Sci-Fi & Fantasy Booklist
Feed, by M.T. Anderson
The feed advertises things you’re walking past and recommends similar products, it’s television shows and news and email and maps, and it’s all right there in your head. But what happens when your feed gets hacked? Titus and Violet are about to find out, because a malfunctioning feed is one thing—but a malfunctioning feed with an atypical installation is a much bigger problem.
Chime, by Franny Billingsley
Briony has her stepmother’s death and her sister’s developmental disabilities on her conscience: they’re both the result of her being a witch. She hides in the swamp, talking to the Old Ones and hoping no one will find out. Only witches can see the Old Ones, and witches are put to death. Which she knows she deserves. But then there’s Eldric, who sees everything Briony is and cares about her anyway. She could still have a normal life, if she can see herself the way Eldric sees her.
A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray
After witnessing her mother’s murder, Gemma moves from India to a boarding school in England. While there she learns more about her mother, and about the supernatural powers that Gemma herself inherited. Learning about the Order and opening the Realms to her friends is fun and makes them powerful—but they aren’t the only ones with power, and if they’re going to bind the malevolent Circe, Gemma will have to rebuild the Order.
Weetzie Bat, by Francesca Lia Block
Weetzie Bat lived in a fairy-tale land of glitter, glitz, and coolness. She had a bleached-blonde flat-top and pink sunglasses, and cruised around town with her best friend Dirk and her Slinkster Dog pooch in a '55 Pontiac named Jerry. But still, something was missing. She wished for a Duck for Dirk and a Secret Agent Lover Man for herself. Weetzie Bat is the story of what happened when those wishes came true.
(Other titles in the Weetzie Bat series are Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be-Bop.)
Story Time, by Edward Bloor
George and Kate are lucky enough to be accepted into the Whittaker Magnet School. But the school’s curriculum is focused only on standardized tests: drills, dreary classrooms, and disgusting protein shakes are all part of the new school day. Oh, and there’s also a murderous demon loose. Can George and Kate pass the tests and make it through the year?
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
James and Will, both 13 years old, are very excited about the carnival coming to town. As the carnival lingers, though, the boys are increasingly aware of the evil that permeates it. But it’s when the boys discover the mysterious powers of the carousel that the truly diabolical nature comes clear. James and Will might be able to save the souls of the townspeople—but only if they can resist having their own wishes granted.
Astro City: Life in the Big City, by Kurt Busiek
The world of Astro City is one in which superheroes live, work, and relax, keeping the other inhabitants of their city safe from all manners of natural and unnatural disasters. It’s a superhero story without the glitz and melodrama, one full of rich characters in an unusual world.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
At six years old, Ender is already a military genius. Despite being the youngest child to ever attend Battle School, he must lead his fellow students through the Battle School games meant to prepare them for the war against the Buggers.
(Ender’s Game is followed by three other titles: Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. The companion books, the Shadow series, are Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, and Shadow of the Giant.)
The Roar, by Emma Clayton
Mika has never gotten over the death of his twin sister--mostly because he's positive she's not dead. He can feel her out there, somewhere, and it's up to him to find her. When the new Podfighter game comes to the arcades, Mika instinctively knows there's something about it that will bring him closer to his missing sister. Podfighter competitions already have pretty high stakes, but for Mika, they just got a little higher.
Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins
When Gregor’s baby sister Boots crawls through a vent in the laundry room, Gregor crawls through after her—and finds himself, and Boots, falling. Falling all the way until they reach the Underland, where the Crawlers welcome Boots as a princess and the Underland humans hail Gregor as their prophesied savior. With the help of the Fliers and one particular Gnawer, Gregor must lead a small team of Underlanders through dangerous, Gnawer-controlled territory to rescue an imprisoned Overlander… who may be Gregor’s missing father.
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Thomas remembers nothing but his name when he’s pulled into the Glade, a strange place where the only escape means finding an exit from the Maze--not easy when the walls move every night and the mechanical beasts have a thirst for blood. When a girl shows up the day after Thomas’s arrival, the Gladers are thrown into chaos: Who is she? And what’s with her warning that “everything is going to change”?
So You Want to Be a Wizard, by Diane Duane
On the run from bullies, Nita ducks into the library to find a safe place to hide out. What she finds instead is a how-to book on becoming a wizard. Now she and fellow-wizard Kit face their Wizard Ordeal, where they’ll officially get their powers. If they survive.
Never After, by Dan Elconin
Ricky is woken out of a good dream--one about an Island, a lush green paradise--by a crunching sound outside his window. In flies Peter, who offers to take Ricky to the Island he's been visiting in his dreams. No sooner have they gotten to Peter's Island when Ricky is clubbed in the back of the head and comes to to find a rescue mission in progress. A small group of other rescued teens, with a man they call Captain, will have to capture Peter so that they can all, finally, go home.
Temping Fate, by Esther Friesner
Ilana needs a summer job, so she goes to the same place her sister worked for: Divine Relief Temp Agency. The first day on a new job is always a little nerve-wracking, but it’s much, much worse when your bosses are the Greek mythological goddesses, the Fates!
Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
On a rainy night, Meggie is startled and worried at the sight of a stranger standing in the road outside their house. Much to her surprise, though, he is not a stranger to her father, Mo—he is Dustfinger, a man Mo pulled into this world from a story, ten years earlier. But before Meggie has time to ask any questions, she and Mo are caught up in an adventure they’ve only been able to read about.
(Meggie’s story continues in Inkspell and concludes in Inkdeath.)
Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, by Neil Gaiman
The Endless are above mortals, above the pantheons, above everything. Sandman is the story of one of the Endless (Dream), his interactions with mortals, and the choices he makes that make him more human than anyone would expect.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself—and her parents—and return to her ordinary life.
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, by Jack Gantos
The Love Curse is an excessive, obsessive mother-love passed down through the generations. It's a dark, gothic story, involving taxidermy, identical twin brothers, their mother (from whom they can't bear to be parted), a young girl, and her mother. The combinations of all these elements are compelling, and will keep you turning pages late into the night.
Capt. Hook, by J.V. Hart
How did Captain Hook, Peter Pan’s nemesis, grow up into the villain he eventually became? From his outcast days at his fancy private school (and his first run-in with the Darling family) to his first sailing adventure, Captain James Hook is always a complex character.
The Lab, by Jack Heath
Car chases, hostages, robotic fighting machines--it’s all in a day’s work for Special Agent Six of Hearts. Six is the best agent the Deck has, and he’s the Deck’s best hope for bringing down ChaoSonic, the company that has taken over what’s left of the world. But Six has a secret to protect about what makes him the Deck’s best agent, and it’s a secret that ChaoSonic is equally driven to protect--except they’re less concerned about his survival.
The Enemy, by Charlie Higson
It's been long enough since the Disaster that the lucky ones have died. Anyone left over 14 is infected, turned into mindless, bloated animals seeking a quick meal of the living. One group of kids has been holed up in a supermarket for protection, and they know they can't stay there forever. The trek across London to the relative safety of Buckingham Palace isn't going to be as easy as it sounds—and it sounds like a bloodbath waiting to happen.
Epic, by Conor Kostick
Following yet another death in Epic, Erik creates a new character. On a whim, he chooses a female form, allots all her aptitude points to beauty, and chooses an unusual character class: Swashbuckler. Such an unusual character makes Epic into a whole new game--which is exactly what Erik needs, if he’s going to slay the second dragon in Epic’s history and challenge the Central Allocation government to release his father from exile.
How to Ditch Your Fairy, by Justine Larbalestier
Most people are born with a fairy. You might get an awesome fairy, like the all-boys-will-like-you fairy. Or you might get a crap fairy, like the every-car-you're-in-will-find-a-great-parking-spot fairy. As a 14-year-old who can't even drive, Charlie walks everywhere in hopes of making her fairy so bored that it leaves. There’s one person who might be able to help her—but it’s her arch enemy’s mom. Still, it might be worth it.
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
(Other titles in the Earthsea series are The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea, and The Other Wind.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
After a horrible, stormy day at school, it’s a horrible, stormy night at home when Mrs. Whatsit shows up at the house and tells Meg’s mother that “there is such a thing as a tesseract.” The tesseract—a “fold” in space and time—will allow Meg and her brother Charles Wallace to travel quickly across the universe and rescue their father from IT, the telepathic brain holding the whole planet of Camazotz under its malevolent control.
Magic For Beginners, by Kelly Link
Link’s second short-story collection is full of lyrical, humorous fantasy that doesn’t read like genre fiction at all. From the surreal ghost story Stone Animals to The Library about an unpredictable television show trying to get a message to a teenage boy, this collection will appeal to readers who appreciate something a little out of the ordinary.
Wake, by Lisa McMann
Janie can’t sleep. She wants to, but any time she closes her eyes, she gets sucked into the dreams of anyone sleeping nearby. She can’t control the ability she never wanted. And it’s about to get worse: she’s getting sucked into someone else’s nightmare and forced to participate in it.
Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out, edited by McSweeny’s
This short-story anthology brings together monsters at summer camp and terrible soccer player for a country the size of the field and somehow makes it all work.
Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley
Castle Waiting provides sanctuary for all sorts of odd outcasts, from runaway princesses and forgotten handmaidens to iron-hearted blacksmiths and bearded nuns. At turns romantic, fun, and occasionally tragic, Medley offers wonderful re-imaginings of classic fables and fairy tales, from the lost blessing of sleeping beauty to the love lives of the order of bearded nuns.
Un Lun Dun, by China Mieville
Animals have been watching Zanna. Staring at her, actually. And a few people have called her “the Schwazzy.” But Zanna only finds out why when she and her best friend Deeba fall through to Un Lun Dun, the reverse of their own London, and they’re suddenly in charge of saving the world—both worlds, actually—in a place where words are alive and nothing makes any sense at all.
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
At exactly seven minutes past midnight, the monster comes to Conor’s room. There’s been a monster in his nightmares, but it’s not this one: this is the yew tree from the backyard, come walking to tell him three stories. After three stories, Conor has to tell one in return, and it has to be the truth. It has to be his truth. And it’s seven minutes past midnight.
Sabriel, by Garth Nix
On learning of her father’s disappearance, 18-year-old Sabriel must step into a role she’s been preparing for her whole life: that of the Abhorsen, a powerful mage responsible for keeping the dead in Death. With the help of Mogget, her father’s bound free-magic cat, and Touchstone, the young charter mage, Sabriel struggles to rescue her father and defeat the evil that has trapped him in Death.
(Nix continues Sabriel’s story in two other books: Lirael and Abhorsen.)
Z for Zachariah, by Robert C. O’Brien
Following a nuclear war, 16-year-old Ann Burden learns to survive alone in the untouched valley—until the day a stranger wearing a radiation-proof suit comes over the hill. When the stranger makes a crucial mistake, Ann nurses him back to health—making a crucial mistake of her own.
Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
When Eragon finds an unusual stone while hunting, he thinks his family’s troubles are over. But when Eragon learns his destiny as a legendary Dragon Rider, he realizes that his troubles are just beginning. In the first part of a trilogy that takes him across the world, he encounters dwarves, elves, fellow Riders—and all manners of creatures who want him dead.
(Follow the next leg of Eragon’s journey in Eldest.)
The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman
Lyra is an orphan living at Jordan College, until the day she witnesses an assassination attempt on her uncle and overhears a discussion of Dust. From that point on, she and her daemon Pantalaimon are caught up in a series of troubles that take them from Oxford to the far north, along the way encountering witches, armored bears, and a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon.
(The story continues in The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, books two and three of His Dark Materials.)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Jacob’s grandfather told wild stories about the orphanage he’d been in as a child, a home where the children were invisible, or could conjure fire, or fly. In his dying breath, he urges Jacob to “find the bird. In the loop. Tell them what happened, Yakob.” Jacob travels to Wales to find the orphanage that was bombed in 1940 and yet somehow still exists, and bring a message to the headmistress who died in the bombing but is very much alive.
Starman : Sins of the Father, by James Robinson
Jack Knight never wanted to be a superhero. But now that his brother has been killed and his father has been attacked, does he have a choice in the matter? Starman is a superhero without the camp, and some of the best the genre has to offer.
A Long, Long Sleep, by Anna Sheehan
What’s it like to wake up to a world you don’t recognize? Rose has been asleep in her stasis tube for over 60 years when she’s finally discovered. She missed the Dark Times and their recovery, she’s missed the deaths of her parents, and most of all she misses Xavier, the love of her life and soul mate. She’s lived 16 years in the century since she was born. And there’s a robotic assassin after her, determined she keep all her family’s secrets to herself.
Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
Connor finds the paperwork his parents signed: he’s scheduled for unwinding, having all his parts harvested and redistributed into other people. Sure, he’ll live on in a separated state, but he has no plans to let it happen to him. If he can survive until his 18th birthday, he’ll be free—but that’s a long time to survive when so many people are willing to turn him in.
House of Stairs, by William Sleator
Five teenage orphans wake up to find themselves in a place without walls, floors, or ceilings—only stairs. Endless stairs, leading to landings and more stairs. On one landing is a machine that dispenses food, but only if the five do everything right—and what’s right one day isn’t necessarily what’s right the next. And sometimes, it was never right at all.
Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace has always had an affinity for the wolves, particularly the one with the yellow eyes, ever since she was attacked by them as a child. When a shivering boy appears on Grace’s doorstep following a hunting party, she recognizes those eyes: this is her wolf, in human form. Grace’s feelings for Sam quickly turn to love, even though they both know that his time as a human is limited—and it may be more limited than Grace realizes.
Heir Apparent, by Vivian Vande Velde
Giannine was very eager to try out the new total-immersion virtual-reality game Heir Apparent. The Citizens to Protect Our Children were very eager to prevent anyone from doing so. But when the CPOC’s attack on the building locks Giannine into her plugged-in state, the only way out is to win the game. All she needs to do is get the ring, find the treasure, and defeat the man-eating dragon—but each wrong move sends her back to the beginning, and the equipment plugged into her brain is growing more unstable by the minute.
User Unfriendly, by Vivian Vande Velde
When a hacked copy of a virtual-reality game glitches, trapping Arvin, six friends, and his mom, the trouble is just beginning. The eight have to fight their way through and finish the game—and as Arvin’s mom starts exhibiting weird symptoms, time is running out.
Runaways, by Brian K. Vaughan
When they find out that their parents make up the super-villain group The Pride, six teens do the only logical thing: run away from home and plot to overthrow their parents. Finding a secret hideout and learning about their new powers is hard enough, but finding a traitor in their midst complicates everything.
Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld
Pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, Aleksander has very little time to learn to pilot the Stormwalker and flee Austria before Serb assassins find out he's still alive. He heads for the mountains, where Deryn’s airship is crashed. Deryn’s Darwinist officers want to keep the Clanker for questioning, but Alek may hold the keys to their salvation–just as they can help his escape. Deryn, Alek, and their respective crews have choices to make: do what’s best for their countries in this new war, or what’s best for their unlikely allies.
Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld
Cal is parasite-positive, a "peep," but he’s lucky—he’s a carrier, with superhuman strength and night vision. As a carrier, it’s his job to track down more typical peeps, the insane cannibals who roam the city, but the person he really wants to find is the girl who infected him. When he discovers the horrible truth about virus, Cal’s priority shifts to saving the city—and his new love interest.
Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin
15-year-old Liz is learning to cope with disappointment. She’s never going to have a boyfriend, go to the prom, or learn to drive. Not in this lifetime, anyway. Because Liz is in Elsewhere, the place she went after the bike accident that killed her, where she’ll age backward until she’s an infant sent back down to earth. For now, she has to find a job and adjust her outlook, because the afterlife can be pretty nice—if she lets it.