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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy for Youth
Though several of the books in this year’s list of top youth sf and fantasy titles return to well-loved worlds, and two wrap up high-watermark YA series, you won’t find mere victory laps here. These books, all reviewed in Booklist in the past year, mine rich thematic veins while delivering some of the most exciting reading around.
Chime. By Franny Billingsley. 2011. Dial, $17.99 (9780803735521). Gr. 8–12.
In this beautifully written, quirky, and chilling tale, 17-year-old Briony believes she is a witch destined for the hangman’s noose, as technology and supernatural forces clash in early-twentieth-century England.
The Curse of the Wendigo. By Rick Yancey. 2010. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781416984504). Gr. 9–12.
Yancey’s follow-up to the YA-horror standard-bearer The Monstrumologist (2009) is a terrifyingly fresh spin on the vampire motif, coupling copious de-facings with a deepening relationship between young Will and the mercurial Dr. Pellinore Warthrop.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. By Catherynne M. Valente. Illus. by Ana Juan. 2011. Feiwel & Friends, $16.99 (9780312649616). Gr. 5–8.
Wink-worthy touchstones lifted from Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, and more will delight readers of classic fantasy stories, but this title’s true magic lies in the telling of Valente’s richly worded tale.
The Marbury Lens. By Andrew Smith. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9780312613426). Gr. 10–12.
After narrowly escaping a sexual predator, Jack finds a pair of glasses that suck him into a violent, apocalypse-scarred world. Maybe being crazy is the best Jack can hope for.
Mockingjay. By Suzanne Collins. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780439023511). Gr. 6–12.
The final chapter of the propulsive Hunger Games saga has Katniss reluctantly leading a rebellion against the Capitol and discovering the true cost of war, sacrifice, and martyrdom.
Monsters of Men. By Patrick Ness. Candlewick, $18.99 (9780763647513). Gr. 9–12.
Ness concludes the literary-sf Chaos Walking trilogy with this unsettling and thrilling account of a three-sided war, laying to waste notions of ideology and exposing the dire stupidity of mass conflict.
Pathfinder. By Orson Scott Card. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781416991762). Gr. 8–12.
Time travel, deep-space colonization, and even delicate wisps of fantasy collide in Card’s complex, brain-candy story of a group of talented teens who join their powers to uncover the long-buried secrets of their home world’s origins.
The Ring of Solomon. By Jonathan Stroud. Hyperion, $17.99 (9781423123729). Gr. 6–9.
Set nearly three millennia before the Bartimaeus Trilogy, this prequel of sorts stars the unforgettable, mouthy djinni and an idealistic young girl who set out to steal King Solomon’s ring.
Ship Breaker. By Paulo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316056212). Gr. 8–12.
Vivid, brutal, and action-packed, this 2011 Michael L. Printz Award winner is set in a near-future world where scavengers scrape out a meager living by ripping the guts out of dead oil tankers, and impoverished Nailer risks everything for a high-class girl he hardly knows.
The Silver Bowl. By Diane Stanley. Harper, $16.99 (9780061575433). Gr. 5–8.
In this striking historical fantasy of great evil and enduring loyalty, a young scullery maid must decide whether to share the visions she has of the future and risk being seen as a witch, or keep mum and imperil the royal family.
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