So the teen librarian was supposed to be out, and a seventh/eighth grade class needed someone to talk to them about science fiction and fantasy books. Naturally they asked me to help. Talk about a dozen books, have at least 30 pulled for them to look at and check out, on a day’s notice. This is just the new books I read for the project, not (as you’ll notice) the full dozen.
Sword of the Rightful Kingby Jane Yolen
Arthur has been King of Britain for four years, but not everyone accepts him as their king. His biggest threat to his throne is the North Witch, his half-sister Morgause, who believes that her son was in line to become King of Britain. Arthur’s mage, Merlinnus, devises a way for King Arthur to prove himself the rightful king of England–pulling a sword from a stone but the North Witch is spinning her spells and threatens to get the sword out first. The first couple of chapters with a petulant Gawaine turned me off initially, but it did warm up to true Yolen goodness.
Eager by Helen Fox
EGR3, called Eager, is a prototype robot – designed to learn and feel like a person. But most people – including the family he lives with – don’t think that robots are real people. Soon his quest to find out what it means to be alive has to take second place to finding out what those BOC4 robots are up to. Despite the deep thoughts on the part of the robot, it’s light and sweet.
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Luke is also a third child – but in this future, third children are killed and their parents fined five million dollars. He’s never met anyone outside of his immediate family, and now that a new housing development is going up, he’s not even allowed out of the house. Then one day he sees a face looking out of a house that should be empty – another third child. It’s short and very intense.
Feed by M.T. Anderson I read this one for the teens, and ended up not talking about it – though it’s a great book, the language was just too dirty for innocent little Lutheran seventh-graders. I feel kind of bad about self-censoring, but there it is. I did put it on the cart for them to check out, though. Anyway – it’s a distant future, where everyone, or nearly everyone, has a chip implanted in their heads at birth. This lets them stay connected to the feed at all times – like the Internet, but tuned into your thoughts and desires. Titus is a pretty typical teen, listening to the music the feed plays for him, buying what the feed tells him is hot. Then he meets a girl in trouble and has to think about something serious for the first time in his life. The book is written like a teen email in Titus’s voice, a fluffy covering for the serious material. I guess the ideas aren’t really all that new – we already know of schools that aren’t allowed to sell milk because Coke or Pepsi have exclusive pouring rights – but the story is sticking with me.
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