Monday, December 19, 2011

Cybils: SF/F YA Lightning Round A-B

If I had to sum up the past two months, it would be: Rocks fall, everyone is covered under a pile of rocks. I have been covered under a pile of books and personal, off-line things, which means that I have not reviewed the YA SF/F Cybils nominees ( as much as I would like.

So: Lightning round! A selection of quick blurbs about some titles starting with A or B. (Note that some titles starting with "The" will come up under T, I think.)

A Long, Long Sleep
Anna Sheehan
Candlewick Press
A Long, Long Sleep takes the Sleeping Beauty theme and gives it a futuristic twist. Rose has been asleep for a very, very long time, and now her parents are long gone. Now that she's awake, she finds herself in charge of an intergalactic business empire--but does she want it, or would it be better to just go back to bed? Not really a retelling, however.

Meg Cabot
A retelling of Hades and Persephone, with modern atmosphere.

Accused: The Fourth Ganzfield Novel
Kate Kaynak
Spencer Hill Press
Scientifically-induced telepathy? Check. Now Maddie has to use her waning powers to not just get herself and her boyfriend out of jail, but to keep other supernaturally-enhanced friends safe. Romance readers will probably prefer to start with book 1 in the series.

Across the Universe
Beth Revis
One of the best first chapters I've ever read. A girl who's in stasis for a journey to a new planet gets woken up--years before the colony team is set to arrive. In the meantime, the ship's society has been bent by odd leadership, and its denizens have all been intermarried so that they all look the same, so the redhead Amy, almost an artifact, is exotic.

Angelfall (Penryn and the Book of Days, Book 1)
Susan Ee
Feral Dream
Penryn's NoCal is now post-apocalypse, and she wants to get her mentally ill mother and wheelchair-user sister to safety. While on the run, they get in the middle of a war between angels, and Penryn must align herself with the beautiful Raffe to uncover her sister's whereabouts.

Anna Dressed in Blood
Kendare Blake
Tor Teen
Cas has followed in his father's footsteps, and he kills dangerous ghosts. He and his mother move to Canada so he can take on one of the most intriguing: Anna Dressed in Blood, who kills everyone who enters her haunted home. Anna's not like the others, though, so how can he stop her from killing again?

Ilsa J. Bick
Egmont USA
Alex is out hiking when an electromagnetic pulse wipes out--well, she doesn't exactly know. She "adopts" a young girl named Ellie, and with Tom, a solider she meets, she's got to figure out how to keep herself safe, not just from the zombies that were created by the pulse, but by the societies that have cropped up in the absence of all electronics.

Ashes, Ashes
Jo Treggari
Most of the population got wiped out in the environmental apocalypse, and Lucy hardly remembers what it was like to not spend all of her days just trying to keep herself warm, dry, and fed in her camp where she lives alone in what used to be NYC. When she meets Aidan while running from a pack of dogs, she can hardly remember how to speak. After a tsunami takes out her camp, she joins up with Aidan's people, a ragtag group of children and senior citizens who weren't affected by the post-apocalyptic plague--which puts her within reach of a mysterious group of scientists who kidnap pretty much anyone they can get their hands on.

*Blood Red Road
Moira Young
Margaret McElderry
Saba, Lugh, and Emmi live on the banks of Silverlake, which is drying up. They might never have left--except that a group of armed men kills their father and takes Lugh away. Saba wants to rescue her brother, and Emmi tags along. The world outside Silverlake is harsher than they could have imagined, and Saba is captured and forced to fight in cage matches. Three losses, and she'll be killed. Another fighter, Jack, and a group of "lawless" fighting women, the Free Hawks, want her to lose--because that might be her path to freedom for all. This is a weird read; conventions of standard English are set aside for the book's particular dialect. Despite this, I was completely engrossed, and I recommend giving this a try if you like women warriors.

Megan McCafferty
Now that the adult population is largely infertile, teen girls are encouraged to do what they can to populate the world, including surrogacy. Fake baby bumps have replaced dolls and bicycles. The best of the best at impregnating and being impregnated are tomorrow's teen idols. Melody and Harmony, twins separated at birth, meet and discover the bonds of sisterhood aren't quite so strong when you don't know each other--even if the world thinks conservative Harmony is about to provide a million dollar baby. This funny, wry book takes apart some of the less logical aspects of the fertility-fear science fiction books crowding the shelves, and offers an alternative--and much more scary--future. The ending is a little abrupt, but it's certainly worth a read.

Books marked with a * are my favorites in this list. My favorites don't necessarily reflect any discussions or preferences of the other first round Cybils judges--nor do they represent any opinions but my own.


  1. I read Blood Red Road a few days ago and really liked it. I did struggle with the dialect writing though.

  2. I had been warned about the dialect, and I think that made it easier to stick with it. I had to sort of let go and not think, but more listen, if that makes sense.

    And wow, in the harsh light of day, I see that my blurb on Bumped makes no sense at all.


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