this one up on your TBR list and I also recommend you check out Morrow’s all-new tale set in the same magical universe, A Chorus Rises—which follows the fall and rise of Eloko teen influencer, Naema Bradshaw, who embarks on a deeply insightful journey that leads her to uncover the true power of her voice.
—Isa, Senior Marketing Manager
I first read The Extraordinaries when I joined the Tor Teen team two years ago, and I immediately connected with this fun and hilarious novel. As a queer and neurodivergent person, I don’t often see myself represented in the media I consume, especially in the superhero stories that seem to be everywhere these days. When I picked this up and realized that the main character was queer AND had ADHD like me, I nearly cried! Flash forward to two years later, and we’ve just published the sequel, Flash Fire, and have a third book on the way. Getting to both read AND work on The Extraordinaries series has been an incredible experience, and I’m grateful that there are books in the world that queer, neurodivergent teenagers will seem themselves in. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and pick this series up!
—Sarah, Digital Marketing Coordinator
When I first read The Princess Will Save You, I was quickly hooked by the incredible action, fierce warriors, and unique world that author Sarah Henning had built. This YA fantasy adventure inspired by The Princess Bride delivers the perfect escapist read. When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande is given a choice to marry a stranger at sixteen from a neighboring kingdom, or lose control of her family’s crown. So when her true love Luca is kidnapped by the neighboring kingdom to coerce her into marriage, she does what any good warrior princess would do – she escapes from the castle, determined to rescue her true love. Princess Amarande is the bad-ass feminist character we can all get behind. And the best part? Amarande’s story continues in two more books: The Queen Will Betray You and next year’s The King Will Kill You. I can’t wait to ride this journey, and uncover all that’s still to come, including unspeakable betrayals, bitter new enemies, and unexpected obstacles for Amarande and Luca.
—Anthony, Senior Associate Director of Marketing
I fell into the Witchlands series when they received their absolutely gorgeous new covers a few years back! Truthwitch is the first book in the saga and it introduces us to Safi and Iseult—two witches with incredibly strong magical powers and incredibly many magical troubles. Three empires vie for control of the continent, and all of them want to get their hands on a truthwitch, whose powers can separate truth from lies. That happens to be Safi. Truth is, she’ll have to fight a battle on all sides to avoid becoming someone else’s pawn. If you loved Netflix’s new adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series (or just loved the books), then this series is your next fixation!
—Andrew, Marketing Coordinator
My mom actually got me a copy of The Good Luck Girls for Christmas (before I worked here) because I had been so excited for the book. So, as soon as the holiday festivities died down, I holed myself up in my room and just read until my eyes blurred. I remember thinking at the time that the concept was so truly unique and that the writing was so lush and raw. More than once, I felt the characters reach through the words of the book to grab me by the throat and all I wanted to do was form a little book club with my friends and dissect the text together (I actually had one of my friends read it just so I could vent properly). I’m so excited to read The Sisters of Reckoning but also so sad this series will be over once I do!
—Lizzy, Marketing Intern