I've got to the part of my reviews where I started rereading books I've owned and loved when I was younger. Honestly I still love them, despite their young adult designation.
Young Adult Books Round Two
My two favorite books in my preteen years were Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith. I think Wren to the Rescue and many books about fairies were what began to interest me in fantasy books. With Ella Enchanted I think I was 14 when I first read it, and it was an easy read, but I loved it so much I had to immediately read it again before returning it to the library. Something I'd never done before with any book. Ella (an adapted Cinderella figure) is spunky and at times obstinate as she fights her curse. It's been a little while since I read Ella Enchanted, but I still read it every few years. All the books below fall into the category of books that are great for advanced readers in 3-6th grade on up, though they're generally classified as "middle grades" level.
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine -A pair of sister princesses, a mysterious illness, fairies, a young wizard, and an epic quest are fairly average fantasy subjects. But Levine writes renewed fairy tales and her own fantasies masterfully adding wonderful humor, and strong female characters that make great role models for young readers. Characters also work to overcome their personal fears and weaknesses, with all problems being resolved neatly by the end of the book.
Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, and Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce -are the first three books featuring the character Daine, a young girl with wild magic. Pierce's books have a much more fleshed out magical system and characters that appear in one book often make cameos in others too. Daine has some interesting quirks, her wild magic is much stronger than in others who might have it, and those who do have it are an oddity in her world or specialize in one area, taking care of horses for instance. But Daine's power goes beyond all that and her family origins are mysterious. Throughout the series we see her grow into her powers and encounter new enemies as her new home is thrown into chaos with various immortals being unleashed from a realm they've been confined to for generations. The books have both adventure and quest elements as well as mystery solving in a swords and sorcery world created for teen and preteen readers.
Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith -Has all the coming of age story hallmarks, orphans, a princess, sorcerers in training, and evil wizard kidnappings. But it uses the familiar story line to introduce great characters and concepts that help shape young adults. We see a woman with ambiguous morality and learn that people don't start out good or evil necessarily, but can be taught morals along the way. The heroine and her best friend continue their relationship despite changes in status and new friends join them. This book is the start of a series with the original trilogy available in both print and ebook, and the 4th book, written a bit later only as ebook. The whole series is worth reading, and get a bit more serious in tone as they go on, but this first book is very lighthearted and would be a perfect introduction to fantasy books for young readers. I have an 8 year old cousin who is about ready for it in fact. The great part about Smith is she has also written books for teen and adult readers, so her books are perfect to grow up with.
Thanks for joining me, I'll be back with a full report on my capsule wardrobe Friday and more book reviews next week.