Asian & Pacific Islander
Asian & Pacific Islander incorporates a multitude of ethnicities and nationalities, from Hawaii to Korea to Japan to China to the Indian subcontinent and a whole lot of ocean and land in between! I've also included the Roma/Romani (aka "Gypsies" - which is not a nice word and should be avoided) on this page because of their customs and origins in India.
Click on the image to order your book online!
Click on the image to order your book online!
The Iron Ring (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"When Tamar, the young king of Sundari, loses a dice game, he loses everything -- his kingdom, its riches, and even the right to call his life his own. His bondage is symbolized by the iron ring that appears mysteriously on his finger. To Tamar, born to the warrior caste, honor is everything. So he sets out on a journey to make good on his debt -- and even to give up his life if necessary. And that journey leads him into a world of magic, where animals can talk, the foolish are surprisingly wise, and danger awaits..."
Hollow Moon (Ages 13+)
"A kidnapping, a school band competition and an electric cat that eats everything in sight! Hollow Moon is a fast-paced and witty space opera mystery that tells the tale of Ravana, a teenage girl who has to grow up fast when she and her father become embroiled in a plot of interstellar intrigue. Having fled civil war sixteen light years away, Ravana and her father now live in the sleepy commune of the hollow moon, a forgotten colony ship drifting around Barnard's Star. Yet what began as a minor escapade to rescue her electric cat soon leads to an incredible adventure into the shady dystopian world of politics, kidnappings and school band competitions. Hollow Moon is an adventure for all who relish a dose of humour and practical astrophysics with their fantasy!"
An exerpt from an interview with author Steph Bennion on Zigzag Timeline:
"In Hollow Moon, the dominant interplanetary powers are China and India. Why these Eastern powers as opposed to Western ones?
"I reasoned that future endeavours in space would be driven by commercial needs—not to explore, but exploit, as Ravana contemplates at some point—by starting with asteroid mining and then moving on from there. China and India seemed likely candidates to make the first serious attempts at industrialising space, given the relative state of their economies and need for raw materials compared to the developed but debt-ridden West; China in particular is catching up fast as far as space technology is concerned..." To read the remainder of the interview on Zigzag Timeline, please click here.
Aru Shah and the End of Time (A Pandava Novel Book 1) (Ages 9-12 / Grades 3-7)
"Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she'll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
"One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
"But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them.
"The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?"
Aru Shah and the Song of Death (A Pandava Novel Book 2) (Ages 9-12 / Grades 3-7)
"Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time.
"Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love's bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn't playing Cupid. Instead, they're turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies.
"If that weren't bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn't find the arrow by the next full moon, she'll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won't be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they'll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn't at all who they expected."
The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) (Ages 8-12+ / Grades 3-7)
"MEET KIRANMALA: INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMON SLAYER
"(Only she doesn't know it yet.)
"On the morning of her 12th birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey...until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents' fantastical stories -- like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.
"To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they've come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it..."
Author Sayantani DasGupta is not "just" a children's book author, she's also a physician and teaches in the Graduate Program in Narrative Medicine, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, all at Columbia University. She grew up in Ohio, an Indian immigrant whose grandparents still lived in Kolkata, India. She began writing children's fantasies for her own children.
The Game of Stars (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #2)
"When the Demon Queen shows up in her bedroom, smelling of acid and surrounded by evil-looking bees, twelve-year-old Kiranmala is uninterested. After all, it's been weeks since she last heard from her friends in the Kingdom Beyond, the alternate dimension where she was born as an Indian princess. But after a call to action over an interdimensional television station and a visit with some all-seeing birds, Kiran decides that she has to once again return to her homeland, where society is fraying, a terrible game show reigns supreme, and friends and foes alike are in danger. Everyone is running scared or imprisoned following the enactment of sudden and unfair rules of law.
"However, things are a lot less clear than the last time she was in the Kingdom Beyond. Kiran must once again solve riddles and battle her evil Serpent King father -- all while figuring out who her true friends are, and what it really means to be a hero."
The Chaos Curse (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #3)
"Kiranmala must leave the Kingdom Beyond and travel to her hometown of Parsippany to save Prince Lal, who has been spirited to the unlikeliest of places -- a tree in the yard of her best-enemy-for-life. She also faces evil serpents (of course!), plus a frightening prophecy about her role in the coming conflict between good and evil. Most troubling of all, though, is the way reality all around her seems to waver and flicker at odd moments. Could it be that the Anti-Chaos Committee's efforts are causing a dangerous disruption in the multiverse?
"Kiran must grapple with the increasingly tangled threads that threaten to ensnare her...and everyone in the world and the Kingdom Beyond."
RE de Jauregui
Bitter (Ages 16+)
NOTE: Shameless plug here for my own book.
"Shadows slink through the night in Alkali Flat as homicide detective Juanita Bitter investigates murders most foul. But when a Dispatcher's body is found in the stairwell of the police department, Bitter is forced into a case where everyone is a suspect—especially her fellow officers. Worse, that same Dispatcher had managed to put Bitter in the hospital a few days earlier…
"When the sun goes down, the strange, exotic, and magical emerges in Bitter's Sacramento. And if something hisses at her from a dark alley, it may not be a stray cat."
"The short story, Bitter Blood, introduces Bitter and her world―down the street, around the corner, and one dimension over from the "real" Sacramento.
"Bitter Nights picks up the continuing story of Bitter a few months later. Murder, monsters, and mayhem―crime meets urban fantasy and Bitter must solve the case before someone else dies."
Cross-posted under Native American and Mixed
Flute of the Wind Queen (Outlander Leander, Vol.1) (Ages 15+)
"Leander is an energetic young man who wants to become a treasure hunter. When his dad is deployed he sees it as an opportunity to go on his first adventure; which unfortunately leads him straight into enemy territory. All ambition and no skill or experience, he stumbles his way around enemy camps to find the famous relic the Wind Queen left behind." The author states that there is no sex and very little violence in the book.
Returning My Sister's Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice (Ages 10+)
"Enchantment, peril and romance pervade the shadowy Far East, from the elegant throne room of the emperor's palace to the humble teahouse of a peasant village. In these dozen stories of adventure and magic from the Orient, a maiden encounters an oni demon in the forest, a bride discovers her mother-in-law is a fox woman, a samurai must appease his sister's angry ghost, strange luck is found in a jade locket, and dark and light are two sides of harmony.
"A striking debut collection from Eugie Foster."
The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake and Other Tales of Magic and Mischief (All Ages)
"18 Fairy tales and fables for young, young adult, and young-at-heart readers. Featuring princesses, foxes, rabbits, and other magical mischief from the Orient to Africa and close to home, from the imagination of Nebula Award Winning author Eugie Foster."
* The Girl Who Drew Cats
* The Tax Collector’s Cow
* When Shakko Did Not Lie
* The Princess and the Golden Fish
* Li T’ien and the Demon Nian
* A Parade of Taylups
* Cuhiya’s Husband
* The Dragon Breath’s Seed
* Kaawaa, Naagan, and the Queen’s Diamond Necklace
* The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile
* A Patch of Jewels in the Sky
* Spring Arrives on a Hob’s Tail
* Second Daughter
* Princess Bufo marinus, Also Known as Amy
* Razi and the Sunbird
* The Red String
* The Tortoise Bride
* The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake
Eon (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured. When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life."
Eona (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power - and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans..."
Starship Troopers (Ages 15+)
In this Hugo Award winning novel, young Juan 'Johnnie' Rico signs up for Federal Service. Successful military service will allow him all rights of citizenship, including voting. Boot camp is tough. He's ready to quit and has actually resigned when the aliens strike Earth, wiping out his hometown of Buenos Aires. Rip-roaring Heinlein at his best, this action adventure sci-fi novel is also a fascinating social commentary. It's never really revealed that Rico is Filipino -- until near the end of the book -- and if you don't read carefully, you'll miss it. (PSSST: The book is MUCH better than any of the movies! - RDJ)
Song of the Mountain (Ages 13+)
"...after the first age of men perished in a rush of mud and water, after ice twisted the face of the earth, when wise men first thought to put history on parchment, an old man sat at the eastern edge of the world. A boy knelt beside him, listening to the old man's rhyme and shivering in the heat of a blazing fire. If you listen carefully, you might still hear the echo of that ancient whisper:
"Mud and mire shall birth a tree,
A sprout shall grow of ancient seed.
The five unite to break the one;
The curse of man shall be undone.
But brothers rise ere dragon's bane.
The last shall smite the first again.
"Song has grown up listening to his grandfather recite legends of the distant past. But it is his own history he seeks to uncover, particularly the events surrounding his parents' deaths. But that is a secret closely guarded by his grandfather. Then Song discovers an heirloom that links him to an ancient prophecy. His destiny lies within the old tales he has scorned. Song must follow the path that killed his father. "
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Racing the Dark (Ages 13+)
"A brilliant new novel from a 25-year-old debut author, Racing the Dark is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch. Lana begins to learn the spells and incantations, each of which requires some form of sacrifice from the person who employs it. As Lana becomes more powerful, she is deceived into a sacrifice she is unwilling to make — the life of her own mother. When Lana dares to use a dark, ancient spell to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. This is an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding the power of magic requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice."
The Burning City (Ages 13+)
"In The Burning City , Alaya Dawn Johnson continues the trilogy begun with her debut, Racing the Dark, delving deeper into the world of magic wielded by women who understand the dark trade-offs of power and sacrifice. Lana, the heroine, has become the black angel — a harbinger of destruction unheard of in the islands for 500 years. Nui'ahi, the sleeping volcano of the great city Essel, has erupted. In the chaos, the city is reshaping itself and violence threatens from all corners. A rebel movement has formed in the destroyed heart of the city, determined to oust Kohaku, the mad Mo'i of Essel. Lana wants no part of the rebels' cause — the death spirit still chases her, and the great witch Akua has kidnapped Lana's mother. But the more Lana looks for her mother, the more she is drawn into the city's political conflicts. As Kohaku descends deeper into madness, determined to subdue the city by any means necessary, his wife has run away to the fire temple, where she too is slowly converted to the rebel's cause. When long-running tensions spill over into civil war, Lana must make her hardest decision yet: her mother's life, or a city's freedom?"
Stormdancer (Ages 16+)
Japanese steampunk with a female protagonist! Be still my heart!! (RDJ)
"The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
"A DYING LAND - The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
"AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST - The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
"A HIDDEN GIFT - Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
"But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire."
Midsummer's Mayhem (Ages 8-12+ / Grades 3-7+)
"Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad's a renowned food writer, Mom's a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It's easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi's dream of proving she's not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it'll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.
"But when Mimi's dad returns from a business trip, he's mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.
"Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she's never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.
"But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings' romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what's happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . ."
India-born Rajani LaRocca was raised in Kentucky. A doctor, children's author and baker of sweet treats, she, her family and adorable dog currently live in the Boston area.
Not Your Sidekick (Grades 5-8)
"Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship--only it turns out to be for the towns most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, whom Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there's the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether." Parents, this diverse coming-of-age story features LGBTQ characters. It was a 2017 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist in YA/Children’s Fiction and a 2017 Bisexual Book Awards Finalist in Speculative Fiction.
Not Your Villain can be found on the Black and LGBTQ pages.
C.B. Lee is a bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese American writer based in Los Angeles, California.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grades 4-8 / Age 10+)
"This Newbery Honor book features magic, adventure, friendship, and even a dragon who can't fly! In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer."
"Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers."
Gunpowder Alchemy (The Gunpowder Chronicles) (Volume 1) (Ages 16+)
"In 1842, the gunpowder might of China's Qing Dynasty fell to Britain's steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers, eliminating China's best chance of fighting back.
"Since her father's execution eight years ago, Jin Soling has kept her family from falling apart. With her mother addicted to opium and her younger brother in danger of being sent off to the factories, Soling has no choice but to sell off the last of her father's possessions. Unwittingly, her actions bring her to the attention of the imperial court--the same court that betrayed her father.
"The Crown Prince has launched a secret mission to bring together the remnants of the former Ministry of Science. To restore her family's name, Soling must track down the rebel alchemist who holds the key to powering the imperial fleet. Her only ally is a man she's just met--the engineer with a mysterious past who was once meant to be her husband..."
Barnes and Noble Link
Clockwork Samurai (The Gunpowder Chronicles) (Volume 2) (Ages 16+)
"The Gunpowder Chronicles continue as a woman left adrift by a dynasty in decline attempts to reclaim her family’s honor…
"Appointed to the Court of Physicians, Jin Soling can see that the newly-crowned Emperor is cracking, relying on opium to drown his troubles. The Qing Empire is failing, and war with the British is imminent, but the man to whom Soling was once engaged has a bold idea to save it. A leader within the Ministry of Engineering, Chen Chang-wei suggests an alliance with the isolated island empire of Japan, whose scientists claim to have technical advancements that could turn the tide of the war.
"Seeking to escape the politics of the imperial court, Soling arranges her own passage on the airship to Japan. But once they land, Chang-wei and Soling become targets of the shogunate’s armored samurai assassins. Caught in an age-old battle between feudal tradition and innovation, and stranded in a land distrustful of foreigners, Soling and Chang-wei must find a way to fight back against the Western invaders—with the survival of both Qing Empire and the island nation of Japan at stake."
Barnes and Noble Link
Legend (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
"From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths--until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills." Contains graphic violence.
Prodigy (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
"But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
"In this highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Legend, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action."
Champion (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"He is a Legend.
"She is a Prodigy.
"Who will be Champion?
"June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again.
"Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion."
Planesrunner (Ages 13+)
"There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths. When Everett Singh's scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse the—Infundibulum— the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They've got power, authority, and the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He's got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.
"To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner's going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness. Can they rescue Everett's father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!"
When the Moon Was Ours (Ages 12-18+ / Grades 7-9)
From the author of The Weight of Feathers comes a young adult novel about a girl hiding the truth, a boy with secrets from his past, and four sisters who could ruin them both.
Recipient of a Stonewall Honor and longlisted for the National Book Award, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon Was Ours is another winner from this talented author.
Cross posted in LGBTQI and Latinx/Hispanic
Parents: Contains transgender characters, gender identities, and scenes of transphobia, possible self harm and child abuse
Cinder (Ages 12 to 18+)
"Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future."
Scarlett - Book Two
"The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series!
"Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.
"Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
"An NPR Best Book of 2013"
Cress - Book Three
"The third book in the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-Bestselling Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! The evil space queen gives an imprisoned hacker orders to track down our cyborg heroine and her team of reimagined fairytale characters. Can the Rapunzel-like hacker break free and help them instead?
"Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
"Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
"When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
"Find out what happens in another richly imagined adventure in Marissa Meyer's world of fairy tale (with characters based off of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel), science fiction, and intergalatic intrigue."
Winter - Book Four
"The final book in the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-Bestselling Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! As the story draws to a close, our team of fairytale heroines must join forces with wicked Levana's own stepdaughter to stop the evil space queen once and for all―or lose everything.
"Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
"Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend―the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
"Fans will not want to miss this thrilling final installment in the national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series."
Fairest - Prequel
"A standalone prequel to the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-Bestselling Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! Find out what made the evil space queen from the beloved series so wicked.
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the Fairest of them all?
"Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her "glamour" to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story―a story that has never been told . . . until now.
"New York Times–bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes a special full-color image of Levana's castle and an excerpt from Winter, the exciting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles."
Stars Above - Short Stories in the Lunar Chronicles
"A collection of stories set in the world of the Lunar Chronicles continues the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-Bestselling series by Marissa Meyer!
"The enchantment continues . . .
"The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories―and secrets―that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
"With nine stories―five of which have never before been published―and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer's novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles."
The Hollow Girl (Grade 9+)
For fans of Asylum, Anna Dressed in Blood, and The Haunting of Sunshine Girl comes a new feminist horror novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Mary: The Summoning.
"Five boys attacked her.
"Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.
"Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.
"One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.
"She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn."
American author Hillary Monahan, Welsh-Romani and sexual assault survivor, writes YA, horror, urban fantasy and romance under several pen names. The Hollow Girl is her fifth novel.
Parents: Sexual assault/rape, revenge, body parts, and magic -- the mature themes make this a better book for older teens.
Girls of Paper and Fire (Ages 16+)
"Uncover a riveting story of palace intrigue set in a sumptuous Asian-inspired fantasy world in the breakout YA novel that Publisher's Weekly calls 'elegant and adrenaline-soaked.'
"In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it's Lei they're after -- the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king's interest.
"Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, she does the unthinkable -- she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge."
Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire - Book 2) (Ages 16+)
"In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.
"Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn't the end of the plan---it's just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei's head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
"Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?"
Parents: Language, violence, caste system, trigger warnings of abuse and rape. Features a female-to-female romance. This series is cross-posted on the LGBTQ page.
Natasha Ngan grew up between Malaysia and the UK. She is Chinese and white.
The Ringworld series: Ringworld, The Ringworld Engineers, The Ringworld Throne and Ringworld's Children (Ages 16+)
Ringworld (Ages 15+)
200-year-old Louie Wu is bored. He's been everywhere and done everything that a human can do. Until the Hindmost, a three-legged alien called a Puppeteer, recruits he, the tiger-like Kzin called Speaker to Animals, and Teela Brown, a "lucky" human, to explore a world a million times larger than the Earth -- a ring around a distant star... May not be appropriate for younger teens due to sex and other mature themes. (RDJ)
The Ringworld series: Ringworld, The Ringworld Engineers, The Ringworld Throne and Ringworld's Children (Ages 16+)
Ringworld (Ages 15+)
200-year-old Louie Wu is bored. He's been everywhere and done everything that a human can do. Until the Hindmost, a three-legged alien called a Puppeteer, recruits he, the tiger-like Kzin called Speaker to Animals, and Teela Brown, a "lucky" human, to explore a world a million times larger than the Earth -- a ring around a distant star... May not be appropriate for younger teens due to sex and other mature themes. (RDJ)
Spirit Hunters (Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12)
"We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother.
"A riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, this tale will have you guessing at every turn!
"Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely.
"The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?"
Parents, this is a middle grade mystery/horror story, so expect some creepiness appropriate for tweens. The main character is Korean and there's a mixed cast of characters.
Emily X.R. Pan
The Astonishing Color of After (Ages 13+)
"'Emily X.R. Pan's brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book.'--John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
"A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.
"Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
"Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
"Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love."
Parental Warnings: While this is a middle-grade/YA book, it has deep topics, including suicide, loss of a loved one, depression, abandonment, and racial slurs/remarks.
Linda Sue Park
Archer's Quest (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"Twelve-year-old Kevin, a Korean American math whiz, is shocked beyond belief when a young man, complete with bow and arrows, crash lands in his bedroom. And that’s just the beginning. The man, called Skillful Archer, claims to be a legendary ruler from ancient Korea. While Kevin tries explaining contemporary life to the man he nicknames Archie, the young ruler teaches Kevin about focusing his thoughts in an attempt to help him return to his kingdom. There’s not a moment to lose as Kevin uses Korean history and folktales, math, and the Chinese Zodiac to help his friend travel back through time before the Year of the Tiger ends. If Archie can’t get home, history will be forever changed.
Iron Jaw and Hummingbird (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Mars is controlled by the Chinese, who call their civilization the Celestial Empire. But for teenagers Gamine and Huang, it is anything but heavenly. Gamine was taken off the street by an aristocrat, schooled as a fine young lady — then abandoned at her patron’s whim and forced to make her living as a grifter. Huang’s army career is cut short by a bandit ambush. When the two meet, Gamine — “Iron Jaw” — is the leader of a sham religious movement, and Huang, or “Hummingbird,” is the bandits’ chief tactician. They join forces to bring down the corrupt government that has determined their lives." Contains sexual situations, may not be suitable for younger teens.
Gonji: Red Blade from the East: The Deathwind Trilogy, Book One (Ages 15+)
"A legendary sword-and-sorcery hero returns! Gonji Sabatake, the conflicted samurai-Viking, seizes Destiny itself by the throat, as he pieces together and pursues the bizarre, mystical quest which powerful cross-world forces have forbidden--the mystery of the DEATHWIND!
"Cast out of his Japanese homeland, stalked by assassins both human and supernatural, Gonji surges across a barbaric, myth-infested 16th-century Europe, following the spoor of the creature called The Beast with the Soul of a Man-- But is this a wily Enemy, or an enigmatic Friend? Gonji's embattled, vampire-haunted flight brings him to the magnificent walls of Vedun, fabled and accursed city in the escarpments of the Carpathians, only to find the town vanquished and occupied by mercenaries and monsters, demons and foul sorcery, under the command of the storied, invincible King Klann. Here in Vedun begins Gonji's mighty, willful rebellion against an age-old tyranny which has held countless intertwined worlds in its thrall.
"This is just the first of many battles that will imperil loyal friends, comrades, and loved ones in a violent combat to restore universal free will and self-determination, to consign unchained supernatural menace to its foul curling place, to restore honor, faith and love to a world of enslavement and chaos. The adventure of Gonji's mind-boggling quest, revised and restored from its original publication, begins with RED BLADE FROM THE EAST, Book One of The Deathwind Trilogy! Kai Meyer writes: 'GONJI is the most important rediscovery of classic fantasy since CONAN. Dark, complex, and fantastically well-written.'" Warnings for parents: the book contains some violence and strong language as well as some implied sex but nothing explicit. NOTE: This new edition has been completely revised and updated by the author. If you read the old Gonji stories, you'll want to read these new editions and get caught up once again in the world of Gonji! (RDJ)
Gonji: The Soul Within the Steel: The Deathwind Trilogy, Book Two (Ages 15+)
"The legendary warrior Gonji seems cast as Destiny's Scourge...
"The exiled son of a Samurai warlord and a Viking woman, Gonji pursues the secret of the Deathwind across monstrous 16th-century Europe. The storied city of Vedun has been conquered by the army of King Klann and his dark sorcerer, Mord. Gonji raises a rebellious militia...but the city suffers horrifying outrages, treachery rears its ugly head, and the warrior himself proves his own worst enemy. There's no help either from the enigmatic Simon Sardonis, revealed now as an entity of great power and dread. Foes threaten Vedun from all sides. All that stands between the embattled city and utter destruction is...THE SOUL WITHIN THE STEEL. Kai Meyer says: 'GONJI is the most important rediscovery of classic fantasy since Conan. Dark, complex, and fantastically well-written.'" Warnings for parents: the book contains some violence and strong language as well as some implied sex but nothing explicit. NOTE: This is the new and updated edition of the Gonji trilogy! If you're a frugal soul and buy a used paperback, make sure you get the latest edition. The author has revised and updated the series, including adding new or previously deleted sections! (RDJ)
Gonji: Deathwind of Vedun: The Deathwind Triology, Book Three (Ages 15+)
"The Book of Death...and of Life.
"The Carpathian city of Vedun is poised for holocaust: terrifying monsters, vile magic, and brutal mercenaries are arrayed against the anxious secret militia by the multiple-lived King Klann. Vedun's new military leader--the half-breed samurai, Gonji--must seek the aid of the powerful nightmarish creature, Simon Sardonis, who shuns all mankind. But when the inevitable clash explodes, when the ghastly struggle to protect and evacuate hundreds of innocents begins, will Gonji's efforts be enough? Will treachery prove the city's undoing? Can any remnant of a ravaged and brutalized populace be saved from the horror? Or will Gonji's now passionately embraced quest abruptly end with the...DEATHWIND OF VEDUN?
"The startling conclusion to a great epic fantasy trilogy! German fantasy writer Kai Meyer writes: 'GONJI is the most important rediscovery of classic fantasy since Conan. Dark, complex, and fantastically well written!'" Warnings for parents: the book contains some violence and strong language as well as some implied sex but nothing explicit. NOTE: This is the new and updated edition of the Gonji trilogy! If you're a frugal soul and buy a used paperback, make sure you get the latest edition. The author has revised and updated the series, including adding new or previously deleted sections! (RDJ)
Snow Crash (Ages 15+)
This is the classic 1992 cyberpunk novel that, along with William Gibson's Virtual Light, kicked off the cyberpunk sci-fi writing movement. With a main character named Hiro Protagonist, it's clear that there's plenty of action and humor for the teenage reader. Hiro is not just the hero of the story, he's a pizza delivery driver and computer hacker, lives in a storage locker, and the greatest sword fighter in the world. The book features a diverse cast of characters and plenty of Sumerian mythology.
Nightlife (Cal Leandros) (Ages 18+)
About the Cal Leandros series, via text from a middle school science teacher and rabid Sci-Fi fan: "Upper high school, college and up. Lots of F-bombs and myth references. Good character development and interaction. If it were a movie, it would be rated R for language and violence, but is good for the fantasy/ninja fan who wouldn't touch Twilight or Twilight clones with a biohazard suit and a 10-foot pole."
"'There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I’ve known that ever since I can remember, just like I’ve always known I was one… …Well, half of one, anyway.' Welcome to the Big Apple. There’s a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side — and that’s only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half-human. His father’s dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares — and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn’t exactly wanted to stick around long enough to find out. He and his half-brother Niko have managed to stay a step ahead for three years, but now Cal’s dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they’ve always wanted him…for he is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal’s life…"
Moonshine (Cal Leandros, Book 2) (Ages 18+)
"After saving the world from his fiendish father's side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half-brother Niko have settled down with new digs and a new gig - bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good. Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin - the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine - a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.
"Cal and Niko are being set up themselves-and the people behind it have a bite much worse than their bark..."
Madhouse (Cal Leandros, Book 3) (Ages 18+)
"Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place? But now there's a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they're going to have to earn."
Deathwish (Cal Leandros, Book 4) (Ages 18+)
"In a nightmarish New York City, life is there for the taking... Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are hired by the vampire Seamus to find out who has been following him -- until Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead). Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, they were almost wiped out. Now, the Auphe want revenge. But first, they'll destroy everything Cal holds dear..."
Roadkill (Cal Leandros, Book 5) (Ages 18+)
"It's time to lock, load, and hit the road... Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.
"She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip..."
Blackout (Cal Leandros, Book 6) (Ages 18+)
"When half-human Cal Leandros wakes up on a beach littered with the slaughtered remains if a variety of hideous creatures, he's not that concerned. In fact, he can't remember anything-including who he is. And that's just the way his deadly enemies like it..."
Doubletake (Cal Leandros, Book 7) (Ages 18+)
"Half-human/half-monster Cal Leandros knows that family is a pain. But now that pain belongs to his half-brother, Niko. Niko's shady father is in town, and he needs a big favor. Even worse is the reunion being held by the devious Puck race - including the Leandros' friend, Robin - featuring a lottery that no Puck wants to win.
"As Cal tries to keep both Niko and Robin from paying the ultimate price for their kin, a horrific reminder from Cal's own past arrives to remind him that blood is thicker than water-and that's why it's so much more fun to spill."
Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1) (Ages 18+)
Trixa, from Chapter 1: "...I told them the truth. My family had been gypsies and travelers since…since before anyone could remember. We’d seen a lot in our travels and we passed on our stories to relatives when the reunions came around..."
"When Trixa learns of a powerful artifact known as the Light of Life, she knows she’s hit the jackpot. Both sides — angel and demon — would give anything for it. But first she has to find it. And as Heaven and Hell ready for an apocalyptic throwdown, Trixa must decide where her true loyalty lies, and what she’s ready to fight for. Because in her world, if you line up on the wrong side, you pay with more than your life…" Language (including F-bombs), sexual scenarios, violence and descriptions of killing demons may be too intense for younger teens and their parents.
The Grimrose Path (Trickster, Book 2) (Ages 18+)
"Bar owner Triva Iktomi knows that inhuman creatures of light and darkness roam Las Vegas - especially since she's a bit more than human herself. She's just been approached with an unusual proposition. Something has slaughtered almost one thousand demons in six months. And the killing isn't going to stop unless Trixa and her friends step into the fight..." Language (including F-bombs), sexual scenarios, violence and descriptions of killing demons may be too intense for younger teens and their parents.
The Unnaturalists (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)"In an alternate London where magical creatures are called Unnaturals and preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.
"Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.
"As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world."
My own review on Amazon: This young adult steampunk novel revolves around Vespa Nyx and the Museum of Unnatural History -- and the possibility that she might be the only witch left in this world of magic and technology.
The city, New London, is the fault of Saint Tesla, whose experiments tore loose whole sections of Victorian London, thrusting them into a magical land where an assortment of legendary creatures and the Tinkers live. The Tinkers are reduced to poverty by the time of the story. According to Trent, “…the Tinkers in this book are heavily based on my experiences living in the Sichuan highlands of China with the Baima people, an ethnic Tibetan tribe.” I actually thought that they were based on the Roma but later decided that they were of Asian heritage, so I was happy to read that I wasn’t too far off in my assessment.
The story moves along briskly, following Vespa through her trials with her father, work, aunt, New London society and a young Pedant, who might not be who he claims. While magic is illegal, children in the city are sometimes born with powers -- and abandoned or disowned by their families. The story is filled with mysterious events, magical creatures called Elementals, a dangerous and destructive Waste, plenty of intrigue and a romantic thread that doesn’t muck up the storyline at all. In fact, it’s essential to the story. The famous scientists of our world -- Tesla, Newton, Darwin -- are Saints in the city of New London, where magic is forbidden and the technology depends on a dust called myst.
The threads that tied the story together weren’t obvious and many were subtle hints and portents of things to come, unlike most YA literature. Even the story elements that seemed familiar often ended up in completely different places; the tale took unexpected directions. There were a few spots that I was able to predict what was coming next, but I’ve read hundreds of books; I wouldn’t expect a teen or YA reader to pick up on those nuances. In general, it was not predicable or heavy handed at all, including the ending.
The formatting of the story is interesting, with alternating chapters told in first person, present tense, by Vespa, and third person, past tense, by Syrus, a Tinker. It took me a minute to adjust to this style, but I think that it actually enhances the story line. You’re never trying to figure out which character’s point of view is being followed -- it’s obvious at a glance.
The weaving of fantasy and technology within a Victorian New London make this a unique addition to the world of steampunk. I stayed up until 2 am to finish this story and honestly, I’m looking forward to rereading the book to pick up details that I might’ve missed during the first reading. RDJ
The Tinker King (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)
"Science and magic mean danger in this sequel to The Unnaturalists, which School Library Journal called “an entertaining mix of steampunk and fantasy.”
"After Vespa, Syrus, and Bayne defeated the Grue and restored order to their world in The Unnaturalists, they thought their future was secure. Empress Olivia, committed to peace and equality for humans and Elementals alike, was a fair and just ruler. And the Creeping Waste had vanished, giving them hope for the first time.
"But rebellion is brewing in the far-off city of Scientia, and dark Elementals are plotting war in the ruins of New London. Before they know what’s happening, Vespa, Syrus, and their friends are plunged into a new swamp of intrigue, deception and magic—and the cost of survival may be more than any of them are willing to pay."
My Amazon review: I was lucky and received an ARC copy of the book in an online drawing.
The sequel of The Unnaturalists picks up after the first book. In this book, the Tinker, Syrus, is the main character. His chapters are first person present, while Vespa’s chapters are third person past tense. With the destruction of much of New London and myth now illegal, the four young leaders of the new society are trying to rebuild their technology, using Syrus’ Tinkers knowledge of machines. But now new troubles threaten them and an ancient enemy rises to oppose their efforts to rebuild.
Again, the twists and turns of the story line are not predictable. I enjoyed this book but I’m hoping that since I read an advance copy, a few details have changed with the publication of the book.
I was a little disturbed at a few spots. For example, at one point there’s a huge disaster, but there was no indication of regret by the main characters of those who didn’t make it through. And the Elementals that were saved simply disappear, with only a few references and questions as to their fate. Also, the ending felt a little rushed.
Other than those details, I once again stayed up much too late while finishing the book. I couldn’t put it down. The details, wonderfully expressed and yet not overdone, including Syrus’ eating utensils, again led me to the Asian heritage of the Tinkers. The story moved right along, keeping me wanting to turn the pages and find out what happens next.
I highly recommend this book, not just to young adults, but to adult steampunk and fantasy fans as well.
Rainbows End (Ages 15+)
Robert Gu, a world famous American poet of Chinese ancestry, was dying of Alzheimers. Cured, he wakes to a strange new world filled with technology and worse, he's lost his poetic voice. With a mean streak a mile wide, his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter put up with his angst despite his cruel treatment of the people around him. Gu isn't very likeable at first, but he evolves slowly into a better person even as his skills with the new technology improve. This hard sci-fi story involves conspiracies, future technology, family issues, and more. To be honest, I think that a tech-obsessed teen would enjoy this book, but I felt like I was plowing along until I got to about page 200. At that point the action picked up and from there on, I enjoyed the story. The end of the book left some loose ends but I haven't heard of a sequel -- yet. (RDJ)
Gene Luen Yang
American Born Chinese - Graphic Novel (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again.
The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there’s no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way—if they want fix the disasters their lives have become. American Born Chinese is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year." This is a graphic novel.
Dragon of the Lost Sea series - Dragon of the Lost Sea, Dragon Cauldron, Dragon Steel, and Dragon War (Grades 4-7)
Dragon of the Lost Sea
"The outlawed princess of the Dragon Clan and her young human companion undergo fearsome trials in their quest for an evil enchantress."
The Tiger's Apprentice series- The Tiger's Apprentice: Book One, Tiger's Blood, and Tiger Magic (Grades 5-7)
The Tiger's Apprentice: Book One
"Tom Lee's life changes forever the day he meets a talking tiger named Mr. Hu, and discovers he is the latest in a long line of magical Guardians."
The Magic Paintbrush (Grades 2+ / Ages 8+)
"Steve can hardly believe it. With his new paintbrush, whatever he paints becomes real. Now he, Grandfather, and Uncle Fong can wish for anything they want. Uncle Fong uses the paintbrush to return to China, to the village of his childhood, and Grandfather wants to visit the Lady on the Moon. Steve wonders if the paintbrush can bring his parents back. But they all soon realize the paintbrush might have its own agenda."
Legal stuff - “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”