2007 Science Fiction & Fantasy Finalists

It was difficult to choose only ten books out of the 94 outstanding nominations we received in fantasy and science fiction, but the panelists worked hard and passionately to choose the best of the best. We selected five finalists for the teen/young adult age level and five for the elementary & middle grade level. We hope you enjoy these books as much as we did.

–Sheila Ruth, Science Fiction & Fantasy organizer

Teen/Young Adult:

Book of a Thousand Days

by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
On her first day as a Lady’s maid, Dashti finds herself sealed in a tower for seven years with her Lady, who is being punished for refusing to marry the Lord of a neighboring land. Tight plotting,
beautiful use of language and metaphor, and an engaging main
character make this book a standout.
–Sheila, Wands and Worlds
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by Catherine Fisher
Hodder Children’s Books (UK)
No one has been in or out of Incarceron for over 150 years. Now, a young man on the Inside thinks he’s found the way Out–and a young woman on the Outside thinks she may have found the way In.
Success will require going up against the Warden–and Incarceron itself. The strong writing and characterization, suspenseful narrative, and creative world building brought this book to the top
of the pack.
–Leila, Bookshelves of Doom
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Northlander (Tales of the Borderlands)

by Meg Burden
Brown Barn Books
Northlander is an engaging tale which shows how hatred is only
ignorance of the unknown. Though Ellin’s gift of healing saves the Northlander king, she is feared and imprisoned. This gripping tale is both emotionally moving and thought-provoking.
–Kim Baccellia, Earrings of Ixtumea
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by A. M. Jenkins
Fast-paced and sharply funny, A.M. Jenkins’ story of Kiriel–the fallen angel whose name means “mirror of souls”–takes readers on a week-long ride in the body of an ordinary human boy. Philosophical in a religious sense, yet untethered from any churchy elements, this novel’s quirky appreciation of the mundane combines with a wisecracking, personable narrative voice to create a funny yet thought-provoking novel. (For mature readers)
–Tadmack (Tanita), ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants
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Skin Hunger

by Kathleen Duey
Simon & Schuster/Atheneum
Take two divergent story threads and weave them into one of the year’s darkest novels. Add vivid characterization, a quest for knowledge beyond any cost, and magic that is repulsive but intriguing and you have Skin Hunger.
–Tasha, Kids Lit
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Elementary/Middle Grade:

The Chaos King

by Laura Ruby
The Richest Girl in the World and the son of gangster Sweetcheeks Grabowski have to find their way back to friendship, as compelling weirdness enters their lives again in the form of a giant squid, a super-annoying hotel heiress, an animated stone lion, and The Chaos King–a “Sid” punk with a serious art fetish. This fast-paced, stand-alone sequel is accessible to both middle grade and teen readers and is both funny and endearing.
–Tadmack (Tanita), ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants
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Into the Wild

by Sarah Beth Durst
A long time ago, all fairy-tale characters fled from their stories seeking refuge from "The Wild," a tangled, evil forest. Since then, Rapunzel has kept the forest under control with the help of her daughter Julie, but when it gets too powerful she is forced to depend on Julie to set aside her fears and doubts and defeat The Wild. Julie’s strong character is an inspiring example of duty, survival, and love.
–Traci, Fields of Gold
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The Land of the Silver Apples

by Nancy Farmer
Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Land of the Silver Apples has it all–adventure, fairies, old world gods, and an ancient world that is caught between belief in the Old Gods and Christianity. This stand-alone sequel will appeal to not only fans of Nancy Farmer but those who enjoy adventurous tales.
–Kim Baccellia, Earrings of Ixtumea
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Skulduggery Pleasant

by Derek Landy
When twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley’s mysterious uncle dies, he not only bequeaths her his house, but a sticky supernatural situation and a rather dashing skeleton detective named Skulduggery Pleasant. This smart novel is full of humor, action, and a real sense of danger–and has a sly wit that would appeal to a wide age range.
–a. fortis (Sarah), ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants
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The True Meaning of Smekday

by Adam Rex
Nothing has been the same since the Boov invaded Earth and re-christened it Smekland. But things get even weirder when twelve-year-old Gratuity Tucci embarks on a journey to find her missing mother–accompanied by her cat (named Pig), a fugitive Boov (named J.Lo) and a slightly illegal hovercar–and realizes that there’s more at stake than just her mother’s whereabouts. A hilarious satire with a touching ending and spot-on illustrations by the author.
–a. fortis (Sarah), ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants
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