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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy for Youth
In a list that illustrates the fantasy genre’s slant toward older readers (none of these selections target readers below middle school), sophisticated meditations on spirituality and destiny are balanced with fairy-tale romance and pulse-pounding adventure. All titles were reviewed in the last 12 months.
Clay. By David Almond. 2006. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-73171-X); lib. ed., $17.99 (0-385-90208-5). Gr. 6–9.
Two boys confront the dangers of playing God when they create a golem that obeys their commands. Mysticism blended with the gritty, everyday drama of children’s lives make this another sure-to-endure literary fantasy from Printz winner Almond.
Dreamquake. By Elizabeth Knox. 2007. Farrar, $19 (0-374-31854-9). Gr. 8–11.
Further showcasing Knox’s poetic, inventive storytelling, book 2 in the Dreamhunter Duet sweeps teen heroines Rose and Laura toward a conclusion that satisfyingly explains the mysterious Place where dream hunters harvest dreams—and nightmares.
Epic. By Conor Kostick. 2007. Viking, $17.99 (0-670-06179-4). Gr. 7–10.
The attractions of computer role-playing have been harnessed in this gripping, reluctant-reader-friendly novel about a dystopia in which inhabitants’ fates depend on how their avatars perform in virtual battles.
Fairest. By Gail Carson Levine. 2006. HarperCollins, $16.99 (0-06-073408-6); paperback, $17.89 (0-06-073409-4). Gr. 7–10.
The author of Ella Enchanted offers slightly older readers a romantic fantasy to savor in this clever reworking of “Snow White,” in which a homely teen’s gorgeous voice fatefully attracts the notice of the new queen of the kingdom—a place devoted to music and song.
Keturah and Lord Death. By Martine Leavitt. 2006. Front Street, $16.95 (1-932425-29-2). Gr. 8–11.
Stippled with light and shadow and crowned with an ending that will leave teens breathless, this resonant fantasy centers on Keturah’s attempts to evade destiny—nothing less than death itself—by seeking the true love that will null Lord Death’s claim.
The Mysterious Benedict Society. By Trenton Lee Stewart. 2007. Megan Tingley/Little, Brown, $16.99 (0-316-05777-0). Gr. 4–7.
“Are you a gifted child looking for Special Opportunities?” aks the ad that attracts orphan Reynie Muldoon; debut author Stewarts’ ensuing adventure will similarly ensnare young readers, who will cheer on the team of talented, puzzle-solving kids who must subvert adults’ nefarious plans.
The New Policeman. By Kate Thompson. 2007. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780061174278); lib. ed., $17.89 (9780061174285). Gr. 7–10.
In this ambitious fantasy steeped in Irish culture, especially fairy lore and heart-pounding music, 15-year-old J. J. takes on a thrilling, epic quest to repair a cosmic time leak.
River Secrets. By Shannon Hale. 2006. Bloomsbury, $17.95 (1-58234-901-0). Gr. 7–10.
Newbery Honor writer Hale creates a stand-alone mystery-adventure set in the same world as Goose Girl (2003) and Enna Burning (2004), in which teen spy Rizzo makes unsettling discoveries that threaten the truce between two kingdoms.
White Time. By Margo Lanagan. 2006. HarperCollins/Eos, $15.99 (0-06-074393-X). Gr. 8–11.
Like Lanagan’s 2006 Printz Honor Book Black Juice (2006), this compelling, often startling collection of sf/fantasy stories mesh the familiar and the bizarre, with tales that (among others) imagine a futuristic work-study assignment and a society in which pent-up emotions link to obesity.
Wintersmith. By Terry Pratchett. 2006. HarperTempest, $16.99 (0-06-089031-2); lib. ed., $17.89 (0-06-089032-0). Gr. 7–10.
Pratchett’s third YA novel set in Discworld, his best yet, finds apprentice-witch Tiffany Aching fumbling into the role of an age-old goddess, creating a cosmic disturbance that she must correct.
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