Series older kids will be clamoring for.
The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid andThe Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan. (Disney-Hyperion, $18.99 each, ages 9-12, 528-464 pages, 2011) When siblings Carter, 14, and Sadie, 12, unite after years of living apart, they seem to have nothing in common until their archaeologist father, Dr. Julius Kane, disappears inside the British Museum and the siblings are thrust headlong into an epic adventure. While taking the siblings on a private tour of the museum, Dr. Kane blows up the Rosetta Stone and releases a vengeful Egyptian god who entombs him. Carter and Sadie barely escape and as they set off to rescue their father, they discover secrets of their family heritage. The siblings learn they are descendants of the pharaohs and have magical powers that could stop the gods of chaos and save humanity. This fast-paced, often funny new adventure trilogy by the author of the blockbuster Percy Jackson and the Olympians books is an easy read that they won't want to put down.
Pathfinder, by Orson Scott Card (Simon Pulse, $18.99, ages 12 and up, 672 pages, 2010). From the best-selling author of Ender's Game comes a fascinating series that moves between two complex story lines: one about 13-year-old Rigg, who has a special ability to see the paths of people's pasts, and Ram Odin, a human pilot of a colony ship from Earth. Reader's are first introduced to Rigg, while trapping with his father, a stern taskmaster who grills his son on questions of logic and the unforeseen. His father wants Rigg to be prepared for anything, though Rigg doesn't know why, and he has warned Rigg never to tell anyone about his gift as a pathfinder. But then his father suddenly dies and Rigg discovers he has a sister that his father never told him about. He sets off with a childhood friend Umbo, who has a special ability to bend time, to find her and uncover his past. Along the way they meet characters who aren't always who they seem and Rig becomes caught between a faction that wants him crowned and another that wants him dead. In alternating chapters, Card follows Ram's voyage into the unknown with a robot trained in space-folding technology. Thought-provoking, just the thing for teens looking for a smart read.
The Norumbegan Quartet: The Game of Sunken Places, The Suburb Beyond the Stars and just out Empire of Gut and Bone (Scholastic, $17.99 each, ages 9-12, 240-336 pages, 200-2011). Two best friends get embroiled in an ancient feud between otherworldly civilizations in a fun, horror trilogy.
The Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom, by Jenny Nimmo (Scholastic, $16.99, ages 9-12, 224 pages, 2011). The first book in a new series chronicling the origin and adventures of Charlie Bone's magical ancestor, the Red King.
The Skinjacker Trilogy: Everlost, Everwild and the newly out Everfound. (Simon & Schuster, $17.99 each, ages 12 and up, 448-512 pages, 2011) Two teens meet after their death as they're heading down a tunnel of light and find themselves in a zany action adventure.
The Relic Master: The Dark City, The Lost Heiress and soon out, The Hidden Coronet and The Margave (Dial, $16.99, ages 12 and up, 384-432 pages, 2011) Galen, a Keeper of relics, and his 16-year-old apprentice Raffi search for a hidden relic to save the world of Anara, where nothing is as it seems.