Selected and annotated by Keri Carroll
Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Harcourt, 2008. 471p. Gr. 8-10.
Few in Katsa’s homeland are born with special abilities known as Graces, and even fewer still have the Grace Katsa hesitantly calls her own: the Grace of killing. When her uncle, a king of one of the seven kingdoms in her land, obtains knowledge of her skills when she is a young child, he sets about using Katsa for ill-intended purposes. In an effort to escape her uncle’s unflinching grip, Katsa seizes her first chance to escape his grasp and forge forward on a new quest with a mysterious fighter named Po.
Colfer, Eoin. The Reluctant Assassin. Hyperion, 2013. 352p. (W.A.R.P.). Gr. 7–10.
After a problematic assignment in California, Agent Chevie Savano finds herself relocated to London and working for the Witness Anonymous Relocation Program, watching over a seemingly innocuous pod. Meanwhile, over a century prior, young Riley plays apprentice to a murderous magician-turned-assassin named Albert Garrick. The two assassins are more than surprised when their target ends up being from the future, hurtling Riley into Chevie’s present through the pod, followed later by an enraged (and newly gifted) Garrick, looking to reclaim his hesitant assistant.
Coakley, Lena. Witchlanders. Atheneum, 2011. 416p. Gr. 7–10.
When Ryder’s mother, a witch formerly of the covens that protected the Witchlanders, predicts the coming of a Baen assassin, he sets out to fight the pending attack himself. Meanwhile, a Baen prince named Falpian has been sent forth by his father to await a mission that he believes centers around the Baen invasion. Little do the two youth know that they are spiritual twins, drawn to one another despite their places on opposites sides of a years-long conflict.
Dunnion, Kristyn. Big Big Sky. Red Deer, 2008. 244p. Gr. 9-12.
Adult humans have been terminated by an alien race known as ScanMans, leaving only orphans to be ruled by these malicious creatures. Five of these orphans—Rustle, Loo, Roko, Shona, Solomon—are an all-female assassin group known as the StarPods, who try to resist the control the ScanMans have over them and attempt a break at freedom.
Heath, Jack. Money Run. Scholastic, 2013. 258p. Gr. 7-10.
Ash Arthur and her brainiac partner Benjamin have been receiving information to pull off their heists through an agency known as The Source for months. This time, their target is a billionaire businessman reportedly sitting on $200 million dollars in his corporate headquarters, but their attempts are interrupted by an assassin named Michael Peavey looking to off the billionaire himself.
LaFevers, Robin. Grave Mercy. Houghton, 2012. 549p. (His Fair Assassin). Gr. 9-12.
In fifteenth-century Brittany, Ismae has been given the mark of Death, granting her supernatural powers and also blessing her with a large scar that races across her back. When her soon-to-be-husband discovers this mark, he beats her and leaves her for dead, but a kindly priest rescues Ismae and takes her to the St. Mortain convent. There, she begins her training as a spy and assassin, with her missions placing her in the heart of Breton nobility, exposing her to the treachery and treason that populates both the political world and her beloved convent.
Maas, Sarah J. Throne of Glass. Bloomsbury, 2012. 416p. Gr. 8-12.
After becoming Adarlan’s most notorious assassin at the ripe age of eighteen, Celaena Sardothien is given a lifetime sentence working in the salt mines to break her of her ways. After a year working the mines, Crown Prince Dorian offers Celaena a chance at freedom in the form of a four-year contract serving as royal assassin, which she jumps at. To claim this title, she must defeat 23 other warriors, but when her competitors slowly begin dying due to mysterious circumstances, Celaena realizes that strings are being pulled by a much more powerful force.
Osterlund, Anne. Aurelia. Speak/Penguin, 2008. 256p. Gr. 7-10.
As the crown princess of feudal Tyralt, Aurelia awaits the moment when she can ascend to her rightful place upon the throne. However, there have been multiple attempts at Aurelia’s life, prompting her father to send for his former royal spy, who refuses the offer. Instead, the spy’s son Robert takes the job himself, fondly remembering the childhood Aurelia, and creates a risky plan to capture the would-be assassin by using Aurelia as bait.
Schreiber, Joe. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. Houghton, 2011. 192p. Gr. 7-10.
While attempting to think of a worthwhile admissions essay for his college applications, Perry Stomaire is pressed by his father to take the geeky Lithuanian exchange student they’ve been housing, Gobi, to prom. It’s no surprise Perry is shocked when Gobi transforms from seeming geek to menace at the prom, taking out a couple of Perry’s bullies. The surprises keep coming, though, when Gobi commands Perry to escort her through New York City for missions under the threat bombing his home, revealing Gobi to be a ruthless assassin.
Schreiber, Joe. Perry’s Killer Playlist. Houghton, 2012. 224p. Gr. 9–12.
Life for Perry has settled down after his whirlwind prom night with Gobi, the geek-turned-assassin “exchange student” from Schreiber’s Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. Now, he’s touring Europe with his band Inchworm, thanks to his smoldering girlfriend Paula with connections in the music industry. While stopping in Venice, Perry can’t resist meeting up with Gobi one more time, and he is subsequently drawn once again into her world of Bourne-esque adventures and escapades.
Sheehan, Anna. A Long, Long Sleep. Candlewick, 2011. 342p. Gr. 9–12.
Abandoned in a stasis by her parents, Rosalinda (who is biologically 16 years old, despite her sleep for sixty-two years) awakes to find a future plunged into what is called the Dark Times. She learns that her parents have perished and that an assassin has reawakened along with her and is searching for her. Rosalinda, along with schoolmates Bren and alien-hybrid Otto, must attempt to defeat this inhuman assassin, all while discovering secrets Rosalinda’s family left behind.
Weatherly, L. A. Angel Burn. Candlewick, 2011. 464p. Gr. 7-10.
In a world where angels are soul-sucking creatures of destruction, Alex and his father have taken it upon themselves to rid the population of these terrible fiends. One of his targets is Willow, a psychic girl who, despite being half-angel herself, is actually a target of the angels due to a prophecy that declares her power might be enough to eradicate the angels.
White, Kiersten. Mind Games. HarperTeen, 2013. 256p. Gr. 7–10.
Brought to the Keane School for girls after the death of their parents, sisters Fia and Annie have spent the last seven years sharpening their strange skills. Though Annie is blind, she is capable of seeing the future; Fia has been trained as an assassin to target the patriarch Keane’s enemies. After one of Fia’s assassination attempts goes awry, the two sisters decide to flee Keane’s heavy-handed control.
Zadoff, Allen. Boy Nobody. Little, 2013. 352p. Gr. 9-12.
The Program has been sending “Benjamin” on assassination assignments for as long as he can remember. However, when his next target is the mayor of New York (and also the father of his gorgeous classmate Samara Goldberg), Benjamin must fight an internal struggle of completing his mission or sparing the man who has become a father figure during the young assassin’s brief period spent within the Goldberg household. Benjamin’s hesitancy seems to pay off, though, when it seems more and more likely that Mayor Goldberg isn’t the right target after all.