School's in session, and that can only mean one thing: More free time for parents! What's a parent to do with all that free time? Margarita lunches! Okay, what's a responsible parent to do with all that free time? A suggestion: Since you'll have less time to bond with your children, make the precious few moments you do have count. Why not bond over and share your love of reading? Start with this list* of recent YA books that will be enjoyable for readers of all ages.
Check out Sci Fi Signal's 10 SF/F must-reads for September.
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
On Roanoke Island there is a centuries-old mystery about the sudden disappearance of 114 people. In the present day, the tragedy has devolved into tourist bait... until 114 more people disappear. A pair of 17-year-olds—Miranda, a member of one of the island's most notorious families, and Philips, a criminal who hears the voices of the dead—set out to discover exactly what happened.
Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Zombies aren't just for adults, as Maberry has proven with his Rot and Ruin series about growing up in the zombie apocalypse. In Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and Nix Riley search for a better future... something that's hard to do in Gameland, a small pocket of civilization that forces humans to fight for their lives in the zombie pits.
Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
This month sees the reprint of one of fantasy fiction's most timeless and beloved classics: Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle. The saga begins with A Wizard of Earthsea, kicking off the story of a boy named Sparrowhawk who becomes a wizard's apprentice. If you've already read it, read it again with your teenager and share the magic.
Pale by Chris Wooding
The good news about dying is that it's not permanent. There is something called the Lazarus Serum which can bring you back to life. The bad news about resurrection is that you are a Pale, a glorified term for an outcast. That's what Jed learns in this story that examines the idea of social acceptance.
School's Out Forever by Scott Andrews
When you're a teenager, you're whole life is about school. So what do you do when everyone you know (and most of the world) dies? That's the premise behind School's Out Forever, a new omnibus that collects the books of Andrews' The Afterblight Chronicles, a chilling depiction of life after the apocalypse.
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
It's not easy knowing magic... at least in the land of Alban, where an oppressive king has ordered the capture of anyone with magical abilities. Neryn, gifted with the ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk, aims to keep her talent hidden while she searches for the home and training ground of a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King. There's another reason Neryn must make it to Shadowfell: She alone may be the key to saving Alban.
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
A wielder of lyrical beauty, Lanagan plays with themes of desire and despair in The Brides of Rollrock Island, a story set in a world where men can buy themselves a sea wife. How? A witch named Misskaella knows how to extract a girl from the heart of a seal, after which she becomes the unquestioning servant of the man with the right amount of money. But the question of who is the master is not so easily determined.
The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
The first book in a new series, The Dirty Streets of Heaven is about an angel named Bobby Dollar who wrestles with his own sins, not just those of souls trapped between Heaven and Hell. It doesn't help that Bobby is surrounded by untrustworthy characters—both demons and angels alike—and that the stakes are the end of the world.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Young Evie O'Neill is thrilled to relocate from her boring small town home to live with her uncle amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City. Until, that is, a recent string of occult-based murders put Evie and her uncle—curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult—into the thick of things. This might help: Evie has a secret, mysterious ability that could help catch the killer.
Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass lives in a sleepy English town formerly ruled by the Lynburn family until they all mysteriously disappeared many years ago. Now, strange things start to happen: screaming in the woods, the lights go on in Lynburn Manor after years of darkness and a murderer is roaming the streets. The key to these odd and not-so-coincidental events may be the voice that Kami has heard inside her head her whole life... a voice which might not be so imaginary after all.
*This list is by no means comprehensive. In fact, it's limited to very recent releases. It even omits worthy titles that I've discussed recently like Malinda Lo's Adaptation, Ian McDonald's Be My Enemy, and Terry Pratchett's Dodger. (More choices!) And it also excludes some upcoming gems, which I hope to discuss in a future installment. Stay tuned!
John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. He also likes bagels.