A Snake Falls to Earth
By Darcie Little Badger. (Levine Querido, $18.99.)
In this Indigenous-influenced fantasy, 16-year-old Nina lives in south Texas, where a hostile neighbor and an impending hurricane put her family's hold on their land at risk. Oli, a cottonmouth person in the Reflecting World, is worried about his toad friend, who is losing life as his species dies out on Earth. The two meet when Oli and two coyote sisters "fall" through a portal to Earth. Though the stakes are high, Little Badger takes time to explore the ways that other species and cultures move through space and time, and what is lost when those ways of seeing disappear.
Hunting by Stars
By Cherie Dimaline. (Amulet/Abrams, $18.99.)
In this powerful sequel to "The Marrow Thieves," Cherie Dimaline returns to a future North America devastated by a plague that prevents most people from dreaming, leading to madness. French, 17, is on the run with a small group of other Natives who have retained their ability to dream, when he's snatched by Recruiters and sent to a residential school set up to harvest his marrow as medicine. Dimaline uses horror as a mirror, as French becomes a witness to those caught in the system, reminding readers how raw and recent this history is.
By Harmony Becker. (First Second, $17.99.)
Harmony Becker captures the awkwardness and joy of stumbling through a new language and culture in this expressive graphic novel. Five young people meet at a guest house in Japan: Nao, an American taking a gap year to rediscover her Japanese heritage; Tina, a soap opera loving romantic from Singapore; Hyejung, who fled a narrow path in South Korea; and two Japanese brothers, easygoing Shinichi and abrupt Masaki. Becker makes inventive use of her format to tell a story in two, sometimes three languages at once, finding the humor and despair of young adults connecting across cultures.
The Last Cuentista
By Donna Barba Higuera. (Levine Querido, $17.99.)
When a collision with a comet threatens to wipe out life on Earth, Petra Pena and her family are among a small group chosen to make the interstellar journey to find a new home. But when she wakes up several hundred years into the journey, she discovers a group called the Collective has taken over, its leaders so eager to create a world without pain that they are ready to erase all memory of the past. Petra has held onto her stories of her life on Earth and must use them to help a small band of children escape to build a new life. A beautifully told story of what makes us human.
Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World
By Benjamin Alire Saenz. (Simon and Schuster, $19.99.)
In this engaging sequel to Saenz's breakout 2012 novel, teenagers Ari and Dante take their first tentative steps into a relationship against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis. Though the teens have the support of their families, they are walking into a world that "did not leave a place for us to write our names." Ari, who lives in his head, must find a way to move past the isolation that protected him and embrace the vulnerability and connection of sharing his life with others.
Walking in Two Worlds
By Wab Kinew. (Penguin Teen, $17.99.)
A parallel virtual universe becomes an extension of Anishinaabe creation in this novel by Winnipeg author Wab Kinew. Bugz, named for her ancestor, Chief Hole in the Day, is an awkward teen growing up on a Canadian reservation. But in the Floraverse, she's a legend who can mow down an army with her magical monsters. Feng, a Uyghur teen, has been sent to live with his aunt, a doctor on the reservation, after his online activities get him in trouble. In ceremony and in their rich online world, the two find a path forward.
The Wandering Earth
By Cixin Liu and Christophe Bec, illustrated by Stefano Raffaele. (Talos Press, $17.99.)
In 2061, the Earth is wracked by climate change and the sun is about to turn into a red giant. Scientists have come up with a drastic solution: slingshotting the planet past the sun on a journey to Alpha Centauri. Liu Qi comes of age in an underground city, watching massive tsunamis and volcanos wrack the planet. He battles an insurrection that tries to take Earth back to the dying sun. Arresting visuals anchor this second graphic novel in a series bringing the work of Hugo Award winner Cixin Liu to a wider audience.
By Amber McBride. (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99.)
Moth was a Juilliard-bound dancer before a car accident split her family into a before and after. Sani, the new kid at school, was a musician before he left his dad's Navajo reservation for an abusive home and an all-white school. Drawn to each other, the two take off on a road trip to recover their ability to connect emotionally and creatively in this beautiful novel in verse.
You'd Be Home Now
By Kathleen Glasgow. (Delacorte, $18.99.)
Emory Ward is the daughter of the founders of Mill Haven, an invisible third child whose role is to watch over her brother, Joey, a heroin addict. A fatal car accident splits the family and the town, sending Joey to rehab and leaving Emory a social outcast. As Joey descends deeper into his addiction, her family is forced to shed their privilege and silence to understand how deeply the opioid crisis has affected the town.
Skin of the Sea
By Natasha Bowen. (Random House, $18.99.)
After she leaps off a ship into the sea, Simidele has become a mermaid, guiding the souls of others lost to the emerging slave trade. But when she disobeys Yemoja to save a drowning young man, she unleashes larger forces that could tip control of the land and its people. Bowen's rich, historically informed fantasy weaves West African daily life and spirituality into a story of greed, sacrifice and found family.