New Science Fiction

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark
by
Glenda Millard

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When you’re a homeless eleven year-old named Skip, there isn’t anywhere for you to go, because all the shelters are either for women with children, or for men, which you aren’t.  When you’re homeless, a runaway, you never sleep in the same place twice, otherwise someone might be able to figure out where you are and take you back to where you ran away from.

Skip is asleep in a Dumpster when the bombs begin to fall. He wakes up violently, ears ringing, dust and garbage in his mouth, chunks of concrete raining down on top of his exhausted body, Dumpster rolling from the concussion of the blast.  Skip doesn’t know which way is up, but he crawls out of the Dumpster and runs.  Skip runs and runs, looking for someone or something familiar, and then he sees the grizzled face of his friend Billy.

In the days after the war begins, Billy and Skip rattle around the broken city, searching for food, for shelter.  One day, they find a six year-old boy named Max who has lost his mother.  Another day, they follow the train tracks out of the city to Dreamland, an abandoned amusement park that becomes their home.  As soldiers begin to move in, Skip, Billy and Max find it harder to hide themselves, especially with the addition of the dancing teenage mother Tia and her infant daughter Sixpence to their ragtag gang.

It is Billy’s knowledge, Max’s unfettered optimism and hope, Skip’s determination, Tia’s beauty, and Sixpence’s innocence that brings them together.  In A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, Glenda Millard has created a fragile world with delicate characters; a world that, as you read into it more, unconsciously pulls your blanket tighter around you and curls your legs up close to your body.  This book is not one to read lightly, nor is it one to miss.

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More books by Glenda Millard

A few read-alikes:
Smack by Melvin Burgess
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

I Am Number Four
by
Pittacus Lore

Reading Level: Grades 6 and up

When the water started boiling around his leg, Daniel knew the pain was coming. He threw himself off the pontoon boat into the ocean. When he arrived home the third scar had appeared around his ankle. A ring for each of the young Loriens found and killed by the Mogadarians. Nine Lorien children and their guardians escaped the slaughter of their home world. As they escaped, they were given a protection. They could only be killed in order. Daniel now has three ringed scars around his ankle. Numbers One, Two and Three are dead. Daniel is number four...he is next.

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More books by Pittacus Lore

If you enjoyed this tale of alien danger try:

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The White Mountains by John Christopher and

The True of Smekday by Adam Rex

Dust City
by
Robert Paul Weston

Reading Level: Grades 7+

In this futuristic post-fairies fairy tale world, companies mine fairy dust residue in the earth from long-ago magic to sell as minor first aid remedies. Henry seems to be the only citizen unwilling to use this somewhat makeshift fairy dust, as his mother was killed in an accident involving a truckload of the stuff.

Our main character Henry’s father is the Big Bad Wolf, and when Henry has one little teenage slipup (a broken window), he is sent to the St. Remus Home for Wayward Youth (aka wayward animalians & one hominid, Henry’s best friend Jack).

Through Jack’s nimble fingers, Henry comes into possession of a series of letters written to him by his incarcerated father. The letters contain secrets – important secrets that could exonerate his father and bring them back together. All Henry has to do is get in with a guy named Skinner, by competing for a job in a dust drug-fueled and vicious race; then gather proof of his father’s semi-innocence. But in working for Skinner is no walk in the park; Henry now is a runner of nixiedust, a much more powerful and dangerous version of corporately mined fairy dust.

Many well known fairy tale characters are featured in the story, such as Detective White, who has a lingering cough due to being raised by miners, and Cindy Rella, a secretary type for St. Remus’, who has a fancy pair of heels. Some are blatant, like Ms. Rella, some subtle – Detective White – and others much less obvious – Jack, for example, is a kleptomaniac who escapes from St. Remus’ via plant.

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More books by Robert Paul Weston

Other books you might enjoy:
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner

Virals by Kathy Reichs

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace Book 1 by Alexander Gordon Smith

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

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