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Granted I know nothing about NYC (I had to explain to my kids what a brownstone was!), but I don’t think any of the kids in the book were high school age. I think the oldest was 12. 

 

Yes, 8th grade. Which means that they should've been thinking about high school admissions, finalizing their choices, and worrying about being put in a school without their friends. (Or WITH their friends if they had a falling out after the application deadline.)

And the twins should've been seriously considering whether or not they'd end up in school together. (Honestly, I'd advise twins to try to go to different high schools unless they have very similar interests, but then, that's what I advised my own two as well. It'd be more convenient for me if they were together, but then their teachers would constantly be comparing the younger one to the older unless it was a very large school.)

 

Edit: But if you really want all my tedious thoughts on high school admissions in NYC and the accuracy of books, maybe we should start another thread.

Edited by Tanaqui
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I forgot about the original Nancy Drew books.  I haven't read the newer ones.

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2 hours ago, maize said:

Georgette Heyer wrote lots of fun, clean romances, think a lighter version of Jane Austen.

I love these. the Grand Sophy is hilarious. Be aware that there is a historically accurate double standard when it comes to male and female chastity, though. 

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5 minutes ago, Spudater said:

I love these. the Grand Sophy is hilarious. Be aware that there is a historically accurate double standard when it comes to male and female chastity, though. 

 

Yes, characters like Goldhanger are certainly very funny. I get a lot of amusement out of reading blatant stereotypes on the page.

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12 minutes ago, Katy said:

I forgot about the original Nancy Drew books.  I haven't read the newer ones.

I read the Hardy Boys as a kid.  Also Nancy Drew but didn't like as much.

I think Redwall is a clean fantasy series.  I remember reading some but do not remember much content.

I would be careful about fantasy.  I read it as a teen but there is a lot of sexual stuff woven through.  The Robert Jordan books had some descriptive sex scenes and also were in general confusing as they have a lot of stuff that sounds like the Bible.  I was pretty obsessed with his series.  Every time a new book came out, i reread the entire series.  I started to not be able to tell whether something was Bible or Wheel of Time.  The writing also got progressively worse.  I never read the last one.  But this was definitely tamer than another fantasy series I remember had some very dark sexual stuff.  It made me uncomfortable then, and it would now too.  I think it is terrible to lead kids down that thought path.

I am very careful about readin content, and am much like you that we do not do TV or video games and tablets are only when kids wait for each other's music lessons.

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35 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Yes, 8th grade. Which means that they should've been thinking about high school admissions, finalizing their choices, and worrying about being put in a school without their friends. (Or WITH their friends if they had a falling out after the application deadline.)

And the twins should've been seriously considering whether or not they'd end up in school together. (Honestly, I'd advise twins to try to go to different high schools unless they have very similar interests, but then, that's what I advised my own two as well. It'd be more convenient for me if they were together, but then their teachers would constantly be comparing the younger one to the older unless it was a very large school.)

 

Edit: But if you really want all my tedious thoughts on high school admissions in NYC and the accuracy of books, maybe we should start another thread.

I don't know the books, but were they twelve or were they in 8th grade? If they were twelve in 8th grade that would be unusual! Twelve is 6th or 7th for most kids.

I totally get being irritated at inaccuracies in a setting you are familiar with though!

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12 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Yes, characters like Goldhanger are certainly very funny. I get a lot of amusement out of reading blatant stereotypes on the page.

Sigh. Well I posted that before seeing your comment otherwise I would’ve tried to avoid this argument. I’ll only make one response so we don’t derail this thread. Yes, you’re right, that character is a very offensive portayal and I wish it would have been left out. If I didn’t have the ability to roll my eyes and ignore such things I would read and watch almost nothing. I mean, I’m Catholic, 95% of our portrayal in media is blatantly offensive. I either laugh or turn it off. 🤷‍♀️. As far as kids go, mine don’t encounter anti-Semitic attitudes irl, they know it’s wrong, I don’t think a single character is going to turn them into Nazis. Sex and violence, though, they are bombarded with every time we go to the grocery store. Obviously you disagree. That is fine. 

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7 minutes ago, parent said:

I would be careful about fantasy.  I read it as a teen but there is a lot of sexual stuff woven through.  The Robert Jordan books had some descriptive sex scenes and also were in general confusing as they have a lot of stuff that sounds like the Bible.  I was pretty obsessed with his series.  Every time a new book came out, i reread the entire series.  I started to not be able to tell whether something was Bible or Wheel of Time.  The writing also got progressively worse.  I never read the last one.  But this was definitely tamer than another fantasy series I remember had some very dark sexual stuff.  It made me uncomfortable then, and it would now too.  I think it is terrible to lead kids down that thought path.

I am very careful about readin content, and am much like you that we do not do TV or video games and tablets are only when kids wait for each other's music lessons.

I think that's a broad brush.  I don't like a lot of sexual content especially as an adult.  My idea of a good romance is about Jane Austen level of detail.  I read a good amount of fantasy, and pretty much none of it has sex stuff, because I don't like that.  There is plenty of clean fantasy.  It's not the genre that's the problem.  There's tons of stuff in all other genres, fiction, non-fiction, that is equally problematic, and all of those categories also have plenty of 'clean' books.  I'd call out Romance as being the most problematic genre this way, but even there there's Jane Austen, Mary Stewart, and I'm guessing from what others say Georgette Heyer, though I haven't read the latter.

As an adult I can now handle the level of, say, McCaffrey's Pern books for grown-ups, but I wouldn't recommend them for kids.  The YA Pern books are wonderful.  The genre is not the problem.

Heck, LOTR is pretty much as fantasy as you get - violence, yes, but no sex at all.

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34 minutes ago, maize said:

I don't know the books, but were they twelve or were they in 8th grade? If they were twelve in 8th grade that would be unusual! Twelve is 6th or 7th for most kids.

I totally get being irritated at inaccuracies in a setting you are familiar with though!

They are 12 years old, and in 7th grade. 

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Yes! Brian Jacques Redwall series is fun. I read some of those to my younger siblings when I was a teenager and we used to try to invent recipes for all the delicious food described.

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Would your oldest be allowed to read Papillon? I found it really interesting. 

I love Isabel Allende’s novels. She might enjoy Daughter of Fortune.

I’m reading Annie Dillard’s The Living, it’s about very early settlers to Washington. She has several other books, though they seem to entwine nature and religion.

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11 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Would your oldest be allowed to read Papillon? I found it really interesting. 

I love Isabel Allende’s novels. She might enjoy Daughter of Fortune.

I love Isabel Allende, but her books pretty much all have adult Pern level content, so be forewarned.  Except for her YA books, but I wasn't impressed with the one I read. Better to wait till you're old enough to read her other books.

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7 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

I love Isabel Allende, but her books pretty much all have adult Pern level content, so be forewarned.  Except for her YA books, but I wasn't impressed with the one I read. Better to wait till you're old enough to read her other books.

Maybe my memory sucks, but I don’t remember sex in Daughter of Fortune, though prostitutes are a very small part of it.

ETA- lol, I know she gets pregnant, I just don’t remember any graphic descriptions.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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For humor, I like a lot of Gordon Korman's older books--his newer ones I haven't liked as well but I've only read a couple. I Want to Go Home was my favorite, also the MacDonald Hall series, Don't Care High, Son of Interflux--those were all funny.

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How about anything by Studs Terkel? I’d never call his stuff twaddle, but he was quite the character and his books cover such a wide expanse. I loved Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

For straight up crazy fun, I’d read Terry Pratchett, though some of your other choices makes me think it’s not one you’d appreciate. Tiffany Aching would be fine for the younger ones, too.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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There's the Warriors series about cats, Erin Hunter is the listed author (pen name, there are actually multiple authors).

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My Dd loved the Alan Bradley Flavia books.

 Patricia Wentworth books are great when you run out of Agatha Christie.

I was a huge fan of both Cherry Ames and Trixie Beldon.

 Mary Stewart books are also fun for teen girls........they were my first books from the adult section of the library. 
 

Someone recommended Donna Andrews.  I love those books!  Dd has read a few.

Edited by mumto2
Patricia not Katherine
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2 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

I think that's a broad brush.  I don't like a lot of sexual content especially as an adult.  My idea of a good romance is about Jane Austen level of detail.  I read a good amount of fantasy, and pretty much none of it has sex stuff, because I don't like that.  There is plenty of clean fantasy.  It's not the genre that's the problem.  There's tons of stuff in all other genres, fiction, non-fiction, that is equally problematic, and all of those categories also have plenty of 'clean' books.  I'd call out Romance as being the most problematic genre this way, but even there there's Jane Austen, Mary Stewart, and I'm guessing from what others say Georgette Heyer, though I haven't read the latter.

As an adult I can now handle the level of, say, McCaffrey's Pern books for grown-ups, but I wouldn't recommend them for kids.  The YA Pern books are wonderful.  The genre is not the problem.

Heck, LOTR is pretty much as fantasy as you get - violence, yes, but no sex at all.

 

I have never read modern romance novels so cannot compare.

Yes, LOTR is ideal fantasy for me.  Modern (current) fantasy often includes sex descriptions and sex abuse.  Not something I would recommend that kids or adults read.

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Kim Edwards The Lake of Dreams left me feeling good. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake is set during WW2. I’d have no qualms letting young teens read them.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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10 minutes ago, parent said:

I have never read modern romance novels so cannot compare.

Yes, LOTR is ideal fantasy for me.  Modern (current) fantasy often includes sex descriptions and sex abuse.  Not something I would recommend that kids or adults read.

I guess we read different fantasy, lol.  I think the fantasy I read is among the cleanest of the genres I read (regular literary fiction, and non-fiction, seems much more full of that kind of stuff to me).  If you like fantasy and want some cleaner suggestions, let me know!  I also don't like the kinds of things you describe.  I have also not read modern Romance novels, so maybe I'm being a big judgy too...  although The Extraordinaries series is both recently written, has a romance, and is fantasy, and is completely clean, so there's that...  I read reviews on GR in some detail before putting a book on my to-read list, which makes it much easier to choose well.

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3 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

I guess we read different fantasy, lol.  I think the fantasy I read is among the cleanest of the genres I read (regular literary fiction, and non-fiction, seems much more full of that kind of stuff to me).  If you like fantasy and want some cleaner suggestions, let me know!  I also don't like the kinds of things you describe.  I have also not read modern Romance novels, so maybe I'm being a big judgy too...  although The Extraordinaries series is both recently written, has a romance, and is fantasy, and is completely clean, so there's that...  I read reviews on GR in some detail before putting a book on my to-read list, which makes it much easier to choose well.

I would love your recommendations!

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I forgot about Sutcliff books.  I think of those as standard HSing historical fiction but maybe someone hasn't heard of her books yet.    I've read the Eagle of the Ninth series and the Arthurian Trilogy as well as her beautiful adaptations of the Iliad and the Odyssey .

 

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2 hours ago, parent said:

The Robert Jordan books had some descriptive sex scenes and also were in general confusing as they have a lot of stuff that sounds like the Bible.  ...The writing also got progressively worse.  I never read the last one. 

Well, the last few (starting with The Gathering Storm, I think) were written (or "finished") by another author. So, if you thought the last two you read were badly written, don't blame Robert Jordan (pen name--the original author died). I think Sanderson is Morman, but I could be very wrong. [And, for the record, I love Brandon Sanderson. I've never read Jordan's books as they aren't my cup of tea so I can't compare.]

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3 hours ago, maize said:

Yes! Brian Jacques Redwall series is fun. I read some of those to my younger siblings when I was a teenager and we used to try to invent recipes for all the delicious food described.

they are favorites here. I read them aloud to my kids when the youngest was 6. I am pretty conservative about what I expose my kids to. There’s no sexual content and no swearing. There is fighting and violence, but only to protect home and family.

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Some I can see from where I am sitting: Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband Chronicles, Louis L'amour and Zane Grey, Agatha Christie, E. Nesbit, the Penderwicks, Tolkien, Rosemary Sutcliff, Mary Stewart, Fablehaven, Horatio Hornblower, Mary Higgins Clark. A series we enjoyed very much as audiobooks was Artemis Fowl, but there is potty humor. An older author I read when Dd16 was little was Elizabeth Cadell.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

I would love your recommendations!

Well, a bunch I've recommended here already - The Goblin Emperor, The Winternight Trilogy, The Extraordinaries Series, Beauty, I think all of Pratchett is clean, even the 'adult' Discworld books - I've only read a few, but they were all squeaky clean.  Those alone could keep you busy for years!  

I'll second The Riddlemaster of Hed series as well as The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by McKillip, the Dark is Rising Sequence, the Earthsea books.

The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place by Beagle, The Snow Child by Ivey, The Princess Bride, Till We Have Faces by Lewis.

Clean fantasy that's just a squidge darker: The Inkworld books by Funke, Dark Materials series by Pullman.

Some I've read as an adult and I remember as being pretty clean - nothing above a PG-13 anyway.  Sometimes when I've read stuff as an adult I may overlook something minor.  Nothing that made me blush or squirm - I wasn't reading these with possible children in mind.  Gaiman's Stardust and Ocean at the End of the Lane (whatever you do, do not read American Gods, though.  Some icky scenes in that one!  Ew.)....  Circe by Miller, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Moreno-Garcia, The Golem and the Jinni by Wecker, The Palace of Illusions by Divakaruni, Lavinia by LeGuin, both Mary Stewart's and T.H. White's Arthurian books...

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27 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Well, a bunch I've recommended here already - The Goblin Emperor, The Winternight Trilogy, The Extraordinaries Series, Beauty, I think all of Pratchett is clean, even the 'adult' Discworld books - I've only read a few, but they were all squeaky clean.  Those alone could keep you busy for years!  

I'll second The Riddlemaster of Hed series as well as The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by McKillip, the Dark is Rising Sequence, the Earthsea books.

The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place by Beagle, The Snow Child by Ivey, The Princess Bride, Till We Have Faces by Lewis.

Clean fantasy that's just a squidge darker: The Inkworld books by Funke, Dark Materials series by Pullman.

Some I've read as an adult and I remember as being pretty clean - nothing above a PG-13 anyway.  Sometimes when I've read stuff as an adult I may overlook something minor.  Nothing that made me blush or squirm - I wasn't reading these with possible children in mind.  Gaiman's Stardust and Ocean at the End of the Lane (whatever you do, do not read American Gods, though.  Some icky scenes in that one!  Ew.)....  Circe by Miller, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Moreno-Garcia, The Golem and the Jinni by Wecker, The Palace of Illusions by Divakaruni, Lavinia by LeGuin, both Mary Stewart's and T.H. White's Arthurian books...

Thank you!

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Books by Richard Peck, especially the ones featuring Grandma Dowdel. Hilarious, historically accurate, well written. 
 

My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell. Hysterical and well written. There is an old PBS movie that is wonderful. The more modern series (Durrells in Corfu) is horrible and not worth anyone’s time. The book is wonderful and enjoyable.

Jan Karon is a lovely, restful read any day.

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I'll recommend the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi.  It is a series of some six books about an Italian priest and his nemesis the Communist mayor; the books are set in the 1950s in Italy. The priest sometimes talks to Christ on the cross who talks back to him.  The wikipedia entry will give you a good idea of the content of the series.  The first book is  The Little World of Don Camillo; the stories were originally written in Italian in the fifties and sixties.

Regards,

Kareni

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Jan Karon's "Father Tim" series. Quite a few books in the series and spans about 20 years not only following events in the life of Father Tim but also his protege Dooley.

ETA: I see Harriet already mentioned these - so seconding her recommendation.

Edited by Liz CA
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Someone mentioned The Mitchell Family series up above. I second that one.  Also, I suggest exploring the Bethlehem Books site (which published the Mitchell Family series).  It is a Catholic publisher (and we are not catholic); however,  they clearly distinguish between books with overt catholicism and just good literature.  Many of their historical fiction books are actually reprints of older books.  My children enjoyed all the books by Allen French, The Midshipman Quinn series, Rolf and the Viking Bow, Between Hills and the Forest, the Letzenstein Chronicles (4 books) by Trevor, and so many more.

The whole Discworld series by Pratchett is well-worth exploring.  For the mystery fans in your family,  you might enjoy the Nero Wolfe series, too.  And a recent book I'd recommend is "A Gentleman in Moscow".  

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The Lark and the Laurel (and sequels) by Barbara Willard are good.  They are a bit romantic, but with lots of historical detail too (Wars of the Roses).  I particularly remember and appreciated a character of an older woman, a widow, who runs an estate and makes money by farming rabbits.

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Not older, but there is a mystery series published by Guideposts called The Church Choir Mysteries that are squeaky clean. I think the mysteries are all non- murder mysteries, though I could be wrong. I only read one or two.

Someone suggested Nero Wolfe, but I’m not sure I’d recommend them for kids. You might pre-read.

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3 minutes ago, emba56 said:

Someone suggested Nero Wolfe, but I’m not sure I’d recommend them for kids. You might pre-read.

That was me.  They are by no means cozy mysteries, but they are "clean" in the sense of language/s&x and so forth.  Obvs. not for everybody but our family (especially 15+) was glad to have them for long, wintry days.  (Like OP, we have no TV and few electronics--we went through TONS of books).

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Am on phone, cannot see signatures / ages of your kids.  Mine found “And Ladies of the Club” enjoyable around age that would fit Nancy Drew or other suggestions I saw above. 

 

To keep things relatively light:

How about Robertson Davies books?

Cozy mysteries?

Have you been through Flush  Hoot etc by Hiaason?

 

 

 

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