Random (but not really)

Monday, January 15, 2018

YA Books for the Teens in Your Life

What is all this about books for kids?

These are both YA books and some straight-up fantasy that is perfectly acceptable for younger readers. Some of these books have difficult subject matter, such as sexual assault or the acknowledgement of boinking, so know your small person before buying.

I’ve read the books listed here, although it’s been awhile since I read some of these, if you click on an author’s name, it should take you to my page for that author, and any reviews I’ve written about their books.

See also this YA list.

Josephine Angelini : Starcrossed (2011) (Female) (Fantasy)

Susan Bischoff:
Talent Chronicles: Hush Money (2010), Impulse Control (2011), Heroes ‘Til Curfew (2011) (Fantasy)

What happens when kids suddenly develop special abilities that border on the supernatural? The government declares it a public safety issue and takes those kids into “custody”. A more adult series along this line is Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski.

I already knew it had happened again.

Not like I’m psychic, not really, but you don’t have to have any special mental Talent to see the signs…if you’re paying attention.

Stacy Scarpelli had had her hand in the air for, like, five minutes. Eventually she was doing that thing where you lean one elbow on the desk, and your other elbow in your hand, like you’re going to collapse from the exhaustion of trying to get the teacher’s attention. But the teacher was paying attention. She was paying a lot of attention to checking off names on the roll; or supposedly taking roll, but totally not looking at that whole side of the room where Stacy was flinging her hand limply about on her wrist.

sendPatty Blount: Send (2012)

Dan and his family have changed their names and moved to a new town. When he was thirteen, Dan (then Kenny) was accused of bullying a classmate in an incident that caused the other boy to commit suicide. After spending almost a year in juvenile detention, he came home, only to have his entire family driven out of their home by their neighbors, and the father of the boy he killed came after Kenny with a metal bat, in an attempt to kill him.

For several years, the family moved from town to town, but still the father of the boy who died would find them, and threaten and harass him.

So he’s starting his senior year of high school hoping to keep his head down and graduate.

Unfortunately, the first thing he sees when he pulls into the parking lot of the school is a skinny nerd being attacked by a huge jock.

Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003) (Female)

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one.

To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

Kristin Cashore: Graceling (2009) (Female) (Fantasy)

IN THESE DUNGEONS the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind. One that had so far proven correct, as Oll’s maps tended to do. Katsa ran her hand along the cold walls and counted doors and passageways as she went. Turning when it was time to turn; stopping finally before an opening that should contain a stairway leading down. She crouched and felt forward with her hands. There was a stone step, damp and slippery with moss, and another one below it. This was Oll’s staircase, then. She only hoped that when he and Giddon followed her with their torches, they would see the moss slime, tread carefully, and not waken the dead by clattering headlong down the steps.

David Eddings:
The Belgariad: Pawn of the Prophecy (1982), Queen of Sorcery (1982), Magician’s Gambit (1983), Castle of Wizardry (1984), Enchanter’s End Game (1984) (Fantasy)

This series is comfort reading for me, the books I turn to when life gets dark and I need to escape. (Silk is my favorite.)

“I’m sorry to have missed him,” Silk said. “I wish I had the leisure to look him up.”

“I can’t for my life think why,” the farmer said bluntly. “To be honest with you, I didn’t care much for your friend.”

“I’m not overfond of him myself,” Silk agreed, “but the truth is that he owes me some money . I could quite easily do without Brill’s companionship, but I’m lonesome for the money, if you take my meaning.”

The Malloreon: Guardian of the West (1987), King of the Murgos (1988), Demon Lord of Karanda (1988), Sorceress of Darshiva (1989), The Seeress of Kell (1991) (Fantasy)

Jennifer Estep:
Mythos Academy: First Frost (2011), Touch of Frost (2011), Kiss of Frost (2011), Dark Frost (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

Raymond E. Feist:
Riftwar Saga: Magician: Apprentice (1982), Magician: Master (1982), Silverthorn (1985), A Darkness At Sethanon (1986) (Fantasy)
The Empire Series, written with Janny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire (1987), Servant of the Empire (1990), Mistress of the Empire (1992) (Female) (Fantasy)

A.C. Gaughen: Scarlet (2012)

No one really knows ’bout me. I’m Rob’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places. No one ever takes me for more than a knockabout lad, a whip of a boy. They never really see. And I don’t mind that they don’t see. Like, when you walk through a room full of big men drunk off their skulls, it ain’t so bad to be ignored.

C.C. Hunter:
Shadowfalls: Turned at Dark: A Bonus Shadow Falls Short Story (2011), Born at Midnight (2011), Awake at Dawn (2011), Taken at Dusk (2012), Whispers at Moonrise (2012), Saved at Sunrise (2013) (Female) (Fantasy)

Kylie is having what is justifiably the worst day ever.

On top of losing her favorite grandmother and her boyfriend breaking up with her, she comes home from school to discover that her parents are getting divorced. In fact, her father is throwing clothes in a suitcase and storming out.

Plus, her night terrors have returned.

In an effort to take a break from all the crap in her life, Kylie goes to a party. Unfortunately, it ends up being the wrong party, and now she’s being shipped off to a camp for troubled youth.

Could things get any worse?

Yup. The camp is for supernatural youth. As far as Kylie is concerned, she doesn’t have any special powers, but the counselors are convinced she does, and they’re the cause of her night terrors.

I really like this series. The characters are complex and the adults are not idiots.

Ellen Kushner: The Privilege of the Sword (2006) (Female)

Katherine’s family has always been on the edge of financial solvency, and the continual lawsuits by her uncle, the Mad Duke Tremontaine don’t help. So it’s a blessing for everyone when the Mad Duke offers to forgive the Talbert debt–as well as settling a sum of money on the family–if only Katherine will come live with him and study the sword–it’s an offer her mother can’t refuse.

This is a sequel of sorts to one of my favorite books, Swordspoint. Be aware, there is sexual assault in this story.

Mercedes Lackey:
The Last Herald Mage: Magic’s Pawn (1989), Magic’s Promise (1990), Magic’s Price (1990)
Vows and Honor: The Oathbound (1988), Oathbreakers (1989), Oathblood (1998), By the Sword (1991)
The Heralds of Valdemar: Arrows of the Queen (1987), Arrow’s Flight (1987), Arrow’s Fall (1988)
Mage Winds: Winds of Fate (1991), Winds of Change(1993), Winds of Fury (1993)
Mage Storms: Storm Warning (1994), Storm Rising (1995), Storm Breaking (1996)
Mage Wars: The Black Gryphon (1994), The White Gryphon (1995), The Silver Gryphon (1996)

grave-mercyRobin LaFevers:
His Fair Assassin: Grave Mercy (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

Lish McBride:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, (2010), Necromancer: A Novella (2011), Necromancing the Stone (2012) (Fantasy)
Burnt Sugar (2014), Firebug (2014) (Female) (Fantasy)

I stood in front of today’s schedule still holding my skateboard, still drenched from the ride over, and still desperately wishing that I hadn’t dropped out of college. But wishing wouldn’t erase Sam from the counter slot and rewrite it under the grill slot. No matter what, my job kind of sucks, but on the grill it sucks less. On the grill, you don’t have to handle customers. Something about the fast food uniform makes people think it’s okay to treat you like crap. Personally, I’m always polite to anyone who handles my food. There are lots of horrible things that can be done to your meal before it gets to your plate.

Sam is a very good character, and I especially like the bits about what living on minimum wage is like.

Robin McKinley: Sunshine (2003) (Female) (Fantasy)

It is the strength of the element in you that makes you more able to resist— and simultaneously embrace— its opposite. You are not consumed by the dark because you are full of light.

Dennis L. McKiernan:
The Iron Tower Trilogy: The Dark Tide (1984), Shadows of Doom (1984), The Darkest Day (1984)
The Silver Call Duology: Trek to Kraggen-Cor (1986), The Brega Path (1986)
Hel’s Crucible Duology: Into the Forge (1997), Into the Fire (1998)
Tales from Mithgar (1994), The Eye of the Hunter (1992), Voyage of the Fox Rider (1993), The Dragonstone (1996), Silver Wolf, Black Falcon (2001), Red Slippers (2004)

Sharyn November:
Anthologies: Firebirds (2003)

Cotillion – Delia Sherman
The Baby In The Night Deposit Box – Megan Whalen Turner
Beauty – Sherwood Smith
Mariposa – Nancy Springer
Max Mondrosch – Lloyd Alexander
The Fall Of Ys – Meredith Ann Pierce
Medusa – Michael Cadnum
The Black Fox – Emma Bull ; Illustrations By Charles Vess
Byndley – Patricia A. Mckillip
The Lady Of The Ice Garden – Kara Dalkey
Hope Chest – Garth Nix
Chasing The Wind – Elizabeth E. Wein
Little Dot – Diana Wynne Jones
Remember Me – Nancy Farmer
Flotsam – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Flying Woman – Laurel Winter

Firebirds Rising (2006)

Huntress – Tamora Pierce
Unwrapping – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Real Thing – Alison Goodman
Little (Grrl) Lost – Charles de Lint
I’ll Give you My Word – Diana Wynn Jones
In the House of the Seven Librarians – Ellen Klages
Wintermoon Wish – Sharon Shinn
The Wizards of Perfil – Kelly Link
Jack O’Lantern – Patricia A. McKillip
Quill – Carol Emshwiller
Blood Roses – Francesca Lia Block
Hives – Kara Dalkey
Perception – Alan Dean Foster
The House on the Planet – Tanith Lee
Cousins – Pamela Dean
What Used to be Good Still Is – Emma Bull

Firebirds Soaring (2009) (Fantasy)

Kingmaker – Nancy Springer
A Ticket to Ride – Nancy Farmer
A Thousand Tails – Christopher Barzak
All Under Heaven – Chris Roberson
Singing On a Star – Ellen Klages
Egg Magic – Louise Marley
Flatland – Kara Dalkey
Dolly the Dog-Soldier – Candas Jane Dorsey
Ferryman – Margo Lanagan
The Ghosts of Strangers – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Twilight Tales – Jo Walton
The Dignity He’s Due – Carol Emshwiller
Power and Magic – Marly Youmans
Courtship – Sherwood Smith
Little Red – Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
The Myth of Fenix – Laurel Winter
Fear and Loathing in Lalanna – Nick O’Donohoe
Bone-Chewer’s Legacy – Clare Bell
Something Worth Doing – Elizabeth E. Wein

Wannabe (2006), No Way Home (2009)

Kiden had a normal life once. But it all fell apart. Then, when things are at their absolute worst, she discovers she has powers. Unfortunately for her, it seems to cause as much harm as good. Over the course of the story she meets up with three other mutants, and they try to work they way out of the trouble they’re all in.

Cherie Priest:
Boneshaker (2009), Clementine (2010) (Fantasy)

Princess Ugg:
Princess Ugg Vol. 1 (2014), Princess Ugg Vol. 2 (2015) (Female)

Princess Ülga isn’t your standard princess, but her royal lineage goes back for generations. At her mother’s bequest, Ülga travels to the city-state of Atraeska, where the prestigious Princess Academy lies, so that she can learn about things like diplomacy-hopefully for the benefit of her rough and tumble people.

This is another series I really liked. Especially since the characters who initially seem one note grow in complexity.

Sharon Shinn: General Winston’s Daughter (2007) (Female)

Averie is headed to Chiarrin, where her father and betrothed are with the army, which is currently seeking to make the area part of its empire.

On the trip over Averie makes friends with Lieutenant Du’Kai, a Xan’tai member of the Aerberelle Army. This means only that as a member of a conquered territory he can gain only the rank of Captain, but is otherwise an acceptable dinner companion for Lady Averie, although Averie’s chaperone Lady Selkirk is at first unsure as to the propriety of this. But the journey is long and Du’Kirk is a charming companion, so they soon all end up looking forward to the dinners.

Catherynne M. Valente:
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland–for a Little While (2011), The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (2011) (Fantasy)

“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living.

Tammara Webber: Easy (2012)

As tonight’s designated driver, it was my responsibility to get Erin back to our dorm across campus in one unmangled piece, whether or not I could stand another minute of the party. My message told her to call or text when she was ready to go. The way she and her boyfriend, Chaz, had been tequila-soaked dirty dancing before they linked hands and tripped up the stairs to his room, she might not be calling me until tomorrow. I chuckled over the thought of the short walk of shame she’d endure from the front porch to my truck, if so.

Be aware that this story deals with sexual assault.

Janny Wurts (with Raymond E. Feist): Daughter of the Empire (1987), Servant of the Empire (1990), Mistress of the Empire (1992) (Female) (Fantasy)

Innocence Lost (2006), Target X (2007) (Female) (Fantasy)
Chaos Theory (2012), Don’t Look Back (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

X-23 is created in a scientific lab after experiments with Wolverine with terribly wrong. The story follows her from the failed experiments to her creation through her training. We also catch glimpses of the pasts of the two scientists most responsible for her creation, and how they came to create X-23.

X-23 is hands down my favorite X-Men character.

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