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These 3 YA Novels Will Transform Your Summer Into Something Fantastic


The end of summer means those school holiday reading assignments are hopefully being finished off and on their way to being turned in — but if you have a young bookworm at home, we're here for you. We've got a whole list of fantastic young adult novels they can turn to next. And here to guide us on this quest is fantasy and young adult author Daniel José Older.

"I love a story that really transforms the world that I'm in, even if it's using a totally different world," he says. "At the end of the day, every young adult novel should be about a young person stepping forward into who they are, whether that be through understanding life better or finding, you know, magic bad guys."

On whether there are broader themes in the YA books coming out this year

I think we're all trying to deal with what this world is looking like right now and what it's going to look like next. As Arundhati Roy said, a pandemic is a portal.

On his own series, the Shadowshaper Cypher

Sierra Santiago is a 16 year old girl in Brooklyn who loves painting murals, and she finds out that she's part of a family legacy that was denied to her, of magic workers called shadowshapers, who can bring art to life by putting spirit into them. So then she has to fight off evil Columbia anthropologists, help her friends survive, and really step into what that legacy means, to be a part of this new magical world.

This story was edited for radio by Isabella Gomez and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.