New Releases of Science Fiction and Fantasy for children and teenagers--the beginning of March, 2010 edition

Here are the latest releases of sff for kids and teenagers (up to March 8), taken from Teens Read Too, with blurbs found in various places. It's a noteworthy batch, in as much as it includes two sequels to Cybils middle grade sff finalists--The Farwalker's Quest, by Joni Sensel, and 11 Birthdays, by Wendy Mass. In addition, there is an interesting new trend (if two books can be called a trend) that might be emerging. Move over, undead--here come the bad bunnies!

Middle Grade:

ATTACK OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES by Andrea Beaty. “When Joules and Kevin Rockman’s parents drop them off at Camp Whatsitooya on their way to an International Spamathon, the twins expect a summer of marshmallows, campfires, and canoe trips. What they do not expect is to defend the earth from an invasion of sugar-addicted, murderous, seven-foot-tall rabbits from another galaxy. Happily, the Rockman twins, veteran watchers of the Late, Late, Late Creepy Show for Insomniacs, are unusually well-prepared for dealing with monstrous beings from outer space. If only their fellow campers were so lucky.”

THE BRAIN FULL OF HOLES by Martin Chatterton. “Thinking about stuff was all well and good, but Sheldon would have liked a bit less thinking and a lot more action. Couldnt Theo tell that things were getting weirder by the minute? Switzerland is not famous for being a silly country. But why are so many silly things happening? Holes are disappearing from cheese. Doppelgngers, cuckoo clocks and angry geese are running amok in the Alps. Not to mention flying cows! All Sheldon McGlone wants is some peace and quiet. Hes left Australia, hes trying to get used to his new life, and hes just fallen in love. But when your step-brother is Theo Brain, the worlds youngest super sleuth, getting any peace and quiet is about as unlikely as Urs Bupka winning the Eurovisionara Song Contest.”

CHANTAL'S QUEST FOR THE GOLDEN SWORD by Oliver Neubert. “The first in a series of four, this fantasy novel for reluctant readers stars Chantel the Princess of Freedom. She's the only one capable of retrieving the four ancient relics that will save the world from the darkness, a force of evil unleashed by a vengeful spirit that is slowly destroying nature. With the help of a warrior mouse, a winged creature, and a fox bat, Chantel's first adventure begins: her search for the powerful Golden Sword of the Land of the North. Unfortunately, the Snow Walker — the brutal Warlord of the North — is determined to find the Golden Sword first. In this thrilling adventure, young readers learn, as Chantel does, that everything in life is a precious balance, and caring for nature is key in that balance.”

DRIZZLE by K.D. Van Cleve. “Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody knows her family’s world-famous rhubarb farm is magical. The plants taste like chocolate, jewels appear in the soil, bugs talk to her, and her best friend is a rhubarb plant named Harry. But the most magical thing is that every single Monday, at exactly 1:00, it rains. Until the Monday when the rain just stops. Now it’s up to Polly to figure out why—and whether her brother’s mysterious illness and her glamorous aunt Edith’s sudden desire to sell the farm have anything to do with it. Most of all, Polly has to make it start raining again before it’s too late. Her brother’s life, the plants’ survival, and her family’s future all depend on it.”

ELSPETH: SHADOW OF THE DRAGON by Kate O'Hearn. “Kira and Elspeth have already broken First Law many times over Now outlawed and running for their lives, they are determined to stand amongst the men and fight the unjust First Law that binds the kingdom. But cruel Lord Dorcon still stands in their way and the heat of his chase is stronger than ever. A prophecy to fulfill, a cruel monarchy to upend.”

FALLING IN by Frances O'Roark Dowell ”…. it's actually not that great to have a buzzing in your ear. It's distracting for one thing. And when Isabelle starts listening to the buzz instead of, say, her boring teacher, strange things happen. She gets sent to the principal's office (that's not so strange), but then while awaiting her punishment, she tumbles into an adventure—into another world that's a little bit different, a little bit Hansel & Gretel-y, a little bit like a fairy tale, which would be great, but...did I mention that Isabelle is an unusual dresser? When she shows up in fairy-tale land wearing her favorite high, pointy boots, the fairy-tale people start thinking that Isabelle is a witch -- and not just any witch, but the witch!”

FINALLY by Wendy Mass. Follow up to 11 Birthdays. “You can pierce your ears when you're twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you're twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you're twelve. You can get a cell phone when you're twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you're twelve. When you're twelve, when you're twelve, when you're twelve . . . My name is Rory Swenson, and I've been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen. My life will officially begin.”

FULL CIRCLE: AVALON, WEB OF MAGIC by Rachel Roberts “It started with a quest to find the home of all magic: Avalon. It may end in darkness. Three girls, Emily, Adriane, and Kara, their fates set long ago, were to become mages. They were to discover the secrets of Avalon and save their animal friends. They failed. Now, the Gates of Avalon are locked, beloved friends are doomed, and the Dark Sorceress reigns supreme. There may be one final chance to fulfill their destiny. But it will take the strength of a warrior, the fire of a blazing star, and the heart of a healer. The mages must put everything they love on the line—and be prepared to sacrifice all—as the final battle for Avalon begins!”

THE HUNT FOR THE HAUNTED ELEPHANT: THE GHOSTHUNTERS by Carol Matas & Perry Nodelman. “Molly and Adam Barnett have had more than enough trouble lately. First, they discovered that their dearly departed grandfather wasn’t quite as “departed” as a dead guy should be. Then, they had to save their dad from a dreaded family curse. The final installment in the Ghosthunters trilogy opens with Molly and Adam making a frightening discovery: the emerald in Reggie’s ring was once on an ancient Indian elephant carving. The other eye is nowhere to be found, and if the eyes aren't soon returned to the elephant, ghosts everywhere will repossess their former bodies, and the world will be doomed. Will Molly and Adam be able to find the elephant, and the missing eye, in time?”

MEANWHILE: PICK ANY PATH. 3,856 STORY POSSIBILITIES. by Jason Shiga. “Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (which is as ominous as it sounds). Down each of these paths there are puzzles, mysterious clues, and shocking revelations. It’s up to the reader to lead Jimmy to success or disaster.”

ORTEGA by Maureen Fergus “With a thick finger he slowly traced the path of a stray raindrop that had landed near the corner of his eye and trickled down his cheek. And he thought to himself that it was probably a very good thing that gorillas didn’t know how to cry. Raised in a laboratory, Ortega might seem nearly human to his scientist-caregivers, but to the children at his new school, a talking gorilla is nothing but a freak. Unless he wants to spend the rest of his life locked in a cage, however, Ortega is going to have to change people’s minds. More than a comic-adventure novel, Ortega asks the reader to reflect upon the limits of science, imagine how it feels to be profoundly different from those around you and, most of all, consider what it really means to be human.”

ROBERTO & ME: BASEBALL CARD ADVENTURES by Dan Gutman “When Stosh travels into the past to meet Roberto Clemente, a legendary ballplayer and a beloved humanitarian, he's got only one goal: warning Roberto not to get on the doomed plane that will end his life in a terrible crash. In the sixties, Stosh meets free-spirited Sunrise, and together they travel across the country to a ball game that leaves them breathless—and face-to-face with Roberto. But when the time comes for Stosh to return to the future, he finds that the adventure has only just begun. . . . Join Stosh and Sunrise on a journey that will take you into the past, from the excitement of Woodstock to a life-changing encounter with Roberto Clemente—and into a surprising future!”

THE TIMEKEEPER'S MOON by Joni Sensel “When Ariel Farwalker hears the moon talking to her, she thinks she must be going crazy. Then she discovers an ancient map, and learns that the moon is part of a mysterious summons that's calling her on a new journey. With her surly guardian Scarl by her side, Ariel sets out on an adventure that leads her to new friends-the beautiful Flame-Mage Sienna and the mute boy Nace, who captures Ariel's heart. As the four travel on, strange things start to happen-fragments of Ariel's past appear in the present, so that it seems that time itself is coming undone. At the end of the journey, Ariel will learn where her journey began, and have a chance to save her life as she knows it.”

WIPE OUT: TIME RUNNERS by Justin Richards. “Jamie and Anna are Time Runners—they keep history moving in the right direction. Their latest mission takes them to Britain in the 1950s, during the Cold War—when Anna was from before she fell through the cracks in time. But something's terribly wrong. Why is a Russian spy attending a dinner party held by the man in charge of Britain's nuclear development? Why is a ghostly image of Anna being dragged away by grotesque imp-like creatures? Why does the mysterious Mr. Prophecy never leave his room? And why is there a corridor reaching back through time hidden in the cellar? If Jamie and Anna don't find out quickly, it could be too late. It could be the end of the world.”

Young Adult:

BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver. “What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.”

THE CANTERVILLE GHOST: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL by Classical Comics “Oscar Wilde's clever parody provides an entertaining twist on the traditional gothic horror story. A gauche, materialistic American family moves into the English mansion of Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of the resident ghost. Wilde creates an unforgettable gallery of characters, from Hiram B. Otis and his children to Lord Canterville and the chain-clanking ghost Sir Simon. This brilliant and often overlooked story is a clever commentary on how Wilde saw "free" America challenging "traditional" England — all in the guise of a charming fireside tale. This faithful graphic novel adaptation is ideal for students and any readers who want to understand and appreciate the original story.”

FORGET-HER-NOTS by Amy Brecount White. “Something—some power—is blooming inside Laurel. She can use flowers to do things. Like bringing back lost memories. Or helping her friends ace tests. Or making people fall in love. Laurel suspects her newfound ability has something to do with an ancient family secret, one that her mother meant to share with Laurel when the time was right. But then time ran out. Clues and signs and secret messages seem to be all around Laurel at Avondale School, where her mother had also boarded as a student. Can Laurel piece everything together quickly enough to control her power, which is growing more potent every day? Or will she set the stage for the most lovestruck, infamous prom in the history of the school?”

GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman. “In this powerful, lovely sequel to GREEN ANGEL, Green must learn the stories of a number of "witches" and free her true soul mate from a prison as she grapples with life, love, and loss in a post-disaster world.”

HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins. “Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.”

JONAS: BEAUTIFUL DEAD by Eden Maguire. “Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead. Something strange is happening at Ellerton High. Phoenix is the fourth teenager to die within a year. His street-fight stabbing follows the deaths of Jonas, Summer, and Arizona in equally strange and sudden circumstances. Rumors of ghosts and strange happenings rip through the small community as it comes to terms with shock and loss. Darina, Phoenix's grief-stricken girlfriend, is on the verge. She can't escape her intense heartache or the impossible apparitions of those that are meant to be dead. And all the while the sound of beating wings echos inside her head...And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina. He tells her that she must help Jonas-the first of the four to die-right the wrong linked to his death. Only with her help can Jonas finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?”

THE LINE by Teri Hall “An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line. Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message.”

MARCH: CONSPIRACY 365 by Gabrielle Lord “On New Year's Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Now everyone's searching for Cal, the psycho kid who's meant to have attacked his uncle and put his sister in a coma. He's desperate to clear his name and protect his family, but he also has less than a year to solve an ancient family secret: the Ormond Singularity. And the closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his life becomes. He has 306 days. The threat is growing...”

THE MARK by M.R. Bunderson. “She's had it forever. A tiny mark on her hand. No big deal, right? But when Tori discovers that her ordinary freckle is really some kind of microscopic tattoo, she doesn't know what to think, especially after meeting Eric, a guy she feels strangely connected to--and not just because he has a mark too. All too soon, Tori and Eric realize that their marks are only the first clue to a mystery that will change everything. And with each new discovery, Tori finds herself pulled deeper and deeper into a world she could never have imagined.”

MY SO-CALLED DEATH by Stacey Jay “One second, freshman Karen Vera's on top of the most fabulous cheer pyramid ever. The next, she's lying on the pavement with seriously unflattering cranial damage. Freakishly alive without a pulse, Karen learns that she's a genetically undead zombie. Suddenly, Karen's non-life is an epic disaster. She's forced to attend a boarding school for the "death-challenged," her roommate is a hateful wannabe-Goth weirdo, and she's chowing down on animal brains every day to prevent rot (um, ew?). Even worse, someone is attacking students and harvesting their brains for a forbidden dark ritual. And it might be the hottest guy at DEAD High, the one who makes Karen's non-beating heart flutter! Armed with a perky smile and killer fashion sense, it's up to Karen to track down the brain snatcher and save her fellow students from certain zombie death.”

THE NEW KID by Temple Mathews. “Will Hunter is used to being the New Kid; Harrisburg High School is his fifth new school in less than three years. By now, he knows not to be fooled by the bright pep rallies, the wholesome jocks, the innocent cheerleaders. He knows the evil lurking underneath. It’s the same evil that took his dad eight years ago: the same evil he battles every day. Natalie Holand’s life fell apart the night her sister Emily disappeared. No one believes her when she tells them what she saw: yellow and green eyes, glowing beneath the surface of the water in which Emily supposedly drowned. And Emily isn’t the only person to go missing in Harrisburg lately. The town is changing, not for the better, and Natalie doesn’t know why. What she does know is that, whatever’s happening, it’s bad, and the New Kid is right in the middle of it. Because Will has a secret even bigger than Harrisburg’s, and there’s more to it than even he knows.”

THE RETURNERS by Gemma Malley. “London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn't just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it…”

THE SIGHT by Jude Watson. “Gracie has premonitions. They’ve haunted her since before her mother’s death, and she can’t get rid of them. She doesn’t know how to deal with them and she doesn’t want to--they’ve never led to anything good. She never knows whether she’s seeing the past, the present, or the future--it just comes to her. But Gracie is forced to try to use her premonitions. Her best friend, Emily, disappears, and the premonitions lead to the only clues to where she might be--and how she might be saved. Gracie’s long-absent father reappears, and his history appears to be mysteriously linked to the disappearance of a student many years ago--and the recent appearance of a body. Only Gracie’s premonitions lead to answers to some dark family secrets.”

THE Z.E.B.R.A. INCIDENT: WIFF AND DIRTY GEORGE by Stephen R. Swinburne. "Wiff and Dirty George were two lads larking about London. Now they are swept up in one of the most dastardly plots ever unleashed on England, and it's up to them to stop it. Set in the Beatlemania 1960s, Stephen R. Swinburne's smashing adventure is super fab." This, incidently, is the second of the two bad bunny books.


  1. Argh, I meant to get my Brain review posted earlier...they are sooo funny. I thought Drizzle was coming out in April - must move it up higher on my ARC-to-read list. Hex Hall was ok, kinda fun, nothing too amazing though.

  2. Oo theres so many great books coming out. I'm not usually drawn to middle grade books--but I have to say that Finally sounds really cute!

  3. OMG I didn't know there was going to be a follow up to 11 Birthdays. That makes me very happy. As does Falling In.

    Before I fall is suppose to be really good.

    I love the premise of The Sight.

    Someone I work with read The New Kid, and didn't like it. They read as much YA as I do.

    Charlotte - Thanks so much for these new release round ups

  4. Jennifer--I thought the Brain books were rather too strangly violent for my gentle self....but I can see the humor in them.

    Morgan--it is a rather nice lot this week. I'm looking forward to Finally too!

    You're very welcome, Doret--I enjoy the lists myself, and it's nice to see others enjoying them too.

  5. Charlotte, just discovered your brilliant blog! Hope you don't mind if I list it on my blog roll? These are just the sort of books unicorns enjoy...

  6. Welcome, Reclusive Muse! I don't mind in the least; on the contrary, I am gratified!

  7. Thanks for the round-up - it's good to see paranormal going strong in YA, as that's what I'm writing. Wait, maybe I'm too late?? Sigh. We'll see...


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