Devils & Thieves.
By Jennifer Rush.
Oct. 2017. 336p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316390897).
Jemmie senses colors and scents when
other “kindled”—magic users—cast spells,
making her life among them a living hell.
She assumes she’s a failure at magic, allergic to something she
loves—much like her long-dead romance with Crowe
Medici, leader of the Black
Devils, a kindled motorcycle gang. Making things
worse is her budding relationship with rival club
member Darek, which she’s
just barely keeping secret. When Crowe reveals that Darek’s club, the Deathstalkers,
had something to do with his father’s death
at the previous year’s annual festival, Jemmie’s life is made infinitely more confusing.
Her father, who ran away years before, is also
in town for the big event, and the animosity
she still feels at being abandoned is palpable.
While trying to manage everything, including her own secrets, Jemmie will also try to
solve the mystery of the past gang leader’s
death without sparking a massive gangland
war. Rush has given a lot of thought to her
world building here, and the result is a fascinating new world where magic and crime
intersect. Urban fantasy is hard to get just
right in YA, but she succeeds completely.
Teen readers will find a lot to love about
Jemmie’s complicated life, and they will definitely leave wanting more. —Stacey Comfort
Even the Darkest Stars.
By Heather Fawcett.
Sept. 2017. 432p. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99
(9780062463388); e-book, $17.99 (9780062463401).
Though she’s grown up hearing that
magic is a tool like any other, Kamzin, second daughter of the village elder, has never
had much of a talent for
it, despite her inevitable
future as village shaman.
Kamzin dreams of becoming an explorer, traversing
and documenting the cold,
treacherous mountains of
the Empire and the dangerous witches who live there.
When River Shara, the infamous Royal Explorer, comes to Kamzin’s village seeking help
from her older sister, Lusha, Kamzin hopes to
impress him. River is on a mission to retrieve
a talisman from Raksha, the tallest and most
feared of the mountain peaks; when Lusha,
an excellent astronomer but not much of an
explorer, shocks the village by leaving with a
rival explorer, Kamzin finds herself accompanying River on his perilous journey, torn
between beating her sister to the top and
keeping her from harm. But both natural and
supernatural dangers wait in the mountains,
and Kamzin might not have much choice
Whether it’s to a glorious new world or a horrifying reimag- ining of our own, these novels, all reviewed in Booklist
between August 2016 and July 2017, will certainly transport sf,
fantasy, and horror readers to another place. —Maggie Reagan
Camp So-and-So. By Mary McCoy. 2017. Carolrhoda/Lab, $18.99
(9781512415971). Gr. 8–11.
Fantasy and horror tropes reign at an Appalachian summer camp
for girls. Five cabins face everything from curses and magical soul
mates to a classic Friday the 13th–style murder mystery in this
Henry and the Chalk Dragon. By Jennifer Trafton. Illus. by Benjamin Schipper. 2017.
Rabbit Room, $15.99 (9780986381881). Gr. 3–5.
It’s an ordinary day until Henry Penwhistle accidentally brings a dragon to school in his
lunch box. The dragon, originally just a chalk drawing, wreaks havoc on the school, so
“Sir” Henry, eraser in hand, sets off to vanquish it.
Iron Cast. By Destiny Soria. 2016. Abrams/Amulet, $17.95 (9781419721922). Gr. 9–12.
This reimagining of 1919 Boston focuses on prejudices against hemopaths—people
who possess magical artistic talents. Corinne, a hemo who works at the gangster-run
Cast Iron club, searches for answers as other hemos begin disappearing.
Landscape with Invisible Hand. By M. T. Anderson. Sept. 2017. Candlewick, $16.99
(9780763687892). Gr. 9–12.
An alien race promises to put an end to suffering with advanced technology—true for
the wealthy, not so much for everyone else. Sarcastic artist Adam tries to bring in cash by
entertaining the new overlords.
Olive and the Backstage Ghost. By Michelle Schusterman. 2017. Random, $16.99
(9780399550669). Gr. 5–8.
Olive loves singing, but her overbearing mother wants her to be a star, exacerbating
Olive’s stage fright. After a disastrous audition, Olive stumbles across a glamorous old
theater that definitely has its ghosts.
Scythe. By Neal Shusterman. 2016. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781442472426).
In the futuristic MidMerica, the only true death is one given by a Scythe, who gleans
souls to keep the population in check. Citra and Rowan, two reluctant apprentices, face
unsettling questions about life without death.
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. By Frank Cottrell Boyce. 2017. HarperCollins/Walden
Pond, $16.99 (9780062643629). Gr. 3–6.
Everyone thinks Sputnik Mellows is a dog, but Prez knows he’s an alien. If the pair can
come up with 10 things worth seeing—for an interplanetary guidebook—Earth will be
saved from destruction.
Strange the Dreamer. By Laini Taylor. 2017. Little, Brown, $18.99 (9780316341684).
Lazlo Strange dreams of the mythical city of Weep, a fascination that comes to a head
when a group of warriors from that very place comes seeking help. Weep, though, still
reels from the aftermath of a brutal war.
Vassa in the Night. By Sarah Porter. 2016. Tor Teen, $17.99 (9780765380548). Gr. 9–12.
Nights in Brooklyn have grown supernaturally long. Vassa, sent out for lightbulbs, accidentally crosses tricky store owner Babs Yagg. Babs agrees to let her live, if she works
(and survives) three nights in the dangerous store.
When the Sea Turned to Silver. By Grace Lin. Illus. by the author. 2016. Little, Brown,
$18.99 (9780316125925). Gr. 3–5.
This third installment in a fantasy cycle set in ancient China beautifully interweaves
traditional folklore with the story of Pinmei, a timid girl who must rescue her storyteller
grandmother from the clutches of the emperor.
TOP 10 SF/FANTASY & HORROR FOR YOUTH