Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fantasy, YA
Challenge: A-Z (title)
Review: What do you do if you're the Chosen One's sidekick (and, no, we're not talking Buffy this time) but the Chosen One has forgotten that she's Chosen? If you're Deeba Resham, you declare yourself the Unchosen One, save the day anyway, and tell the prophecies to go stuff themselves.
When Deeba first goes to UnLondon, she is simply following her friend Zanna, who is the prophesied Chosen One. But it turns out that the prophecies are kind of, well, wrong. When the battle that is foretold to end with Zanna victorious ends instead with Zanna unconscious and returned to London with no memory of UnLondon, Deeba realizes that it's up to her to find a way back to UnLondon to defeat the Smog.
So she does, and along the way must convince not only the denizens of UnLondon that even if she's not the Chosen One, she can still be their champion, but she must also convince herself. Combining elements of Alice and Wonderland and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Mieville gives us quite the no-nonsense heroine.
And, as one of her companions asks her, "Where's the skill in being a hero if you were always destined to do it?"