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Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy & Horror for Youth
Including everything from literal monsters to those lurking inside us and magical tea to apocalyptic end-times, this year’s batch of science fiction, fantasy, and horror is an exemplary one. All titles were reviewed in Booklist between August 2021 and July 2022.
Alone out Here. By Riley Redgate. 2022. Disney/Hyperion, $18.99 (9781368064729). Gr. 9–12.
It’s 2072, and the only people to escape a cataclysmic volcanic eruption on Earth are a group of teens touring a spaceship. Leigh Chen, First Daughter of the U.S., quickly takes charge of the shell-shocked teens as they grapple with the magnitude of their situation.
Dust & Grim. By Chuck Wendig. 2021. Little, Brown, $16.99 (9780316706230). Gr. 5–8.
Wendig blends fantasy, horror, and humor in his middle-grade debut, which sees 13-year-old Molly learn some disconcerting truths about her family, chief among them that her brother runs a funeral home—for monsters.
Hell Followed with Us. By Andrew Joseph White. 2022. Peachtree Teen, $18.99 (9781682633243). Gr. 9–12.
Benji, a 16-year-old trans boy, attempts to leave the cult in which he grew up, but its members, who call themselves Angels and incited the apocalypse, are hell-bent on bringing him back into their radical fold.
The Honeys. By Ryan La Sala. 2022. Scholastic/Push, $18.99 (9781338745313). Gr. 9–12.
An idyllic summer camp provides the backdrop for this folk-horror tale, wherein gender-fluid Mars investigates the death of their sister. La Sala gives real-life fears a supernatural twist, cleverly using horror and psychological-thriller elements to create a heightened sense of dread.
Magic Steeped in Poison. By Judy I. Lin. 2022. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (9781250767080). Gr. 8–12.
Ning comes from a family of Shénnóng magic-wielders with the ability to cure ailments with meticulously brewed teas. But when a mysterious chain of tea poisonings threatens the land, Ning enters a royal magic competition in hopes of winning a cure.
The Ogress and the Orphans. By Kelly Barnhill. 2022. Algonquin, $19.95 (9781643750743). Gr. 4–8.
In a once-idyllic village, now beset by misery and mistrust, happiness can still be found within the orphan house. When a kind ogress is falsely accused of a crime, the orphans rally to save her and restore the spirit of neighborliness to their village.
Our Crooked Hearts. By Melissa Albert. 2022. Flatiron, $18.99 (9781250826367). Gr. 9–12.
Albert’s meticulously crafted fantasy follows Ivy, who recently discovered her mother is a witch. Teasing out the strange events and secrets that have haunted her life, Ivy begins a potentially deadly descent into the occult.
Scout’s Honor. By Lily Anderson. 2022. Holt, $18.99 (9781250246738). Gr. 8–12.
Meet the Ladybirds, a prim scout organization that secretly trains its members to hunt monsters. Ex-scout Prue is reluctantly pulled back into the fold in this campy horror romp that mixes weapons training with tea parties.
Valentina Salazar Is Not a Monster Hunter. By Zoraida Córdova. 2022. Scholastic, $17.99 (9781338712711). Gr. 4–6.
Eleven-year-old Valentina longs for the days when her family was in the monster-saving business, but that ended when her father was killed during a mission. However, an unexpected visit from an estranged uncle leads Valentina to take up her father’s mantle.
Walking in Two Worlds. By Wab Kinew. 2021. Penguin Canada, $17.99 (9780735269002). Gr. 7–10.
Out of place in the gaming world (where she’s a target for misogynistic players) and on the Rez (where gender-based traditions chafe), Anishinaabe Bugz struggles with her identity in a post-pandemic, high-tech future.
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