Ten Awesome YA SFF Books Published In 2016

Welcome to Smugglivus 2016! Throughout this month, we will have guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2016, looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2017, and more.

Next on Smugglivus 2016, please welcome YA author Amie Kaufman! Writer of The Starbound Trilogy, co-authored with Meagan Spooner and The Illuminae Files co-authored with Jay Kristoff, Amie has a super cool list of YA SFF books from 2016.

Please give a warm welcome to Amie, everyone!


What a year, am I right? But, my friends, in our rush to exit 2016, we need to make sure we don’t leave the good stuff behind. Because there was good stuff. Today, I’m going to tell you about ten of my favourite YA SFF reads published in 2016.

If you’re already a YA reader, you’ll want to make sure you didn’t miss any of them. If you’re not, these are the perfect way to dip your toe in the water. I read some fantastic sequels and series closers, but for this list, I’ve stuck to standalones and series openers published this year.

Tattoo Atlas, by Tim Floreen:


Tim Floreen’s debut, Willful Machines, was outstanding, and he raises the bar in Tattoo Atlas. The book asks whether evil is innate, or whether it can be ‘cured’, and it’s a smart, heart-stopping story full of twists.

And I Darken, by Kiersten White:


It’s a gender-flipped retelling of Vlad the Impaler, full of politics, blood and betrayal. Think Game of Thrones does YA. I couldn’t put it down.

A Shadow Bright and Burning, by Jessica Cluess:


Jane Eyre battles Cthulu, basically. Did you like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell? Are you into Victorian manners, magicians and monsters from other dimensions? You’re welcome.

Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan:

Julia Vanishes

Absorbing fantasy, set in a city where witches are being routinely executed, and our heroine has the ability to make herself… hard to notice. I loved the twists and turns—this one quietly drew me in, then wouldn’t let me go.

Ruined, by Amy Tintera:


So I literally finished this one in a cold bath, because I didn’t want to stop reading to get out. It’s about a kickass heroine who kills a prince’s betrothed and takes her place, so she can revenge her fallen family and kingdom. She doesn’t pull her punches, and nor does Tintera.

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, by Lindsay Ribar:


Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow. This one’s as awesome and quirky as its title, set in a small town where one family can steal memories and emotions. When you can control who you are, you have to decide who you want to be. Ribar’s a fiercely intelligent writer, and I love her work.

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman:


It’s Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Witty repartee, incredible world-building, and all the regency trappings a reader could ask for. Alison Goodman is an author’s author, and this is her best yet.

Starflight, by Melissa Landers:


It’s like Firefly meets Overboard. Intergalactic shenanigans with space pirates, mistaken identities, lost memories and awesome chase scenes. Starflight is just fun.

Ivory and Bone, by Julie Eshbaugh:


Is this spec fic? I’m not even sure. But Ivory and Bone is a gender-flipped prehistoric Pride and Prejudice. That’s right, you heard me. It’s smart, daring and unique, and I loved it.

The Secret of a Heart Note, by Stacey Lee:


I’ve just started this, and I’m loving it. I snap up everything Lee writes, and if you’re into historical, don’t miss her other works. Heart Note is a departure for her—and it’s a fun, funny story about a teen aroma expert who mixes love potions, but will lose her ability if she falls in love. Oh, and she accidentally just love-potioned the wrong person…

Bonus Book: Hunted, by Meagan Spooner:


This one’s my cheat, because technically it’s not out until March 2017, but I can’t resist the urge to put it on your radars. Hunted is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, but this Beauty is a total badass. It has overtones of medieval Russia and the tale of the Firebird, and it’s unbelievably good. Unbelieeeeevably good.


Thanks, Amie, I just added all of these to my wishlist. GOODNESS.


  • Jordan
    December 15, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    My goodness, there were a lot of great SFF books published this year! This is a great list from Amie Kaufman. I really enjoyed A Shadow Bright and Burning, it was a really fun read! I’ve yet to read many of these, so I may have to add some to my list as well!

  • Peta
    December 17, 2016 at 2:35 am

    This is a great list – thanks and my wish list has just grown!

    Anyone interested – the dark days club (1st book) is currently free on kindle in the U.K.

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