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Enough with the goddamn vampires.  I'm tired of the diaries.  And if I see one more remake of "Mean Girls" I'm going to puke.

My daughter is nine.  She's also the number one reader in her school.  And every week, without fail, we go to the library.

Honestly, the pickings are getting a little slim for her.  She CAN read the older books, and often does.  But once again, she's nine.  And every time she wants to head on over to the young adult section for a "cool" book, I cringe.

(Rant on the flip)

Now, I am not wearing rose colored glasses here.  I remember exactly what I was into at that age.  I was reading "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, and William Sleator novels.  But dammit, the plots in those didn't involve "Showing the whole school who's the REAL princess" or some other value calculated for maximum consumer appeal.

I got bored with young adult fiction FAST as a kid, but for the most part, the fiction that I read whet my appetite for bigger and better books.  Now, well, it's just ugly to me.

Maybe it's because she's a girl, and I'm a single father, but honestly, I can't get behind these heroines.  I can't get behind a character that exists solely to garner popularity.  I can't get behind a character that is devoid of personality to make her "appeal" whatever the hell that word is supposed to mean now.  And I'm tired, tired, TIRED of Cinderella being retold.   Again.

So I'm trying, but honestly, when children's literature from over one HUNDRED years ago has more active and interesting female characters, that's a sign that something is a tad wrong.  Yes, I'm talking about the Oz books.   I admit that L. Frank Baum did screw me up a bit in my sexuality growing up due to one of his books which became my absolute favorite...  

Yes, I know.  90% of everything is crap.  The problem is that when you have a kid who reads EVERYTHING, well, you've got a lot of crap you have to weed out.  A lot of black/pink covered crap.

Originally posted to detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I grew up in what I now think of as a golden age (8+ / 0-)

    for young adult books. When I was 9-12 years old, I was reading amazingly wonderful books like The Changeling and The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, or the magic books by Edward Eager, or The Lemon-Freshened, Active-Enzyme, Junior High School Witch (forgot the author's name), or My Side of the Mountain and the rest of the books by Jean George, or books by Ruth M. Arthur, or Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell -- there were tons of books with fascinating stories, interesting characters, and no focus on sexuality and teenage popularity. Maybe some of those books are still in the libraries.

    Please visit:

    by Noisy Democrat on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:08:12 AM PST

  •  old books are much better (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, fuzzyguy

    there are some good ones that are recent (last 30 years) but not really that many imo.

    best seller lists are complete b.s. imo.  

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:11:35 AM PST

  •  I feel for you. (3+ / 0-)

    Every year I go to the bookstore to get 2 books for each of my grandnieces and my grandnephews -- birthday and Christmas.

    They've grown past that age now, but I used to avoid most kids' fantasy. (I don't remember "working to be popular" plots, but then the bookstore I favor is run by conscious feminists. They may have ditched those.)

    •  Oh thanks for reminding me... (0+ / 0-)

      of the OTHER horrible thing that I constantly see.

      "Everything is horrible, and gets worse, but we're plucky/blase enough to deal with it."

      But yeah, the popularity thing is really annoying with girls fiction.  It's EVERYWHERE.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:16:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But fantasy of merit still is being written (0+ / 0-)

      for kids of many genders.  Robin LaFevers' Theodosia Throckmorton books, for example, or Alan Bradley's  Flavia de Luce, or Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines and prequel series Fever Crumb.  Or Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (caution: the ending may be properly considered blasphemous by some).

      For older girls, consider science fiction: David Gerrold's Jumping off the Planet and sequelae, David Weber's Honor Harrington series of space operas, or Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga books.  All with strong youngish characters both male and female.

      Non-fantasy: True Grit  impressed me, as a book and both movie versions.  Winter's Bone.  Hunger Games  (I am afraid I can't see this trilogy quite as a fantasy,  unfortunately).  The Book Thief.  Kids grow up way faster than you think.

      There's much good stuff.

      I got into kid lit myself in the late 70's early 80's when my kids were young we we read to them constantly .  It was all what is now considered classic, but it isn't at all bleak out there; you just have to look outside the traditional categories.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:17:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Older SF (0+ / 0-)

        When I give SF, I generally give the older stuff that I've read myself.
        "Hunger Games" was an exception. I gave it, then read it, and was glad I'd given it.


        The golden age of science fiction is 13.
        Still I think the best stuff of my youth is far better than what I see being published today. (The worst stuff of my youth, OTOH, was trash indeed.)
  •  There's this novel called ROGUE coming out (5+ / 0-)

    next May that she might like, about a socially awkward, X-Men obsessed 13-year-old girl in search of a friend and her own "special power."

    And in the meantime, let me recommend Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, a thought-provoking time-travel mystery and homage to the classic Madeleine L'Engle novel A Wrinkle in Time.

    In general, novels considered "middle grade" are more appropriate for a 9-year-old than "YA" and present a wider variety of characters who are trying to find their place in the world. If you avoid the pink-covered series titles and focus on books that have won awards such as the Newbery, the Coretta Scott King (for titles by African-American authors), the Scott O'Dell (for historical fiction) and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award or are finalists for, say, the National Book Awards, you'll find that the universe is larger than you think.

    •  She's read L'engle (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deejay Lyn

      And loved it.  

      Thanks for the suggestions, and we do ask librarians for suggestions as well every time we go.  

      (Just for the record, she's FAR above her grade level.  Enjoys Piers Anthony (Which I heavily screen) and Brian Jaques, but she's READ them all...)

      Just once again the problem is that the library has vast quantities of garbage because it's what's popular...

      However, she did pick up "Journey to the Center of the Earth" yesterday.  Here's hoping she likes it.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:20:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's hard when kids read above their grade level (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because you may be able to read and understand something, but do you connect with it? That's what I like about the Newbery winners--they tend to be written at an adult reading and cognitive level but feature young people in recognizable situations.

        For instance, in When You Reach Me (2010 Newbery winner), the main character, Miranda, has a falling out with the boy from her apartment building who's been her best friend since infancy. While popularity shouldn't be the end-all, kids do worry about losing friends, and it's common for old friends to go in different directions. And on top of that, Miranda is getting these mysterious letters, and she wants to resolve the situation without getting her mother involved.

      •  Your library has been buying new books? (0+ / 0-)

        Not so much a problem for us.

        Yes, there is a lot of junk published. But, plenty of good stuff out there. The real challenge is finding work that is challenging for her to read and yet appropriate for age 9.

        I was churning my way through horse books at that age, which are pretty safe. I'd probably read all the Little House by then, too. We have Harry Potter now.

        Another author I'll suggest is Tamora Pierce. Some of her work is a little too adult for 9, but her Circle of Magic and Circle Opens series are quick, fun reads that are very age appropriate and about kids that have real strength and personality.

        If she likes science fiction, Asimov is an excellent and prolific choice, and appropriate for all ages. has threads with people looking for books for precocious readers all the time; and wonderfully, at Amazon, you have a huge catalog at your disposal. I often search there and then pull books via interlibrary loan.

        Don't forget about non-fiction, especially memoirs and biographies, which can be fun to read and are usually free of adult situations. If she likes animals, one I especially like is "Lads Before the Wind" by Karen Pryor.

        I remember at one point when I was a teenager feeling like I had better slow down my reading because I was worried I was in danger of having read everything interesting and that new stuff wasn't being written fast enough. Then I realized I was an idiot. :-D

        When she gets to about 12, the world opens up dramatically because by then she'll be mature enough to read pretty much anything that holds her interest.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:05:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was about to mention Madelein L'Engle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      detroitmechworks, Deejay Lyn

      I actually still have a copy of "The Young Unicorns", and "Wrinkle" was one of my favorites.

      "The less time you have, the more you need to use it wisely." - Cpt. Avatar, Starblazers

      by DeathDlr73 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:24:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Swiftly Tilting Planet, for me. (2+ / 0-)

        I ended up with Wrinkle, Door, Planet, and Many Waters off a book order in middle school.

        I tried to read through her other books in high school and unfortunately my first pick had an unwarned plot of a grandparent dying of leukemia... right after one of my classmates had died from the same. Why the school didn't temporarily put it behind the counter or stick a post-it on the cover I do not know.

        Sex scenes in the high school library, THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Triggery passages that basically describe how one of the students just died in very explicit and gory (literally gory) detail, leave it on the shelf.

        Still haven't quite forgiven the librarians for that one.

        Planet is interesting because it's a very short book that covers a lot of different time periods. I later found an adult duology on the Madoc legend that Planet uses as an initial jumping-off point and practically squeed in the store.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:10:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here is a list of the Newbery Award winners (4+ / 0-)

    These are top quality and will probably keep her in vitamin rich entertainment for a while:

    Newbery Medal and Honor Winners, 1922-present

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:21:11 AM PST

  •  C.S. Lewis on children's literature: (7+ / 0-)
    A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:25:28 AM PST

  •  I have more or less the same problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, Deejay Lyn

    although in my case I have two boys. My younger one enjoys fantasy and sci-fi so he is not really a big problem because there is a whole lot of fantasy out right now. But the older one only really wants to read stories about sports and there are only a very small number of authors who write those kinds of books for middle grade boys. He has read pretty much all there is to read. A few times a year something will come out by Tim Green or Mike Lupica or John Feinstein, but really there is not a lot. If I go to the library every couple of weeks (or even the bookstore) most of the time there is almost nothing for the older one.

    It's hard out here for a parent who wants to encourage reading in kids that are over about 7 years old. When they were littler it was easier as they were less picky. But as they get older it gets harder and harder to find appropriate stuff.

  •  have you asked a librarian? (8+ / 0-)

    I work in publishing, and I've found that there are a lot of options for YA-level readers that are not just princesses and sparkly vampires. Probably more than when I was a kid, and had to jump to 'adult' fiction to find something that interested me. When I was your daughter's age (and I was also an early, advanced reader), I was reading a ton of Madeleine L'Engle, which lead me to fantasy writers like Barbara Hambly, Anne McCaffrey, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

    My own daughter is a kindergartener, but she reads at a 5th-grade level. Trying to find books that are appropriate, yet challenging (and not about princesses, or kids that act like brats) has sometimes been a struggle. But I am impressed with some of the authors I've found. Right now we are reading The Unicorn's Secret series by Kathleen Duey (which would be way too easy for your daughter). I am going to introduce her to Roald Dahl soon, too. :)

    This is a website that some of my friends have recommended to me: It has hundreds of suggestions for books with strong female characters. And I would ask the librarians at your local library and/or her school library for their suggestions (or booksellers, if you happen to have a good indie bookstore in your area), also.

    Good luck!

  •  Start her on Tamora Pierce. (4+ / 0-)

    Quite frankly, a lot of the best fantasy being written these past 30 years is in the Young Adult section - and a lot of it is entirely suitable for kids your daughter's age.

    Have her read Andre Norton, or Robert Heinlein's juvies.

    Esther Friesner.  Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures.  Patricia Wrede and/or Caroline Stevermer.  Harry Turtledove (I heartily recommend The Case of the Toxic Spelldump).

    Read them out loud to each other.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:29:25 AM PST

  •  cj cherryh in order (3+ / 0-)

    down below...merchanters luck, 30,000, cyteen, foreignor

  •  I tried to keep my nephew (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, Deejay Lyn

    interested in reading. So I read Alex Rider books to see if they were any good. The Ranger's apprentice didn't hold him and he managed to read Percy Jackson.

    Thank goodness he found a love of mythology thanks to Percy so he reads those translated stories. (He's a teenager now.)

    The Spice must Flow!

    by Texdude50 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:34:10 AM PST

  •  Tamora Pierce didn't go over well. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She tried it and didn't care for it, unfortunately.  

    And the library doesn't have a copy of Heinlein. (I KNOW, right? Budget cuts, apparently)

    Thanks for the suggestions, we'll keep chugging along.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:36:00 AM PST

    •  Heinlein is easy to come by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      second hand or interlibrary loan.

      I'm sure you're already aware that he makes a significant transition from his earlier works (which would be fine) to his later works (which I'd save for when she's older).

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:09:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BAEN is putting Heinlein Juvies out again, as $6 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      e-books. not all out yet, but we've been replacing ancient paperbacks for a while, Baen has been fantastic about understanding putting OLD, OLD backlist out for FREE, to build customer base & loyalty -- it's sure worked at our house! (we read on iPod Touch; most book files need a little tweaking, it's amazing how poorly a lot of the people massaging these things for the publishers understand HTML!)

      besides the library copies of these disappearing, we need to get ancient paper out of the house for allergy reasons.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:20:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  our libraries have as sharing system.. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Ray Bradbury would be fantastic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He writes simply and is a master at creating scenes and dialogue that put you right there with the characters.

  •  By the way (4+ / 0-)

    If you are looking for suggestions, or just want to talk it over some more, you might consider writing a diary over at the dKos sister site MotherTalkers. It is mostly moms but we get the occasional dad over there.

    It's a different vibe than dKos (more mellow and slower moving and dare I say it supportive) but the participants are of the same political orientation.

  •  Old School recommendations: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    John Bellairs: House with a Clock in its Walls and all books in those series... great mystery/horror

    Susan Cooper:  The entire Dark is Rising series.  The whole series is great, but the Dark is Rising and, especially, the Grey King are stunningly written.

    Lloyd Alexander--Black Cauldron--(really the whole series)

    someone above mentioned the Edward Eager books--I loved those!

    these are all available in libraries.

    No current recommendations, though--I could read the old ones over and over again.

  •  Contrary opinion: (9+ / 0-)

    this is the best time possible for a young reader.  Yes, you do have the benefit of all these classics from the past, although they themselves were the exceptions in various wastelands of their own, so it's only by rescuing and preserving them that they come to us as if they represent something different from today's industry.

    In fact, today's industry is much broader and deeper than it ever has been, in part because publishers have recognized the market exists.  The negative side of that is many of the books are purely about marketing, but it also opens up the possibilities in ways that never have been before.  Every writer I know, regardless of their genre or focus, is working on at least one YA novel, for example.  True, the market has also been glutted with lesser-quality work, attempting to cash in on a young readership that truly took over the industry in the Harry Potter age and hasn't let go since.

    For a young reader, there's never been more to choose from.  That's a great thing.  You'll have to filter more than you used to, but I guarantee your daughter has a better slate of options than you or I ever did.

    Good places to start: book award winners, and even searches for online readers' top 10 lists.  The fact that you can have wildly different top 10 lists for any given year should be some indication of how deep the market has gotten for the 9-12 age group (for example).  Keep an eye out for names like Neil Gaiman, Margarita Engel,  Laurence Yep, Brian Selznick, Kate DiCamillo, etc.  Seriously - the field is enormous, and very, very good.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:48:42 AM PST

  •  May I suggest my wife's books? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, bevenro, kurt

    You can find a link to all 3 of her books at The sign of the star
    The name of the first book of 3 historical fiction books set in 17th century England.  All are very good reads.

  •  If she's into fantasy, I recommend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks, and the ensuing Shannara series; also Dragonlance books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

    "The less time you have, the more you need to use it wisely." - Cpt. Avatar, Starblazers

    by DeathDlr73 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:55:31 AM PST

  •  Has she read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, fuzzyguy

    the Charlie Bone series? Those are good, if she likes something a little creepy. They are similar to Harry Potter but a bit creepier.

    If she likes graphic novels the Bone series is good. My younger one loves GNs so we read a lot of them. Ditto the Amulet series.

    Margaret Haddix seems to put out a ton of fantasy but I haven't read them so I don't know if they're good or not. And there's the Ranger's Apprentice series. I don't know if they may be a bit young for her though.

  •  I read a lot of YA (7+ / 0-)

    mainly because some of the best genre fiction right now is YA. I don't read the mean girls or dating girl angst stuff. I read the paranormal fiction, and I have to say that most of the females in this sub-genre are portrayed as strong, independent characters.

    Some of the best are the Cynthia Hand "Unearthly" series, Kami Garcia's "Beautiful Creatures" series, Josephine Angelini's "Starcrossed". Some mild petting, kissing but nothing too over the top. Your daughter is probably still a little young for this, but by the time I was 10, I was reading every book in the house. I was also reading every book in the houses of the people I babysat for as a teenager. One of my mother's friends was a secret erotica reader, another a big Ian Fleming fan--I read those too.

    The days of censoring what your daughter reads are numbered, my friend. Readers read, and they'll read whatever they can get their hands on. I was reading Noel Gerson when I was 10, and he wrote some pretty racy stuff. If your daughter is an avid reader, she will be reading material well advanced of her age. On the positive side, I don't think it damaged me.

    Slut power. Use it. Own it!

    by txdemfem on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:00:09 AM PST

  •  also--what about Judy Blume? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, kurt
    •  Believe it or not... No copies. (0+ / 0-)

      I know, right?  But yeah, I think they had ONE book by her.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:07:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  can you hit a larger regional/city library? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Blume books should be pretty readily available, I would think.

      •  That is pretty pathetic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't know what state you're in, but in California you can get a library card for other library systems as well. So it is pretty easy to go to other nearby libraries if you are near another city where the library is better. I don't know if that is true in other states.

      •  That's one of the issues with libraries: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the good old stuff goes away, at least in the smaller ones.

        When I rediscovered Bruce Coville, I managed to reread the My Teacher series through the library system where I lived then. I think the end of the Aliens Ate My Homework series and the entirety of Haunted Hills were pretty much the only stuff of his that library was missing. Now? I think the much smaller library where I am now has one copy of Jennifer Murdley's Toad and a pray-it-plays cassette audiobook of the first My Teacher book. They needed the space for newer works.

        The used bookstore usually has a neat little pile of his stuff (never the ones I'm missing because I 'aged-out' before a series ended), but how is anyone going to find out those copies of Flunked The Planet are good reading if the 'I read something great at the library' rumor-mill isn't there?

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:25:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One of the reasons I cringe at the YA section (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          Three copies of the newest "Monster High" book and not one copy of William Sleator.  (Yes, my SF bias is showing.)

          I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

          by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:29:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re Coville and something you wrote below, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            (and yes I know he's a bit under the target reading level, but I need to say it) AVOID My Teacher, the Rod Albright series, and Unicorn Chronicles. All have a disappeared walked-off parent as a major plot point early on. Magic Shop and Camp Haunted Hills may be somewhat okay.

            And thanks to your diary I just looked and the other library I have access to has the entire Unicorn Chronicles series, including the three I missed because I was 'too old for that now', as downloadable audiobooks. I don't even have to be that odd lone adult venturing into the kids' section. And apparently I have now learned the reason Coville's name here is "Audio Guy". (Gotta love authors who get involved in their own audiobooks.)

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

            by Cassandra Waites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:41:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Texas Bluebonnet Book Award winners (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, kurt

    Texas Library Assoc does an annual selection of books for kids and my kids would usually find some good ones that way.  Also, check for past winners.

    I found the reviews and lists on Amazon to be a great resource.  It is a lot of work finding good, appropriate and interesting books for those preteen years, especially for girls.  Definitely have to go back and look for books written in the 70's and 80's.  It is fun though to share your favorites with them and to also read their favorites with them.  

    My 14 year old is now reading Life of Pi and I am enjoying discussing it with him

  •  Try the few books by Elizabeth C Bunce. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The first one, "A Curse as Dark as Gold" is a 'retelling' of Rumplestilskin.  It has won awards and the author went to great lengths to get details historically accurate (It doesn't hurt that she's a personal friend and I was one of the group of people she was asking help for accuracy).

  •  I read a lot of YA and have a couple of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    contemporary favorites.

    Samantha Young
    Sarra Cannon
    Megan Curd
    Megan Duncan
    Chelsea Fine
    Amanda Hocking
    Bonnie Lamer

    Kate Griffin (Matthew Swift series)

    Good luck!

    You can't win with Citizen's United if you have UNITED CITIZENS!!! ~ Liz Mikkelsen

    by Barbie02360 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:12:12 AM PST

  •  Ah! 'A Deadly Game of Magic'. Read that in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    middle school--thought it was great.  Quite creepy.  Joan Lowry Nixon.

    I also used to read books by Vivian Alcock--two I remember were the Stonewalkers and the Haunting of Cassie Palmer

    (I know I'm in horror mode here--but I remember enjoying those)

    •  She hates horror. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unfortunately, that one is perfectly understandable.  After dealing with mom walking out and Foster Care for over a year, yeah...

      not exactly a good genre for her.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:23:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah. I see. so something more positive. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        can go with some of the older classics, too...

        E.B. White, for example.  Although she's probably above that level..I always loved Trumpet of the Swan.

        and, of course, Twain.  Gonna stop posting for a bit--you've got a pretty good list from everyone here!

  •  Maybe try the banned books list? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, jabney

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. - Kos

    My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:28:45 AM PST

  •  Dan Gutman is another possibility (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He is a funny writer. Several of his books are rather boy-ish (he has a series about baseball cards - the kid goes back in time to meet the player on the card, called Babe & Me, Jackie & Me, etc) and some are for younger kids (My Weird School - hilarious but more for about the 2nd-3rd grade level) but there are some funny ones that are for either boys or girls. Nightmare at the Book Fair, The Genius Files, etc.

    Here is a list of his books -

  •  Absolutely have her read Andre Norton. (3+ / 0-)

    Both her sci-fi and her fantasy - I started reading her when I was about 9.

    I highly recommend Moon of Three Rings and Breed to Come, The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder, Ordeal in Otherwhere, all of the Witch World books - but especially Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Three Against the Witch World, Sargasso of Space, Judgment on Janus, Key out of Time ... can you tell I really, really like Andre Norton? :)

    With Robert Heinlein, well ... as long as you don't make her read Podkayne of Mars (the worst juvenile book EVER!), his juveniles aren't bad.

    And if she really wants to read vampire books, give her the original, Dracula by Bram Stoker.  No sex, and the vampire is a monster, not a glittery sex object.  I was 10 when I first read Dracula, and I've probably re-read it 100 times since then.

    Oh, and if you get her The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury - be sure to let her know it's a collection of short stories, not a novel.  Confused the heck out of me, because it was the first short story collection I had ever read.  Try reading it as a novel sometime - it will mess with your head!  I also read S is for Space and R is for Rocket (also short story collections).  

    You could also try some of Zane Grey's books - Riders of the Purple Sage, and West of the Pecos come to mind.  

    Last, but not least, there's always Nancy Drew (the older books are better, in my opinion) and the Hardy Boys (ditto).  If you can find them (probably in used books somewhere), try to find the Rick Brant books by John Blaine (The Rocket's Shadow, Sea Gold, Caves of Fear, to name a few).  Dang, those were good reads!
    And I was about 9-10 when I started reading these.

    Good luck!

    •  Podkayne of Mars... or Starship Troopers... (0+ / 0-)

      Seeing as the first is depressing, and the second can create a libertarian militarist.  (KIDDING!)

      Nancy Drew is popular in this house.  However, she complains that the solutions always feel like the author is cheating.  

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:37:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Hunger Games books had some real value (5+ / 0-)

    Specifically in their treatment of PTSD, which the main character develops slowly but surely over the course of the second and third books.  The authors does a good job showing what effect PTSD has on her relationships to friends and family and her ability to function.  Most importantly, Katniss does not 'magically' conquer the condition, but rather learns to manage and live with it.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:46:15 AM PST

  •  Barbara Dee (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, fuzzyguy

    ...writes excellent, realistic, girl-oriented middle grade fiction.  No fantasy, no dystopia, just real-world, age-appropriate situations, treated with compassion.  And she's hysterically funny.  Published by Aladdin Mix/Simon & Schuster.  Here's her Amazon page.  

    Here's her website.  p.s. We're married but I'm not biased at all.  [smile]

    "Distribution should undo excess,/ And each man have enough." --King Lear

    by Webster Hodges on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:57:29 AM PST

  •  How about Philip Pullman? (4+ / 0-)

    If she like The Dark is Rising, she might like the His Dark Materials series.

  •  I'm reading a YA series by Harlan Coben. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of course, it's a spin off of his Myron Bolitar series and the plot of the second series seems to heavily involve the Holocaust, but it's entertaining.

    The protagonist is Myron's 16 y o nephew Mickey.

    The second book came out a few months ago.

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:00:59 AM PST

  •  Diane Duane "So You Want To Be A Wizard" series (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are I think 10 books in the series now, and they're marvelous.  A quote from the first one:

    [A rowan tree is speaking, here]
    "(We all have our own lives, our own feelings and goals. Some of them you may learn by your wizardry, but I doubt you'll ever come to know them all. We do what we have to, to live. Sometimes that means breaking a rock's heart, or pushing roots down into ground that screams against the instrusion. But we never forget what we're doing. As for you) - and its voice became very gentle - (how else should our children climb to the stars but up our branches? We made our peace with that fact a long time ago, that we would be used and maybe forgotten. So be it. What you learn in your climbing will make all the life on this planet greater, more precious. You have your own stories to write. And when it comes to that, who writes the things written in your body, your life? And who reads?)"
    --pp. 131-132

    Also, Tamora Pierce has a list of books she recommends for exactly the problem you're having:  finding books for a young reader who reads at a much higher level than her age.  

    Good luck.

  •  A couple recommendations... (2+ / 0-)

    I already saw CJ Cherryh listed, as well as the ever lovable Terry Pratchett, but I would also like to suggest:
    Jane Yolen: The One Armed Queen would be a good start
    Esther Friesner: Any of the Majyk books are fun
    Lois McMaster Bujold:several good series
    The Years Best in Fantasy and Horror: any of the editions edited by Datlow and Windling will give both of you a good sampling of short stories by authors for the past 20 or so years.
    Gene Wolfe: I'm not entirely sure what to recommend, but he may be the greatest writer alive today.
    Cherie Priest: Has some fun pseudo horror, and steampunk books with strong female leads.
    Scott Westerfield: His Leviathan series would be great, though quickly read, with lots of strong willed female leads that challenge gender roles in a Dieselpunk WWI setting. The Uglies is also another great series that tackles a similar premise to the Hunger Games, but with much better execution and better writing.

  •  one of my favorites (0+ / 0-)

    "The Perilous Gard" by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Also L'Engle, Dahl, and Gaiman.

    "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

    by zaynabou on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:23:00 PM PST

  •  Tamora Pierce. Ursula Ke Guin. (0+ / 0-)

    Life is a school, love is the lesson.

    by means are the ends on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:33:09 PM PST

  •  The Witches of Karres (0+ / 0-)

    by James Schmitz (1966, continuing and incorporating the story begun in a 1949 novella). The witches in question are three sisters, ages 8 to 14, approximately. The Wikipedia plot summary is pretty good, although it only covers the first tenth of the story in any detail. This is a very inventive novel with a lightness of touch not often seen before or since.

    I have two different early paperback editions, 1960s and 1970s. Currently there's a Baen paperback "edited by Eric Flint" although he actually didn't make any changes; I wrote to him when it came out and that's what he replied, although he is a co-author of two recent Karres sequels from the same publisher (Schmitz died in 1981).

  •  Try these authors... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Diana Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle, Chrestomanci series, Fire and Hemlock, Archer's Goon)
    Avi (Windcatcher, The Good Dog, Captain Grey)
    Wendelin Van Draanen (Sammy Keyes series, Flipped)
    Richard Peck (A Long Way from Chicago)
    Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks)
    S. E. Hinton (The Outsiders, Rumble Fish)
    Kirsten Miller (Kiki Strike)
    Lauren Myracle (Ten...Thirteen+1)
    Joan Aiken (Dido Twite series)
    Jennifer L. Holm (Our Only May Amelia)
    Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Samurai Mysteries)
    Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness)
    Scott Westerfeld (So Yesterday, Uglies, Midnighters)
    Leon Garfield (John Diamond, Black Jack)
    Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons series)
    Louis Sachar (Holes, Someday Angeline)

  •  You might want to try Piers Anthony (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, fuzzyguy

    Xanth novels.  These are books absolutely full of puns.  Some of them are extremely subtle, some will go completely over but the most astute mind, but a lot of them are almost groaners, but interesting in how they're incorporated into a story.

    One example is a Nightmare - this is a horse that is black as night, works at night and the work is bringing bad dreams to people.  Think about it..... ;-)

    •  She adores Piers Anthony, BUT... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Piers is one of those authors I need to screen very heavily.

      About half his stuff is completely inappropriate.  The problem is that the art on the covers of all his books look similar...

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:15:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah..... It's been a while since I've read any (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of the Xanth novels.  So, I either didn't care or didn't 'get' the joke.

        Have you looked at the Dragonriders of Pern series??  It often has strong female characters - either as lead or high up in the rankings.  There is some sex stuff in some of them, but IIRC, not a whole lot.  In a few years she could go for the Valdemar series (has gay relationships and other hedionistic (sp??) events though - the books actually use that word in them!!)  Or LE Moddesitt, Jr Recluce series.  Mercedes Lackey has some pretty good books out (aside from the Valdemar series - one set is a retelling of the fairy tales (cinderella, little red riding hood, fairy godmother, and 3/4 others).  These are not the classic retellings like 'Enchanted', they've got twists in them - think along the lines of the movie 'Ever After' twists.  Lackey also has an 'elemental' series.  Don't know much about them as I've not read them yet.

        White Gold Welder is out of the question for now.... S. Donaldson.  Wheel of Time is also out and so is Terry Goodkind, and Anne Bishop.  In a few years Katherine Kurtz Denyri series might get her interests.

  •  Check out Elizabeth Partridge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She has a few non-fiction books for teens, and one fiction book. Look for book awards on the cover, they are usually good books.

    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all.

    by SanFernandoValleyMom on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:12:42 PM PST

  •  Here’s a story about my mom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My mother took me and my siblings to the library every week. We’d trade in the books we’d read and get new ones. Plus, in the summer, we’d go to the bookmobile (which didn’t have as many books, but it stopped about a block away, so it was convenient).

    I think I was in about 5th or 6th grade (maybe slightly older than your daughter) when we went to the library and I picked out a book (probably science fiction). I went to check it out and the librarian said, “This book is from the adult section of the library. You have a children’s library card. You can’t check it out unless your mom or dad says it’s OK.” My mom was somewhere else in the library, so I found her and said, “I need your permission to get this book.”

    My mother took me to the librarian and (in an angry tone) said, “My son has my permission to check out any book he wants at any time! It doesn’t matter if it’s an adult book.”

    The librarian said, “But he has a children’s card.” My mom said, “Well, what if you give him an adult card?” The librarian said that would be possible. I don’t remember how old I was, maybe 10 or 11, but I got an adult card and I could check out any book (even books about sex!) from then on. Of course, I didn’t care about sex at that age. I was more interested in science fiction. And I thought it was wonderful to be able to get any book I wanted.

    I had a great mom. She thought it was important for me to read.

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:13:44 AM PST

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