New Releases of Fantasy and Science Fiction for kids--the October 1-15, 2010 edition (Part 1: middle grade)

This is perhaps the most Important new release period of the year--all of these books are eligible for the Cybils Awards! There are no second chances, not even for those published on October 15!

There were so many books (wonderful books...) for these two weeks that I split them into two separate posts. Here's part 1--the middle grade section--with lots of good stuff: Barry Lyga writing middle grade sff...the new Rick Riordan book...the new Healing Wars book... and more!!! The Young Adult list, which is perhaps even more mind-blowing, will go up later today.

Edited to add (very importantly, because it looked like I had actually read all these books and written their descriptions myself, and I'm very sorry for any confusion): The blurbs are lifted from Amazon and other such sites where summaries from the publishers can be found, and my information comes from Teens Read Too!

ARCHVILLAIN by Barry Lyga Kyle Camden knows exactly where he was the night Mighty Mike arrived: Sneaking around the fallow field behind Bouring Middle School (motto: "The U Makes It Exciting!"), running the electrical cabling that would allow him to dump the contents of the old water tower on the visiting football team during the next day's game. Which is why he couldn't tell anyone where he was. Or what he saw.

Those lights everyone saw in the sky weren't tiny meteors burning up in the atmosphere. They were some kind of strange, supercooled plasma that bathed the entire field - including Kyle - in alien energies, energies that boosted Kyle's intellect and gave him superpowers. Unfortunately, the energies also brought Mighty Mike to earth. Kyle is the only one who knows that Mighty Mike is an alien. Everyone else thinks that Mike is just some kid who stumbled into the field, got beefed up on meteor juice, lost his memory, and decided to start rescuing kittens from trees. But Kyle knows the truth. And he'll do anything in his power to stop Mighty Mike, even if it means being an Archvillain!


Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.

CINDERELLA, NINJA WARRIOR: TWISTED TALES by Maureen McGowan Cinderella lives in a magical kingdom with many highly-trained wizards, both good and bad. Her stepmother uses magic for evil. The stepmother married her father to steal her late mother’s wand, and she killed him when he refused to comply. She is jealous of Cinderella’s beauty and both hopes and is threatened that the girl might have inherited an aptitude for magic. She casts spells on Cinderella to control her, requires her to do tedious housework, and often inflicts unnecessarily harsh punishments on the young girl. In spite of her hardships and mistreatment, Cinderella perseveres. She possesses a skill for martial arts and secretly practices to hone her abilities, hoping someday she’ll be strong enough to escape her stepmother’s nefarious grasp. One day, an invitation arrives for a Magic Festival celebrating the prince’s birthday. Despite her nubile magic powers, Cinderella wants to enter the magic competition in an attempt to break free of her family. When Cinderella discovers her mother’s wand, she becomes aware of her innate magic abilities. Will Cinderella perform well in the competition? Will she catch the eye of the prince? Will she escape her stepmother’s control? Here’s the twist—you’re in control. At three points during the story, you get to decide what Cinderella would do next. Depending on your choice, you flip to that relevant tab for the continuation of the story, and her adventures unfold. And the extra fun part? After reaching one outcome, the reader can re-read the book, choose different options, and read an entirely different story!

Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. . .Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom. Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it. And Frederick, the talented and intense clockmaker's apprentice, seeks to learn the truth about his mother while trying to forget the nightmares of the orphanage where she left him. He is determined to build an automaton and enter the clockmakers' guild -- if only he can create a working head. Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears.

ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR by Jennifer NielsenAs of today, there are only 7 CHILDREN who have ever read this book and lived to tell about it. 95 CHILDREN successfully read the first chapter, but upon beginning chapter 2, they started BLABBERING in some language known only as "flibberish." 38 CHILDREN made it halfway through this wretched book before they began SUCKING THEIR THUMBS THROUGH THEIR NOSES.

If you're VERY BRAVE, perhaps you are willing to TAKE YOUR CHANCES. Be sure that you have told your family who gets your favorite toys if you DO NOT SURVIVE this book. Read it now, IF YOU DARE. But don't say you haven't been warned, for this is the story that unfolds the MYSTERIES OF THE UNDERWORLD.

FACING FIRE by KC Dyer Facing Fire, the dramatic sequel to A Walk Through a Window, demonstrates author kc dyer's unique ability to fashion historical narrative into a page-turner. dyer keeps her young audience simultaneously informed and entertained.

dyer's vivid, captivating style entices readers into the dramatic stories of those who have risked everything to make their way to Canada. Follow Darby as she witnesses first-hand the feats of the Underground Railroad, the shocking, fiery expulsion of the Acadians, and the electrifying lead up to the War of 1812.

THE FINAL QUEST: SECRETS OF DROON by Tony Abbott An immortal dragon. A long hidden secret. The kingdom of Droon is at the brink of war. . . The situation in Droon has never been more desperate. The wizard Galen is missing. Eric has been forced undercover with Gethwing, the all-powerful Moon Dragon. And millions of beasts are assembling outside Jaffa City, ready to attack Droon's capital. Eric, Keeah, Neal, and Julie will do whatever it takes to save their beloved kingdom. But to defeat the Moon Dragon, they'll need to uncover the greatest secret in all of Droon. . . .

GHOUL STRIKE! by Andrew Newbound To finance the search for her lost parents, 12-year-old Alannah Malarra uses her psychic powers to hunt demons. With the help of her "business associate," professional thief Wortley Flint, she snags ghouls and robs them of their illicit riches. Sure, it's a mercenary existence, but a girl's got to pay the rent. What Alannah doesn't realize is that the petty ghosts she's so good at snaring are just a small part of a big conflict, dating back centuries. The evil Gargoyle hordes from the Dark Dimension are at war with the army from on High, and only Alannah holds the key to victory!

HAVOC by Chris Wooding Getting into the sinister comic-book world of MALICE is just the beginning. Getting out of it is much, much harder -- as it surviving while you make your attempt.

HALT'S PERIL: RANGER'S APPRENTICE by John Flanagan The renegade outlaw group known as the Outsiders may have been chased from Clonmel, but not before killing Halt's only brother. Now Rangers Halt and Will, along with the young warrior Horace, are in pursuit. The Outsiders have done an effective job of dividing the kingdom into factions and are looking to overtake Araluen. It will take every bit of skill and cunning for the Rangers to survive. Some may not be so lucky.

The international bestselling Ranger's Apprentice series turns up the tension in John Flanagan's latest epic of battles and bravery.

JUST ADD MAGIC by Cindy Callaghan See what kind of trouble Kelly Quinn is stirring up....

by Rick Riordan You've read the book. You've seen the movie. Now submerge yourself into the thrilling, stunning, and action-packed graphic novel.

Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

THE LOST HERO: THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS by Rick Riordan After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

MAGICAL MAIL by Claire Barker Faith is the most ordinary, least remarkable member of her beautiful, ambitious, incredibly overachieving family. Yet, it is she who has been chosen to embark on a dangerous quest to rescue a mythical world.
You see, Faith loves stories, especially fantasies about dragons and mermaids, kings and hidden treasures. But now a mystery informer has stolen letters from some famous, fearsome fairy tale characters-like Blackbeard the Pirate, Little Bo Peep, and the Big Bad Wolf-and he's threatening to expose the truth about them. And that would ruin the magic forever. Scared as she is, Faith just can't allow that to happen.
Along her journey, she encounters many perils, as well as help in some surprising places. Will she succeed? What happens will change Faith forever.

THE MEMORY BANK by Carolyn Coman ...the story of Hope Scroggins, who lives with her beloved sister Honey and the Dursley-esque parents they share. In fact these parents are SO horribly awful that one day, when the sisters disobey the rule against "no laughing", they banish Honey forever, telling Hope that she must simply "forget" her.

Hope knows that she HAS to find her sister again, before her memories of Honey fade. But before she can even begin to look, she's whisked away to the World Wide Memory Bank, where her accounts are in disarray...There she learns about the process of how dreams and memories are kept safe. She also learns that there's a group of misfits called the Clean Slate Gang who want to destroy the Memory Bank, and all of the dreams and memories kept there. What she doesn't know is that Honey has been picked up by the Clean Slate Gang, and they're heading right for the Memory Bank.

Philippa is excited to spend her vacation with her friend Robyn, but she has no idea just how much excitement awaits. When a magic spell carved on a mysterious circle of rocks transports Philippa to fairy godmother headquarters, she learns that her own mother is in danger. To protect her mom from a serious accident, Philippa must pretend to be a fairy, while Daisy, her fairy godsister, returns to Earth as Philippa! And that’s just the beginning of their adventure. After passing a harrowing test of their loyalty to each other, Philippa and Daisy undergo a fantastic journey to rescue a lost fairy who has devoted her powers to maintaining the portal of the stone circle. With time running out, and the worlds of humans and fairies at risk of being severed, Daisy finds herself facing an extraordinary choice that has the power to change her life forever.

PILLARS OF TIME: THE ARCHAEOLOJESTERS by Andreas Oertel Archaeolojesters are back, and this time they're not just messing with ancient history - they're becoming a part if it!

SHADOW WOLF: WOLVES OF THE BEYOND by Kathryn Lasky The wolf pup Faolan was born with a twisted paw, a slight defect that caused his wolf clan to abandon him in the forest to die. But Faolan, with the help of the grizzly bear who raised him as her own, survived.
Now he's made it back to his clan and as a gnaw wolf, the lowest ranking pack member. And the hardships are just beginning. Another gnaw wolf, Heep, is jealous of Faolan and sets him up for failure. As if these humiliations are not enough, Faolon is framed for the murder of a wolf pup. Faolan must catch the culprit in time and prove he has what it takes to be a full member of the pack.

SLEEPING BEAUTY, VAMPIRE SLAYER: TWISTED TALES by Maureen McGowan. Long ago in a faraway kingdom where humans co-exist with vampires, werewolves and fairies, a beautiful baby princess named Lucette is born. The king and queen host a celebration, but exclude the vampires because of tensions brewing between their previously peaceful kingdoms. Angry at the slight, the Vampire Queen crashes the party and puts a curse on the baby: when Lucette reaches adulthood, she will cut herself, and the instant her blood falls upon the ground, she will never wake again while the sun is in the sky. When night falls, she will awaken while everyone else in the kingdom will fall asleep, leaving Lucette alone in the darkness. The royal wizard can’t reverse the spell, but alters it so that the curse can be lifted if Lucette proves she has found true love. But falling in love seems impossible if all the eligible bachelors are sleeping. Furious at the curse tampering, the Vampire Queen breaks the peace treaty that forbids vampires from attacking the people of Lucette’s kingdom. An army of vampire slayers is created to defend the kingdom from the nightly rampaging bloodsuckers. Lucette secretly trains with the army, knowing that if her parents’ attempts to protect her fail and the curse comes true, one day—well, technically one night—she’ll be the only one in her kingdom awake to fight back. And here’s the twist – you’re in control. At three points during the story, you get to decide what Lucette would do next. Depending on your choice, you flip to that relevant tab for the continuation of the story. Based on your choices, Lucette’s adventures unfold. And the extra fun part? After reaching one outcome, the reader can re-read the book, choose different options, and read an entirely different story!

TOLLINS: MORE EXPLOSIVE TALES FOR CHILDREN by Conn Iggulden [sorry, couldn't find a handy blurb, but I would like to say that my boys are dying to get a hold of this one...]

TUSK THE MIGHTY MAMMOTH: BEAST QUEST, THE DARK REALM by Adam Blade Tusk the Mighty Mammoth rules the rotting forests of Gorgonia with razor sharp tusks. She terrorizes the rebels at war with the evil wizard Malvel and is holding Ferno the Fire Dragon captive. Can Tom and Elenna defeat Tusk before Malvel’s guards track them down?

"Then a vast shape came smashing out of the trees to their left. At first, all Tom saw were flying branches and whole trees uprooted and thrown through the air. Then, lunging through the chaos, came the most immense Beast Tom had ever seen.

Tusk came thundering forward, her huge trunk lifted as she roared, her feet crushing everything in her path."

ULTIMATE MAGIC: MERLIN'S DRAGON by T. A. Barron Avalon is on the verge of total destruction: an army of warriors, a swarm of fire dragons, and a lethal plague are all laying waste to Merlin's beloved land. But Merlin is nowhere to be found. Leading the fight in his place is Basil, the once tiny lizard who is now the most powerful dragon in Avalon.

But to restore peace, the mastermind behind this chaos, Doomraga, will need to be discovered and destroyed before his power grows stronger and Avalon and its inhabitants are beyond saving. For Basil to triumph, he and his friends may need to make the ultimate sacrifice.

In this final book of the Merlin's Dragon trilogy, T. A. Barron brings this saga to a thrilling (if bittersweet) end.

THE WYVERNS' TREASURE: NATHANIEL FLUDD, BEASTOLOGIST by R. L. LaFevers After tangling with the deadly basilisk, Nathaniel Fludd is glad to return to England with his Aunt Phil. But someone has ransacked their home, and their best suspect is the sinister man who's been trying to steal the Book of Beasts. Before Nate and Aunt Phil can find the culprit, they are called to Welsh countryside. The wyverns (giant dragons) are in an uproar. Could the same man who ransacked the Fludd house be behind the rift with the wyverns? And just what does he want with The Book of Beasts? But before Nate can solve that mystery, he must calm the dragons before it's too late. It's just another day at work for the world's youngest beastologist!


  1. The poorly rhymed title, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (I mean, is it just me? They DID intend a rhyme, did they not?) makes my teeth hurt.

  2. You are incredible, Charlotte. I noticed you'd ALREADY read over 10 of the nominees for the Cybils! How do you find so much time to read?? I am envious. =)


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