Strange Skies by Kristi Helvig
Helvig’s first book, Burn Out, was super fun despite its glaring plot hole. Strange Skies opens with Tora coming to in a hospital run by the Consulate, a shady organization that controls Caelia, the new planet humans have relocated to since the old one is now uninhabitable (what with the sun going red giant and all). Right off the bat, we learn secrets about Tora’s companions from the first book. I love a book chock full of shocking secrets. This is a fast-paced ride just like Burn Out was, and that’s just what I’m looking for right now. This is such a fun SF read and I’m so glad that it’s being published despite Egmont USA’s demise.
Rivals in the City by Y. S. Lee
This is the final installment in Lee’s truly excellent series of Victorian-era YA mysteries featuring private detective Mary Quinn. I love this series for so many reasons, not the least of which is the way it handles Mary’s Chinese ancestry. This last volume speaks to my heart in a really strong way since it involves Mary struggling with what it means to get married to someone in a fundamentally patriarchal society. Mary’s engaged to someone she loves, but they both know that getting married would remove a lot of Mary’s hard-won independence. Each book is also a terrifically good mystery, and this one brings back an old foe for some shenanigans. It feels like a final book in a series, and I expect a satisfying ending.
Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
I really loved Illusive, the first book in Lloyd-Jones’ series about a group of teens with superpowers who carry out heists. It checked so many of my boxes: teens sticking it to The Man, magic, stealing from bad guys, double-crosses, a little espionage, a shady government organization. The sequel promises more of the same, but with a bit more sleuthing thrown in as the characters investigate a series of disappearances. I wish there were more books like these (that mixed mystery/heist elements with SFF elements) when I was a teen because I would have devoured them all.