- Vita Nostra, Written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
If you’re bored of the old variations on magic school books, Vita Nostra, written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, turns the trope on its head. It is about a girl that is recruited after a series of increasingly threatening tests to attend a secretive and special university in the Ukraine. There, she gets enmeshed in a series of thought experiments and mind games which may/ may not involve very real magic, in which speaking up about the school’s dangerous activities may lead to the murder of all your loved people. The fact the characters of this book are all young adults at the age when mood and psychosis disorders sometimes become apparent is likely not a mistake. It is recommended to readers who are okay feeling vaguely nauseated when reading.
- Girls of Paper and Fire, Written by Natasha Ngan
Have you read YA fantasy and wish that it was more sapphic and more Asian? If yes, Natasha Ngan has you covered. Girls of Paper and Fire is a Malaysian inspired fantastic story of a girl that is taken to be a courtesan to a demon king… And there, she falls in love with another girl, also a courtesan who is vulnerable, mysterious, and dangerous in equal measure. Girls of Paper and Fire is a powerful story of feminism, resistance, queerness, and survivorship in the face of patriarchy. Moreover, the story’s prose is wonderfully poetic and transporting.
- In Other Lands, Written by Sarah Rees Brennan
This book is a humorous book and another twist on the magic school idea. It follows blunt nerdy bisexual Elliott when he gets drawn into a magic training program in a magical dimension which exists alongside our own. It has many queer badass kids with a variety of flaws and talents, including a girl from a fiercely matriarchal culture.