A Tuesday Ten: Sick and Tired

I’ve been butt-kicked by a rather nasty cold this past week and it made me consider that an interesting theme for this Tuesday might be illness in SF and Fantasy.  Let’s see what we find!


The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (Eos, c2001)

Addie has always admired her older and more adventurous sister Meryl, but when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Grey Death,  it’s Addie who must go on a quest to find the cure for her sister.  This is the first book that occurred to me when creating this list mainly because it’s a classic quest plot motivation.  When someone you love is ill, you’ll go to the ends of the earth to find a way to cure them.


Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin (Razorbill, February 2015)

In this book we have Annie Blythe who calls herself a “wish” girl.  In reality, she’s a “Make a Wish” girl–she has cancer and is facing the choice of a risky procedure to try and stop it.  So Annie’s weeks in the Texas Hill Country are something she’s determined to make special.  With the help of a magical valley and a troubled boy named Peter, she finds both the courage and strength she needs.  This book doesn’t have a magical happily ever after–but it does have a hopeful one.



The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore (Walker Children’s, 2013)

When Ephraim’s father has a stroke, the Appledore children move to their ancestor’s estate–an ancestor who is rumored to have discovered the fountain of youth.  Now Ephraim’s on a quest to see if this is really true and if he can find a cure for his father!


The Wizard’s Dilemma by Diane Duane (HMH Books for Young Readers)

When I think of illness in a fantasy novel, this is still one of my most heart-wrenching reads.  Diane Duane doesn’t give us static characters that never change–but that sometimes means hard changes.  For Nita it means her mother has been diagnosed with cancer . . . and there may be no way for Nita to cure it, despite all the magic she possesses.



Skellig by David Almond (Laurel Leaf, c1998)

This powerful little story is easy to overlook on the shelves for flashier titles. But there’s a reason it’s won so many awards.  Michael’s baby sister is ill and the chaos and unhappiness this brings to his home  along with fear that she might die soon has Michael retreating to the garage.  While there he finds a strange creature, something that looks part man and part bird.  Or maybe part angel?


The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walden Pond Press, Expected Publication September 2015)

Rory Rooney may think he’s prepared for just about anything–but he’s not prepared for what happens when he turns green.  Completely green from head to foot.  Now he’s in an isolation ward being poked and prodded by doctors who are certain he’s sick with something.  Rory has a different theory however.  What if his turning green actually means he’s turned into a superhero? What if his change of hue has given him superpowers?


 Into the Wild by Piers Torday (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2014)

In Kester’s world, most of the animals have died off from something called Red-Eye disease.  Only a few animals are left in this dystopian nightmare, and they’ve chosen Kester to help save them, and find a way to stop the disease that is killing them all.


Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain, 2008)

In this third book of the Fablehaven series a dangerous plague has been released that turns creatures of light into creatures of darkness.  The Sorensons are no longer certain whom they can trust as the infection spreads among the inhabitants.  They have to come up with a way of stopping it soon before it puts Fablehaven itself at risk.


The Fog Diver by Joel Ross (HarperCollins, Expected Publication May 2015)

In this futuristic world where mankind’s technology has  left the remainder of humankind clinging to the highest points of land while the rest of the world is covered by a “fog” of nanites, Chess is one of the few who can withstand the fog long enough to dive in and bring artifacts and animals up out of it.  He is used to doing this to make a living for his “family”, but now his beloved Mrs E, the on who takes care of all of them, has fogsickness.  There are rumors of a cure for the disease in Port Oro, but it won’t come cheap.  So Chess is diving in desperate search of a score that will give them the funds they need to save her!


Briar’s Book by Tamora Pierce (Scholastic, c1999)

This is the fourth book in the Circle of Magic Quartet, one that focuses primarily on Briar.  While Briar has come a long way from his days as a thief and a kid on the street, he still keeps connection with the street kids.  When one of them comes down with a mysterious illness,  he tries to help her, only to find that the illness is soon spreading everywhere . . . and could threaten the things and people he cares for most!  A lot of this story is dedicated to describing how the mages work to fight the illness and figure out a way to stop it.

So there are my ten!  Any to add?

Comments Welcome!



About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on March 26, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Now I’ll have images in my head of Ron Weasley puking up slugs all day.

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