Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Still More Cybils Panic

Can I mention all of the books I've read? All of the books I really liked this season? No, but I can blurb a few more...

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid  (Harper Collins - Katherine Tegen Books) is fast-paced military SF for fans of Ender's Game and Brain Jack. Tom is nobody, really, and neither is his no-good gambler of a dad. However, Tom is pretty good at video games, and at bluffing, which gets him a spot on an elite team of teenagers whose brains are, let's say, wired. In a future where countries fight for corporations, Tom has to fight the forces of evil that come with an executive washroom and an expense account, but he also has to figure out what's left when your brain is no longer your own.

Ashen Winter  by Mike Mullin (Tanglewood) is just as personally frightening as Ashfall was for me. Sure, it's been a while since Yellowstone blew up, covering the rest of the country with ash and sending temperatures dropping. Sure, we could just keep eating kale, one of the few things that will grow. But Alex's parents are still out there, looking for him, and he can't just wait for them to come home.

When I picked up The Infects by Sean Beaudoin (Candlewick), I knew I'd be in for a ride. See, I don't always know exactly what is going on in Beudoin's books. They're so weird. But I am so glad they're out there. In The Infects, a kid is on his way to camp for juvenile delinquents. And then there are zombies. And it's weird, okay? If you like things a little absurd, The Infects is one to pick up.

In What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (HarperCollins), the souls of sisters Addie and Eve share one body. Children start out as hybrids, and eventually, one of the souls slips away. It's part of growing up--and it's part of being a good, non-criminal person. Addie and Eve haven't settled, though, which makes them suspicious, different, and ill. When Addie and Eve are sent away to get better, the fight for both of their lives gets dire. This makes an interesting contrast to Every Day, by the way.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (Knopf) completely charmed me. Neryn's not supposed to be magical; it's prohibited. She can see the fairies, though, and that means she has to run. To be straightforward: I've read so many books-with-fairies in the past five or so years that few stand out, but Neryn's journey had something Frodo-esque and pure about it. And there were some very clever moments that stole my heart. If you've read this one: Go small!

All of these books are nominated in the YA SF/F category for the 2012 Cybils awards. These reviews are based on copies provided by their respective publishers, either through the Cybils program or when I requested them from NetGalley and completely forgot to read them earlier in the year. So it goes.

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