McMann, L. (2011). The Unwanteds. NY: Aladdin.
Set in a fantasy world, The Unwanteds is an magical story. Every year in a dystopian land called Quill, all the 13 year olds are evaluated and split into three categories: The Wanteds, the Necessary, and the Unwanteds. The Wanteds are sent to school to be trained to work and lead the country, the Necessaries run the farms and do the labour. The Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Alex and Aaron are twins, both thirteen and awaiting the annual event that decides the fate of all the 13 year olds. Soon enough, it is revealed that Alex is Unwanted and Aaron is Wanted. Torn apart from his twin, Alex is sent to the death farm with the other Unwanteds. Expecting to die, Alex hopes for the best for his twin. But when the Unwanteds arrive at the death farm it is revealed that the person running the death farm has been secretly hiding the Unwanteds away each year in a magical world instead of killing them. There the Unwanteds are encouraged to draw and be creative, the polar opposite of what Quill encourages. Will Alex find a new life here, or will he be drawn back to his Wanted twin?
Meloy M. (2011). The Apothecary. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Moving to new cities can be tough, as fourteen year old girl, Janie, knows all too well. It’s 1952 and she’s just moved to London from America with her family. She soon meets a boy name Benjamin, whose father is the local Apothecary. There is something strange about Benjamin, who talks a lot about spies and such stuff. But when Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie finds herself getting wrapped up in a mission to save him. Benjamin and Janie must search through London, following the clues left behind. This leads the two on a magical adventure from birds, to plants, Janie must let go of everything she thinks is real and embrace the magic that keeps her and Benjamin alive. But the two must hurry, Continue reading
Chainani S. (2013). The School for Good and Evil. NY: HarperCollins.
What if all the fairy tale villains and heroes that we all love and hate come from one place? And what if that place was a school where the heroes and villains trained to be good or bad and where they learned chivalry and hexes. What if that place was called The School for Good and Evil? Sophie and Agatha are best friends. Sophie is the ‘princess,’ pretty, kind, energetic, and beautiful. Agatha is the hag, the witch’s daughter, ugly, and sour. They live in a village where every year two children are kidnapped. One is a good person that everybody loves and the other is the ugly, unlikeable person that nobody likes. And every year the village receives new fairy tale picture books that sometimes have characters inside that look uncannily similar to children kidnapped years ago. So when it’s Sophie’s and Agatha’s year to potentially be kidnapped, Sophie is sure that she’ll be put into the School for Good and Agatha will be put into the School for Evil. Sure enough, one dark night Sophie and Agatha get kidnapped. But somethings strange happens, Continue reading
Black H. (2018). The Cruel Prince. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Jude has always been bitter about being a mortal. Perhaps it’s because she lives in the High Court of Faerie where everybody else around her has magic and power. Even one of Jude’s sisters, Vivi is a faerie and the reason they were kidnapped at a young age along with Jude’s twin sister, Taryn. Jude has always wanted more, always wanted power and magic, and growing up in a world where everybody else has it only adds more fuel to her ambition. So when somebody offers Jude an opportunity to gain power and immunity from any magic used against her, she dives head first into a forest of trouble. There is one catch however, Continue reading
Glaser, M. (2017). The Book Jumper. NY: Feiwel & Friends.
This is one you’ve got to read if you’re a bibliophile and you liked the concept of Inkheart. In The Book Jumper, Amy Lennox and her mother pick up and travel from Germany to her grandmother’s house on the Scottish island of Stormsay. She’s not looking forward to it, and upon arrival her grandmother already has one rule in place – she must read. Except Amy discovers she has the power to jump into books and interact with the characters! In fact, she discovers her family shares this skill and they are also keepers of an antiquated library. Amy quickly learns that a book jumper’s duty is to insure important ideas aren’t stolen from books; indeed, there is a book thief on the prowl. She meets another book jumper, Will, and together they travel from world to world, meeting famous characters and fighting to save crucial ideas before the books themselves are lost forever.
Incredibly crafted and plot-driven, this story is unique enough to keep you happy. I especially found myself wrapped up in the Gothic island setting.
Salerni, D. (2014). Little Monsters. NY: Harper Collins.
Jax Aubrey is a normal orphaned kid. He goes to school, wears normal clothes and hates his incompetent guardian Riley Pendare. On the day after his thirteenth birthday however he wakes up to find out that everybody is gone. Naturally Jax thinks it’s the apocalypse and runs around like crazy until he holes up in his room with a load of supplies. When he wakes up the next day though everybody is back and acting like nothing happened. At this point Jax thinks he’s gone insane. It takes a whole week for Jax to finally find out what’s going on, and to his surprise Riley has the answer. Riley tells Jax that the day everyone had disappeared was called Grunsday. A few people, including Riley himself, called Transitioners have the ability to transition from the real world over to Grunsday, a world where Continue reading