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Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy for Youth
Many of the titles found in this year’s crop of the best science fiction and fantasy books, all reviewed in Booklist in the past 12 months, return to familiar worlds, while a strong number of newcomers help prove that this always-popular set of genres remains one of the most vital in youth literature.
The Ask and the Answer. By Patrick Ness. 2009. Candlewick, $18.99 (9780763644901). Gr. 9–12.
The middle volume in the Chaos Walking trilogy expands the series’ litany of heavy themes (genocide, extremism, civil war, terrorism), all while delivering some of the most pulse-pounding action around.
Catching Fire. By Suzanne Collins. 2009. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780439023498). Gr. 9–12.
The deal was, if you win the Hunger Games, you get to live out your life in fame and comfort. The Capitol, however, has other plans for last year’s heroes, Katniss and Peeta, as whispers of growing unrest flit about the Districts.
A Conspiracy of Kings. By Megan Whalen Turner. 2010. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780061870934). Gr. 7–10.
In this stand-alone return to the series begun in Turner’s 1997 Newbery Honor Book The Thief, the focus shifts from Eugenides to Sophos, the reluctant king of Sounis, who relates his own rise to power, which is fraught with political intrigue.
Cosmic. By Frank Cottrell Boyce. 2010. HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $16.99 (9780061836831). Gr. 4–7.
People always mistake 12-year-old Liam for a grown-up, which might help explain how he got to be the adult chaperone for a bunch of kids in a rocket hurtling through space 200,000 miles above Earth.
Enchanted Glass. By Diana Wynne Jones. 2010. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780061866845). Gr. 6–9.
Fantasy veteran Jones hits a high note with this tale of a boy who is stalked by dangerous magical beings and seeks help from a powerful sorcerer. Instead, he finds the magician’s grandson, who has forgotten everything he was taught.
Fever Crumb. By Philip Reeve. 2010. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545207195). Gr. 6–9.
Set hundreds of years before the Hungry City Chronicles, this story of young Fever Crumb digs into the foundations of Reeve’s intricately imagined future, including how cities started gobbling each other up.
Finnikin of the Rock. By Melina Marchetta. 2010. Candlewick, $18.99 (9780763643614). Gr. 8–12.
Ten years ago, the royal family of Lumatere was murdered by assassins and the kingdom ravaged by a blood curse. Now, a group of outcasts, led by the son of a former royal guard, look to resurrect the hopes of their people.
Fire. By Kristin Cashore. 2009. Dial, $17.99 (9780803734616). Gr. 8–12.
This romantic and suspenseful fantasy, a prequel of sorts to Graceling (2008) set in an adjoining kingdom, introduces another deadly strong heroine who struggles to use her formidable powers for good.
Incarceron. By Catherine Fisher. 2010. Dial, $17.99 (9780803733961). Gr. 9–12.
No one from Outside ever goes into Incarceron, a vast futuristic prison gripped by tyranny and strife, and no one Inside ever escapes. Until Finn finds a crystal key that unlocks every door, and the great escape is on.
The Night Fairy. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Illus. by Angela Barrett. 2010. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763636746). Gr. 2–5.
This uncommonly dynamic story of a wee sprite is set in the familiar yet exotic landscape of a backyard, where a determined and egocentric young fairy weathers peril and finds redemption.
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