SpecFic Saturday | #CYBILS2023 Book Reviews 11.4.23

Happy Saturday! If you love science fiction and fantasy, and haven’t yet picked your weekend reads, keep scrolling. We may have found just what you’re looking for.

Both of this weeks featured nominees are set in the real world with black girl magic woven into their plots. Mystery, family secrets, quests, series potential … a little bit of everything. If you like comps with your reviews, our judges have those, too.

Of note: TheNextGenLibrarian identifies content warnings for Their Vicious Games: gun use, violence, blood, murder, death, racism, classism, trauma, PTSD, misogyny


Debbie Tanner @ The Book Search – I love the immediacy of Angie Thomas’  writing and Nic Blake and the Remarkables is no different.  It’s so different!  This story unfolds at a breakneck pace with plot twists and adventure at every corner.  The dialogue is awesome, the African American folklore is terrific (with an adorable cameo by Kwame Mbalia) and these characters are people you are going to want to hang out with long after the story is over.

Amy Sutton @ Goodreads – I loved this story so much, though I wish there was more thorough world building.  can’t list anything else that happens because it is ALL spoilers. Craziness goes down, identities are revealed, prophecies are explained, and Nic finds herself with friends traveling on a quest adventure to save her whole world and family. Just when you think things must be wrapped up, there’s another twist and more characters and settings to meet. This was a wild ride! It’s also set up perfectly for a whole series. This one is a gem!

Kristen @ Goodreads – I absolutely loved this book, set in the real world but with magic imbedded into it. Just when I thought I knew where the story was headed, the author tossed so much more at the reader and Nic the main character, really scrambling up everything she knew in her life. The action was brilliant as was the storytelling. I really loved the dynamics between Nic and Alex during the story and seeing how the two started to realize more about each other.


Deborah @ Goodreads – An all female version of the Squid Games with a twist. The Finish: a game that decides who is the best, who can survive, who has the mettle to “play” the games…or die. I was engrossed and stunned by the lengths the family goes to find the one who will wear white. This one will keep you up at night.

Sarah @ Goodreads – Sometimes it’s infuriating to read about the ultra-privileged. Good book, though. Kind of like if the Hunger Games took place at a boarding school. A little unbelievable in some ways, but that wasn’t really the point 😁

TheNextGenLibrarianSquid Games meets The Selection in this YA thriller. 🔫This was such a blast! What a fun concept and great debut by Wellington. This one had me on the edge of my seat as soon as the games started and I think many teens will enjoy it as well!