In a case of art imitating life, pandemics feature in a number of recent and forthcoming children’s and YA novels. We’ve rounded up a selection of new and soon-to-be released titles to check out.

Agnes at the End of the World

Kelly McWilliams (Little, Brown, June 9 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-3164-8733-7). Ages 12 and up.

Agnes escapes a terrifying cult only to discover that the world Outside has succumbed to a viral apocalypse that is burning through the population at a terrifying rate. And with her younger brother’s life on the line, Agnes must choose between saving her family or the world. The novel received a starred review from PW. Read our Flying Starts interview with McWilliams, and the author’s essay on “Launching a Pandemic Novel into a Pandemic.”

City of the Uncommon Thief

Lynne Bertrand (Dutton, Oct. 6, $19.99 ISBN 978-0-525-55532-2). Ages 14 and up.

In a walled city of mile-high gilded towers, it is common knowledge for laborers to never venture outside of their place. But when one guildmaster breaks the quarantine to protect her child, the whole city faces the consequences.

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric

Jake Burt (Feiwel and Friends, Oct. 6, $16.99 ISBN 978-1-250-23655-5). Ages 8–12.

Like everyone else, Cleo and her family are sealed in an apartment. Supplies are dropped off by drones and no one is allowed to leave their unit, for fear of contracting a disease that nearly wiped humans from Earth. But one day a package intended for someone else arrives containing a substance critical for a stranger’s survival.

The Faithless Hawk

Margaret Owen (Holt, Aug. 18, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-19194-6). Ages 14 and up.

In the sequel to The Merciful Crow, Fie hopes that the Prince will fulfil his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then the Queen wins popular support, blaming the Crows for a poisonous plague. Desperate, Fie teams up with old friends and an old flame to track down a dead god and save her people.


Dylan Farrow (Wednesday Books, Oct. 6, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-23590-9). Ages 14 and up.

In the land of Montane, language is literal magic to the select few who possess the gift of Telling. This power is reserved for the Bards, a group that has almost always been men. Shae has lived her entire life in awe of the Bards and in fear of the Blot, a deadly disease spread by ink. When Shae’s mother is found murdered, she journeys to the home of the Bards, where she is given an offer she can’t refuse.

The Key to Fear

Kristin Cast (Blackstone, Oct. 13, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-982548-03-2). Ages 12 and up.

For 50 years, the Key Corporation has defended humanity against a plague spread through touch. Elodie believes in the mission of the Key, but is forced to break the rules to find a missing terminal patient, and Aiden harbors dark secrets that could tear the Key’s strict society apart. When Elodie and Aiden’s lives collide, the fallout turns devastating.