Ah, another episode of We Recommend, in which we attempt, by hook or by crook, to find the absolutely perfect book for people who write in. Got a kid in your life who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good options are in the comments, so be sure to look there!
And so we have come to this.
My older daughter has always been a voracious reader, particularly interested in fantasy (Tamora Pierce, Eoin Colfer, Warrior Cats, Guardian owls, Harry Potter, etc.) This year, however, she entered middle school and has pretty much stopped reading! Like so many tweens and teens, she spends much of her free time on the computer chatting with friends, surfing You Tube , disparaging Justin Beiber, plotting world domination… In a desperate attempt to get a book back in her hands I relented on allowing Teen Lit like Hunger Games (too gross she thought) and Twilight (god Bella is so annoying and Edward Cullen is a stalker she said). She seems lost between a world of being too old for the 7 – 12 age range books and not particularly thrilled with the teen offerings. So I am turning to you to ask if you can suggest something that can bring her back to books – short of throwing the laptop out the window, which may happen soon nonetheless…
Now this person is almost exactly the age as Diana, so that is who I went to in despair. Well, not in despair exactly. I told Diana that I thought The Clique books might work, also manga—both have a sort of teenage edge to them, but they're not as focused on being an actual teenager, and boys and all of that, as most teen stuff. Even the Clique books remind me of the old rubber-clothes Cinderella we got when the girls were tiny, where all the dolls were Polly Pockets, except for the Prince, who only got to be a cardboard cutout, commensurate with his importance.
At any rate, Diana agreed that these might work. She and I have both enjoyed the Clique books, however trashy and despicable. But with manga, I am less certain, so I asked her: what's a girl to start with? Here's what she offers:
Um, gee. I don't really know what to say abou this cover. All I'm doing here is relying on my girl, who is a feminist and has reliable if somewhat kooky taste. She says, "It's got girl monsters, and and it's kind of sad but also really awesome, and it has some funny parts. Also: the art's really good."
She also mentions this:
She says that this is much better than Twilight, and has lots of pixies. Also a super cool girl character. Then she started spinning out, mentioning The Great Tree of Avalon, and a whole bunch of others. Also maybe Leviathan? It's supersmart, and not too romantic.
OK, I am going to toss it to you guys to answer in the comments. Come on, we don't want anyone throwing laptops out the window, think of the children!