The Summer Solstice on June 20 marks the beginning of the summer season and, for many readers, long, hot and humid days lie ahead. Fortunately, YA science fiction & fantasy doesn’t have to leave you a sticky mess. With these YA science fiction & fantasy novels firmly entrenched in cold settings, your muggy, sweaty summer heat can evaporate in a heartbeat—especially if you’re camped out in the AC! Check out some of my favorite frosty fiction for a YA science fiction & fantasy summer read so chilly you’ll need mittens to flip the pages.
One of the most anticipated debuts of 2017, Frostblood by Elly Blake follows seventeen year-old Ruby, who hides her special yet unpredictable Fireblood powers while living amidst the harsh, ruling class of Frostbloods. After her mother sacrifices herself to save Ruby, she is forced to help a pack of rebel Frostbloods overthrow their tyrannical leader. Ruby trains with the piercingly attractive Arcus, though he seems to see her only for her worth as a weapon. Before the ice can melt between these two flames, Ruby is captured and forced to compete at the capital representing the minority Firebloods against the Frostbloods in a fight-to-the-death match. Thrilling, chilling, and edge-of-your-seat reading, Frostblood is the start of a new, addictive YA fantasy series. It’ll definitely drop the temperature on a hot day.
Emmeline is trapped. The Council tightly controls her settlement, and residents are forbidden from venturing beyond the gated wall encircling their community. Em’s grandmother escaped into the wintery forest outside, but she is captured by the Council and killed. Now Em is “stained” because of her “wayward” grandmother and kept apart from others. When the Council tries to force Em into a marriage, she follows her instinct and makes a run for it, hoping to find what it was her grandmother found. Her discovery gives this sci-fi horror novel a killer twist. If you’re looking for a mindblowing YA science fiction read to transport you out of the heat, Winterkill, the first in a series, will make you reach for a sweater, a blanket and your favorite stuffed animal to cuddle while you shiver with fear!
You’ll fly through Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes and immediately reach for the next two books in this Game of Thrones-esque epic fantasy series. In Raasch’s novel, the Kingdom of Winter has been captured and enslaved for many years. The people of Winter are completely powerless, without ruler or magic. Leading a group of eight Winterian refugees is Mather, the future King of Winter. Trained to be a cool-blooded killer, Meira has complicated feelings toward her best friend, Mather, who turns her warm with desire. It seems like they are destined to be together, but Meira can’t let herself think that… right? Right?! Except Meira and the Winterians get caught and taken to Cordell, the Rhythm Kingdom, where the royals arrange a marriage between Meira and Prince Theron. Meira hates Theron as a rule. Soon, though, the sparks fly between feisty and fierce Meira and annoyingly charming and surprisingly compassionate Theron. Can Meira keep her head straight when her heart leads her elsewhere? Find out in this exciting new series.
Philip Pullman’s outstanding trilogy, His Dark Materials, kicks off with The Golden Compass, which you can tell by its British name—Northern Lights—is a frosty fantasy delight. Lyra Belacqua of Oxford, England, ventures into the Arctic in search of her missing best friend and eccentric and adventurous uncle. A religious order commands enormous influence over people, and Lyra senses that her Uncle Asriel was on to something, a greater battle between good and evil, and continues his journey to the far north. With her daemon other, Pantalaimon, a shapeshifting embodiment of her soul, and a talking polar bear, Lyra pushes out of her comfort zone and into the crosshairs of a grand, sinister plot that could radically change the world. This series will soon be adapted by the BBC. After the last book, you’ll be itching for more—and fortunately, Pullman has just announced a forthcoming companion trilogy, starting with The Book of Dust (October 19, 2017). This is classic fantasy so enthralling, so beautifully told, and so chilling that you will want a hot cop of tea nearby, even if it is the middle of a summer heatwave.