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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-03-25 17:13
Subject: [child] The Child asks for a SF/F reading list
Security: Public
Tags:books, child
the_child has asked me for a reading list of both middle reader and YA fantasy and science fiction. Obviously I have my ideas, from my childhood or more recent reading, but what would you recommend for her?

Title, author, and a little bit of description would be favorite, and maybe a note on why you like it.

ETA: If you know the_child personally, please do not mention her name in comments. I've worked very hard to preserve her online privacy.

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barry_king
User: barry_king
Date: 2010-03-26 00:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett, There are so many books in the YA category that entertain, distract, play at being parent. This one stands apart from that lot. This one talks about how the bones of the world are like the bones of your body. This one talks about real things by talking about things that are unreal. There are reasons for fantasy. This book is one of them.
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cathschaffstump: nightmares
User: cathschaffstump
Date: 2010-03-26 01:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:nightmares
The follow up books A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith are great too. I Shall Wear Midnight, a fourth book in the series, should be out this year.

One of the best grandmothers ever is talked about in this series.


Catherine
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User: jess_ka
Date: 2010-03-26 00:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bookgirl
Patricia McKillip's Riddlemaster of Hed books, and her Forgotten Beasts of Eld. These books are wonderful wonderful wonderful.

Edited at 2010-03-26 12:32 am (UTC)
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Zhaneel
User: zhaneel69
Date: 2010-03-26 02:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh yes. I'd forgotten about these. Very good.
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miki garrison: books
User: mikigarrison
Date: 2010-03-26 00:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:books
Here are some I think she in particular would like. All of these feature really strong characters who combine intellectual curiosity and a certain moral bravery, both characteristics I associated with the_child. Some may be out of print, but I can lend a copy if need be. :)

* First Test, by Tamora Pierce. This is the first in a series, and one of several series she has that are awesome, but the on I would recommend starting with. It's about a girl in training to be a knight who is having to fight to be allowed to do so when traditionally it's just boys, but it's also about how she deals with all the ways in which she is different than the others there -- not just being a girl, but in having a different style of leadership, having different beliefs about how to deal with those who bully either people or animals.

* Eva, by Peter Dickinson. It's about a girl who had grown up with as many chimpanzees for friends as people, because of her father's job -- and then goes through an interesting transformation after she has very experimental surgery following a catastrophic car accident. She ends up having to make some very challenging choices, and work through the consequences.

* Galax-Arena, by Gillian Rubinstein. It's about children who were stolen from a tumbling competition to perform for aliens that thrive on fear.

* Hidden Talents, by David Lubar. It's about kids at an alternative school who discover some interesting skills while dealing with being outcasts among the misfits.

* Invitation to the Game, by Monica Hughes. Dystopian SF in which robots have taken over most jobs, and the government has taken over parenting. After finishing school, a group of kids are assigned based on test results to be permanently unemployed, and who get lured in to a virtual reality game that seems all too real, and where surviving requires bringing their strenghts together as a team.

* Unwind, by Neal Shusterman. Dystopian SF in which abortion is outlawed, but parents can elect to have teenagers "unwound" -- i.e., have them recycled as organ transplants. The book is about a group of kids destined for this, and their attempt to escape. This could be too dark for her, you should read it first. It is incredibly awesome, though.

* Everlost, by Neal Shusterman. It's about kids navigating a limbo world between death and the afterlife, and limbo world where only children are ghosts.
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Elspeth
User: evaleastaristev
Date: 2010-03-27 01:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Also by Pierce I would suggest Sandry's Book which is the first of a quartet about a quartet of young Mage children and the fun times they have learning that they have magic and the trials that follow. I love them as an adult, and I'm sure she'll love them.
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mikandra
User: mikandra
Date: 2010-03-26 00:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Tamora Pierce - circle of magic
There are eight books in two series, covering the adventures of four young people thrown together by circumstance. What I liked about these books was that they treat magic almost as if it's a technology. They have a slight detective feel about them - in most books a crime needs to be solved. There are two more follow-up books which I didn't like quite as much.

Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Susanne Collins
I found these really well-written, and refreshing in the face of a glut of standard cliche fantasy available for younger readers.

For MG readers I'd recommend Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest series
I have no idea if they're available in the US, but they should be, because these books are excellent, especially the first series of seven novella-length volumes. It's a classic collect-the-parts type of quest, but oh man, the inventive monsters are cool! The last book has what I must begrudgingly admit is the best and most unexpected twist I have come across in all of my reading in the last few years.

Why is there so little SF for younger readers?
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smoking catnip and chasing my tail: EVIL
User: jettcat
Date: 2010-03-26 00:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:EVIL
I'll go old school:

Edgar Rice Burroughs-John Carter of Mars series
Madeline L'Engel-A wrinkle in Time series
any of Heinlein's YA books, my favorites are:
Citizen of the Galaxy, A door into Summer, Have spacesuit will travel, Time for the stars and the list goes on and on.
John Christopher White Mountains series


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ubiquitous_a: bg-wheee
User: ubiquitous_a
Date: 2010-03-26 00:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bg-wheee
I totally second A Door Into Summer by Heinlein.....one of my VERY favorites!
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ubiquitous_a: kitteh-onthemoon
User: ubiquitous_a
Date: 2010-03-26 00:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:kitteh-onthemoon
The Prydain Chronicles - Lloyd Alexander (was the first fantasy series I ever read....somewhere around 4th grade, I think)

The Belgaridad - David Eddings (Also very early fantasy that I read.....it's very accessible, and has great characters.)

The Harper Hall series by Anne McCaffrey (Music, dragons, young girl runs away to hang with fire lizards, what more could you want? *grin*)
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cathschaffstump: oliver
User: cathschaffstump
Date: 2010-03-26 01:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:oliver
And yes, seconding the Prydain Chronicals.

Catherine
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2010-03-26 00:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Most of Robin McKinley's books. (I don't know if Deerskin and Sunshine are YA or not.)
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2010-03-26 00:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Whoops...because they star Girls Who Do Things.
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cathschaffstump: phdhorrible
User: cathschaffstump
Date: 2010-03-26 01:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:phdhorrible
Scott Westerfield's Uglies Series is very, very good. That's 4 books of genetic modification and human enhancement, and what might be wrong with that.

Megan Whalen-Turner's The Thief series, which uses a fantasy Greece as a political backdrop. The second book has some very heavy things going down in it.

Sarah Prineas' The Magic Thief books, although they might be a little young.

D.M. Cornish' Monster Tattoo books, for fantasy in a colonial regency setting.

Patricia Wrede and Carolyn Stevermere's The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and the books that follow it. Empowering for girls; interesting and Regency.
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Zhaneel
User: zhaneel69
Date: 2010-03-26 03:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did not know of this series by Wrede and will now have to find it given how much I enjoy her Enchant Forest series.
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User: brownkitty
Date: 2010-03-26 01:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Diane Duane, the series starting with So You Want To Be A Wizard. The protagonists are mid-teens, if I remember correctly. There are two related books, Book of Night With Moon and To Visit The Queen, where the main characters are cats.

My daughter enjoys Jim Hines' Goblin Quest books. I've read the first one and found it funny. She's also working her way through the Becka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce (fighting with her father for them, actually).

I'm seconding the votes for Madeline L'Engle, the Pern books, the Chronicles of Prydain, and the Heinlein juveniles.

I liked Isaac Asimov's Robots of Dawn stories, but I was a weird child. I also read Dune repeatedly (just the first one, I didn't encounter the sequels until many years later).

Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through by Stephen Donaldson might work and might not. They're depressing books, but not the assault his Thomas Covenant series is. There is some adult theming, so you may want to read them first (or not, if you dislike Stephen Donaldson's work).

How old is the_child? I might be able to get a more extensive suggestion list from my daughter, who is thirteen, if you'd like.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-03-26 01:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
12-1/2, actually, so your daughter's perspective is likely spot-on. Thank you!
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silvertwi
User: silvertwi
Date: 2010-03-26 01:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll chime in with Tamora Pierce also. She was my introduction to YA literature. Her Circle of Magic Quartet is for a slightly younger audience than her Tortallan books (which include The Song of the Lioness Quartet, The Immortals Quartet, and Protector of the Small Quartet--that's the order written and also chronological--and then several other duologies, trilogies, and stand-alone novels off of it).

Someone already explained Circle of Magic, so I'll jump in with Song of the Lioness: Alanna is a twin. She wants to be a knight, but girls aren't allowed to become knights, and her brother Thom wants to be a sorcerer but their father wants him to be a knight. They switch places. What follows is Alanna in her Page years (Alanna: The First Adventure), Alanna as a Squire and earning her knighthood (In the Hands of the Goddess), one of her time among the Bazhir, the desert tribesmen of her country (Woman Who Rides Like a Man) and her quest for the Dominion Jewel, a powerful object which will allow her king to add powerful protections to Tortall (Lioness Rampant). There's a lot more to them, obviously, than my brief summary. It's about becoming a woman and finding her place in the world as both woman and knight; being one of the Gods-touched whose destiny is extraordinary; and a whole lot more.


Gerald Morris: The Squire's Tale (first in a series called The Squires Tales). Stories of King Arthur and the round table. The first one follows Sir Gawain's squire Terence (a character of Morris' creation). I love the series because they're highly entertaining and fun reads. There are points I laugh hysterically--usually involving witty exchanges. Suitable for just about any age, I'd say.


Madeleine L'Engel was a favorite of mine when I was in middle school. It's SciFi, probably one of the few that I've encountered in YA/juv lit.

Lois Duncan's A Gift of Magic. Middle-grade, but wonderful even when I re-read it years later. A young girl discovers her ESP and has to come to terms with it and how to use it. (I also recommend others, but many of them are a touch on the creepy side, or so I thought when I read them.)

The Girl With Silver Eyes--Willo Davis Roberts. [Summary stolen shamelessly from Amazon because I can't remember specifics beyond the fact that I re-read it obsessively for a couple of years.] Katie is different from her peers; she has silver eyes, can move things with her mind, and can even read the minds of animals. But she's also a 10 year old girl, and she is beset by the usual problems of fitting in with the other kids, and relating to her mother. But her life takes a turn for the worse when a mysterious man starts asking questions about her. She is eventually forced to strike out into the world in an attempt to learn more about herself, and to help herself deal with the special pressures she must face.

I really can't remember why I liked it so much. I read it probably 6-8 years ago. I do remember that the story entranced me and I'd say the voicing was probably what had me hooked.

Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede. Discovered in middle school, loved even today. I still re-read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. It's fairly easy reading. It has a really clever mix of fairy tales throughout the series. In the first one...there's a talking frog, a fairy godmother, princess stereotypes (and breaking of them), dragons, a very unusual witch and a whole lot more. Princess Cimorene likes fencing, cooking, Latin, and other un-princessy subjects. To top it off, she's dark-haired and tall, unlike her short, blonde sisters. When her parents arrange a marriage with a prince from a nearby kingdom whom she doesn't like, she follows the advice of a frog and finds herself as the princess of a dragon. She must deal with increasingly persistent princes and knights eager for glory (and half of her parent's kingdom) who come to try to fight Kazul, the dragon. (Cimorene resorts to offering to fight them herself to get them to go away.) She gets to utilize her Latin in organizing Kazul's library and discovers a plot among wizards against the dragons. Charming, fast-paced, and hilariously good, not to mention clever. I love-love-love this book.

...I'll stop now.
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ubiquitous_a
User: ubiquitous_a
Date: 2010-03-26 16:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Seconding Lois Duncan's A Gift of Magic....I LOVED that book and I think read it in my early teens as well. :)
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Greg van Eekhout: kid vs. squid
User: gregvaneekhout
Date: 2010-03-26 01:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:kid vs. squid
Sarah Prineas' Magic Thief books, of course. Middle grade. About a street urchin who enters the world of wizardry when he steals a wizard's magic stone. Deceptively simple storytelling done with great heart.

Nation, by Terry Pratchett. YA. About a 19th-century boy in the Pelagic Sea whose entire nation is wiped out by a tsunami, and the shipwrecked possible-heir to the English crown. It's sad, funny, and wise. Maybe my favorite book of the last three years.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Middle grade. This year's Newbery winner. A quirky time-travel book that feels in many ways like contemporary, mainstream middle-grade fiction.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. YA. Romantic adventure set in the late 19th or early 20th century, with airships.

And, uh, if she can wait till May 11, there's some book about the survivors of Atlantis washing up on the shores of a central California beach town, by some spazwad whose name I can't spell.
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frabjouslinz
User: frabjouslinz
Date: 2010-03-26 22:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"And, uh, if she can wait till May 11, there's some book about the survivors of Atlantis washing up on the shores of a central California beach town, by some spazwad whose name I can't spell."

Really? So cool!
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User: ex_catherin85
Date: 2010-03-26 01:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Flora Segunda" and "Flora's Dare" by Isabeau Wilce - funny and twisted, plus Girls Who Do Things.
"Tithe" by Holly Black, not funny but well-done.
"The Shadow Speaker" by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu would be about the right age range.
"The Vampire's Beautiful Daughter" by S.P. Somtow. Quirky, interesting fairytale, of sorts.
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2010-03-26 01:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Ender's Game" is the obvious choice, but with the rampant cretinism of OSC lately, I have to say, "get it used."

Madeline L'Engle's stuff, obviously, and, depending on The Child's attitude, I'd say Steven Brust's stuff up to but not including "Teckla," wouldn't be bad for fantasy. C.S. Lewis' Narnia series works, as, perhaps, does The Hobbit, though I found them hideously boring.

Gibson's work, and maybe even Stephenson's (Cryptonomicon and prior) may also, though there are the occasional things you'll need to intercede and explain, though they are generally treated lightly.
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anghara
User: anghara
Date: 2010-03-26 02:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ursula le Guin's Earthsea books (if she hasn't read them already)
Tiffany Trent's "Hallowmere" series
Maggie Stiefwater's "Shiver" (sequel coming soon!)
Libba Bray (everything)
and, um, well, there's yours truly - she can see if the Worldweavers books are her cup of tea if she visits www.worldweaversweb.com (there are excerpts)
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silvertwi
User: silvertwi
Date: 2010-03-26 03:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ooh, Maggie Stiefvater! I've read Lament, not Shiver, but I highly recommend as well. Lament is about a "clover hands"--a girl who can attract the Fae with music. I love music, especially when a character is a musician, so I loved this. It's very well-written. Maggie's blog is interesting too, if the_child is at all interested in reading what writers have to say. :P
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houseboatonstyx
User: houseboatonstyx
Date: 2010-03-26 02:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nesbit's THE ENCHANTED CASTLE.
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