The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is the first book of a new fantasy series that will by enjoyed by fans of Cornelia Funk and Lewis Carrol. It’s aimed toward a middle-school audience but older readers and adults will enjoy it as well. As the story opens, the main character, suddenly orphaned Alice, goes to live with her never-heard of uncle. This uncle’s only instruction is to not enter the enormous library on the grounds. What follows is a wild adventure with snarky talking cats, inscrutable scruffy boys, strange creatures and a newly discovered power that turns books into dangerous gateways. Soon Alice is fighting for her life. Readers will cheer along with Alice as she follows her intuition and becomes a strong, clever and curious heroine. The ending will have you eagerly awaiting the second book.
Good space-travel science fiction for teens is hard to find, but Tin Star hits the mark. Cecil Castelluci’s biggest strength is his ability to create characters with immense depth. The main character, 14 year-old Tula, has strength, gritty gumption and an infinite determination to survive. She and her family leave earth to colonize a new planet, led by the charismatic cult-like leader Brother Blue.
One day Tula sees something she shouldn’t, and Brother Blue turns on her, savagely beating her and abandoning her on the remote space station of Yertina Feray--the sole human in a place where humans are considered infinitely inferior. An alien creature named Heckleck takes her under his wing, albeit a bit reluctantly, and teaches her how to survive and even start to thrive. But even though three years pass, Tula is driven by thoughts of revenge on Brother Blue. When three new humans with ties to Brother Blue suddenly arrive on the scene, Tula has her chance.
~Sarah, Youth Services