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Two of the WSFS Young Adult Award finalists now, both of them fantasies, both rather good.

Summer in Orcus, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)

Second paragraph of third chapter:
“There you are,” said Baba Yaga. She was sitting in a rocking chair in front of the fire. There were a few coals in the fireplace, giving off a little red light.
This is a nice quest narrative / portal fantasy, with eleven-year-old Summer transported by Baba Yaga to the world of Orcus where there are aristocratic birds, untrustworthy antelope women, and a shape-changer who inconveniently alternates between wolf-form and being a small comfortable cottage (and is therefore pursued by house-hunters). Even the villains turn out to have comprehensible motives, which is rare for this sort of book. You can get it here.

A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Makepeace could not forget Mother’s words. They were her companion through every daylight moment, every nocturnal hour. She could imagine Mother saying them, but now in a tone steady and cold.
Another good one. Twelve-year-old Makepeace is an illegitimate child of the powerful Fellmotte family in 1640s England; but the world is changing, and incidentally she has been possessed by the spirit of a bear. It turns out that the spirits of the Fellmotte ancestors are trying to cling onto more than just the bricks and mortar of their ancient home; Makepeace builds a set of allies to help her to subvert her own estranged relatives, as England changes around her. There were one or two narrative points that didn't quite gel for me, but otherwise I really liked it. You can get it here.


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