Catch Up with His Dark Materials

Have you been watching His Dark Materials on HBO? We’re obsessed with the series which brings to life some of our favourite books. If you haven’t started yet, we recommend it – and we definitely recommend diving into Philip Pullman’s fantasy world in general. Here’s where you should start:

The Golden Compass
By Philip Pullman
448 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780440418320 | Knopf BFYR
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal – including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want. But what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other. . .

The Subtle Knife
By Philip Pullman
384 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780440418337 | Knopf BFYR
Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will – a boy on the run, a murderer – a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels. Each is searching – Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father – but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, their destinies are bound together. . .until they are split apart.

The Amber Spyglass
By Philip Pullman
560 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780440418566 | Knopf BFYR
Throughout the worlds, the forces of both heaven and hell are mustering to take part in Lord Asriel’s audacious rebellion. Each player in this epic drama has a role to play – and a sacrifice to make. Witches, angels, spies, assassins, tempters, and pretenders, no one will remain unscathed. Lyra and Will have the most dangerous task of all. They must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone and from which there is no escape. As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living – and the dead – comes to depend on Lyra and Will. On the choices they make in love, and for love, forevermore.

Lyra’s Oxford
By Philip Pullman
Illustrated by John Lawrence
80 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399555459 | Knopf BFYR
This exciting companion to His Dark Materials tells a not-to-be-missed story about Lyra and her world. When a witch’s daemon crashes onto the roof of Jordan College, Lyra and her daemon, Pan, are eager to help. But as this unlikely trio scours the winding streets of Oxford in search of a famed alchemist, their journey takes a deadly turn. . .This volume also includes a fold-out map of Oxford and fascinating extra glimpses of our favorite characters.

Once Upon a Time in the North
By Philip Pullman
Illustrated by John Lawrence
144 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399555442 | Knopf BFYR
In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby – Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua – is just 24 years old, and he’s recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating North to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving an oil magnate, a corrupt mayoral candidate, and Lee’s longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country, a hired killer with at least twenty murders to his name. It’s only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island’s reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out – and battle of wits. A glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison.

Serpentine
By Philip Pullman
Illustrated by Tom Duxbury
80 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593377680 | Knopf BFYR
This companion to His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust offers a tantalizing new glimpse of Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon. The world-changing events of The Amber Spyglass are behind them, and Lyra and Pan find themselves utterly changed as well. In Serpentine, they journey to the far North once more, hoping to ask the Consul of Witches a most urgent question. This brand-new story, a beguiling must-read for Pullman fans old and new, is a perfect companion to His Dark Materials and a fascinating bridge to The Book of Dust.

La Belle Sauvage
By Philip Pullman
480 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780553510744 | Knopf BFYR
Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, are used to overhearing news and the occasional scandal at the inn run by his family. But during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm finds a mysterious object – and finds himself in grave danger. Inside the object is a cryptic message about something called Dust; and it’s not long before Malcolm is approached by the spy for whom this message was actually intended. When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he begins to notice suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl – just a baby – named Lyra. Lyra is at the center of a storm, and Malcolm will brave any peril, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through it.

The Secret Commonwealth
By Philip Pullman
656 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780553510706 | Knopf BFYR
The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her – or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past. The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead’s role in bringing her to Jordan College. Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.

And once you’re done reading, you can catch up with the show!

Holiday Spotlight: Random House Children’s Books

Here at Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, we’re lucky to work with so many different lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post is all about Random House Children’s Books.

Burn Our Bodies Down
By Rory Power
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645627 | Delacorte BFYR
Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relatives to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593309605 | Knopf BFYR
16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Dear Justyce
By Nic Stone
288 Pages | 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984829665 | Crown BFYR
Release date: September 29, 2020
In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system. Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce – the protagonist of Dear Martin – Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.

Find Fergus
By Mike Boldt
36 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984849021 | Doubleday BFYR
The hilarious illustrator of I Don’t Want to Be a Frog brings picture book fans a super-silly, interactive story that will have children giggling from start to finish. Follow huge, loveable Fergus and see all the many ways in which he is TERRIBLE at playing hide-and-seek, such as standing behind a VERY tiny tree (“Found you, Fergus! That was too easy!”) or trying to camouflage in a giant crowd of bunnies and squirrels (“Try bears, Fergus. Bears!”). But wait! The game isn’t over yet! The last two pages fold out into a giant panoramic look-and-find scene, where Fergus is well and truly hidden, and young readers can have fun looking for him and lots of other details in the the crowd. There are hours and hours of play value in this adorable book. Children will want to come back to it again and again.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins
By Lincoln Peirce
272 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593125908 | Crown BFYR
Max didn’t expect knight school to be so tough. Luckily, she has her best friends – the Midknights – at her side. But when Byjovia is under attack, the Midknights will have to face beastly creatures, powerful spells, and their greatest foe yet–themselves? Lincoln Peirce, author of the New York Times bestselling Max & the Midknights, brings more laughs, more adventures, and more silliness to Battle of the Bodkins, book two in the Max & the Midknights series.

Serpentine
By Philip Pullman
Illustrated by Tom Duxbury
80 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593377680 | Knopf BFYR
This companion to the His Dark Materials series and The Book of Dust offers a tantalizing new glimpse of Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon. The world-changing events of The Amber Spyglass are behind them, and Lyra and Pan find themselves utterly changed as well. In Serpentine, they journey to the far North once more, hoping to ask the Consul of Witches a most urgent question. This brand-new story, a beguiling must-read for Pullman fans old and new, is a perfect companion to His Dark Materials and a fascinating bridge to The Book of Dust.

The Cousins
By Karen M. McManus
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525708001 | Delacorte BFYR
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious. Their parents are all clear on one point – not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious – and dark – their family’s past is. The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over – and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

The World Needs More Purple People
By Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593121962 | Random House BFYR
What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh (especially at Grandpa’s funny noises)! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That’s the fun part! Penny Purple will lead you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired. Looking to reach beyond the political divide of red and blue, Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart have created a hilarious and joyous read-aloud that offers a wonderful message about embracing the things that bring us together as humans. This book will inspire a whole generation to paint the world purple!

Wild Symphony
By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123843 | Rodale Kids
Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share. Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you – a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve! Children and adults can enjoy this timeless picture book as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read — one for each animal — with a free interactive smartphone app, which uses augmented reality to play the appropriate song for each page when a phone’s camera is held over it.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Staff Picks

The holidays are over but you still have time to hit up a bookstore before 2020 rolls around! In case you need some inspiration for your next read, here’s what our team loved in 2019:

Vikki VanSickle, Associate Director, Marketing & Publicity

The Fountains of Silence
By Ruta Sepetys
ISBN 9780399160318
Ages 12+ | Philomel Books

Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
By Philip Pullman
ISBN 9780553510669
Ages 14+ | Knopf BFYR

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought.

Sylvia Chan, Manager, Marketing & Publicity

American Royals
By Katharine McGee
ISBN 9781984830173
Ages 14+ | Random House BFYR

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. This is the story of the American royals.

The Starlight Claim
By Tim Wynne-Jones
ISBN 9781536202649
Ages 14+ | Candlewick

Fast-paced, evocative, and intensely suspenseful, Tim Wynne-Jones’s latest psychological thriller finds a teenager setting his wits against the frigid wilderness and a menacing crew of escapees.

Evan Munday, Publicity Manager

The Grey Sisters
By Jo Treggiari
ISBN 9780735262980
Ages 12+ | Penguin Teen Canada

Two years after a deadly plane crash, best friends D and Spider head into the mountains to face their grief and find more than they bargained for.

Aurora Rising
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
ISBN 9781524720964
Ages 12+ | Knopf BFYR

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones ends up with the dregs…not to mention Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space.

Samantha Devotta, Associate Publicist

Chicken Girl
By Heather Smith
ISBN 9780143198680
Ages 12+ | Penguin Teen Canada

Poppy used to be an optimist…until she’s cyber-bullied. Then she takes refuge in her job (wearing a feathered chicken suit) before meeting a little girl who changes the way she thinks.

House of Salt and Sorrows
By Erin A. Craig
ISBN 9781984831927
Ages 12+ | Delacorte Press

As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @penguinteenca for more recommendations in 2020 … see you next year!

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Indigo’s Best Books for Teens

A while back, Indigo released their 2019 Best Books for Teens list, and we’re stoked to see so many of our faves made the cut! There are books that were on our #Penguin10 list, as well as a few that were included in our #FantasyFriday and #SciFiSaturday campaigns (and even one that was part of #IRLWednesday!), not to mention some we just love in general! How many have you read?

Frankly in Love
By David Yoon
ISBN 9781984812209
14+ | Putnam BFYR

Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong? In this moving debut novel, David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.

Two Can Keep a Secret
By Karen M. McManus
ISBN 9781524714727
14+ | Delacorte Press

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there – and suddenly another girl goes missing.

Wilder Girls
By Rory Power
ISBN 9780525645580
14+ | Delacorte Press

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears.

Spin the Dawn
By Elizabeth Lim
ISBN 9780525646990
12+ | Knopf BFYR

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Aurora Rising
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
ISBN 9781524720964
12+ | Knopf BFYR

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but he’s stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch…not to mention Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space.

The Beautiful
By Renée Ahdieh
ISBN 9781524738174
12+ | Putnam BFYR

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
By Philip Pullman
ISBN 9780553510669
14+ | Knopf BFYR

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought.

Four Dead Queens
By Astrid Scholte
ISBN 9780525513926
12+ | Putnam BFYR

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar who soon finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that leaves the four queens of Quadara dead.

The Things She’s Seen
By Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
ISBN 9781984848789
12+ | Knopf BFYR

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died. Her dad is the only one who can see her and she needs his help to solve a mystery and get him out of his grief.

Blood Heir
By Amélie Wen Zhao
ISBN 9780525707790
12+ | Delacorte Press

This hot debut, perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes, is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

How to Make Friends with the Dark
By Kathleen Glasgow
ISBN 9781101934753
14+ | Delacorte Press

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

American Royals
By Katharine McGee
ISBN 9781984830173
14+ | Random House BFYR

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. This is the story of the American royals.

Gravemaidens
By Kelly Coon
ISBN 9780525647829
14+ | Delacorte Press

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.