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She is 11.5 and an excellent reader. For some reason, she is asking if she can read some more young adult books. Some of her friends have read The Fault in Our Stars (I haven't but know there is some sex in it, and don't feel she's ready for romantic stories yet anyway). Others have read Hunger Games (I have read that series, but still think she needs to wait a bit).

 

Are there some excellent books that would fall in the more mature category, but are still appropriate for an almost 11.5 year old girl? Historical fiction would be even better :)

 

Thanks for any advice!

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What about some historical novels like Calico Captive or Johnny Tremain?  But perhaps those are too intense still?  What about the Spiderwick Chronicles?  

 

There are also a ton of books beyond the Little House series that chronicle Laura Ingalls' ancestors.  

 

Intense is fine.

 

My main goals are no sex, and nothing too adult in nature (eg mature relationships). Her main goals are quality writing but with more advanced story lines. I think that's the key. She reads a lot, and I think is becoming much more particular about writing quality (which is good). In the same breath, she still also really enjoys her Ramona books (just one example) so she's not ready to give up the other stuff, but just wants to branch out a little.

 

I was wondering if something like this might fit the bill?

 

Fever 1793

http://www.amazon.com/Fever-1793-Laurie-Halse-Anderson/dp/0689848919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408765889&sr=8-1&keywords=fever+1793

 

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I still love reading the Anne of Green Gables books. There are 8 in the Anne series, 3 more in the Emily series, and lots of other novels and collections of short stories. I especially enjoy the variety of themes and characters in the short stories.

 

Strangely, she had a hard time getting into the Anne of Green Gables books. I only read them in the past year, which is strange, because I grew up watching the movies (I'm from Canada) and we still watch the movies at least once a year :)

 

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What about some historical novels like Calico Captive or Johnny Tremain?  But perhaps those are too intense still?  What about the Spiderwick Chronicles?  

 

There are also a ton of books beyond the Little House series that chronicle Laura Ingalls' ancestors.  

 

I'll look at Calico Captive and Johny Tremain. Same with Spiderwick. She has ready many intense books, so definitely not an issue.

 

I'm not familiar with the books after Little House though. I'll have to do some research. Do you have a link to any of them? Is the writing well done?

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Penderwicks books

LOTR cycle

Little Women, etc.

The Giver series

Dear America series

Royal Diaries series

Girls of many lands series

Island of the blue dolphins, Zia, The King's Fifth, Black Pearl, or almost anything by Scott O'Dell

Pride & prejudice, Emma, etc.

Sherlock Holmes

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Penderwicks books

LOTR cycle

Little Women, etc.

The Giver series

Dear America series

Royal Diaries series

Girls of many lands series

Island of the blue dolphins, Zia, The King's Fifth, Black Pearl, or almost anything by Scott O'Dell

Pride & prejudice, Emma, etc.

Sherlock Holmes

 

We all adore Penderwicks (can't wait for the next one!) None of us have read LOTR. I wonder if she'd like that! We are planning to read Little Women this year. She adored The Giver, so I need to get her the rest of the series. I'll look into the rest of the others for her.

 

Is she really ready for Pride & Prejudice, Emma, etc.? I'm embarrassed to have never read them, but thought they were more love stories?

 

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Let me think, let me think.

 

Ursula K. LeGuin is an excellent author. Among her YA books we can count The Earthsea Cycle and the Gifts trilogy. Her adult novels and short stories are also very good. I'm a particular fan of The Dispossessed. Some of her books for adults do mention sex, however, they don't tend to dwell on it - it's at most a one sentence aside with no description. I'd feel very comfortable giving them to my 11 year old, and even though she's in the "sex is sooooo gross" stage I suspect she'd just do as I did at that age and skim over those sentences without even really noticing them.

 

Scott Westerfield is well regarded. I don't believe his series starting with Pretties has any sex, though it does have a romantic subplot. The series starting with Leviathan is even more circumspect - for two books, one of our two protagonists is putting on the Polly Oliver act, so there's no opportunity, and even when it all comes out they're pretty much too busy saving the day for anything else. There's a little amount of angsting, that's about it.

 

The Farsala trilogy is refreshingly free of all romance. There is none, whatsoever, and while there is some violence (the country being at war and all) the main characters take pains to minimize it as much as possible and there are no gory descriptions.

 

Ruinmarks, another favorite of mine, free of romance, not free of violence.

 

The Tiffany Aching books are a perfect introduction to Discworld.

 

Shannon Hale, on the whole, is terrific. Oooh, and there's always the Kiki Strike books (though if you wish to avoid mature themes, I suggest putting off How to Lead a Life of Crime, by that same author, for a few years.)

 

...

 

I have *got* to start reading books that aren't fantasy and sci-fi, don't I? Um.

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We all adore Penderwicks (can't wait for the next one!) None of us have read LOTR. I wonder if she'd like that! We are planning to read Little Women this year. She adored The Giver, so I need to get her the rest of the series. I'll look into the rest of the others for her.

 

Is she really ready for Pride & Prejudice, Emma, etc.? I'm embarrassed to have never read them, but thought they were more love stories?

 

I guess I think of them as relationship stories. "Sense and Sensibility" even more so, and the emphasis is on sister relationships as much as anything else. Little Women fits in that same category for me; there is plenty of romance in that, but I wouldn't call it a love story. I love these older books that show courting, rather than dating.
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My girls have loved reading Journeys Through Bookland. You could look through the TOC of the volumes to get some ideas.

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/1875

 

Some titles that they have read that I wouldn't have thought of offering at the ages they read them are Water Babies, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, and wonderful poetry.

 

Other novels that might be of interest

Watership Down

Redwall series

Pendragon series (I don't know much about this series though.)

Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain series

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At that age I was reading mostly classic literature, for many of the reasons you describe. I was a voracious, FAST reader, and my mom hated the fact that I could read 1-3 "young adult" books in a day and that the content was often inappropriately mature, while the quality of writing was often substandard.

 

At that age I remember reading/enjoying:

- many works by the Brontes

- all of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers

- anything by Louisa May Alcott (certainly Little Women and sequels, but she has other novels also)

- To Kill A Mockingbird

- when I got in the groove of 19th century literature, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot were well-loved (though I think I only read Middlemarch and Silas Marner around that age)

- The Count of Monte Cristo

 

Some of these do include romantic plots/sub-plots, but there is certainly no sex (or very off-screen sex that 11 year old me was oblivious to). I would agree with a PP that many if these are "relationship " stories rather than love stories.

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My dd is in the same boat. Taking notes on the great suggestions...

 

Right now dd is reading James Herriot's series - starts with All Creatures Great and Small. These are adult books, but there is nothing questionable content-wise. DD loves them.

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Wendy Mass!  Wendy Mass!  Really, Wendy Mass.

 

In general you want higher end, more complex issue middle grades books like Counting By 7's, Wonder, Walk Two Moons, etc. or lighter or less intensive YA novels like Stargirl or Skellig.

 

Seconding many of these.  Scott Westerfeld's books are YA but no sex, not even in the Pretties series that I can recall and definitely not in his steampunk series Leviathan.  There's romance though.

 

Seconding to look at classics - Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women, etc.

 

Seconding, seconding I Capture the Castle!

 

Seconding Shannon Hale.  In general, a lot of the fantasy in YA is pretty tame.  The Thief series does have implied sex, but in marriage.  Girl of Fire and Thorns is pretty tame.  Shadow and Bone is a little more risque but not too bad.  Nothing more than a few kisses in the Runaway King series.

 

The Ally Carter spy series is light silly fun. Nothing more than a few kisses.

 

What else...  The Joan Bauer books are good.  I haven't read most of them, so look for the younger heroines like in Close to Famous and I think they'll be fine.

 

Oh, seconding Gloria Whelan.

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The Ocean Within--story of a 13 year old foster girl who goes with the foster family to visit grandma at the ocean----clean teen reading

 

In Between by Jenny B Jones----story of a 16 year old foster girl---no s*x or language but is dealing with a teen.  Was a free kindle book a few days ago

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Scott Westerfeld's books are YA but no sex, not even in the Pretties series that I can recall and definitely not in his steampunk series Leviathan. There's romance though.

 

Seconding Shannon Hale. In general, a lot of the fantasy in YA is pretty tame. The Thief series does have implied sex, but in marriage. Girl of Fire and Thorns is pretty tame. Nothing more than a few kisses in the Runaway King series.

Hmmmm... Some of these are my fave series, but I might would caution on some of them for the OP's DD. I second Shannon Hale. I really like Westerfeld's Leviathan series, but would wait on The Pretties (IMO, it is just as intense as The Hunger Games). I like The False Prince/Runaway King (Nielson) series, as well as The Thief (Turner) series. (There is some strong language in The Thief series..."gods d@mn" is used fairly often.)

 

Girl of Fire & Thorns increases with romantic/sexual content with each book in the series.

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Hmmmm... Some of these are my fave series, but I might would caution on some of them for the OP's DD. I second Shannon Hale. I really like Westerfeld's Leviathan series, but would wait on The Pretties (IMO, it is just as intense as The Hunger Games). I like The False Prince/Runaway King (Nielson) series, as well as The Thief (Turner) series. (There is some strong language in The Thief series..."gods d@mn" is used fairly often.)

 

Girl of Fire & Thorns increases with romantic/sexual content with each book in the series.

 

I haven't read the most recent one for Fire and Thorns yet, so yeah, I could see that.  The language in The Thief series is the only really risque thing about it though...  but that specific phrase is a no...  I didn't think of that.

 

I think the Pretties is intense, but in such a different way from Hunger Games.  I feel like a lot of people shy away from the Hunger Games based mostly on the premise more than anything else - the premise by itself is just really disturbing.  I didn't think the Pretties was really any worse than The Giver.  But it does get more violent as it goes on, though unlike the Hunger Games, IIRC, most of the violence is off camera and the end resolution is much happier and the characters are not implied to be anywhere near as scarred as Katniss and co.  I haven't read the last one, which came out later than the rest of the series, just a few years ago, I think.  It sounded sort of like an addendum.

 

Thought of one more fantasy though...  Princess Ben.  And if she hasn't read The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, those are good (though there is an implied s*x scene in Hero and the Crown...  it's easy to miss if you aren't...  well, if you're a kid...  it did win a Newbery after all...).

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My dd is in the same boat. Taking notes on the great suggestions...

 

Right now dd is reading James Herriot's series - starts with All Creatures Great and Small. These are adult books, but there is nothing questionable content-wise. DD loves them.

 

I really loved, and still do, James Herriot. There are also some of his stories combine into special themes, such as stories about cats, and dogs, if your dd is interested in a particular animal.

 

 

Roald Dahl has some interesting children/youth/adult books that are good and not too mature in nature: "Danny, the Champion of the World," or "Ah, sweet mystery of life."

 

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Island of the blue dolphins, Zia, The King's Fifth, Black Pearl, or almost anything by Scott O'Dell

 

 

I dislike Scott O'Dell's book more and more as the years go by. Depressing stories. Stupid "romance" in "Streams to the River, River to the Sea."

 

I'd encourage you to pre-read them first before handing them over to an 11 year old girl.

 

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Middle Girl is a similar age, and also finding she's less interested in books for kids., so we've been venturing into more adult books. Some children's authors she enjoys are Joan Aiken and Leon Garfield. In the adult canon, maybe try Conan Doyle (lots of great stuff besides Sherlock, like The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard); Stevenson (after Treasure Island and Kidnapped, there's David Balfour and The Black Arrow; Alexandre Dumas; Dickens; Victor Hugo; P. G. Wodehouse; Sir Walter Scott; Rafael Sabatini; Jorge Luis Borges (careful here - preread); Rachel Carson's sea trilogy; Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water; John Buchan. Also good are the Alfred Church adaptations of Spenser, Caxton's Charlemagne, the Nibelungenlied, and the Greek classics.

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We love the Tiffany Aching books, but be aware that the 4th one is a lot darker than I expected, to the point that I put that one back for a year or so for my daughter (she was maybe the same age?). So pre-read or at least skim the beginning of that one for sure.

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Intense is fine.

 

My main goals are no sex, and nothing too adult in nature (eg mature relationships). Her main goals are quality writing but with more advanced story lines. I think that's the key. She reads a lot, and I think is becoming much more particular about writing quality (which is good). In the same breath, she still also really enjoys her Ramona books (just one example) so she's not ready to give up the other stuff, but just wants to branch out a little.

 

In the vein of Hunger Games / modern young adult fiction, I'd recommend these series that we've enjoyed:

* The Matched trilogy (Matched / Crossed / Reached) by Allie Condie.  Dystopian future and innocent romance.

* The Divergent trilogy (Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant) by Veronica Roth.  This series does have a little more detailed descriptions of physical attraction (kisses and the like) and the characters do have sex once towards the end of the last book but it is not discussed in detail.

 

Other ideas:

* The Hobbit

* The Chronicles of Narnia series (I can't count how many times we've listened to The Magician's Nephew)

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My younger daughter (also 11 and rising 6th grader) varies between levels of books. She's reading and enjoying Watership Down. (I second 8FilltheHeart's recommendation for that one.) She's currently only chapters away from finishing Bleak House and plans to read David Copperfield this year. Have you thought of letting her try Dickens?

 

Here is her literature list for this fall:

 

I was just working on this with her yesterday.

 

Term 1

 

Tales from Shakespeare (Lamb)

Children of the New Forest (Marryat)

Complete Fairy Tales (George MacDonald) along with other works by MacDonald, Tolkien, etc.

Ivanhoe (Scott)

 

Term 2

 

Swallows and Amazons (Ransome)

Faerie Gold

Norse Myths

David Copperfield

The Neverending Story

 

Term 3

 

Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle (Irving)

Treasure Island (Stevenson)

Tales of Troy and Greece (Lang)or The Heroes by Kingsley

North and South (Gaskell)

Sense and Sensibility (Austen)

 

ETA: This list does not include those she reads entirely independently and those we read together as a family.

 

She just added the Austen book to our list yesterday. This year is eclectic because there are books that I still want her to read that are fun children's books that I think she will enjoy and are also good to balance out her need to read bigger, more mature books which are also on the list.

 

I also second 8FilltheHeart's recommendation for good poetry. We've just finished Evangeline by Longfellow and it is really a beautiful, narrative poem. We read this along with Evangeline and the Acadians (Tallant) which is a Landmark book giving the history of the Acadians and incorporating references to Longfellow's Evangeline. It tied together so well and she loved it. It's also a great stepping stone to more complex poems. You could also try Hiawatha and The Courtship of Miles Standish.

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She is 11.5 and an excellent reader. For some reason, she is asking if she can read some more young adult books. Some of her friends have read The Fault in Our Stars (I haven't but know there is some sex in it, and don't feel she's ready for romantic stories yet anyway). Others have read Hunger Games (I have read that series, but still think she needs to wait a bit).

 

Are there some excellent books that would fall in the more mature category, but are still appropriate for an almost 11.5 year old girl? Historical fiction would be even better :)

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

My advice is "Take her to a good library, drop her off, say 'Go pick some books.  Pick whatever you like.  See you in an hour.'" and let her make her own choices.  In my experience, all kids are more interested in stuff they pick themselves, rather than stuff their parents provide for them.   Maybe she'll make good choices, maybe she'll make choices you don't agree with, but that's how you become a discerning and voracious reader, by picking your own stuff.  11 is old enough to start exploring to discover what your own interests are. 

 

 

And even if you would disagree with her choices, the downside is fairly limited.  It's not like the library is going to have "Best of Penthouse Forum" or something.  

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My advice is "Take her to a good library, drop her off, say 'Go pick some books.  Pick whatever you like.  See you in an hour.'" and let her make her own choices.  In my experience, all kids are more interested in stuff they pick themselves, rather than stuff their parents provide for them.   Maybe she'll make good choices, maybe she'll make choices you don't agree with, but that's how you become a discerning and voracious reader, by picking your own stuff.  11 is old enough to start exploring to discover what your own interests are. 

 

 

And even if you would disagree with her choices, the downside is fairly limited.  It's not like the library is going to have "Best of Penthouse Forum" or something.  

 

I WISH that this would result in my dc having a fighting chance to find good quality literature. It just isn't so. The paperback series take up so much space on the typical library and book store shelves, and they are just usually dark and not great quality reading, and certainly NOT historical fiction. It's REALLY hard to find something else unless you know exactly what you're looking for. Sure you can find more books in a certain series (e.g., Animal Ark), if you're lucky, but to branch out and find something else isn't that easy IME.

 

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I just pre-read The Fault in Our Stars for my 13 yo ds, more than the sex, I disliked all the language in it. He wasnt exactly aching to read it in the first place but it got such great reviews I figured I'd give it a go. I had no problem with the Hunger Games though.

What about The Book Thief, or Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children? or The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle? Another one of my fav's though not YA (more like tween) is Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. I can read that book a hundred times. I loved A Little Princess too.

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You got some great suggestions.  Shannon has loved a lot of these.  Anything by Wendy Mass - A Mango Shaped Space is her current favorite book ever.  She also loves When You Reach me by Rebecca Stead.  I always highly recommend The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate to girls this age, we loved that one.

 

For series along the lines of The Giver, but not as violent as The Hunger Games, try Margaret Peterson Haddix - the Among the HIdden series and the Shadow Children series were both hits here.  Also The City of Ember and sequels.

 

I also second Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Chrisite, and I would add Georgette Heyer to the list - she wrote a bunch of Regency romances, with funny, strong, engaging heroines but they are totally clean - some hand-kissing is all.  She also has some "modern" (as in, contemporary to her times) mysteries that are every bit as good as Agatha Christie's.

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Seconding Lloyd Alexander books, esp. Prydain series. Little House, the Rose  (Laura's daughter) years books--my son loved them at around that age even as a boy.

 

A Tale of Two Cities, if she is ready for that.

 

James Herriot books if she likes animals.

 

Has she already read things like The Hobbit and Harry Potter? If not, then those.

 

A Wrinkle in Time, perhaps. Trumpet of the Swan if she has not read it. Maybe Wonder

 

My son at 12 has loved the children's books by Carl Hiassen... such as Scat. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really loved, and still do, James Herriot. There are also some of his stories combine into special themes, such as stories about cats, and dogs, if your dd is interested in a particular animal.

 

 

Roald Dahl has some interesting children/youth/adult books that are good and not too mature in nature: "Danny, the Champion of the World," or "Ah, sweet mystery of life."

 

 

If you love James Herriot, you should consider John McCormack, Fields and Pastures New, and A Friend of the Flock. They are like an American James Herriot.

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Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. One of my favorite books from my childhood. I still read it sometimes!

 

This is actually an entire series The Tillerman Cycle that is pretty good throughout.

 

Instead of Hunger Games, you might point her to Suzanne Collins' Underland Chronicles  (The first book is Gregor the Overlander) Its younger and more adventure but a LOT of fun.

 

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I dislike Scott O'Dell's book more and more as the years go by. Depressing stories. Stupid "romance" in "Streams to the River, River to the Sea."

 

I'd encourage you to pre-read them first before handing them over to an 11 year old girl.

 

 

Oh, but Sing Down The Moon is...breathtaking. My Lit for Children prof at college read us the first chapter--I've never forgotten it. Beautiful language.

 

OP, the one you linked (Fever) is really good. At The Sign of The Sugared Plum and its sequel (by Hooper--can'tthink of the name--petals something) are excellent historical fiction about the Plague in London and the Great Fire (so 1600's).

 

Also the language in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series is so rich and lovely, and the plot is good, too.

 

These books are a good step before Emma and such.

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Oh, but Sing Down The Moon is...breathtaking. My Lit for Children prof at college read us the first chapter--I've never forgotten it. Beautiful language.

 

OP, the one you linked (Fever) is really good. At The Sign of The Sugared Plum and its sequel (by Hooper--can'tthink of the name--petals something) are excellent historical fiction about the Plague in London and the Great Fire (so 1600's).

 

Also the language in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series is so rich and lovely, and the plot is good, too.

 

These books are a good step before Emma and such.

 

Thank you!

 

She recently read Fever and loved it. She also REALLY liked The Candymakers. Some great suggestions so far!

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Seconding Gooria Whelan and Joan Bauer. Also, what about L'Engle? When You Reach Me by Stead is a great one, too! What about Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place?

 

My 10 yo dd is a voracious (& fast!) reader, but she's a little on the sensitive side when it comes to scary things. She likes mysteries but if they're even the least bit creepy, nightmares sometimes follow.

 

I'm following this thread with great interest!

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