Un Lun Dun, by China Mieville is his first Y/A book. If you have a young teen reader on your list, or, if like me, you would rather read a great Y/A than a bad adult novel, get this book. Most of the action takes place in an alternate London, a very Alice in Wonderland place. Deeba Resham, a girl from our London, and a friend get transported there in the midst of a struggle against a malevolent cloud of noxious gasses. There is fantastic word play in Un Lon Don, in fact some words, when spoken, take form and come to life.
There is lots to laugh about, but Deeba finds herself up against some very wicked opponents. When considering this book, remember it's Young Adult, not a children's book.
In this book, Deeba and all the people of Un Lun Dun have to learn to face facts, turn away from the easy lies of those who would manipulate them, and take charge of their own lives. Not a bad lesson for the rest of us.