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Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy for Youth
Debut novels make a strong showing on this year’s roundup of the top 10 science fiction and fantasy titles for youth, all published in the past 12 months. Also included are the Newbery Medal winner and two Printz Honor Books, reinforcing speculative fiction’s continued status as one of the strongest genres in youth literature today.
Attica. By Garry Kilworth. 2009. IPG/Atom, paper, $11.95 (9781904233565). Gr. 4–8.
Kilworth sends his fully dimensional characters on an exhilarating adventure in this story of three stepsiblings who stumble across a wild, magical world in the attic of their new home.
The Carbon Diaries, 2015. By Saci Lloyd. illus. 2009. Holiday, $17.95 (9780823421909). Gr. 9–12.
Laura, a 16-year-old Londoner, chronicles a year in the very near future, during which global-warming-induced carbon rationing dramatically alters how her country operates. Irreverent, perfectly pitched diary entries drive this thought-provoking debut.
Graceling. By Kristin Cashore. 2008. Harcourt, $17 (9780152063962). Gr. 9–12.
In this vividly imagined first novel, Cashore weaves strong feminist threads into a mesmerizing fantasy about a young woman who has been trained as an assassin since childhood.
The Graveyard Book. By Neil Gaiman. Illus. by Dave McKean. 2008. HarperCollins, $17.99 (9780060530921). Gr. 6–10.
This year’s Newbery Medal winner tells a masterfully creepy and captivating tale of Nobody, an orphan who is raised in a graveyard by a caring community of ghosts.
Heroes of the Valley. By Jonathan Stroud. 2009. Hyperion, $17.99 (9781423109662). Gr. 6–10.
Young Halli Sveinsson, of the House of Svein, embarks on what he dreams will be a quest for vengeance and glory equal to those of his ancestor in this adventure layered with Norse mythology set in a valley steeped in history and heroism.
The Hunger Games. By Suzanne Collins. 2008. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780439023481). Gr. 9–12.
Well-deserving of all the hype, this riveting story, set in a futuristic U.S., ratchets up the tension with each plot twist as it follows 16-year-old Katniss through the Hunger Games, a nationally televised competition that’s fought to the death.
Nation. By Terry Pratchett. 2008. HarperCollins, $16.99 (9780061433016). Gr. 7–10.
In an alternate era that resembles the nineteenth century, two tsunami survivors—one an island native, the other from the Western world—rebuild a nation in the fictional South Pelagic Ocean. Pratchett’s Printz Honor Book raises fascinating questions about identity, life’s necessities, and communication across cultures.
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia. By Cindy Pon. 2009. Greenwillow, $17.99 (9780061730214). Gr. 9–12.
Reminiscent of cinematic martial-arts epics such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pon’s sweeping first novel, set in ancient China, sends 17-year-old Ai Ling on a magical journey to find her father.
Tender Morsels. By Margo Lanagan. 2008. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375848117). Gr. 10–12.
After surviving breathtaking brutality, 15-year-old Liga transports her two daughters to a magical world of her own creation, but the real world eventually intrudes. Lanagan combines seemingly impossible elements in this challenging, unforgettable Printz Honor Book.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. By Grace Lin. Illus. by the author. 2009. Little, Brown, $16.99 (9780316114271). Gr. 3–6.
Stories inspired by Chinese folktales enliven this exciting saga about a young girl who embarks on a wild, mystical quest to reverse her family’s bad luck.
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