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Book Discussion & Recommendation > Help with age appropriate fantasy for young adult fantasy

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message 1: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Cerda (snax) | 8 comments I'm hoping to get some guidance from female readers here for summer reading. My 11 year old niece has been selecting some fantasy and anime reading online and offline that contains enough sexual content to get her (and her unsuspecting mother and aunts) in trouble with her dad who has almost full custody.

She has a voracious appetite for reading, and I also sympathize with her as I suspect she's at that age of sexual awakening in her developing body. Therefore I quietly took her aside for a discussion when I checked her browsing history on my laptop and found she'd been on a manga site with an overly large amount of adult content. I spoke to her about computer security risks -- apparently neither mom nor dad have had "the talk" with her as of yet, but I asked what she liked about manga. "I've seen the shows and heard the books were better".

Help -- any young women or moms who can recommend some sites, books or book groups for PG-13 fantasy? I've skimmed the YA tag here but not found age-specific that I felt comfortable passing along.

On a side note her dad let her play WoW from the age of 3 - 10 and also exposed her to graphic violent films at a young age - and she's the one who showed me "Date My Avatar" and introduced me to The Guild, so she has excellent taste!

Thanks in advance.

P.S. and any recommendations on "you and your blossoming body" reading would be welcome

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 68 comments Since you mentioned Anime, there's a possibility that she has already seen the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle. I'm pretty sure Diana's writen a whole series. I have only read up to Castle in the Air and that was pretty good.

Harry Potter is another obvious choice, but that gets pretty dark by about book 5.

Another author I would recommend is Tamara Pierce. I started reading Alanna: The First Adventure when I was 12. But I think there was some elements of relationship/sexy times that is implied/glossed over - at least to a 12 yr old's mind. She also has other books/series and they're also geared towards the PG 13 crowd which my friend enjoyed, but I have not read.

I'll pop back in if I think of any more. :)

message 3: by Shari (last edited Jun 15, 2012 10:21AM) (new)

Shari (sharislade) | 7 comments The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls is great, but might be a little "young" for her. I think I gave it to my stepdaughter, little sister and niece each around age 9/10. My little sister is 14 now and still refers to it, so maybe not.

I love Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series! The Iron Fey Boxed Set: The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight YA, fantasy, epic romance...without the explicitness of some other "vaginal fantasy" titles. I also love Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce for this as well.

My go to recs for kids interested in fantasy are The Princess Bride, The Last Unicorn, A Wrinkle in Time, The Tripods Trilogy...

A few years ago I became addicted to Chris D'Lacey's The Last Dragon Chronicles. The Fire Within was terrific and there are 5 or 6 more books that follow.

I've heard good things about Graceling by Kristin Cashore, but I haven't read it yet.

Oooh, I also love Gail Carson Levine and Herbie Brennan.

Good Luck!

message 4: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Cerda (snax) | 8 comments Thanks!!

message 5: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Sword & Laser had a good thread on this a couple of months ago - can't find it with a quick look through but it's definitely there. I would really recommend the Discworld series, particularly the Tiffany Aching set, and the Witches - there's lots of sidelong nods to strong female characteristics. I'm reading Wee Free Men with my eldest atm; I can see a certain amount of it is going over her head (she's 6.5) but she's definitely appreciating Tiffany as someone who takes no nonsense. :)

message 6: by jillz (new)

jillz (jillzz) I'll second the Tamora Pierce Alanna books. I remember reading them in middle school, age 12ish. I also read the Piers Anthony Xanth books at that age.

All of the suggestions in this thread have been great ones though. I don't think you could go wrong with any of the books.

message 7: by Jenn (new)

Jenn (jennreese) I write middle grade and YA, so I have a lot of suggestions (in addition to the great suggestions that have already been made):

SABRIEL by Garth Nix
THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley
HERO AND THE CROWN by Robin McKinley
THE MAGIC THIEF series by Sarah Prineas
THE CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau

New stuff:
KAT, INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer Nielsen

That's probably way too many. :)


message 8: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
For Manga I would recommend Magic Knight Rayearth I, Volume 1, Angelic Layer, Vol. 1 and Shaolin Sisters Volume 1.

As far as novels....

I'll second Graceling, I read it recently and loved it. It does have a sexy moment, but it's quite tame on the grand scale of things.

Ascension is the first of a mermaid trilogy. I've only read the first book, but it's another one that's on the line between children's and young adult and could be a fun read for her.

The Roar is another novel I'd recommend, though it's more Sci-Fi than Fantasy. It's listed as 10+ through Scholastic, but it's definitely right on the line between children's and young adult and even at 26 I loved it! It follows a set of separated twins and I'd say the male twin is more of a major character than the female twin, so it doesn't quite have the "vaginal" quality, but it was still a good read! It has a recent sequel called The Whisper which I haven't read, but I suspect it's just as good.

You mention that she's been exposed to a bit of violence already, so she may be ready for a foray into The Hunger Games.

You could also venture into Percy Jackson, The Heroes of Olympus or the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. They're some good fantasies that straddle the children/young adult line as well.

A good hint for browsing Goodreads for suggestions is to look for books that have both Young Adult and Children's listed in the genres. You also might have better luck browsing for Middle Grade books instead of Young Adult. Middle grade books are aimed for readers age 8-12ish.

message 9: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Oh yes, second Garth Nix - I quite liked the Keys To The Kingdom series, which may be a good place for an 11yo to start. And Phillip Pullman, too, the Sally Lockheart mysteries may give her a taste for steampunk. :)

If she wants something different to fantasy I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the Alex Reid "young spy" type-series by Anthony Horowitz - they are aimed a little older, though...I'd say they're dark along the lines of The Hunger Games.

You could do worse than D&D fantasy, if she's any interest in that? I remember reading Dragonlance etc as a young teen and it was one of the things that gave me a taste for gaming.

message 10: by Anna Neal (new)

Anna Neal | 66 comments This is a shameless plug, but my sister self-published and wrote a YA novel about a blossoming young girl. To Play the Lady

Many who read it en-likened it to Tamora Pierce's Novels. I love the book, but I am probably biased. :)

There is one scene that some people thought was too "erotic" for a 13 year old, but I disagree. The first review is a 1 star review :( on goodreads that quotes the "erotic" part if you want to make your own decision about it. I don't agree with it. I think the main character makes good decisions about her own blossoming sexuality and is a good role model.

Other than that, I think Tamora Pierce's novels are great and the Golden Compass Series.

message 11: by Lenae (new)

Lenae | 2 comments I also read Tamora Pierce as a young teen and thought they were great. The Lioness Rampant and Circle Opens series have a few non-graphic sexytimes, and her other series are clean, all have very strong female voices.

Garth Nix and Gail Carson Levine are classics. And everyone loves a good Diskworld book. I remember The Princess Bride surprising me with some sex in the 25th edition's supplemental 'sequel' chapter.

message 12: by Jack (new)

Jack | 32 comments I can recommend quite a few book, though I see some of them above.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Lost Heroes of Olympus (sequel series to Percy Jackson)
The Kane Chronicles (All three series are written by the same author)
Song of The Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
Dark Elite Series by Chloe Neill
Darkest Powers Series by Kelley Armstrong
The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith (nothing like the TV show)
Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins
Abhorsen Trilogy Series by Garth Nix
His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman
Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
The Warriors series by Erin Hunter
Inheritance Cycle Series by Christopher Paolini
Howl's Castle Series by Diana Wynne Jones
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

message 13: by Tangled (last edited Jun 17, 2012 09:07AM) (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 55 comments Oh.My.Gods is very popular with some girls in my family, though I personally didn't enjoy it (I read it as an adult, but I read lots of YA).

Dian Duane's Young Wizards series

Skulduggery Pleasant series

Septimus Heap series

Percy Jackson books (but not the movie).

Alcatraz Verses the Evil Librarians

How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks (but maybe I just like the idea of David Tennant reading me a bedtime story).

Terry Pratchett YA books (or any books)

Neil Gaiman's YA books (or most of his books)

Scott Westerfield Uglies

Holly Black's Curseworker series. It's dark, but not sexually explicit.

Kimberly Pauley's "Sucks to be Me" and "Still Sucks to me Me".

Kim Harrison's Maison Avery series.

Soul Screamer's series (about a teen bean sidhi).

Vladimir Todd series.

Jenna Black's Faeriewalker series.

For full cross over into UF, I don't remember any sex in Amber Bensen's Death books, but they are about adults.

If you want books about hitting puberty, you still can't beat Judy Bloom. She's not so much fantasy, but I'm not sure I want to mix up paranormal with those issues. I found Ann McCaffrey's Dragonrider series in the Children's section when I was young, and for a long time I had odd ripped bodice ideas about sex, but such scenes were prevalent in many books at the time. Also none of the real boys I knew would live up to the fantasy ideals, so there was no danger of acting on such misconceptions.

If her dad really wants to keep her innocent, he probably shouldn't have her on WOW, but maybe he controls what she hears.

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 58 comments for anime Fruits Basket should be good.


Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 if you look around there is also a few "mega" editions that's hard bound and contains several of the volumes.

message 15: by Jack (new)

Jack | 32 comments Fruits Basket is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend it as well.

message 16: by Tangled (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 55 comments Amy wrote: "for anime Fruits Basket should be good.


Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 if you look around there is also a few "mega" editions that's hard bound and contains several of the volumes."

Wait, a story where members of the opposite gender turn into animals when you hug them? No hidden message there. :) JK I'm sure it's fun.

message 17: by Jack (new)

Jack | 32 comments Tangled wrote: "
Wait, a story where members of the opposite gender turn into animals when you hug them? No hidden message there. :) JK I'm sure it's fun.

lol I know how that sounds. But the animals that they turn into are the animals of the zodiac, so there's not much innuendo to draw from there. They also change into their animal forms when stressed or sick or extremely exhausted. The main premise behind this story is being yourself and loving people for who they are. A great series, really.

message 18: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Cerda (snax) | 8 comments Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I've passed along!

message 19: by Madison E. (new)

Madison E. (madiemartin) | 231 comments WOW This thread already had some great suggestions! I would like to second the Tamora Pierce as a great young adult adventure/fantasy author. I specifically love the Beka Cooper series.

message 20: by Kam (new)

Kam (kam_martinez) | 6 comments Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is a fantastic YA read for any young girl, I think. Not only does it offer insight into a culture very different from the traditional American/European-centric novels, but the protagonist deals with some common teenage-girl issues with admirable aplomb :).

message 21: by Bebe (new)

Bebe | 10 comments Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede is pretty good, its the first book in her Frontier Magic series.
And also Maria V Snyder, writes has three young adult fantasy series that are really interesting. My favorite was her study series. Poison Study was the name of the first book.

And if your talking Anime and Manga
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is good and the volumes are all available at your local bookstore.

and also Gakuen Alice is a favorite of mine, and also available at your local bookstore.

message 22: by Becky (new)

Becky (audthryth) | 33 comments I have to post a thank you for this thread. My niece turns 10 this year. When I asked what I should get her all my sister would say is "I don't know. She likes books." I've gotten her the Cat Warrior series and some of Terry Pratchett's books (the Tiffany Aching series). But I definitely need some help this year.

message 23: by Rose (new)

Rose | 3 comments High fantasy:
A lot of Robin Mckinley would be great-- I think I first read The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown at that age, although you might want to steer her clear of Deerskin and (to a lesser extent) Sunshine. I also really liked Blood Red Horse, which centers around the Crusades era, at that age, but it might be pure historical fiction, not fantasy.

Modern YA:
I also just read Everybody Sees the Ants, which was great-- it has a 15 y.o. male protagonist who's also just discovering his sexuality, but it's pretty clean and focuses much more on his development as a person, standing up to bullies and his parents. Whale Talk and Going Bovine would also probably be clean enough, but they also star male protagonists, and I know I went through a stage where I didn't really want to read about guys, tyvm.

If she likes Victorian-ish stuff, A Great and Terrible Beauty (by the same author as Going Bovine) is great and not nearly as bodice-heavy as the cover suggests. It's the first in a trilogy, as is The Hunchback Assignments-- a detective/thriller send-up of a lot of Victorian literature with a shape-shifting hunchback as its main character.

Urban Fantasy: I liked Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (although the protagonist's closer to 20, fwiw) and Texas Gothic, which is about two sisters on their crazy aunt's magic family ranch.

I hope that was helpful! =/

message 24: by Jute (new)

Jute | 238 comments This might be too young, but if they like silly stuff you might try the Brandon Sanderson series that starts with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

message 25: by Keidy (new)

Keidy | 313 comments I know that a lot of people picked books that I would have totally recommended so I'll try to make my list reflect those that haven't been mentioned yet, all G rated of course. Some of these books are older and some are very recent.

I would also like to note that although I don't have any children of my own, I ADORE reading independent reader books and all these books are for young kids (from ages 8-12). I also generally purchase books that have very strong female leads so that's another plus to this list. These are also all books from my private collection. They're the kind that I read over and over again so I hope this list will do you well.

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner. This book is a great coming of age book with adventure, mystery, a bit of magical elements and a very headstrong, spunky, strong female character. I think her age is 12 so that goes right along with the age of your niece. I fully enjoyed this book and I'm an adult! This book the first of a series so feel free to check out the other books that follow this one.

The Search for WondLa and A Hero For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi is a GREAT Science Fiction series for kids that I HIGHLY recommend. It follows a very brave, strong and resourceful 12 year old girl in her exploration of her place in a world full of augmented reality, robots and alien creatures. The book also has some gorgeous illustrations inside.

Flight of the Dragon Kyn, Dragon's Milk, Sign of the Dove and Ancient, Strange, and Lovely by Susan Fletcher are all excellent reads. They all deal with dragons which are awesome fantasy creatures and all of the books have very heartfelt but powerful stories and all with very strong young female leads (at around 12 years old). This was one of the book series that got me into dragons.

Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons and Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede is the other series that got me really into dragons. These stories break all the rules that are in fairy tales in a good way. All the story has a very strong human female lead and a very strong female dragon lead and the world that Ms. Wrede has created is just magical! I highly recommend it.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente and Ana Juan [illustrator] is the most curious title I've ever read so far. The story itself reminds me of Alice and Wonderland in it's nonsensical nature but the story isn't so overwhelmingly nonsensical that you get lost. The story follows a very young girl and her wish to explore this other amazing world in which the impossible is possible. I have to admit, the story captured my heart quickly and I find myself wishing there was more. It's a very well told story and the small black and white illustrations are just lovely and full of character. In fact I loved her story so much (and granted I started with an independent reader's book), I'm following the author through goodreads, reading her blog and updates and purchasing her past books. She's just THAT good.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens is another good read full of adventure, mystery, magic, and the bonds of siblings. The story's lead are two girls (one is the oldest and one is the youngest) and a boy (the middle child) and their adventure in a mysterious world to try to save their parents from the big baddies. It's a great read that I fully enjoyed and of course, all of the female leads are strong.

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester is a read that kinda reminds me of X-men, except everyone in the story are children. The story follows a headstrong, strong and charming young girl and her challenges with controlling her power of flight and using it for the greater good, finding her place in the world and never sacrificing who she is on the way. During her journey she finds some other children that have mutant-like abilities and they all join up to learn from each other about the actions and consequences children of their nature make. It's a good easy read and if your niece likes X-men, she'll love this book.

Animorphs by Katherine Applegate is a much older series of book, and believe me it's LONG. But this series was my first introduction into science fiction and I still consider it one of my favorites. What attracted me to this story is that these children (all around age 12), find an alien that looks kinda like a centaur (except blue and without any mouth), in need of help from a silent alien invasion that's happening right on Earth. The blue alien gave the children the ability to morph into any creature they touch and thus, Animorphs was born! I ADORED all the talk about the animals, getting into their psyche and all the challenges that come from their new powers. If your niece loves reading or learning about animals, she'll love this series.

message 26: by Anonymoose (new)

Anonymoose (ehanonymoose) | 6 comments I would add:
Jane Yolen's teen books
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn (and her safe-keepers series too)
Inda by Sherwood Smith would work too but the rest of the books in the series would probably too old for her, in my opinion.

I always recommend David Eddings' Belgariad series as a good gateway drug for kids to move into Fantasy books.

Sailor Moon
Prince of Tennis
Fruits Basket

Some of the other popular manga that are also anime/cartoons like Bleach, Death Note or Full Metal Alchemist can be on the violent side.

message 27: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay (roguefire) | 85 comments I'm finishing up the last of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr and was thinking of this thread.

It's about the faerie world and teens coming of age and dealing with life: real and paranormal.

There's a lot of attraction, and extremely vague mentions of sex. Nothing explicit - you just know it happened at one point.

Your niece sounds amazing and like some of the kiddos I loved talking to constantly when I worked at Border!

message 28: by Jack (new)

Jack | 32 comments I LOVE the Wicked Lovely series! I thought it was a great intro series to the fey world for teens as well.

message 29: by Sara (new)

Sara (medusasmirror) | 34 comments I work at a bookstore & so I get questions like that fairly often. Here are some of my favorites:
Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot - there are two sequels
Sandry's Book and its 3 sequels. The next series, the Circle Opens is fine for her age too, but I'd stop before she got to The Will of the Empress
Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos
The Blue Sword I also love The Hero and the Crown, but it has implied sex. I totally missed it when I was her age, but reread the book at about 14 and had an "OH!" moment
The Wide-Awake Princess
The Dragon of Trelian
Dead Reckoning
Thirteenth Child
A few comics that she might like:
Polly and the Pirates, Volume 1
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152

message 30: by Gayle (last edited Jul 18, 2012 09:50AM) (new)

Gayle | 2 comments Michelle Lovric's The Undrowned Child and its sequel The Mourning Emporium are brilliant Victorian fantasy. Teodora is fantastic heroine, bookish and fearless with the requisite mysterious tragic past.

Though they can be quite dark (the prologue of The Undrowned Child describes the rather evil murder of an innocent family on their way to baptise their newest addition) and there were parts that even I at 28 found pretty creepy!

However there are also curry loving mermaids who curse like 17th century pirates and print a newsletter denouncing the Mayor of Venice (no, really), valiant battles on the canals of Venice and an army of flying talking cats.

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