New releases of science fiction and fantasy for teenagers and kids, the beginning of February, 2010 edition

Here are the new releases of fantasy and science fiction books for kids and teenagers for the beginning of February. My information comes from Teens Read Too, and the blurbs are lifted from Amazon.

The Teens Read Too list includes the links from Amazon, so I have been using those to make life simpler for myself. But because Amazon is still not playing nice with Macmillan, I have gone through all the books to link any Macmillan titles to Powells instead.

ATTACK OF THE NINJA FROGS: DRAGONBREATH by Ursula Vernon. "Danny Dragonbreath knew girls were trouble. But the new foreign exchange student, Suki the Salamander, is beyond trouble. Not only has she reduced his best friend, Wendell, to a blithering, lovesick tadpole, but she’s apparently the object of an elaborate ninja frog kidnapping plot. Danny is never one to pass up an adventure (especially one involving ninja frogs), and so he and Wendell and Suki set out on a dangerous quest through the mythical Japanese bamboo forests to find out what these fearsome frogs want. Danny may not be able to breathe fire like a normal dragon, but he and Wendell have watched lots of kung fu movies and can totally take on a bunch of ninja frogs. Or, um, so he hopes..."

BETTER THAN OK: THE OK TEAM by Nick Place. "Focus and his team are Level D, Third Grade Heroeswho are finding their feet. But the bad guys have a new secret weapon—the Serum That Overly Magnifies Powers. And Focus has agreed to a Knighthood Pact without checking the fine print. Can the OK Team overcome the effect of S.T.O.M.P and survive the Knighthood Pact? Or has Hazy lost his focus for good?"

BONE HANDBOOK by Jeff Smith. "This is the ultimate handbook for every BONE fan! Includes character profiles, a timeline of events, interviews with creator Jeff Smith and colorist Steve Hamaker, a showcase of cover art from the original BONE editions, a behind-the-scenes look at how the Scholastic editions were colorized, and other fun stuff!"

DARKSOLSTICE: LYONESSE by Sam Llewellyn. "Not long ago twelve year old Idris Limpet was just an ordinary schoolboy. That was until he was taken from his home and taught to tame monsters from another world. Then he pulled a sword out of a stone. Now, he is Idris House Draco, Rightful King of the Land of Lyonesse. Rightful kings have their problems, however, and Idris has his fair share. He is an exile - hunted from his country by the evil regent Fisheagle and her wicked son Murther. Moreover, Idris's dear friend and sister Morgan has been carried off as a slave to the distant land of Aegypt.And before he can return to fight for his throne and his people, Idris must make the treacherous journey to rescue Morgan. . . . But Idris is never on his own, for as he travels, he meets a company of friends. Friends who shall become Idris's faithful Knights of the Round Table, who will raise armies and return with Idris and Morgan to challenge Fisheagle's monstrous armies and reclaim his Kingdom of Lyonesse unless it is already too late."

EXPLORER X - ALPHA by LM Preston. "For most kids, a trip to space camp is the trip of a lifetime for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. He realizes what is happening too late for a change of fate. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. This turn of events forces him to grow up quickly, accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do dominate it. His power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides a decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left."

FREEFALL: TUNNELS by Brian Williams & Roderick Gordon. "DEEPER sent Will and Chester into FREEFALL-- tumbling through the subterranean Pore with the evil Rebecca twins in hot pursuit, both toting phials of the lethal Dominion virus. When, where, will they ever land?! Just when the drop seems infinite, the boys hit bottom, and find themselves in a realm of near-zero gravity atop a giant spongy fungus stuffed with artifacts from some lost golden age. But they are not alone. And above ground, black-clad Styx are sprouting like poison mushrooms, dead-set on spreading their plague!"

HAMSTER MAGIC by Holly Webb. "Eleven-year-old Lottie's magical adventures continue! She's still enchanted with her uncle's magical pet shop and loves chatting with all of the animals that live there. Her own magical abilities are growing as well. A new neighbor is in town, with magic stronger than Lottie's and a mind to make trouble. Fortunately, the pet shop's newest resident, Giles the hamster, is ready to help. Lucky for Lottie, he's bold, bossy, and incredibly brave!"

THE HIDDEN BOY: BELL HOOT FABLES by Jon Berkeley "When the Flints win the trip to Bell Hoot, they board Captain Bontoc’s Blue Moon Mobile with the expectation of a grand holiday. Then something terrible happens: Bea Flint’s little brother, Theo, disappears on the journey, and the peculiar Ledbetter clan of Bell Hoot, who call Theo the Hidden Boy, is more desperate than even Bea and her family to find him. Bea will have to trust herself and the weird and wise words of an old man called Arkadi in order to find Theo. In her search, she’ll discover that Bell Hoot is more than a vacation destination, a wish is no good unless you give it legs, and Mumbo Jumbo is much more than nonsense—it’s hidden potential that she can find within herself."

JACK: SECRET CIRCLES by F. Paul Wilson. "When his five-year-old neighbor goes missing, Jack can’t help feeling responsible. He should have taken Cody home when he found him riding his bicycle near the Pine Barrens. And then a lost man wanders out of the woods after being chased all night by...something. Jack knows, better than anyone, that the Barrens are dangerous—a true wilderness filled with people, creatures, and objects lost from sight and memory. Like the ancient, fifteen-foot-tall stone pyramid he, Weezy, and Eddie discover. Jack thinks it might have been a cage of some sort, but for what kind of animal, he can’t say. Eddie jokes that it could have been used for the Jersey Devil. Jack doesn't believe in that old folk tale, but something is roaming the Pines. Could it have Cody? And what about the strange circus that set up outside town? Could they be involved?."

THE KING IN RESERVE: THE CHRONICLES OF KRANGOR by Michael Pryor. "Queen Tayesha's plan to rule all the saur is tormenting the land itself. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and vast crevasses are threatening to tear Krangor apart. To halt the queen's plans, Adalon and his friends must rescue a young king in exile. Their mission is thrown into turmoil, however, when the mysterious and terrible A'ak redouble their efforts to return from their magical banishment. Adalon, Targesh, and Simangee must rise to challenge after challenge as their lives hang in the balance and the fate of the world rests in their claws."

KNIGHTS OF THE RUBY WAND: SECRETS OF DROON by Tony Abbott. "Oh no! The secret of Droon is a secret no longer. Eric's mother knows about the rainbow staircase . . . and what's worse, so does Gethwing. The Moon Dragon has sent his minions to the Upper World to search for a magical object that could give him power over all of Droon. Now no place is safe from Gethwing's dark magic. . . "

THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS by Diane Zahler. "Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret. Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths."

Young Adult:

CITY OF CANNIBALS by Ricki Thompson (ETA--straight historical fiction, although it's not clear from the description, but it sounds like a good one for readers of fantasy...). "It’s 1536, and Dell lives on an isolated hillside with her bitter auntie and drunken father. Father has warned Dell never to venture past her mother’s grave to the City of Cannibals. But unanswered questions plague Dell. Why did her parents leave the court of Henry VIII? Was her mother’s death really an accident? And what about the mysterious Brown Boy who leaves sacks of supplies for her family? Dell risks traveling to the City of Cannibals. Once inside London, she is not eaten alive but is confronted with a different horror—the Oath of Allegiance. If she and the Brown Boy don’t sign, they could be executed. Dell has good reason not to sign. But who can defy King Henry VIII and live?"

THE CLONE CODES by Patricia C. & Fredrick McKissack. "The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement. After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality. As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out."

IN A HEARTBEAT by Loretta Ellsworth. "When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different—dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy—her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on."

THE IRON KING: THE IRON FEY by Julie Kagawa. "Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."

LEX TRENT VERSUS THE GODS by Alex Bell. "Law student Lex Trent’s world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years. But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating."

LIGHT BENEATH FERNS by Anne Spollen. "Elizah Rayne is nothing like other fourteen-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence. Trying to escape the shadow of her gambler father, Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery. All her mother wants is for them to have "normal" lives. But that becomes impossible for Elizah when she finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a strangely hypnotic boy who draws Elizah into his dreamlike and mysterious world.Only by forgetting everything she knows can Elizah understand the truth about Nathaniel—and discover an unimaginable secret."

NUMBERS by Rachel Ward. "Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!"

THE POISON EATERS AND OTHER STORIES by Holly Black. "In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. These stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies. The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike."

POSSESSED by Kate Cann. "Rayne can't wait to start her summer job at a remote country mansion, far from the crowded, noisy London she so desperately wants to escape. But the retreat soon turns into a nightmare -- the mansion is creepy, the legends of ghosts keep Rayne up at night, and she doesn't feel safe anywhere. Can Rayne figure out why she's so freaked -- before she becomes a ghost story herself?"

RENEGADE: HELL'S UNDERGROUND by Alan Gibbons. "Paul has met his most audacious - and powerful - ancestor yet, Samuel Rector, who seemingly has the entire East End in thrall to him in the 1830s. His legion of 'rat boys' use terror and menace ordinarily, but with the demon seed inside them, their powers know no end. Their only match is Paul, the renegade, the one member of the Rector clan determined to strike each poisoned generation from the family history. But nobody is stronger than Lud, the King of London, struggling against imprisonment in his cell where the city's five gates meet."

SAVANNAH GREY: A HORROR STORY by Cliff McNish. "It's a difficult time for fifteen-year-old Savannah Grey - she's settled into her latest foster placement, but her body is acting strangely. Then other strange things begin to happen: nature, it seems, is exerting an overpowering force on the world. Birds behave erratically; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away. And Savannah discovers she has supernatural powers. Meanwhile, she feels drawn to the new boy Reece whose life is even stranger than hers. Quickly Savannah and Reece realise that nature has a purpose for them both. For they are on course to meet the vile and evil Ocrassa, who wants to destroy the world by corrupting nature. And it wants Savannah Grey to help realise its savage intent."



  1. I think City of Cannibals is historical, but I don't get the sense it has any fantasy elements in it (just received a copy).

  2. I wondered about that one--the mysterious "brown boy" sounded like he was possibly fantastical.

    I wish it were easier to be sure!

  3. That's a pile of books to look out for. The titles that jump out for me are the darker of the bunch.

    Possessed and Savannah Grey and Numbers each sound particularly promising.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  4. City of Cannibals is straight historical fiction, but is awesome.

  5. Thanks for the clarification, Anne! It does sound good...

  6. I just found this blog and can I say how much I am in love already?


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