Terrorists, Dragons and Survival
by Suzi Steffen
Though we know some young adults who have recently said “No more dragons or magic!” (and for them, we recommend the novels of E. Lockhart, Kathe Koja, Markus Zusak, Ellen Wittlinger, Jacqueline Woodson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen, Suzanne Fisher Staples, Julius Lester or Walter Dean Myers), we still want to highlight a few of the year’s best fantasy and science fiction books for teens.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Harcourt, $17. Love Twilight? Graceling has magic and romance. Hate Twilight? The young female protagonist of Graceling could crush Bella, Edward, Jacob or James with the skill that is her Grace. Also, she’s an independent thinker who has bigger concerns than her Very Special Lover.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Candlewick, $18.99. It’s a world without girls and women, a world where men hear each other’s thoughts at all times. When young Todd Prentiss discovers a secret, where can he run? The propulsive plot will keep young men (and young women) reading until the absolutely killer cliffhanger of an ending. Book 2 comes out soon!
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Press, $17.99. To control its restive population, the Capital of a post-apocalyptic North America takes young competitors and pits them against each other in reality fights to the death. Will Katniss survive?
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman. Viking Juvenile, $19.99. Another first book, this one a quasi-Japanese, quasi-Chinese saga from an Australian author. If anyone finds out Eon’s a girl, she’ll be killed — unless her dragon protects her … but her dragon’s out of contact.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, $17.95. Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) delivers a gripping tale about the evils of surveillance and the Department of Homeland Security, which one 17-year-old must outthink and outwit.