We Recommend: I’ll Have What She’s Having

It’s We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send us (thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com) his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.

I will admit that this next request moves me. This is from a cousin of Chestnut and Diana, a person we will here call The Elf, in honor of her elfin majesty. She is in 5th grade, and I've gotten this request not directly from her, as you can tell it's sent to an anonymous doter who would like to buy her a book. I feel the need to post it all the same. Because I know—I believe—you guys can help.

but here are some books that I want for christanukaday ( Christmas Chanukah and my birth day)

1. Eleanor and park by rainbow rowwel

2. Atlantia by Ally condie

3. The Grimm conclusion by Adam gidwitz

You definitely don't need to to get all of these and maybe just one of there are other books you think I would like or books that Diana or Chestnut have read then I would love to read them.

OK, yeah, I changed the names to Diana and Chestnut, because she doesn't normally refer to them by code name, but still—aw! And obviously, I should just be able to give her the right book, shouldn't I? And yet I don't know what to say. I tried Fangirl (of course I did!) but she's already read it. I tried to think about all the books that Diana and Chestnut have read, and I don't know where to start! There are so many, and so many of them are magical, and I believe The Elf's tastes range more toward realistic fiction. I do know that she loved The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, I know she is voracious and smart, I know she wants to read something great. Here is what I have come up with:


I think she will really go for it—Diana thought it was great! But readers, won't you help the buyer indulge another book-lover among us? Put suggestions in the comments!

13 thoughts on “We Recommend: I’ll Have What She’s Having

  1. Some realistic contemporaries the daughters and I have enjoyed:
    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    anything by Raina Telgemeier
    anything by Francisco X. Stork
    anything by Stephanie Perkins
    anything by Sarah Dessen
    Hyperbole and a Half killed us all, as did What If? and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.


  2. Just want you to know that the whole reason she read Fangirl was because of what you said about it here. She loved it and that’s why Eleanor and Park shows up on the current list. I’d been wondering about more John Green, since she also loved The Fault in Our Stars (a book I myself found too sad to read beyond the first 30 pages). Very much looking forward to hearing people’s suggestions!


  3. Hello Elfin Mother,
    My 5th grader just read, and was very excited about, the historical fiction novel Shooting Kabul. (‘Shooting’ is a reference to photography, I think.) The other book that she really enjoyed recently was Navigating Early. It, however, is what she described as ‘realistically unrealistic.’ An excerpt from something she wrote about it (and that I hope is OK for me to cut and paste here–she is in bed, so I can’t ask!): “The [characters] were caught up in magically unrealistic situations, but they seemed to deal with them in a realistic way appropriate for the dilemma.” Elsewhere, she used the word ‘awesome,’ for what it’s worth…


  4. When I was Elf’s age, I read The Thorn Birds. (Have I dated myself?) It changed my world. But maybe too mature for Elf–I likely read my mom’s copy under the covers with a flashlight? I’d recommend parental vetting before it is considered.
    Wonder is required reading for 5th graders at our school. Sad and uplifting at the same time.


  5. Are you sure Looking for Alaska isn’t too mature in theme (not language level)? 5th grade is a tricky in-between time. How about-
    When You Reach Me?
    13 Little Blue Envelopes
    Under the Egg
    Kiki Strike


  6. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a book my daughter read over and over and loved.
    Ditto for Rebecca Stead (recommended above); she loved both When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy.
    If she hasn’t read The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper, and she likes all books, then I would say those are ones to check out as well. Even though they are “realistic fiction” they hold up over time and can be read at different ages up to adult and still enjoyed.


  7. I agree that Looking for Alaska is a bit too mature for MY 5th grader. But hey – I can’t see my 11 year old reading Fangirl, either. I’ll recommend:
    Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
    Slipping by Cathleen Davitt Bell (did I first read about this book here?)
    Merry holibirthday!


  8. I’m going to third the idea that Looking for Alaska is too mature for a fifth grader. Prudish me would keep that on hold for eighth or ninth grade


  9. 13 reasons why by jay Asher is a new favorite of my daughter who is 12. She loved it and so did her friends. She has liked the scarlet series too. My daughter did read fan girl and loved it and wants to read eleanor and park next.


  10. I hear you all about Looking for Alaska. I must admit that I’m basing it on the “What Diana and Chestnut” like to read, and that I THINK it was the one about the musical, but it might well be that I’m thinking of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I am sorry if that is so! Truly, The Fault in Our Stars also seems too old, except that she loved it, and I just don’t know what is right in this case. I love all the ideas you guys are coming up with though, especially the Rebecca Stead, and Slipping.


  11. Wow, The Thorn Birds. Sure too mature, but too mature in that way that all 5th graders like to read. Diana read the Twilight series in 5th grade, along with a bunch of other 5th graders. It’s such an age of two ages, kid and wanting not to be a kid….
    The thing I remember most from The Thornbirds is Ashes of Roses.


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