Young Survivors

Kids who survive, no matter what the odds.

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

You can read an excerpt here.

Critics say:

“The plot is front and center here—the twists and turns are addictive, particularly when the romantic subplot ups the ante—yet the Capitol’s oppression and exploitation of the districts always simmers just below the surface, waiting to be more fully explored in future volumes. Collins has written a compulsively readable blend of science fiction, survival story, unlikely romance, and social commentary.”


“Themes of government control, “big brother,” and personal independence are explored amidst a thrilling adventure that will appeal to science fiction, survival, and adventure readers. The suspense of this powerful novel will keep the reader glued to the page long after bedtime.”

VOYA, Deborah J. Dubois

“Populated by three dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.”


Byrt says:

You almost won’t realize how much the author has going on, how many layers this book has, because you’ll be too busy reading as fast as you can. This book grabs you by the scruff of your neck and never lets you go.

2) Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer


Life as a ship’s boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead Jacky is becoming a skilled and daring sailor as as the crew hunts murderous pirates on the high seas. There’s just one problem: Jacky is a girl

You can read an excerpt here.

Critics say:

“Jacky’s tale will entertain readers with a taste for adventure”


“A rattling good read”

Publisher’s Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

“Pure fun and rolicking adventure.”


Byrt says:

Adventure without glamor. Meyer is not afraid to show us the hardships of 18th century English life, giving substance to this enjoyable romp.

3) Poison Study by Maria Snyder


About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

You can read Chapter one here.

Critics say:

“This impressive first novel weaves together aventure and suspense in a compelling fantasy.”

Locus, a 2005 recommended reading selection

“A compelling look at a woman caught in an impossible situation, living each day on the edge of dying. The author’s talent for storytelling bodes well for her continuing career as a strong contributor to the genre.”

Library Journal

Byrt says:

Yelena’s story is as much about choosing which freedom to fight for as it is about the fight itself.

4) Once A Hero by Elizabeth Moon

Cover Excerpt (the jacket is terrible):

Not a very smart bomb.

Major Pitak’s reaction, when Esmay finally got her on the other end of the connection, was hardly reassuring.  “Now I’ll go tell the Wraith’s captain.” said the voice in her pressure helmet, “that a totally inexperienced Junior officer on her first real EVA thinks she saw an enemy mine stuck to his ship and while she didn’t get any good pictures the first time, she is now taking pictures which, if the mine doesn’t blow her up, may show us whether she’s right. And give us a clue ho to do something about it. Suiza, can you think of any mistake you haven’t made yet?”
“I didn’t set it off,” Esmay said, before she could stop herself. A harsh bark of laughter came over the com. She began retracing her route. The edges of the shattered shield nodes cast jagged shadows that striped the hull’s dull black. Things looked diferent now… she couldn’t see the mine, but it had to be close.

EEEEEERRRRRP! Esma jerked to a halt. She leaned her chin on the comunit switch. “Don’t move,” a voice said in her ear.

You can read an excerpt here.

Critics say:

“Moon’s mastery of contemporary science fiction is evident in every line. The characters spring to life on the page… the action never flags… riveting…A resplendent addition to Moon’s already impressive cataloge.


“Once a Hero is a satisfying read, full of the finely detailed settings and excitement that Moon’s readers have come to expect, and featuring a heroine whose self-doubt and inner strength lend her considerable appeal.”

Publishers Weekly

Byrt says:

This book is about the aftermath of a heroic moment, and how that one moment is going to shadow Esmay for the rest of her life and change her in ways she never expected.  If you haven’t read Elizabeth Moon yet, you’re in for a treat.

5) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs neither to the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack by the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family…

You can read an excerpt here.

Critics say:

“Wistful, witty, wise—and creepy. This needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child.”

Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)

The Graveyard Book, by turns exciting and witty, sinister and tender, shows Gaiman at the top of his form. In this novel of wonder, Neil Gaiman follows in the footsteps of long-ago storytellers, weaving a tale of unforgettable enchantment.”

Monica EdingerNew York Times Book Review

Byrt says:

This is a book meant for younger readers, but marvelous all the same – plus it won the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature.  Gaiman is a true original.