The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
I Know You Want to Read This: Books About Psychics - September 2015

Selected and annotated by Anna Shustitzky

Whether they like it or not, the characters in these stories see the world differently. For anyone who’s ever wanted to read thoughts or see into the future, this collection of stories proves that psychic ability doesn’t always make life easier. Primarily featuring young adult fiction, this bibliography includes several middle grade options as well.

Blythe, Daniel. Shadow Breakers. Chicken House/Scholastic, 2013. 256p. Gr. 5–9.
Settling into her dreary new seaside home, Miranda is devastated to find that her terrifying visions have apparently followed her from London. As something evil seeps into the village, Miranda and her curious new classmates combine science and magic to combat the rising shadows. While they uncover the town’s secrets, each must confront their personal demons as well.

Bracken, Alexandra. The Darkest Minds. Hyperion, 2012. 488p. Gr. 9–12.
Having avoided the plague that killed millions of children, Ruby finds herself with terrifying psychic powers that land her in a prison-like “rehabilitation camp” with similarly gifted youth. Ruby eventually uses her powers to escape, heading for the fabled East River, a safe haven for psychics and the center of a brewing rebellion. When she arrives, though, she discovers that her new allies have their own plans for her powers.

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Little, 2012. 578p. Gr. 8-12.
It’s the Roaring Twenties, and flapper Evie is happily settled in New York, even putting up with her uncle Will’s fascination with the occult. When Will is called to help with a murder investigation, Evie inserts herself into the hunt, revealing her power to draw secrets from someone’s possessions. This is no ordinary murder, though, and the psychics of the city must work together to stop the awakening evil before it destroys them all.

Cashore, Kristin. Bitterblue. Dial, 2012. 563p. Gr. 9-12.
The land of Monsea is gradually recovering from the devastating rule of King Leck, slowly shaking off the mental fog that he used to disguise his cruelty. After years occupied with exhausting busywork, Queen Bitterblue takes matters into her own hands and discovers that her advisors’ policy of silence has done more harm than good for the still-reeling people of Monsea. Pressing forward, Bitterblue confronts the unimaginably horrible secrets of Leck’s reign in order to finally bring Monsea out of the darkness.
Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Spirit and Dust. Delacorte, 2013. 387p. Gr. 7-10.
Seventeen-year-old Daisy Goodnight is used to the psychic powers that run in her family, and she has kept up the family tradition of helping local law enforcement with tough cases. That is, until a case goes national and Daisy is swept across the country, only to be kidnapped by the criminal organization involved in the case. In a delightfully bizarre contrast to this grim opening, the ensuing chase features romance, ghosts, and Egyptian mythology.

Cook, Kristi. Haven. Simon Pulse, 2011. 401p. Gr. 9-12.
After a vision of her father’s death tragically comes true, Violet takes up residence at the Winterhaven boarding school and discovers that she’s not the only one with psychic powers. She strikes up a rocky romance with a boy with a dizzying host of abilities, but the truth behind both of their powers leaves Violet reeling. As her gifts manifest themselves, Violet must take charge of her fate before more of her premonitions come true.

Frenette, Bethany. Dark Star. Hyperion, 2012. 368p. Gr. 7-10.
Growing up with a real-life superhero for a mother, Audrey has always felt safe around her beloved Minneapolis home. Her mother is more than just a superhero, though: she is a member of the Kin, a group who use their supernatural gifts to fight the demonic Harrowers. When Audrey herself is almost killed by a Harrower, she uses her own psychic power to battle the demons, much to her mother’s distress.

George, Elizabeth. The Edge of Nowhere. Viking, 2012. 464p. Gr. 8-10.
Becca can hear the thoughts of the people around her, and she flees to Whidbey Island when her powers reveal her stepfather’s murderous secret. The island is home to numerous other misfits, with whom Becca begins a tenuous life in hiding until she risks exposing her identity to help one of her new friends.

Harrington, Kim. Clarity. Scholastic Point, 2011. 246p. Gr. 9-12.
Modern-day psychic Clare blames her inherited powers for her unpopularity, despite the fact that her brother has no such trouble with his own status as a medium. Her boyfriend’s infidelity is revealed through her ability to access memories from imprinted objects, and Clare is still dealing with the betrayal when a local girl is murdered and her now ex-boyfriend asks for help. She can use her powers for good, but the truth may be more than anyone is prepared for.

Hathaway, Jill. Slide. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2012. 250p. Gr. 7-10.
Vee has seen things that most people would prefer to keep secret, but she has no way of sharing them. Diagnosed with narcolepsy, Vee actually “slides” into the consciousness of other people, which is how she knows that a local girl’s apparent suicide was actually a grisly murder. With nobody to turn to, Vee tries to find the killer while navigating the smaller—but still painful—secrets of the people she loves.

King, A. S. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. Little, 2014. 308p. Gr. 8-12.
Still processing her mother’s suicide over 10 years ago, high school senior Glory joins her friend Ellie for an impromptu magic “ceremony” that actually seems to give them psychic powers. While she uses her newfound ability to learn more about her mother’s life, Glory also sees visions of a terrifying future that she is determined to prevent.

Malkin, Nina. Swear. Simon Pulse, 2011. 472p. Gr. 9–12.
In the six months following the sensual ending to Swoon, Dice has turned to her band for comfort as she tries to move on from the ghostly, sexy Sin. A band member disappears just before Sin returns in a fit of jealousy, and Dice suspects that he is somehow involved in the disappearance. Fending off yet another ghost will take all of Dice’s strength, including the mythical gifts she has until now ignored.

Marr, Melissa. Made for You. Harper/HarperCollins, 2014. 356p. Gr. 9-12.
Eva can’t begin to imagine who would try to kill her, or why. But when she wakes up after being deliberately hit by a car, she finds that she can experience people’s future deaths simply by touching them. This ability proves useful when the killer strikes again, especially since he seems to be sending Eva a message with each subsequent attack.

Mitchell, Saundra. The Vespertine. Harcourt, 2011. 293p. Gr. 8–12.
Amelia van de Broek has gained a reputation in Victorian Baltimore as Maine’s Own Mystic, hosting spiritual readings for the upper class ladies… and avoiding a suitable marriage in favor of a poor-but-charming artist named Nathaniel. While she uses her gifts to stir up gossip, her increasingly accurate premonitions point towards a darker future that could tear apart the society she has come to love.

Moore, Kelly. Amber House; by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed and Larkin Reed. Levine/Scholastic, 2012. 368p. Gr. 8-12.
The dark, creepy Amber House estate has been the site of generations of conflict, and nobody in Sarah’s family seems happy to be living there now that her estranged grandmother is dead. Sarah explores the mansion’s history with the help of her charming neighbors, but the secret they uncover is more sinister than they had anticipated—especially when combined with Sarah’s frightening visions of both the past and the future.

Smith, Lindsay. Sekret. Roaring Brook, 2014. 341p. Gr. 8-10.
Yulia will do anything to keep her family safe in communist Russia, reluctantly using her gift for reading people’s thoughts in the process. But the KGB is watching, and when they discover her gift, they threaten her family until she joins the fight against the American CIA. Thus begins a life of dangerous missions and devastating secrets, and Yulia must do everything in her power to avoid being controlled by people on all sides of the fight.

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic, 2012. 416p. Gr. 7-12.
Born among powerful psychics, Blue’s only gift is to enhance others’ metaphysical experiences. Disadvantages aside, her primary concern is a prophecy: that she will kill her true love with a kiss, a portent that seems closer than ever now that she’s befriended a captivating group of boys from the local boarding school. As the boys work towards their own supernatural ends, their volatile personalities prove just as compelling as their extraordinary powers.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Screaming Staircase. Disney Hyperion, 2013. 440p. Gr. 6-8.
Hoping to make a difference before her psychic ability runs out, Lucy Carlyle joins the struggling Lockwood & Co. ghostbusting agency to fight specters and haunts around London. After a particularly disastrous assignment, the Lockwood team has one terrifying last chance to keep themselves afloat: they must spend one night investigating the most haunted house they’ve ever seen.

Vaughan, M. M. The Ability; illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Simon, 2013. 330p. Gr. 5-7.
Twelve-year-old misfit Christopher has finally found a home at Myers Holt Academy, a school that cultivates psychic powers in its students. The school has a dark past, though, and the latest group of students will need to use their talents to stop the destructive forces that threaten the very minds of the school’s former associates.

Waggoner, Susan. Neptune's Tears. Holt, 2013. 224p. Gr. 7-10.
Focused on her career as a healing empath, Zee is thrown off by the powerful bond she forms with David, an intriguing new patient and a member of the recently arrived alien race. There are greater concerns at hand, though, as anarchist forces threaten Zee’s native London. Zee is stronger than she knows, and a new set of gifts could be the key to both defeating the terror on Earth and salvaging her relationship.