Books·Fall Book Preview

17 works of Canadian YA fiction coming out in fall 2020

Here are the books coming out this season we can't wait to read!

Here are the works of Canadian YA fiction coming out this season we can't wait to read.

Salvation by Caryn Lix

Caryn Lix is a fantasy writer based in Alberta. (Simon Pulse, Tanya Plonka)

In Salvation, the third and final book in the Sanctuary trilogy, protagonist Kenzie and her friends fear their luck may have run out when they are trapped on a strange new planet. After encountering alien attacks and bounty hunters, Kenzie must use her newly-acquired superpowers to solve a dark mystery and save Earth from destruction.

Salvation is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: Aug. 4, 2020

Caryn Lix is a YA fantasy writer based in Alberta. She is the author of the Sanctuary sci-fi YA series, which includes the books Sanctuary and Containment.

Facing the Sun by Janice Lynn Mather

Janice Lynn Mather was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas. She is now a novelist and short story writer based in Vancouver. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Facing the Sun is a coming-of-age story set in the Bahamas. It's about four young girls — Eve, Faith, KeeKee and Nia — and the choices they are forced to make one fateful summer. When a hotel developer makes a move to buy the community's beloved beach, all four teens are faced with life decisions that might change them forever.

Facing the Sun is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: Aug. 11, 2020

Janice Lynn Mather was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas. She is now a novelist and short story writer based in Vancouver. She holds a BFA and MFA from the University of British Columbia. In 2018, she released her debut novel Learning to Breathe. The book was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.

The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass by Adan Jerreat-Poole

Adan Jerreat-Poole is an author from Kingston, Ont. (Dundurn Press)

The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass depicts a fantasy world of witches and the assassins they created to hunt down ghosts in the human world. A group of renegades are in an ongoing battle to capture the Heart of the Coven. Eli is a teenage girl and trained assassin taught to kill with her seven living blades. Eli starts to question all she was taught about her world and the human world, when an assignment goes awry. 

The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass is for ages 15 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2020

Adan Jerreat-Poole is a writer and a PhD candidate in English and cultural studies at McMaster University. They live in Kingston, Ont.

Confessions of a Teenage Drag King by Markus Harwood-Jones

Markus Harwood-Jones is a writer, artist and filmmaker based in Toronto. (Lorimer)

Set in Toronto, Confessions of a Teenage Drag King takes a colourful and lighthearted look at gender, sexual orientation and identity. Lauren is a 17-year-old LGBTQ teen who breathlessly maintains two public personas — alternating between being a drag king and an unassuming high school student — as they look for love and romance in the city.

Confessions of a Teenage Drag King is for ages 13 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2020

Markus Harwood-Jones is a writer, artist and filmmaker based in Toronto. His other teen romances include We ThreeJust Julian and Romeo for Real.

Dreaming in Color by Melanie Florence

Melanie Florence is a writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. (Orca Book Publishers, Denise Grant)

In Dreaming in Color, 14-year-old Jen is an Indigenous teen who dreams of being an artist. Jen shares her Cree mother's brown skin, while her brother takes after their lighter-skinned Irish father and grapples with feelings of not fitting in. When Jen is accepted into a prestigious arts high school, she faces anti-Indigenous racism and has to make the choice to stand up and prove she belongs.

Dreaming in Color is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Melanie Florence is a writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. Her books include the YA novels Just Lucky, The Missing, He Who Dreams, Rez Runaway and One Night, the picture books Missing Nimâmâ and Stolen Words and the nonfiction book Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools.

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park by Marthe Jocelyn

Marthe Jocelyn is a Toronto-based author and illustrator of over twenty books for children of all ages. (Tundra Books)

Inspired by the life and work of Agatha Christie, Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park is the second book in the Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen series. The latest book sees budding detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector put to the test once again as they find adventure and a new mystery. The duo must use their skills and imaginations to work to find a murderer on the loose during the Christmas holiday season.

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park is for ages 10 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Marthe Jocelyn is a Toronto-based writer and illustrator. She is the author of over 20 children's books, including The Invisible Enemy and Mayfly. She was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration for her 2000 picture book Hannah's Collections.

Isabelle Follath is an illustrator from Switzerland.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather T. Smith

Heather Smith writes YA and middle-grade fiction. Originally from Newfoundland, she now lives in Waterloo, Ont. (Penguin Teen)

Set in St. John's during the 90s, Barry Squires, Full Tilt is about a 12-year-old boy and his dreams to become a dancer. When a dance troupe performs a thrilling set at the new bingo hall in town, Finbar (Barry) Squires must convince his parents that, although he has a temper and is a bit rough around the edges, he dreams to dance and that dreams do come true.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Heather T. Smith is a writer from Waterloo, Ont. Her 2018 novel-in-verse Ebb & Flow was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — text and won the 2019 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, a $50,000 prize that recognizes the best Canadian children's book of the year.

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

Dani Jansen is a writer and educator from Montreal. (Second Story Press)

In The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life, teenager Alison Green desperately wants to be the valedictorian of her school. To accomplish this, she decides to manage the school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Alison soon finds herself in over her head and a series of events befall the production. The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life is a lighthearted story of teen love and relationships as Alison tries to ensure that the show goes on without a hitch. 

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Dani Jansen is a writer and teacher from Montreal. The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life is her first book.

Heart Sister by Michael F. Stewart

Michael F. Stewart is an Ottawa-based YA author, screenwriter and video game writer. (Orca Book Publishers)

Heart Sister is an emotional story about a boy named Emmitt whose world is turned upside down when his twin sister Minnie dies in an accident. Minnie was an organ donor and when Emmitt gets an anonymous thank you letter from one of the transplant recipients, he embarks on a journey to track down each organ recipient in order to prove to himself and his family that his late sister will forever live on. But Emmitt is forced to deal with his emotions when the girl who received his sister's heart refuses to meet him.

Heart Sister is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Michael F. Stewart is a YA author, screenwriter and video game writer from Ottawa. His other books include The Boy Who Swallows Flies and Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life. 

The Greats by Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is a Canadian writer of children's books, including The Breadwinner. (Groundwood Books, Heidy van Dyk)

Set on the streets of Georgetown, Guyana, The Greats is a fable-like story about Jomon. Despite just winning a national high-school geography competition, Jomon is still angry and desperate with his lot in life, as he's from a family with limited means. When events lead Jomon to be sentenced to a youth detention facility, elements of magical realism occur as the spectre of long-lost family and a giant rodent appear to help him deal with his thoughts of ending his life.

The Greats is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 29, 2020

Deborah Ellis is a Canadian writer of several children's books, including The Breadwinner. Her other books include the children's short story collection Sit and the nonfiction book Kids of Kabul. She is a member of the Order of Canada.

The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly by Sybil Lamb

Canadian Sybil Lamb is a trans author and artist. (Arsenal Pulp Press)

In this YA illustrated novel, a homeless girl named Eggs has the power to fly. In a gritty unnamed city, Eggs flits across city rooftops, encounters a wild cast of characters and must navigate her own survival when a neighbourhood bully targets her for revenge. The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly is an otherworldly look at the power of hope and resilience.

The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2020

 Sybil Lamb is a Canadian trans author and artist. She is the author of the 2014 YA novel I've Got a Time Bomb.

I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is Canadian author of several books for young readers. (AW Teen, Nicola Davison)

I Hope You're Listening is a YA novel that tackles true crime podcast culture. Delia "Dee" Skinner is currently 17 years old, but will always be known as the girl who wasn't taken when her best friend Sibby was abducted a decade ago. Wracked with guilt, Dee transforms herself into the Seeker, the faceless voice of a true crime podcast called Radio Silent about solving missing person cases. But when a girl goes missing, Dee must be willing to reveal her own identity to ensure the girl is safely found.

I Hope You're Listening is for ages 14 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Tom Ryan is the author of several books for young readers. He spends his time living between Ontario and Nova Scotia.

How I Survived by Serapio Ittusardjuat, illustrated by Matthew K. Hoddy

How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice is a graphic novel by Serapio Ittusardjuat and illustrated by Matthew K. Hoddy. (Inhabit Media)

In How I Survived, Serapio Ittusardjuat shares the traditional skills he depended on to survive when his snowmobile broke down halfway across the sea ice on a trip home from a fishing camp. The illustrated story is a first-person account of four nights spent on open sea ice in the harsh Arctic climate, with few supplies and no water.

How I Survived is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Ittusardjuat is a residential school survivor, a certified journeyman mechanic and comes from a long line of walrus hunters. 

Matthew K. Hoddy is an illustrator and comic book author from Australia who currently lives in Toronto.

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Philippe is of Haitian descent, was raised in Montreal and is now a teacher at Barnard College in New York. (Balzer + Bray, Richard Louissaint)

Charming as a Verb is a YA novel about Henri "Halti" Haltiwanger, a teen with swagger who is convinced he can charm just about anyone. As one of the most popular kids in his prestigious high school — and as the operator of a highly successful dog walking business — Henri has it made and his dream of attending his dream college awaits. But when Henri meets Corinne Troy, a girl who sees right through his charms and exposes his less-than-ethical business practices, it becomes a battle of wits — with potential love looming on the horizon.

Charming as a Verb is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 13, 2020

Ben Philippe is a writer who was raised in Montreal and currently lives in New York. He published his debut novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager in 2019. He has contributed to publications like Vanity Fair, the Guardian and Playboy. CBC Books named Philippe a writer to watch in 2019.

Underland by Colleen Nelson & Nancy Chappell-Pollack

Winnipeg author Colleen Nelson is a co-writer of YA novel Underland. (Yellow Dog)

Underland is a sequel to the 2018 YA novel Pulse Point. The books follow a 12-year old named Ama and a band of humans named Underlanders who live underneath the City. The world of Underland is a dark and dangerous place and the Underlanders battle hunger, sickness and violence as they seek out the energy source known as brine. A group known as the Resistance must band together and defy the odds to uncover the secrets of the City and determine the future fate of the world.

Underland is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 23, 2020

Colleen Nelson is a YA author based in Winnipeg. Her other books include Pulse PointSpinBlood Brothers and Finding Hope.

Nancy Chappell-Pollack is a Winnipeg-based writer.

From the Roots Up by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Natasha Donovan

From the Roots Up is a graphic novel by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Natasha Donovan. (HighWater Press, Portage and Main)

From the Roots Up is the sequel to Surviving the City and continues the stories of characters Dez and MiikwanDez is grieving the death of his grandmother and with nowhere else to go, she stays in a group home. All while also navigating a new relationship and learning to embrace her Two-Spirit identity. Meanwhile, Miikwan has a crush on the school's new kid Riel, but doesn't understand what Dez is going through. Elder Linda is doing her best to be supportive, but finds it challenging when the gendered protocols she grew up with are put into question.

From the Roots Up is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 27, 2020

Tasha Spillett-Sumner is an educator, poet and scholar of Nehiyaw and Trinidadian descent. She is also the author of graphic novel Surviving the City.

Natasha Donovan is a Vancouver-based illustrator whose work has appeared in The Other Side and This Place: 150 Years Retold.

Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

Kelly Powell is a Toronto-based author. (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Magic Dark and Strange is a historical fantasy YA novel about a girl named Catherine Daly who has the ability to summon the dead. This magical gift comes with a price: Catherine loses an hour of her life for every hour a ghost remains in the land of the living. Catherine and an accomplice named Guy go on a mission to collect a mysterious timepiece and discover the magical connection between life and death.

Magic Dark and Strange is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 27, 2020

Kelly Powell is a Ontario-based author who writes fantasy for teens and young adults.

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