New Fantasy/Futuristic Books for Middle Grades & Young Adults


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

Do you have a reader who loves fantasy and science fiction? Today I get to share two new books with you that fall in these genres. One is a middle grades novel and the other is a young adult graphic novel. Both novels are multicultural with diverse characters. We will start with Area-51 Interns: Alien Summer by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

From the Publisher:

From the mind of Murr from the Impractical Jokers comes a new hilarious, action-packed series about a world of bizarre creatures, wacky gadgets, and four kid interns at the most interesting place on Earth: Area 51!

It's the first day of summer vacation, and Viv Harlow just wants to relax with her friends at the beach before they all go to different high schools next year. She is definitely not interested in visiting her mom's office, even if Director Harlow works at the famous Area 51. But when an alarm sounds beneath the secret base and a whole race of aliens escape, she's about to get much more than she bargained for. Viv, Charlotte, Ray, and Elijah (who Viv is totally NOT crushing on) will have to work together, gear up with gadgets, and even protect a baby alien to save the day and defend Area 51.

The debut middle-grade series from Murr of the Impractical Jokers, Area 51 Interns is filled with enough high-tech hijinks, bizarre creatures, and laugh-out-loud humor (plus an extra color insert full of gadgets) to make even alien skeptics hooked for more! 

From Me:

This book is full of interesting ideas. No one outside of Area 51 truly knows what happens there and the ideas in this book will amaze you. The main characters are just finishing eighth grade and they have at least one parent who works in Area 51. It is bring you child to work day and chaos occurs while the kids are there. Some dangerous aliens escape their holding cells. The kids manage to escape harm but have to save their parents and the other kids before the aliens take off and leave Earth with them. They have gadgets that they don't know how to use and a building full of surprises that they don't know their way around. Can they do it? 

The book is suspenseful and pulls you in. The characters of the kids are very well developed. It is a fun book with many funny moments as well as many suspenseful ones. It makes heroes out of some of the nerdy kids and middle grade readers will enjoy it!

Our second book is a graphic novel for young adults. It involves artificial intelligence and the relationship between it and humans. The book is Pixels of You by Anath Hirsh and Yuko Ota and illustrated by J.R. Doyle.

From the Publisher:

A human and human-presenting AI slowly become friends—and maybe more—in this moving YA graphic novel

In a near future, augmentation and AI changed everything and nothing. Indira is a human girl who has been cybernetically augmented after a tragic accident, and Fawn is one of the first human-presenting AI. They have the same internship at a gallery, but neither thinks much of the other’s photography. But after a huge public blowout, their mentor gives them an ultimatum: work together on a project or leave her gallery forever. Grudgingly, the two begin to collaborate, and what comes out of it is astounding and revealing for both of them. Pixels of You is about the slow transformation of a rivalry to a friendship to something more as Indira and Fawn navigate each other, the world around them—and what it means to be an artist and a person.

From Me:

I am not all that into graphic novels. This one was very interesting, but I wish it had more words. At first, I found it hard to follow. Once I got into it thought it was very interesting. There are some complex concepts. The book is about two rivals--one is human, and the other is human presenting artificial intelligence. They are enemies that need to work together and slowly become friends and perhaps more. 

The idea of AI being able to choose to present human and have offspring is an interesting one to think about. Fawn has "parents" who saved money to give her special effects to present human. She seems to have feelings and emotions. Basically, in this book AI has taken on a life of its own. I can imagine class discussions about the ethics involved. 

Each character is well developed, and their stories are told as each learns more about the other and they become friends. Indira who is Indian American and an orphan lost her parents and an eye to a car crash caused by AI. Her eye always is giving her issues. Yet, she is able to move past her own bias and see Fawn as a friend. There is much to this story without a lot of words. I hope you will check it out.