New Additions to Alien Star Books!
I was thinking about this the other day and decided that I needed to add a page where I could feature new additions for a few months. Some of these are new authors, while others are classics, but they're all new to this website. Now you can easily find the latest and greatest books that I've selected for this adventure in reading!
Please note that throughout the website, titles marked in bright green are Accelerated Reading (AR) books. AR books are assigned to your children for their Language Arts (aka English) classes. While your child is either given a list of books or referred to a list on the school's website, I've been trying to make it easier for parents and teens to find books in my favorite genres -- Science Fiction and Fantasy. There aren't any brand new authors with debut novels on the AR list (that I know of). There are, however, a few books in Spanish and a couple in French. You can search my entire website for Spanish- or French-language books by using the Search page and just type in "Spanish" or "French".
In any case, I keep adding new books, from debut novels to the classics of sci-fi and fantasy, to this website. The target age range is from 10 to 25, so each book is labeled with a grade and/or age range and parental warnings about content. I've also labeled the Kindle, Nook and Smashwords editions. If there's no tag, it's a paperback or hardback edition of the book.
I hope this helps you find new books to interest your teen in the glorious world of speculative fiction -- Science Fiction and Fantasy -- in Color!
Click on the image to order your book online!
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.”
Everfair (Ages 16+)
"From noted short story writer Nisi Shawl comes a brilliant alternate-history novel set in the Belgian Congo.
"What if the African natives developed steam power ahead of their colonial oppressors? What might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier?
"Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's 'owner,' King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.
"Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history."
While I would normally place a book with a mixed cast of characters on the "Mixed" page, this alternate history is focused in Africa and thus I feel it belongs on the "Black" page. Note to parents: there are some mature themes and same-sex relationships.
Daniel José Older
Shadowshaper (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)
"Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes their first party. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
"With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one. Now Sierra must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come."
Shadowhouse Fall (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)
"The stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Shadowshaper is daring, dazzling, defiant."A magical revolution on the page." -- Leigh Bardugo"[Older] leaves us openmouthed and speechless, asking "What just happened to me?!" -- Jacqueline Woodson
"Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light -- an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.Thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new, Sierra and Shadowhouse are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers lead the fight against systems that oppress their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds . . . or risk losing them all."
Karen Memory (Ages 15+)
"You ain't gonna like what I have to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I'm one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. 'Hôtel' has a little hat over the o like that. It's French, so Beatrice tells me."
"Set in the late nineteenth century-in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground-when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable's high-quality bordello. Through Karen's eyes we get to know the other girls in the house-a resourceful group-and the poor and the powerful of the town.
"Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone's mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap-a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
"Hard on the heels of that horrifying discovery comes a lawman who has been chasing this killer for months. Marshal Bass Reeves is closing in on his man, and he's not about to reject any help he can get, even if it comes from girl who works in the Hôtel Mon Cheri.
"Elizabeth Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the Old Steampunk West with a light touch in Karen's own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science in Karen Memory."
A fun romp but parents, it does feature a whorehouse, alternative lifestyles and a same-sex relationship. Nothing that I would consider explicit.
"At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
"Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.
"In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
"But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
"But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.
"But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
"And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems."
African American author Justina Ireland builds an alternate history set during the time of the American Civil War. Highly recommended for Black speculative fiction fans.
Children of Blood and Bone
"Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls."But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
"Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
"Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy."
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California.
Shadows Cast by Stars (Ages 12+ / Grades 7-9)
"Old ways are pitted against new horrors in this compellingly crafted, “atmospherically beautiful” (Kirkus Reviews) dystopian tale about a girl who is both healer and seer.
"Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet—especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.
"Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to the Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe—government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors—and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument...
"Incorporating the traditions of the First Peoples as well as the more familiar stories of Greek mythology and Arthurian legend, Shadows Cast by Stars is a haunting, beautifully written story that breathes new life into ancient customs."
Author Catherine Knutsson is Métis.
Juniper Leaves: The Otherworldly Tale of a Lonesome Magical Girl (Ages 13+)
"Kinky-haired blerd Juniper Bray used to believe in magic, until she lost her best friend: her grandmother. Now this 15-year-old shy girl is headed to her father’s research trip on a farm hundreds of miles away, with a family she barely knows and the opposite of a best friend, her new arch nemesis, Bree Mckinney. As if she wasn’t miserable enough. Little does she know the next few months Juniper will discover magical powers she never knew she had, get a crush on a girl she never knew she’d like and well, quite frankly, save the world. Juniper Leaves is a fantastical coming-of-age tale of a girl who learns to let go, live a little, and best of all, believe in herself — all before her sixteenth birthday." This fantasy story features a black queer protagonist who is obsessed with science. The author describes her as nerdy 15-year-old. Highly recommended.
The Last Faoii (Ages 16+)
"The faoii have protected Clearwall for generations. With militaristic order and stalwart discipline, these women have reigned in prosperity. But when her monastery is attacked and her sisters slaughtered, only young Kaiya-faoii is left alive.
"Forced to cope without the long-standing traditions of her Order, Kaiya travels the country on a mission to avenge her sisters and preserve what is left of her heritage. The search brings her not only to dark discoveries and ancient family secrets, but to something she never wanted or dreamed of: a brother she never knew she had.
"Forced into a war at the heart of a broken empire, the siblings must evaluate the true meanings of enemy, betrayal and freedom―and the gray areas surrounding each. Kaiya slowly learns the true state of the world outside her monastery’s walls, the dangers of the poisonous army that is slowly covering the land, and of her own innate abilities gifted by the Goddess."
Note: Parents should be aware of violence and some language. Some of the battle scenes are dark.
The Harlem Shake (Ages 15+)
"Two lovers are reunited by the storm of the century.. Just when New Yorkers were given a wakeup call into the realities of Global Warming by way of Hurricane Sandy, Harlem becomes host to yet another one of Mother Nature’s catastrophic lessons. There was an inactive fault line under the village of Harlem. When this fracture in the bedrock of Harlem’s famed 125th street becomes active, all of Harlem begins to shake as New York experiences a category 8 earthquake.
"Young television audience producer Kenny thinks he is prepared for everything Murphy’s Law can throw at him. With the help of his roommate, Ant, he manages to generate a packed audience to the Apollo Theater despite the hurricane forecast..
"He is full of confidence when he runs into his ex-girlfriend, Deidra, who left him to travel along with a rapper as a glorified manager. Still in all he was having a good day, but not in his wildest dreams would he think that he and his team of audience coordinators and friends would have to navigate crevasses the length of city blocks, collapsing buildings and lawless streets. It will take all of his skills to help them escape being buried under the rubble of this world famous concrete jungle." The main characters are Black and Latino -- as Jeff said, "It's Harlem." Great reviews, some language and violence (what do you expect in a disaster?), no sex. About PG-13.
Added 4/24/2017 Black/Latino
Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed
Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale (Dark Quest Books) (Ages 13+)
"Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined...
"In the Nejd there is nothing at all...except secrets. A band of thieves wish such secrets to remain hidden.
"In England, far from his desert home, Ali bin-Massoud serves as apprentice to the famed Charles Babbage. One night a mysterious box is delivered by a clockwork falcon and Ali's world is never the same again. Heartache, danger, and thieves mark his journey as Ali is summoned home at the death of his father.
"It will take faith, knowledge, and yes, love to realize his destiny, and more than a little skill with steam-driven technology. Can he unravel the mystery of the puzzle box and the clockwork djinn before it is too late? An ancient legacy and Ali's very life depend on his success.
"Hear you the tale of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn."
Added 4/11/2017 Middle Eastern
Sin Eaters (Devotion) (New Adult/Adult - 18+)
"Khamun Cross has been assigned an objective that will change his life: to protect Sanna Steele from the dark forces that desire to steal her soul. Khamun is a member of a secret society of Guardian Angels whose battle against The Cursed has been raging for centuries. The Cursed roam the earth to harvest souls for the Dark army, while the Guardian Angels desire to protect The Light.
"Khamun has been commissioned to watch over Sanna, but in doing so, he also satisfies his secret cravings for the sins of The Cursed. Like a vampire, he feeds off of his enemies. What was now tainted is purified by his touch, and he returns them to The Light.
"Unbeknownst to Sanna, she is the key to the war, and The Cursed are desperate to have her at all costs. They hunt her, as well as her family and friends, relentlessly. Will Khamun and his team be able to save her from the Dark?
"Kai Leakes delivers a classic tale of good versus evil in this supernatural thriller."
Added 4/11/2017 - Black plus mixed cast of characters
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."
Added 4/11/2017 Asian
Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna
Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin: Creepy Hollow Adventures 1 (Grades 1 - 6 / Ages 6 to 12+)
Golden Book Award Winner
"Spooky and funny, a heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children. Nikki and her impish cousin, Jack, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest on Halloween. A wise talking skeleton, Wishbone, tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped inside the pumpkin and can’t be freed without their wands. The children offer their help, so the skeleton takes them on a journey to the world of Creepy Hollow to retrieve the three wands he hid long ago in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. Ghoulina, the beautiful vegetarian ghoul, and Catman, who was once a man, join them on their quest. They must face danger and conquer evil every step of the way as they search for the Wands before the wicked Hobgoblin and his henchman, a Tasmanian Devil, can get their hands on them. This is a fun, humorous and touching story for kids, with plenty of character interaction woven into a backdrop of scary danger, heroic action and lessons to be learned."
Mixed cast of characters - added 4/4/2017
Justin Scott Parr
Sage Carrington, Math Mystery in Mexico City (Volume 2) (Ages 10+)
"The adventure continues...
"Best friends Sage and Isabel are traveling with family across Mexico when they encounter another baffling mystery. This time, it's a cryptic math riddle painted inside a portrait by renowned artist Frida Kahlo.
"Tag along with Sage and Isabel on a quest that stretches from the pyramids at Teotihuacan to the majestic temples of Chichen Itza, from the Olmec ruins of San Lorenzo to Mexico's island paradise of Cozumel.
"Your favorite tween detectives are on the case and won't stop until they discover the significance of Frida's peculiar numeric puzzle.
"Justin Scott Parr's Sage Carrington series is for all fans of Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Cam Jansen, and the Hardy Boys."
Science - added 3-25-2017
The Magister's Mask (Ages 13+)
"Shenza Waik of Tresmeer is a young woman who has just completed her training as magister, a school of sorcery with a specialty in criminal investigation. Then the first lord who rules her home is shockingly murdered, and an innocent man is arrested for the crime. Political factions begin maneuvering for a resolution that is favorable to them. The enigmatic nature spirits want revenge for the slaying. In order to prove her worthiness to become a magister, Shenza must carry out justice while resisting pressure to wrongly convict the accused man.
"Meanwhile, the killer remains free.
"Shenza must find him before she becomes his next victim."
Added 11-6-2016 - Black
Serpentine (Ages 14+ / Grade 9+)
"Inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology, this sweeping fantasy is set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns 16, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell. When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time."
Asian - added 6/19/2016
Princeless Series (Ages 8+) Comic Book
"Still waiting for your prince to come? Tired of spending night after night locked in a secluded tower?
"Ready for your own adventure? So are we. Princeless is the story of Princess Adrienne, one princess who's tired of waiting to be rescued.
"Join Adrienne and her guardian dragon, Sparky, as they begin their own quest in an all-ages action adventure designed specifically for those who are tired of waiting to be rescued-- and who are ready to save themselves."
Black - added 5/28/2016