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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great Books for Girls: Walking on the Dangerous Side

Alkelda the Gleeful had mentioned in the comments of a past post, that she wanted "a Dangerous Book for Girls too. (Daring is good, but I want dangerous!)" I loved this and have wondered what books would qualify for this esteemed honor. I must confess, not all these following books will be on the dangerous side, but, I hope you'll agree that they are definitely daring and maybe start to border on the dangerous. I must hunt for some more to read.

And I must ask you, in your mind, what would make a children's book qualify as a Dangerous Book for Girls? If any of you have any suggestions for Dangerous Books for Girls, let me know in the comments.

So, here are the "dangerous" books I've read over the past couple of weeks:

1. Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart fame, wrote a brave picture book for girls, The Princess Knight. This picture book is perfect for little girls who are tired of the same old stories about demure, pretty princesses who wait for their prince to rescue them. Enough already!

Princess Violetta has three older brothers. She is determined to be a great knight and choose her own destiny. Forget about arranged marriages and having the man fight for the woman's hand in marriage. You will adore this smart tale of a clever princess who is unwilling to follow tradition and finds her own happily ever after.

2. Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer by J.T. Petty, ages 9-12: Clemency Pogue is a clever girl who listens well to her parents. When faced with an evil fairy who is determined to send Clemency over the edge of a deep gorge, Clemency remembers this important line from Peter Pan, "I don't believe in fairies."

She has to repeat it seven times, before the evil fairy drops dead. After Clemency pulls herself to safety, a hobgobin tells her she's killed six other fairies in the world. Clemency is horrified and wants to make things right, even if the wicked fairy is brought back to life.

This is an amusing book with a delightful use of clever wordplay and interesting adventure. Please note this wicked fairy is mean. So keep that in consideration if your child doesn't like this sort of thing.

3. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black, I would recommend this to mature teens 15 and up: I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book, despite the dark edge to this fantasy. 16 year old Kaye isn't your average teen. She watches over her flight rocker mom, feels like a misfit, and had faeries as friends when she was a young child. She soon discovers she has more in common with the faeries than she thought she did. Kaye has to think fast and be stronger than she ever thought she could to survive the struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms.

4. Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black, I would recommend this book to mature teens ages 15 and up: Seventeen year old Valerie finds her boyfriend and mother together and runs away to New York City. She soon meets up with and lives with a group of homeless teens in the underground subway tunnels.

Val and her friends meet up with a troll, Ravus, who concocts a magical drug called Never. The teens become addicted to this drug and realize their lives may be in danger, as they become more involved in the faerie conflict. This is a good second book, but personally, I liked Holly Black's first book, Tithe better.

5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, ages 9 and up: This is quite an imaginative book. Meggie's father has the power to read a book with such depth, that he brings the wicked characters from a book to life. This is quite an adventurous read and boys and girls will enjoy this book.


Christine M said...

Thanks for some great book suggestions! I'm always on the look out for books my ten-year-old will enjoy. She just read The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls - and loved it

b. johnansen newman said...

Vivian, I see you already got one of these--but I gave you one again. You deserve it:


Laini Taylor said...

Hi there! I just saw on your myspace that you list books with strong female characters -- great idea! My new book Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, has a pretty "dangerous" protagonist. She's a faerie who hunts devils, she curses like a crow and isn't overly obsessed with personal hygiene. She's loyal, bull-headed, and totally fearless! There are a number of other strong female characters in the book too. Go girls!

Brian Mandabach said...

For older readers, as is your Holly Black pick, what about Aidan Chambers' This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn?

The book's length and a few stylistic and form/presentation/format eccentricities make it just a little dangerous. But though Cordelia gets into a few scrapes, she is almost maddeningly healthy at times. But the book is fearless in its refusal to avoid oft-avoided subjects, especially in the area of sex. (it is a Pillow Book, after all).

Then of course there is my own novel, which I should name, (in the name of shameless self-promotion) but won't. (in the name of shame;-)

HipWriterMama said...

Glad you like these suggestions and thanks for your suggestion!

I'm honored. It means alot coming from you. Thanks!

Thanks for dropping by and letting us know about your book. I read a good review about your book. It's always great to hear about books for strong girl characters. Hope you stop by again.

Okay, if you're not gonna mention your own novel, I guess I'll just have to. So have no shame.

Brian's book Or Not, with a strong girl character, is to be released in the fall of this year. Congrats!

daphne grab said...

i just finished melissa marr's Wicked Lovely and i think it fits the bill well- aislinn is one tough cookie in a tough position! it's an excellent read

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

My daughter and I really need to read Inkheart.

Kate said...

What a GREAT theme! I'm all about girl power and I love it! love it! love it! I'm reading "Warrior Girl" right now which is about the cousin of Joan of Arc. It has potential. All I know now is that it's all danger and all girl power all the time!

Stacy (my friends call me Stasia) Dillon said...

I love, love, love Clemency Pogue! The kids at my school do too. Also the Kiki Strike books are great for girl power. No fairies, but a group of wayward girlscouts. When Kiki's teacher asks her what she wantst o be when she grows up, she says "Dangerous!"

Little Willow said...

Oh, there are so many brilliant books and characters I could list here!

Due to your current list leaning towards fantasy, I'm thinking in that direction first. The title character from Poison by Chris Wooding comes immediately to mind. Ella Brown (Princess Cynthiana Eleanora) from Just Ella, Princess Meg from The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs, Yvaine in Stardust...

There are so many others: Alaska from Looking for Alaska, Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Anne Shirley from the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery - maybe I should stop at the As and let others chime in! :)

Beckett in Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn!

Jenna Blake in the Body of Evidence books by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala!

Okay, I'm stopping now, I swear it.

Lazy cow said...

I just finished Beauty by Robin McGinley, a novelisation of Beauty and the Beast (my favourite fairytale) Apparently she's written 2 books on Beauty, and that is her earlier work. It was gorgeous. The library finally has available Inkheart (I've been waiting a long time for it).

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Hey hey, I reviewed Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer for SLJ. Then, I gave the copy to my school librarian friend because her library budget is non-existent. She said that her girls love fairies, but not Clemency Pogue, because, get this, the fairies aren't pretty. Fairies can be nasty little creatures sometimes, I'll give them that. (So can humans).

Camille said...

Oh, I have to nominate my new favorites, the Maude March books. Independent girls riding the wild west range, looking out for themselves and one of them is practically a sharpshooter. Dangerous indeed!