Young Adult Speculative Fiction

The genre of speculative fiction enjoys immense popularity and captivates a diverse audience. Within this genre, readers are exposed to an expansive array of themes, such as fantastical or, futuristic settings, space exploration, supernatural elements, apocalyptic scenarios, reimagined historical narratives, and much more. Speculative fiction can often be described as “what if ” books, where an author reinvents a law or rule of our society or world, and then writes from there.

Storytelling is a defining hallmark of Native culture, its deep-rooted significance is an integral part of our rich traditions. It is crucial not only to depict Native stories from past and present perspectives but also to incorporate the unique lens of speculative fiction into those narratives.

Book cover of Man Made Monsters

Man Made Monsters


Andrea L. Rogers (Cherokee Nation)


Jeff Edwards (Cherokee Nation)


Following one extended Cherokee family across the centuries, from the tribe’s homelands in Georgia in the 1830s to World War I, the Vietnam War, our own present, and well into the future, each story delivers a slice of a particular time period that will leave listeners longing for more.

This book offers a Native perspective within the horror genre, showcasing the prowess of Rogers’ storytelling.

Book cover of A Snake Falls to Earth

A Snake Falls to Earth


Darcie Little Badger (Lipan Apache)


Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

This book features YA Indigenous futurism with spirits and monsters that draws upon traditional Lipan Apache storytelling.

Book cover of The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves


Cherie Dimaline (Metis Nation of Ontario)


Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden — but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

A Indigenous dystopian novel that asks (and answers) “what if” questions Indigenous people have asked since colonization.

Book cover of Harvest House

Harvest House


Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Nation)


Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He’s excited to take part in the fun, spooky show—until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an “Indian maiden,” a ghost inspired by local legend, will headline. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House. A creepy man is stalking teenage girls and young women, particularly Indigenous women; dogs are fretful and on edge; and wild animals are behaving strangely. While Hughie weighs how and when to speak up about the bigoted legend, he and his friends begin to investigate the crossroads and whether it might be haunted after all. As Moon rises on All Hallow’s Eve, will they be able to protect themselves and their community?

A wonderful intersection of contemporary realism and eerie mystery.

Book Cover of Elatsoe



Darcie Little Badger (Lipan Apache)


Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.

Little Badger weaves together elements of horror, noir, ancestral wisdom, and fantastical elements into an un-put-downable book.


Speculative Fiction is a popular genre for young readers, and it’s important that readers are offered varied perspectives. This list offers those diverse pathways for delving into the expansive realm of speculative fiction.

Headshot of author Stacy Wells

About the Author

Stacy Wells

Stacy Wells, an enrolled member of Choctaw Nation, is a youth librarian serving families and their children from birth to teens. She is the Executive Assistant for the American Indian Library Association, on the steering committee for the North Texas Teen Book Festival, and is a community advocate for kids with dyslexia. Stacy’s debut picture book, STRONGER THAN co-written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is forthcoming in 2025 (HarperCollins/Heartdrum). She lives in Texas with her family.