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    Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

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    Paeter
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    Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  Paeter on August 21st 2018, 9:39 am

    My oldest is turning 11 next week and enjoys reading, but apart from Harry Potter, which he and his mom read together, we don't have any young adult fantasy in the house. That genre is out of my area of knowledge or interest, but I want to have some options to help him consider, since part of his birthday present from us will be a trip to the bookstore to browse and purchase one or more new books.

    I'm okay with young adult that basically copies Harry Potter, but want to stay away from young adult that leans into the romance side of things. Maybe it's just the movie adaptations, but I feel like romance is very shallow in lots of YA fiction. There has also been a growing movement to shoehorn LGBT characters into teen fiction, and I don't know if that's made its way down to tween fiction yet, but I'd like to avoid that if possible, too.

    I'm actually leaning toward checking out The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis, which is reportedly a YA re-write she did of the original Dragonlace trilogy. Or maybe the "Dragonlance: The New Adventures" series, which is a line of Dragonlance novels for young readers.

    Any thoughts on fantasy books for tween readers that don't suffer from the negative aspects of YA books?


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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  jorowi on August 22nd 2018, 8:01 am

    We've had similar issues in finding stuff for my kids to read.

    I'd suggest the following from Neil Gaiman:

    • Coraline- When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.
    • Odd and the Frost Giants- Odd's luck has been bad so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on forever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they're actually Nordic gods, trapped in animal form by the evil Frost Giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the Frost Giants and release the gods?]
    • The Graveyard Book- Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other. This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed Coraline. Like Coraline, this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.


    There's also the Artemis Fowl series by Eion Colfer, you might want to try the Xanth series by Piers Anthony (some of the stories will probably need a pre-read), The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (some scenes will need to be discussed), A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini, and finally the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.

    Those were all books I've read. You can also check out the fantasy books that Enclave Publishing puts out and Scott Appleton (whom I think you interviewed) also writes fantasy novels.

    In my experience, YA fiction written by female authors tends to have more romance than male authors. However, male authors tend to be cruder when it comes to sexual content.

    A great resource for finding out the content in a book is commonsensemedia.org.


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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  Paeter on August 22nd 2018, 9:02 am

    Cool! Thank you so much!

    I read and loved the Xanth books in Jr. High, which I think will be a better fit for him then. But these others sound like a lot of great options! And thanks for the link, too!


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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  mindspike on August 22nd 2018, 12:08 pm

    If you've not read the Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher, you should. The novels were serialized in Boys Life, which is where I discovered them. An alien invasion takes over the Earth and enslaves the populace. Three young teenage boys must escape into the mountains and then join the resistance to reclaim the planet.
    1. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/64316.The_White_Mountains?ac=1&from_search=true
    2. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/64338.The_City_of_Gold_and_Lead
    3. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/80491.The_Pool_of_Fire

    Those books defined the word "adventure" for me for years until I discovered......

    Tarzan!!!!
    Practically anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs is suitable for teens. The Tarzan and John Carter series alone total nearly 50 books.

    If you can find them, Keill Randor is The Last Legionary. He's a member of a galactic mercenary force who returns home to find his entire planet destroyed, killed by the mysterious Warlord. Outer space, martial arts, telepaths.... Douglas Hill wrote several adventure series but his work is so freaking hard to find.
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2431971.The_Last_Legionary_Quartet?ac=1&from_search=true
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1142739.Young_Legionary

    Dude, I could go on for hours.....

    Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance books are awesome, and of course you know Terry Brooks.

    Something a little more current and easier to find:

    My kids love the 39 Clues books, which started coming out when my daughter was about 11. A global scavenger hunt for an alchemical secret. Good stuff.

    My son is a dedicated fan of Spirit Animals. Teens on the world of Erde bond with the spirits of animals and work together to fight against the evil Conqueror (?).

    Both series tackle very adult themes of responsibility and morality.

    Garth Nix wrote The Seventh Tower books, about a world divided between eternal light and eternal dark, where the inhabitants bond with spirits of shadow. Nix also did the staggering Keys to the Kingdom, where Arthur Penhaligon is given the first key to the House behind the universe and must recover all of them from the embodiments of the cardinal vices.

    Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keeper books posit the question: what if everything Walt Disney ever built was just a way to keep evil spirits trapped and away from the world? And what if that system started failing and needed to find new defenders? Really good stuff steeped in Disney lore.

    Start him on Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books, and read them along with him yourself. They are superhero books thinly disguised as a modern take on Greek mythology. Percy grows as a character, but most of all he learns respect for the gods. It's an opportunity to talk about our relationship to the true God and give your son an early, grounded perspective on non-Christian religion and mythology.


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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  jazzact13 on August 23rd 2018, 1:11 am

    I'm not very familiar with modern YA, but there are some older things I can recommend.

    If you think your son would't mind going old old school, and you're fine with him using something like a Kindle reader, you can find some of The Hardy Boys mysteries on Amazon.

    They have a few books or even full collections from other old series, too, such as Tom Swift, Tom Corbett, The Three Investigators, and Danny Dunn. Yeah, the tech and science in some of those books is probably very dated, but they may still be fun to read.

    The now-defunct Star Wars books have some good stories. At the least, look for the Timothy Zahn books, they're good. I haven't read any of the newer stuff, the ones that have come out since the new series of movies began.

    That's pretty much all I can think of, hope it's helpful.
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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  Paeter on August 23rd 2018, 11:12 am

    Thanks, you guys! A wealth of stuff here! Some of it he's still a little too young for in terms of reading complexity, I think. He's 10 going on 11, so some of these great recommendations will probably have to wait for a couple more years. But you've given me a ton of great ideas to look into! Thanks again!


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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  AdamCollings on August 23rd 2018, 7:07 pm

    I was going to go through the list of Realm Makers authors' books, and then realised it was unlikely any of them would be in your bookstore lol.

    YA is actually a problematic label. It covers such a wide age group. A lot of what I think of as YA is actually written for 16/17 year olds, but YA is theoretically marketed as young as your son's age.
    I think perhaps a few new labels would be useful (and it's rare for me to say such as thing, lol)

    I just finished Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, which is YA, and will probably be stocked in your local bookshop, but it's probably aimed at a slightly older age group. That said, it's pretty minimal on the romance.

    Has he read any of the Cooper Kids Adventure series by Frank Peretti? I inhaled them when I was about his age, although you're unlikely to find them in a bookstore.
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    Re: Young Adult Fantasy Without The "Young Adult"?

    Post  Paeter on August 24th 2018, 12:28 pm

    AdamCollings wrote:

    Has he read any of the Cooper Kids Adventure series by Frank Peretti? I inhaled them when I was about his age, although you're unlikely to find them in a bookstore.

    Haven't heard of those, but I'll keep an eye out! Thanks!


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