Continuing on from the previous post, here are our spotlight stories from the last five years of Cast of Wonders!
Our back catalogue story for year 6 is one of my all time favourites, Mr Quacky in Space by Amanda Helms, narrated by Katherine Inskip. A sinister, demonic alien force possesses a mechanical… duck? In a space station amusement park? This story was a sheer delight to narrate, and it’s one I come back to time and time again.
Our editor’s pick is Blood and Water by Jason Kimble, narrated by Paul Cram. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous teen romance. Bring tissues for this one – it’s an absolute masterclass in grabbing the reader by “the feels”.
Year 7’s first pick is The Final Strand, written and narrated by Mackenzi Newman. This is an amazing fairy-tale retelling by a young author – exactly the kind of story we love to see in our slushpile. The tropes of the original tale are given fresh and meaningful life in this story of a girl struggling to gain agency over her life, and her future.
Our editor’s choice story is Earn Your Breath by Jaime Mayer, narrated by Ibba Armancas. A young warrior in a prehistoric community plays a key role in the fight against invaders, but will her courage be enough for her to be accepted for who she is?
From year 8, we’ve chosen SOUL CLEAVER Clarence by Matthew Jarvis, a full cast production that includes Cast of Wonders’ Dragon-in-Residence, Cheyenne Wright. This story started life as a submission to our flash fiction contest. It takes the tropes of knights, dragons, and damsels, throws tradition to the wind, and creates something heartwarming and hilarious.
The editor’s pick for this year is Radio Free Heartland by Corey Mallonee, narrated by Karen Bovenmyer. This is a story of freedom, and hope. Magic and wonder don’t always come hand in hand with happiness, and sometimes, all choices are bad ones. But the story goes on, and if we’re lucky, it gets better.
Year 9’s first spotlight is Studies on the Impact of Homeschooling, or When Not to Wear a Tuxedo, by Rebecca Rozakis, narrated by Kaitie Radel. This is a story of dapper spies, mad science, and the triumph of family over the forces of… evil? Good? I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Our editor’s pick is Knitting in English by Brit Hvide, narrated by Nanna Árnadóttir. This is a lyrical story of third-culture children and growing into your heritage – magical or otherwise.
Grandma Geraldine is a perfect example of how wonder in YA isn’t only for younger protagonists. We’re never too old to chase our dreams, find adventure, and ourselves.
The ghost of a grandmother also takes centre stage in Like Faded Joy, a beautiful story of two twins, the music they share, and the magic that holds them apart.