It's time for We Recommend, in which readers ask for suggestions, and we try our very hardest to come up with the perfect book in answer (and then you guys come up with even more amazing choices in the comments). Looking for a recommendation? E-mail us! We're very agreeable.
This surprising e-mail showed up in my in-box last week:
My daughter needs a book, it should (according to her) have vampires, female heroines, magic, cats, wolves,owls, puns, and NO CHARACTERS WITH TOO MANY POWERS, because those can be a total drag. She really hates it when a character overshadows other characters so much that other characters barely are in the story. she also loves manga and graphic novels.
I will tell you what I know: this is not the e-mail of someone's mother. It is the e-mail of someone masquerading as someone's mother. I will tell you what else I know: the most important part of this e-mail is its request that no one character be all-powerful (the all-caps bit helped tip me off). One more thing I know? Or at least surmise? That the longing for characters with a more reasonable slate of powers is in some ways tied to the growing empathy of the person writing, her hunger for a more human story.
That said, what the heck am I going to recommend? Vampires AND heroines AND magic AND cats AND wolves…not to mention puns and the aforementioned character issue? I am, as is all too common lately, flummoxed. I mean, she's read The Golden Compass (I happen to know). And for a rich multiplicity of characters, there's The Lord of the Rings, but forget your heroines there. But really what this person seems to long for is: a complex fantasy book with a believable flawed heroine and a hell of a lot going on. Here's my weak pick:
I've tried this before. It won't get chosen. But I think she would love it!
O, fantasy people, your move! And yes, she has read Terry Pratchett.
UPDATE: The girl is 12. She has read—many, many things, yes Percy Jackson.