Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, by Rosamund Hodge
I was seriously impressed by this, the first truly original retelling of the Romeo and Juliet mythos I’ve read. Viyara is the last city left in the world, made safe from the Ruining by the blood sacrifice of the Sisters of Thorn. But there is a necromancer loose in the city who could doom them all, unless Juliet, Romeo, Paris, and Runajo can stop it. Lush, gorgeous, bloody, and imaginative.
Keeper Of the Mists, by Rachel Neumeier
As the illegitimate daughter of her country’s Lord, Keri knew it theoretically possible she might inherit her father’s magic, but she never expected it to actually happen. But when her father dies, and the magic that conceals their country from its enemies fails with him, Keri’s going to have to figure out what to do – and who to trust – fast. Lovely prose and an interesting new world.
Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge
Faith might act like modest and well-mannered, girl, but she is also fiercely intelligent and observant. She knows the real reason her family has relocated; she also know her father’s death was not an accident. The answer might lie with the strange tree she finds among his possessions: a tree that will reveal hidden truths when fed lies. A powerful story about truth, lies, family, and the great and terrible things we do for (and to) them. Astonishingly good.
Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
Chambers simultaneously scratches the itch for Bujoldian, galaxy-spanning space opera and creates a universe that’s modern, diverse, and joyful. The Wayfarer’s crew tackle boarding parties, red tape, messy families, queer relationships, imminent galactic war, and interspecies workplace misunderstandngs with the same uncynical energy: each are equally important and vital parts of their lives. Delightful, ebullient, and kind.
The Skids, by Ian Donald Keeling
Like all the Skids in the Skidsphere, Johnny Drop has only five years to live. Live fast; die fast; eat sugar in between – that’s the Skid way. But Johnny’s about to discover that not only is the world bigger and stranger than he’d ever imagined, but it’s also in serious danger. And he can’t save it alone. Smart, funny, action-packed, and compulsively readable.