2023 Staff Picks: Science Fiction and Fantasy

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Chain-Gang All-Stars

    2023 by Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame

    This beautifully written dystopian novel not only showcases the strength of love, but also the brutality of the prison system. I really liked the characters and how they evolved throughout the novel. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Land of Milk and Honey

    2023 by Zhang, C Pam

    A dystopian story about food scarcity, written from the perspective of a professional chef working for a mysterious mogul with a taste for gourmet food. We loved this book because of the way that it blends genres and its beautiful, lush writing, which made it nearly impossible to put down. Suggested by Paul and Megan.

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  • Tress of the Emerald Sea

    2023 by Sanderson, Brandon

    We enjoyed the incredible world-building in this story, the loveable narrator, the pirate theme, as well as the twists and turns that kept it fun and engrossing. Impossible to put down! Suggested by Susanne and Charles.

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  • Translation State

    2023 by Leckie, Ann

    I love speculative fiction that's mind-bending but still accessible. This standalone from Hugo winner Ann Leckie fits the bill, mixing adventure, politics, mystery, and rich character development. Recommended by Annabelle.

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  • The Terraformers

    2023 by Newitz, Annalee

    The saga of planet Sask-E is a major work of "hard" science fiction even if it doesn't always feel like one, with its talking cats and gravity-defying moose. The author doesn't see whimsy as incompatible with deep thoughts about society, nature, and what makes a sentient being. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • The Last Animal

    2023 by Ausubel, Ramona

    Wild, wooly, raw, and full of heart. I loved this charming and thought-provoking story about the consequences of bioengineering. It touches on themes of sisterly love, motherly devotion, and the grief for those who cannot be brought back. Suggested by Megan.

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  • The Jasad Heir

    2023 by Hashem, Sara

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Eqyptian-inspired fantasy that has complex and wonderful world-building, a slow-burn enemies to lovers romance, and court intrigue. I can't wait to read more from this series, especially after an explosive ending. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Road to Roswell

    2023 by Willis, Connie

    When the world gets too heavy, I love to read for escape, and Connie Willis is a master at taking readers on epic journeys full of humor and insight. Her latest book is a rollicking sci-fi/Western/romance mashup that's like E.T., but for grown-ups. Suggested by Annabelle.

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  • The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi

    2023 by Chakraborty, S. A.

    Simply fantastic. If you’re yearning for a women-led pirate tale with cool magic happenings and lots of interesting historical references, this is for you. The first in a new series, I was enthralled by the characters and world-building, and will easily sail into the sequel. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • In the Lives of Puppets

    2023 by Klune, TJ

    I loved the belly laughs this book provided. I particularly enjoyed the killer vacuum robot inspired by the author's Roomba, diverse characters, and the exploration of humanity and machine. Suggested by Susanne.

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  • Ink Blood Sister Scribe

    2023 by Törzs, Emma

    A spellbinding fantasy debut that overturns the stereotype of a wicked step/half sister. I loved the magic system and that each sister had gone on their individual journey. I would definitely recommend this book as a gateway to adult fantasy. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Scarlet

    2023 by Cogman, Genevieve

    The first in a new trilogy, this is a feminist reimagining of the French Revolution and the mysterious League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. There’s magic, vampires, and plenty of swashbuckling. I had so much fun with this alternate history version. Suggested by Sharon.

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