by Joe Shine
SOHO Teen, $17.99
YA fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, Ages 12+
Kidnapped by a mysterious group that claims to know the world’s future, Rennes (Ren) Sharpe is believed dead by everyone she holds dear. Under constant surveillance, Ren begins a new life and prepares to become a Shadow – a glorified bodyguard charged with the protection of a Future Important Person (FIP). Rigorous training transforms her from a normal, slightly awkward teenage girl into a hardened weapon of mass destruction. She re-enters society after being assigned to her FIP, Gareth, who becomes the center of Ren’s world. Distinguishing between her Shadow-programmed response to Gareth and her real emotional response to his friendship becomes difficult for Ren, as does her separation from her only Shadow friend, Junie. Even more worrisome is the ominous twist that calls into question the motives of the Shadow Program’s founders.
From the very first chapter, titled “Milkshake,” I knew I was going to love Rennes Sharpe. Her realistic and sarcastic voice narrates a flash of humor into many dire, intense, and often terrifying situations. I admire Ren’s iron will, forwardness, and clever mind throughout this fast-paced novel. Her strong personality and determination to do the right thing make her lovable, though she remains a force to be reckoned with. I recommend I Become Shadow to anyone who enjoys ninja-esque battle action, powerful female characters, a hint of romance, and covert military organizations.
by Scott Bly
Middle-grade, sci-fi, fantasy, ages 8-11
A big-business man plans to unleash a biological computer virus on the world, ending freedom forever. The only ones who can stop him are Charlie and Geneva, a midieval math whiz with unnatural abilities and a robot girl from the future. Using "Smasher," they travel through space in search of a solution.
Book Three: A Wonderlandiful World
Book Two:The Unfairest of Them All
Little, Brown, & Co. $14.99 HC
In the second installment, not only is Queen Raven's role in jeopardy, now the destinies of all the other fairy tale children are in jeopardy too! The Royals, like Apple White, want to stick to the Storybook destinies, while the Rebels would rather decide their own stories. Events take a turn for the worse, and it seems that everyone is doomed to a Happy Never After.
by Shannon Hale
Middle-grade fiction, fantasy, fractured fairy tale, humor, heroes, villains, good versus evil
Book One: The Storybook of Legends
Little, Brown, & Co. $14.99
In book one, Raven Queen and Apple White have their destinies already written for them in the Storybook of Legends. All they have to do is sign the book, and their fate is secured. Ever After High prepares Raven, Apple and the other children of fairy tale legends for that future, but Raven's role as the daughter of Evil Queen makes her uncomfortable. Can she rewrite her destiny, or will her story come abruptly to "The End?"
Fantasy and Science Fiction
by Andrea Cremer
Middle-grade, action, adventure, steampunk, alternate history, Ages 9-12
I found this to be a brilliantly re-imagined steampunk world in which the British won the Revolutionary War, revolutionaries are hanged for treason, and New York has become a floating city for the upper-class elitists. Charlotte has street smarts and is thrilled when her older brother finally lets her go on an important mission—she must travel with the obnoxious Jack Winter to the floating city, where for the first time she gets an entirely different look at her nemesis, Jack Winter. And she discovers she may have been wrong about him, and a few other things. The romance was light enough not to get in the way of the story. A smart, witty, mystery/adventure with light romance, the story pulled me in ... until the cliffhanger ending! Noooooooooo!!!! I've grown a bit tired of trilogies that I have to wait and wait for. And this one was a great story that left me hanging.
by Greg Ruth
Scholastic $12.99 PA, $24.99 HC, $12.99 ebook
Graphic novel, upper middle grade, contemporary realistic with a touch of fantasy, ages 11+
Nate moves into a new house, albeit unhappily, and discovers, under his bedroom floorboards, a tape recorder and a note addressed to him. He soon learns of a boy who disappeared years ago, and strange creatures begin following Nate around. He teams up with his new friend Tabitha to solve the dark mystery surrounding the lost boy.
by John Corey Whaley
YA, contemporary sci-fi, coming-of-age story
Travis Coates has a good head…on someone else’s shoulders. A touching, hilarious, and wholly original coming-of-age story from John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz and Morris Award–winning Where Things Come Back.