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Author Topic: Writing for young people and finding good books for pre-teens
Belle
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I'm curious about the children's market for books, specifically fantasy.

How do you know if a work is for middle-grade readers, young adults, or some other category? What are all the different categories? I've looked for "definitions" and can't really find consistent ones.

For example, young adult seems to be mainly the upper teen years, at least perusing the YA section in the library shows me books that deal with a lot of subject matter I'd rather my pre-teen not read about just yet. But she's bored with the types of books that seemed geared to her age group, the middle schoolers.

Am I alone in thinking that there should be good books with complex plots and characterization beyond two-dimensional stereotypes geared toward the middle schooler that doesn't foray into graphic sex or other adult situations?

For example, I read a book by Tamora Pierce called Trickster's Choice which I really enjoyed so I gave it to Natalie for Christmas. Nothing in there was objectionable, and it was a great read with a strong female hero. She loved it as I expected she would. Not thinking I needed to pre-screen the sequel, I bought it for her, and then read it when she was finished, only to find that the character engages in pre-marital sex at age sixteen and there is content that I really didn't want my 12 year old reading.

Natalie's exhausted most of the books I think you guys would recommend for her, Harry Potter, LOTR, Narnia, Ender's Game. She loves fantasy, but how do I select fantasy for her, without pre-reading everything? Unfortunately, I just don't have time to do that, the kid is a voracious reader, and is bugging me right now to take her back to the library. I wish I could say "Just get anything from the YA section" but I obviously can't!

It's very frustrating, for me and for her.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I loved the Pyrdain Chronicles (The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, etc.) by Lloyd Alexander when I was that age.
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katharina
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Mark Twain, Jane Austen, and Agatha Christie should hold her for a while. Everything they wrote would be fine.
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Orson Scott Card
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I sometimes find books in BOTH categories (i.e., inside the children's section AND outside it). Some of the categories are vaporous.

The nice thing is, YOU don't decide the category. You just write the story. The rules for YA and for children's are the same, in practical terms - high interest, very clear, tight point of view, a child hero.

And when categorizing, here's the key rule: The hero is two years older than the intended audience. This isn't ALWAYS followed, but it usually is.

In my review of Tamora Pierce, I did warn readers about that premarital sex thing. It's legitimate as a cultural thing - they live in a society that allows it - but I found it to be an irritating choice. Still, you can make it positive by having a good conversation with your child about how WE don't live by those rules and why (which of course I'm sure you did).

Here are a few other suggestions: Hilari Bell. Shannon Hale (I'm about to review "Princess Academy" and despite the sappy-sounding title it's a brilliant book in every way). Patricia McKillip.

Don't overlook Peter and the Starcatchers. Strong female characters take part, and it's a wonderful thick read. There is a huge brassiere in it, but that's as close to sex as it gets <grin>.

I'd suggest my own Enchantment and Magic Street, though they're not for children per se - at least everybody who has sex is MARRIED <grin>.

And don't give up on Tamora Pierce. The sex WASN'T explicit and she doesn't have all her characters do that.

Stay away from Philip Pullman or make sure you read him yourself first - his famous trilogy is so anti-religious in the last volume that you want to be prepared for the discussion you'll have - at the very least about how organized religions aren't necessarily evil.

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Belle
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Thank you, Uncle Orson. You picked up on the fact that my question was two-fold - How do I find good books for my daughter, and Does the story I'm working on have a potential audience?

I'm not really worried about publishing, I figure if it's good enough to be published, it will be. And now, when it's not finished, is not the time to be doing market research anyway.

But my struggles with finding good things for my daughter do have me thinking, do young adult publishers look for these types of adult situations? In other words, do they assume that's what kids want to read?

In a lot of the descriptions of the young adult categories, you find things like "subject matter should be of concern to this age group, stories should be about common struggles teenagers face." Do the publishers believe sex and drugs in the story are necessary in order to "connect" with young people today?

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Jhai
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Have you seen this site, Belle?
common sense media

I don't know how many books they have rated, but it might be able to give you some idea of what questionable material a YA book might have.

Also, just as a note, I don't think that there are many YA or "teen" books that feature drugs. Sex, yes, (although not vivid), but not drugs.

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jeniwren
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Belle, have you started her on David Eddings' books yet? I'm trying to think if there was anything objectionable in the Belgariad, and can't think of anything offhand. And has she read the Anne of Green Gables books? Or pretty much anything by Madeleine L'Engle?

There are times I wish Christian was a girl. He enjoyed Ender's Game, but won't touch Anne of Green Gables or any of Jane Austen's books. Not that I blame him.

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reader
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I've found quite a lot of YA fantasy that's relatively 'clean'. Dianna Wynne Jones, for example, and she's written quite a lot of books. Tamora Pierce's "The Circle of Magic" and "The Circle Opens" quartets are clean. Patricia Wrede is fantastic; she wrote the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (four books) as well as several other, more YA (but still fine in terms of "adult" content). Vivian Van Velde (she also writes horror, but I haven't read any of that)Most of Anne McCaffrey's books have adult content, but she wrote two books - DragonSinger and DragonSong - that are really good YA reads.

Also, there's quite a lot in the children's section that I found enjoyable all through my teenage years, and still do; E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Lloyd Alexander (not just the Prydain books), Joan Aiken (I can't remember if her books are fantasy, but they are set in an alternate England. The style is political intrigue with accompanying murders and the conditions of children working and factories and such is often a central aspect of the books, but violence is definitely not glorified, and though I might hesitate to let an eight year old read them, I think they're fine for a twelve-year-old.) The Mennyms series by Sylvia Waugh is also good (placed in the juvenile section, but far, far from childish) as is the Borrowers series by Mary Norton. (The last two aren't typical fantasy, but involve full-size, living dolls and tiny people, respectively.) Diane Duane, whose first book I picked up because the title was so great (So You Want to be a Wizard?) There are quite a few books in that series by now, all great. The Indian in the Cupboard series, by Lynne Reid Banks, is in the juvenile section, but can definitely be enjoyed by teens, and she's written a couple of other great fantasy books as well. Brian Jacques writes the Redwall series, where there isn't any magic, exactly, but the universe is definitely a fantasy one, as the world is one that is populated by mice, rats, badgers, moles, squirrels, hares, etc, waging epic battles against each other. The books are much, much better than they sound; I'm not doing them justice at all in my explanation. But I've found that boys tend to like these books more than girls, even though I loved them. The Wrinkle in Time series by Madeline L'Engle is great, though some of her other books are not.

Hope there are some books in that list that your daughter hasn't read!

Also, does your daughter like Science Fiction as well, or just fantasy?

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dean
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Tamora Pierce is pretty awesome. I started reading her stuff when I was a preteen as well, and I rather thought her premarital sex stuff was not at all explicit. You could try... ummm let me look up her name... Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. She started writing books when she was fifteen or sixteen and (based on her romance scenes) is still sexually pure as of her latest novel.

Margaret Peterson Haddix writes some good speculative fiction stuff (though it's not strictly fantasy), and is generally shelved with children's fiction at my store. One of my favorites of hers is Running Out Of Time in which the main character lived to be something like ninety and then tried an experimental drug to make her young again. It made her grow a year younger every year backwards, but with each year younger, she forgets everything past that point in her first life, and she doesn't know what will happen when she becomes a baby.

Who else have I liked recently? Once Upon a Curse by E. D. Baker. It's about a princess whose family has been cursed that after they turn sixteen if they touch a flower, they'll turn nasty and ugly from then on, and she's trying to find a cure.

There are also plenty of fantasy books intended for and marketted to adults that don't have any sex at all. For example, the David Eddings books would be fine. I read The Diamond Throne when I was eleven or twelve, and I thought Sparhawk was so awesome. And his princess, when they finally got her un-poisoned, was pretty strong too. I might be misremembering, so you may want to screen that one, but....

She's probably already read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patrici Wrede, but if not....

Inheart by Cornelia Funke is just terrific and amazing.

Gail Carson Levine is also worth checking out. And nothing like the movie of Ella Enchanted. Ugh! Her Two Princesses of Bamarre made me cry and feel hopeful simultaneously and like Wrede, she's just too funny!

And Lemony Snicket, of course (though the beginning is a trifle slow).

Just searching around Amazon, it looks like Vivian Vande Velde is in the same boat, though I haven't read her.

There's The Princess Bride, of course. I just finished rereading that.

Anything by Diana Wynne Jones. She wrote Howl's Moving Castle, and Dogsbody, which was the only book my brother loved until he was at least fourteen.

Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey were both perennial favorites for me around that age, though Dragondrums has the same sort of sex-scene as Trickster's Queen.

There is also Robin McKinley's Blue Sword and her Hero and the Crown, though both of those have the same sort of truncated-you-know-they-get-physically-involved-scene, though Hari marries her king immediately afterwards and Aerin goes home to Tor.

There's plenty out there even so. Remind me later, and I can probably come up with some more titles.

However, I do feel compelled to say that no matter what your daughter reads, she knows you disapprove of teenaged and pre-marital sex and nothing that she reads that takes place in a completely fantastical world is going to make her forget that you disapprove. At some point, she's going to read what she wants and at some point (very likely after that), she's going to start doing whatever she wants. I admire that you're reading her books so that you can discuss them sensibly with her and talk about why you disagree with the things you disagree with, but she is going to have to make up her own mind about things eventually.

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Belle
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She's read McKinley's Hero and the Crown and didn't like it. Lemony Snicket's stuff intested her for the first couple of books but she's bored with it now.

Howl's Moving Castle is on my list because Olivet recommended it to us, but my library's only copy is out right now.

I've read all Anne McCaffery's stuff and while it's not terribly explicit, it's not high on my list to start her with right now.

dean, I'm well aware that kids grow up, but this is not a case of me not letting her read stuff she wants to read. She herself is not comfortable with it. When we talked about Trickster's Queen she was the one who said she wished the author had left out the part about Ali having sex with Nawat before they married. In fact, she made the very intelligent point "It wasn't necessary to the story for them to have sex at all, they could have just ended it with them being engaged and that would have been all we needed to know."

She's only 12, and she's totally not ready to be reading about that kind of stuff, nor does she like to read it. She's also smart enough to pick up what things are important to the story, and what things aren't. I know that what OSC said is true, in Ali's culture that sort of thing wasn't a problem, but neither I nor Natalie understand why it needed to be an issue brought up by Pierce at all.

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zgator
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I'll third Eddings. I know you're not a big fan of his, Belle, but I think he's great for young readers. My nephew is 12, has read LotR 3 times now, but still loves Eddings as well.
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dean
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If she has a problem with it, then that's something totally different. =D

I mean, if we don't let kids read about anything we don't approve then, well, you know, what is there left?

My Mom didn't want me to read The Outsiders because of the teenaged smoking and well, the killing of that kid, Randy?

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Theaca
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The librarian once told my dad that the Tolkien books were inappropriate for me when I was 13 and Dad made me put them back. [Grumble]

Oh, and my mom took a book of stories by Edgar Allen Poe away from me when I was 13.

I think I spent that summer reading Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes instead, nobody seemed to mind me reading those books.

Most of the books mentioned in this thread are just wonderful. Now I want to go to the library.

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El JT de Spang
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Maybe I'm weird, but my books were never screened. I read the Hardy boys till I was about 10, but by then I was also reading OSC and John Grisham. From there I read Sidney Sheldon, Dean Koontz (I can't believe I read Koontz in 3rd grade), and some others.

From then on, I read a mix of YA and regular novels till I outgrew YA (although I still occasionally reread Judy Blume and the "Wrinkle in Time" books).

I turned out all right.

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katharina
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I do remember my mother taking Clan of the Cave Bear away from me when I was twelve.
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dean
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My stepmother recommended it to me when I was fourteen. My mother was completely unfamiliar with it, so it passed. =D
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Synesthesia
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Most of the books i read are young adult books.
Perhaps I can compile you a list of some fantastic books I've read.
For example-

Blue Girl. Great book. No sex, just a lot of faeries and a ghost.

i just finished this EXCELLENT BOOK called Maximum Ride which has all this winged kids in it. I really liked that book a lot.

Stay away from the excellent Fire-us series, unless you want to get seriously freaked out. It was one of the best series I've read, but very, very disturbing.

Wise Child is one of the best books I've ever read, but it has a bit of witch craft in it, still, it's a beautiful book. I read it when I was around 12. That book and Seventh Son were some of the most influenctial books for me, as well as the whole Wrinkle in Time series.
There's just so many books i've read, I can't think of them all...
Elfquest is great, but it might have a bit too much sex and violence... very mild, still it makes me cry...

How about the Nausicaa of the Valley of Winds manga by Miyazaki? Lots of violence, but no sex, and man, is it AWESOME.

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El JT de Spang
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Then again, my mom was 5 and 6th grade reading teacher, so maybe she was screening without telling me.

That's the kind of thing she'd have had to have done. I don't take direction well, and if I had been banned from certain books/authors, I would have found a way to read them anyway.

That's it, I'm calling her to ask.

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Synesthesia
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My ex-stepmother and father used to take away my John Saul books.
That made me so angry, since I bought them with my own money and it was such a brief phase I was going through.

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romanylass
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I am getting lots of great ideas....Matthew is reading TONS this summer so I need to keep them coming.

quote:
Am I alone in thinking that there should be good books with complex plots and characterization beyond two-dimensional stereotypes geared toward the middle schooler that doesn't foray into graphic sex or other adult situations?

No, you aren't alone! I have no doubt I will buy your book ( Am I to understand you're writing one?).
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Bokonon
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Check out the John Bellairs horror/mysteries. A lot of old school witchery-type stuff, so may not be appropriate that way (though nothing is explicit), and considering what your daughter has read already, it may be below her reading level (and therefore unable to keep her interest).

I recommend checking out the the series of 3-4 books that start with the book "The House With the Clock in Its Walls".

-Bok

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Teshi
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Tamora Pierce does tend to have her characters, as they grow up, fall in love and, I suppose, have off-page sex, usually pre-marital. The first books of any of her series' are usually the cleanest- as her characters get older, they fall in love, and, depending on the character, have some sort of relations. My favourites were the Alanna Series, but I think (although I honestly have no idea) there might be something (completely off-page, though, and not at all explicit) in the second book. Tamora Pierce, as it goes, is pretty good at keeping her "sex-scenes" (such as they are) mostly suitable for children.

Birth control does come into it.

'The Wild Magic' series is clean (I'm fairly sure). In the last scene (or almost the last scene) of the last novel there is a bit of somewhat intense... hugging? feeling? kissing? It's definately a far cry from sex though, and the characters, I'm fairly sure, do plan on marriage.

As far as I know, Protector of the Small and sequels is clean up to and including the third book. The character is younger, so, no sex.

Moving on, The Hero and the Crown is perhaps the more adult of the two books by Robin McKinley. I certainly didn't like it so well at twelve. 'The Blue Sword' is simpler and more gripping for a child of twelve.

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dean
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Yeah, Alanna gets involved with Prince Jonathan in the second book, In the Hand of the Goddess.

El JT, what did your mum say?

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jeniwren
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re: not prescreening books your kids read. I read Heinlein's Friday when I was 16, I think. My dad had read the book, but he did not screen anything I read, and perhaps at 16, he didn't think it appropriate to do so. I (now) disagree with him, if that was his thought. I remember very distinctly that some of the ideas I got out of that book (as well as other late Heinlein books) sounded good and would obviously work if people weren't so hung up about sex. So I set out to prove they were okay.

Today, I'd fully refute, with painful experience, why they are not a good idea for Real Life, though they do make for a stimulating story. The stories weren't the only influence, certainly, but they were an additional influence that made a difference in my decision making.

JK Rowling is, I believe, fully cognizant of the influence story telling has on how we think. It's the main theme of Chamber of Secrets, if you ask me.

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Belle
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romany, I'm writing but more for fun, I'm focused on school. Right now I think it's appropriate for my daughter's age group, but like I said I don't know exactly what publishers are looking for.

There are some great suggestions, here and I appreciate it.

Pierce did do a good job in that the sex was not explicit, and yes, birth control was brought up. I didn't mean to be too highly critical of Pierce, because I think she does do a good job in writing heroic stories from a female point of view. I would have no problem with Natalie reading Pierce if she were, say, 16. Of course, we'd talk about how premarital sex, no matter how responsible, is still something not recommended nor do I approve of it, but in the context of the story, it was culturally appropriate and I don't expect Nat to only ever read about characters that share our views of morality.

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OlavMah
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The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery, so clearly some pretty influential people think it's a children's book. The Blue Sword was a Newbery Honor book.

Phillip Pullman doesn't seem very threatening to me, maybe because I found it's commentary on religion too stupid to be worth caring about. Maybe it means more to people from different Christian traditions, but to me it was just the lame straw man attack of, "Assuming God is a totally ancient raving lunatic, wouldn't it be a good idea to go kill him? Especially if you get cool magical creatures on your side." The "hero" out to kill God, Lyra's father, was a pretty unsavory, unadmirable guy, IMHO, so I have little concern that young people reading it are going to say, "Hey! Let's go kill God!". Besides, my kids will have a much better understanding of dark matter and electricity....

Don't forget Heinlein's juvies, like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", and then a book I LOVED at age 12 was "This Place Has No Atmosphere" by Paula Danziger. It's not great science fiction, but I used to read it over and over again. I found the characters very easy to relate to.

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HandEyeProtege
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Another quick recommendation for YA fantasy that I loved at that age (and still enjoy today): The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper - nothing objectionable in there. And I'll second the praise of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I recently picked them up again and, despite realizing that they're geared towards a younger audience than I had remembered, still like the story just as much.

I think Harry Potter is really helping to raise the bar on children's fiction - Rowling doesn't hold back on plot or characterization, even though her primary audience is young.

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Belle
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She read and loved The Dark is Rising. She enjoyed the Redwall series but it's a little young for her now. She just finished Inkheart and Thief Lord and liked them both.

I feel good that many of the books she's already read and enjoyed are being mentioned here - it says that my daughter has good taste if she likes the same things Jatraqueros do. [Razz]

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dean
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I liked Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. I stole it from a teacher. =D
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Teshi
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I never saw the Religion in Philip Pullman's trilogies, even as a fourteen-ish year old.
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blacwolve
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I'm fairly certain the Trickster's Choice series was aimed at a 14 year old audience, so it completely makes sense a twelve year old didn't like it. She might like the Alanna series more, I'm pretty sure the sex, which consists of the line, "and at night Jonathan taught her how to love." Will go right over her head, it probably would have gone over mine if my mom hadn't explained it to me.

I hesitate to recommend David Eddings if Tamora Pierce bothers her. The Mallorean has quite a bit of sex in it. Not explicit to me now, but when I read it at 12 I was quite shocked. Some of it's central to the plot, and some of it is the characters behaving completely in character, but my mind didn't really get beyond the "They're having SEX!!!!" shock to realize that until I was at least 15. Of course, they're some of my favorite comfort reading now (not because of the sex) so I won't tell people not to read them.

I just read an absolutely amazing YA book, East by Edith Pattou. It's a retelling of an old folk tale and it's interesting and funny with believable characters and a believable world. I was so excited when I found it. Completely age appropriate for any age as well.

I've also recently read The City of Ember[i] which was alright, not as good as [i]East but you can't have everything. It's clean as well.

If she hasn't read E.L. Konisburg's The View From Saturday she has to. It's one of the best books I've ever read.

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TomDavidson
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"I never saw the Religion in Philip Pullman's trilogies, even as a fourteen-ish year old."

*blink* How could you not?

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
"I never saw the Religion in Philip Pullman's trilogies, even as a fourteen-ish year old."

*blink* How could you not?

I did.
I thought it was more about the sort of people who talk about being righteous, yet would do horrible things like ripping apart a child's soul to save the world from what they think of as evil.

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Miro
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I love Tamora Pierce.

The Wild Magic series doesn't have any sex in it. Neither does the Protector of the Small series. The closest it comes is a mention of two secondary characters living together without being married. It does have some pretty horrific images of dead children in the last book, however.

Sabriel and its sequels are very good. I don't specifically remember any sex, but I can't promise that there isn't.

quote:
Originally posted by Orson Scott Card:
I'd suggest my own Enchantment and Magic Street, though they're not for children per se - at least everybody who has sex is MARRIED <grin>.

Well, sort of.
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Mrs.M
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Some Garth Nix books are pretty dark (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen), but the Keys to the Kingdom series is much less so.

I loved Margaret Mahy when I was Natalie's age (still do). Most of my other favorites have already been mentioned. Has she read Madeleine L'Engle? One of the Poly books does have premarital sex and homosexuality is an issue - I can't remember which one.

Tamora Pierce explains the prematrial sex on her web site: http://www.tamora-pierce.com/sexnviol.htm

quote:
Why do you have so much sex and/or violence in your books?
Why do you have teenagers engage in unprotected sex and have babies at such a young age?
Why do you have arranged marriages?

Whenever I'm asked these things, I have to ask in return how familiar people are with the Middle Ages. Because I like to start from our real world with pretty much everything I write, my treatment of these topics is, for the most part, drawn from the historical world. (There are two exceptions, which I'll get to in a moment.)

Up until fairly recently (as in, the 1800s), people in their teens were adults. From the beginning of time people 14 and older, depending on their physical development, married, had children, and supported them as best as they could. People in my books actually start engaging in sexual behavior and child-bearing several years later than they would have done in years past. Alanna put off having children for some years: she's a rare case. Thayet and Kalasin know their duty is to produce heirs for their husbands as soon as they can, and queens have risen and fallen on not just their fertility, but their ability to have boys. (Look at Eleanor of Aquitaine's first marriage and the wives of Henry VIII.) Sometimes marriages were contracted when at least one of the two people involved was still an infant. Such marriages were considered binding.

People, especially commoners, were far more casual about sex in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Sexual humor and shenanigans were popular in entertainment (time to re-read Shakespeare, Boccaccio, and Chaucer). Until Christianity had a lock on the European world, people had sex as part of religious ceremonies as well as for the sake of just plain fooling around. It got sticky if someone got pregnant, but they had crude ways to avoid pregnancy, families would pressure a man to marry a girl if he got her pregnant, or if they didn't want him to marry the girl, he had to help pay for the child's rearing. Of course there were rotters who didn't meet their social obligations, just as there were women who resorted to abortionists, but overall sex outside marriage was not considered a big deal. Marriage, as I've mentioned elsewhere, was about business, not about love, and a wife's chastity was necessary only when it was necessary to establish the husband's bloodline. (Me, I far prefer the system in which inheritance is passed through the mother, because she's the only one who can obviously be pointed out as the parent. There are still cultures nowadays in which inheritance comes from the mother's family. In Judaism you are still reckoned a Jew if your mother was Jewish.)

Why unprotected sex? My characters, being practical girls, choose to avoid pregnancy and family responsibilities for a time. In a fantasy realm, at least, I can produce methods of contraception that work a lot better than the old ones. Lambskin condoms, douches for after sex, interruption, and a sponge all have been known to fail. There is one big difference between my fantasy worlds and our real one: fewer STDs. In fact, STDs don't really start showing up in literature until after the discovery of America, when syphilis arrived in the old world. In the Tortall universe, there is no equivalent to the Americas. In my Emelan universe, they have just begun to explore the lands to the far west, and even if syphilis does arrive, the medicine of that universe is so much more sophisticated that I can't imagine it would take them long to eradicate it.


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TomDavidson
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quote:

I'd suggest my own Enchantment and Magic Street, though they're not for children per se - at least everybody who has sex is MARRIED

You know, as much as I liked Magic Street, this particular device struck me as the most cynical and jarring element in the book. It was impossible for me, when reading it, to think anything but, "In Card's universe, this character who is literally the embodiment of good is so unable to sleep with someone to whom he's not married that he'll marry someone he doesn't love when he may well love someone else just because sex with the former is necessary for another reason. Even while the person he's marrying is mocking the entire affair and calling it a sham marriage to his face."

It was actually profoundly depressing, because it presented a worldview in which sex without marriage is worse than marriage without love.

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OlavMah
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Tanith Lee. I find her kind of hard to read as an adult, but it reads like some of the stuff I liked when I was 12.
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Ryuko
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Heh. Tanith Lee. I first read The Black Unicorn when I was in fifth grade, I think.

(whoosh)

Went right over my head. Rereading it later, I understood it, but she uses some vocabulary and wording that was just confusing to me.

Loved Tamora Pierce, and even in 8th grade, her sex scenes pretty much went right over my head.

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Will B
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Some I have liked:

Lois Lowry (J, really more for girls, but funny. Not fantasy)
Tripods
The Day No Pigs Would Die
I wish I could remember the author: Robert someone, English, wrote a great one about trying to survive in a tyrannical UK, and stuff about WWII.

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Belle
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I like Garth Nix. There's nothing in the Abhorsen series except mention that Sabriel's father slept with a woman to produce Lirael, but it's not explicit or anything. I'm sure Nat could handle it okay.
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Chris Bridges
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I like Diane Duane's Young Wizard series, although I haven't read the last couple yet.
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ketchupqueen
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I found that most YA books were written at a reading level that was comfortably easy by the time I was in 5th or 6th grade, so I read them at that age whether they were appropriate or not. By the time I was in HS, I was pretty much reading anything I liked, and my mom didn't even bother trying to keep track of it (because there would have been no way she could; I spent every afternoon at the library.) So I read a lot of trash that probably wasn't all that appropriate, as well as some really good stuff. I wish there had been stuff dealing with the things I wanted to deal with at that time in my life written at a level that suited me. (I suppose that's a niche market, since I was reading at a college level by 6th grade.)
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Lupus
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I loved Dogsbody (by Diana Wynne Jones) when I was younger. In the book different luminaries rule over regions of space. Sirius (who we see as the Sirius constalation) was wrongly convicted of a crime and was sent to earth as a dog as punishment. The story focuses on what his life on earth...and his attempt to clear his name (with a bit of help from Sol, the Luminary of Earth's sun). I doubt you will find it in a bookstore...since it is prob around 15-20 years old, but they have it on amazon.

I would recommend all the other adults on hatrack to read it as well. I really is a great story.

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Miro
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
I like Garth Nix. There's nothing in the Abhorsen series except mention that Sabriel's father slept with a woman to produce Lirael, but it's not explicit or anything. I'm sure Nat could handle it okay.

Just a warning: Shade's Children has a number of references to teenage characters sleeping with each other. Based on your descriptions, I don't think your daughter would be comfortable with it.
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Scott R
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Um. . . Tom?

Spoiler warning next time, buddy.

Some of us aren't quite finished with Magic Street. . .

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Olivetta
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Um, I have to second Lloyd Alexander, too. I haven't read enough Diane Wynn Jones to speak for all her work, but if Howl's Moving Castle is representative, she's worth reading. I'm sure she's already read The wrinkl in time and so forth?
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dean
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I found Dogsbody recently at Barnes and Noble, though it was out of print for a good long while.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bridges:
I like Diane Duane's Young Wizard series, although I haven't read the last couple yet.

You should! Wizard's Holiday is absolutely marvelous. And I can't wait for Wizards at War.

And if you're saying you have not yet read A Wizard Alone, this is something you need to remedy RIGHT NOW!

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Teshi
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Tom said:
quote:
*blink* How could you not? [see religion in Philip Pullman's series]
Ignorance. If you don't know religion, which I didn't back then aged fourteen, you don't see it. I went to a Christian school for a couple of years but the societies I've lived in are just so completely removed from religious themes that I could be a complete dunce- academically, I knew it had something to do with religion, but really it went right over my head. Then, it becomes merely magic, merely grand ideas I don't quite understand, merely two kids on an adventure that seems to have more meaning than I've quite getting.

Also: I enjoyed to some extent the Young Wizard's series, although it never gripped me.

Oh! Suddenly thought of a series. The Obernewtyn Chronicles, by an Australian author Isabelle Carmody http://www.sff.net/people/victoriastrauss/ReviewObernewtyn.html. No sex, but maybe a bit old for a twelve year old. Ignore the last negative part of the linked to review. I loved the first two of this series and I wish I could get my hands on a copy.

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Pelegius
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Uncle Orson, is Ender two years older than your audience? [Smile] I some how don't think so.

[Note to the inevitable poster]: this was an ironic question, not an insult, I am aware that he said it is not always followed, and, yes, it is generaly followed, but not by OSC in Enders Game, surely.

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