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Hi. My daughter’s 11th birthday is fast approaching and I’d like to get her a new book series. She’s an avid reader and has re-read Harry Potter, the Penderwicks, and a Series of Unfortunate Events tons of times. She loves adventures and action but also has started to show an interest in ‘romance’ (but not too graphic). She loves witty, funny, and creative characters who also have adventures. Any ideas? Many thanks! 

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The Mysterious Benedict Society might fit the bill. My son (11) and I have only read the first one so far, but it was fun.

When I was about that age I remember loving The Song of the Lioness Quartet and The Protector of the Small series, both by Tamora Pierce. That was well over 20 years ago though, so you should probably check them for appropriateness. 

I'm sure you'll get lots of great recommendations on here!

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LOVE the ideas above from previous posters! 😍

Also, what about a bonus book that matches her new age, with magic, adventure:
- 11 Birthdays (Mass) -- there is also one for the birthdays of 12-14:  Finally; 13 Gifts; The Last Present  -- and a final bonus book, Graceful

Maybe young (?)  for her -- all depends on taste -- but what about:
- magic books by Edward Eager: Half Magic; Magic By the Lake; Knight's Castle; The Time Garden; Seven Day Magic
- Princess Academy series (Hale)
- Dragon Slippers (George)
- Wings of Fire series (Sutherland)
- Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls (McMullen)

Or possibly:
- The Unwanteds (McMann) -- magic + mild dystopia
- Gregor the Overlander (Collins) 
- The Search for Wondla trilogy (DeTerlizzi)

These might be ones for in another year or two:
- The Apothecary trilogy (Maile) -- magic, adventure, budding romance
- Leviathan; Behemoth; Goliath (Westerfeld) -- steam punk alternative WW1 trilogy adventure, hint of romance, strong girl protagonist

Or possibly one of these 2-book "original + sequel" to fill in?
- Evolution of Calpurnia Tate; The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly)
- The Blue Sword; The Hero and the Crown (McKinley) -- probably better in a year or two
- Howl's Moving Castle; House of Many Ways (Jones) -- probably better in a year or two

Edited by Lori D.
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Thanks, folks! I appreciate all the suggestions!

Another question: Does anyone have a rec for the above but a la vampires? She’s kind of interested in vamps (but not too gory) & I vaguely recall a book or series that was quite popular years past (Twilight?). That &/or any other titles w/ this theme (along w/ the other interests listed above) are much appreciated.

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4 hours ago, Earthmerlin said:

... Does anyone have a rec for the above but a la vampires? She’s kind of interested in vamps (but not too gory) & I vaguely recall a book or series that was quite popular years past (Twilight?). That &/or any other titles w/ this theme (along w/ the other interests listed above) are much appreciated.

Twilight... well, at least the movie trailers showed a lot of teen sexual longing coupled with bad relationship models. 🤮 While I know some people have focused on the "positive" that "they don't actually have s*x (he doesn't suck her blood -- a pretty clear parallel) because he doesn't want to turn her into a vampire", there is still a strong dynamic (at least what shows up in the movie trailers) of presenting it as "desirable" for teen girls to fall for and pursue guys who are emotionally distant, can't/won't commit, and/or are abusive.

I think "nice" or "appropriate" vampire stories are just problematic. There are some cute Halloween picture books out there, and there are the goofy/spooky elementary age vampires like Bunnicula. But beyond that level, at the very heart of vampire mythology is a character who has chosen an unnatural "eternal" life at the expense of others -- the vampire devours the life-blood of others to continue in a twisted form of "living" (an "undead" life). That's a tough reality to get around. Also, many vampire stories have a strong s*xual arousal aspect...

Just some rambling thoughts...

Edited by Lori D.
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My 12 yo loves The League of Unexceptional Children (series also the title of Book 1). Here's a synopsis of book 1: What is the League of Unexceptional Children? I'm glad you asked. You didn't ask? Well, you would have eventually and I hate to waste time. The League of Unexceptional Children is a covert network that uses the nation's most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies. Why the average kids? Why not the brainiacs? Or the beauty queens? Or the jocks? It's simple: People remember them. But not the unexceptionals. They are the forgotten ones. Until now!

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If she must do vampires, do the original, Dracula.  I'm letting my ds13 read it.  I just read it for the first time and LOVED it.  I couldn't believe how good it was.  It's full of virtuous people doing the right thing in tough circumstances.  The plot is straightforward, there is no betrayal or backstabbing, just incredible loyalty and love.  I think 11 is too young, but if she absolutely insists on vampires, it's soooooo much better than Twilight, both in quality and message.

 

Another vote for the Underland series by Collins.  HUGE hit here for my 11 and 13 year olds.  Tied with or better than Harry Potter.  

 

 

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Thanks for the insight re: Twilight. I’m glad I asked & we’ll pass on it then. 

We just got done with a road trip back from the beach & I popped in the audio book Mysterious Benedict Society. We didn’t get through all of it but it was engaging! I have the hard copy as well so it may just be the beginning of something here (I didn’t realize it was a series).

I’m also looking into the other recommendations today & over the weekend. Loads of good titles here! Thanks!

 

Edited by Earthmerlin
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Vampirates? Vampire pirates. I haven't read them myself but my book dragon inhaled them around 10 or 11yo. I wouldn't hand a tween Twilight, only mid-range teens that keep pestering about it. 

The book dragon is 12 now and went through every Riordan book we have (many!!) in a month earlier this year, starting with Percy Jackson. This one has some light teen romance in some of the books. 

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate maybe? 

Sea of Trolls by Farmer is first of a trilogy. That one had her flipping immediately back to page one after she finished reading each one. She was rather rude about me buying the sequels in a decent time frame. 🤣

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9 hours ago, SilverMoon said:

Sea of Trolls by Farmer is first of a trilogy. That one had her flipping immediately back to page one after she finished reading each one. She was rather rude about me buying the sequels in a decent time frame. 🤣

This has been my 10 yr old with the Green Ember series.  Pestering non-stop until I would finally sit down and order for her.  🙂

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4 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

This has been my 10 yr old with the Green Ember series.  Pestering non-stop until I would finally sit down and order for her.  🙂

I forgot about that one! I couldn't get my dragon interested, but the baby turns 10 soon. Off to Amazon...

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On 8/20/2020 at 8:11 AM, alisoncooks said:

Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Patricia Wrede. Strong and clever female lead, adventure, lite romance. My oldest read those around 11-12. 

Has she read Anne of Green Gables? Not action/adv. but my oldest enjoyed these around that age. 

 My oldest enjoyed both of those around that age (and still does). She rec's the Redwall series, by Brian Jacques, and also Septimus Heap, by Angie Sage (my current 11yo also loves Septimus Heap).  Another good series is the Wilderking Trilogy, by Jonathan Rogers.

6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

This has been my 10 yr old with the Green Ember series.  Pestering non-stop until I would finally sit down and order for her.  🙂

My middle *loves* Green Ember.  She says the second and third books end on cliffhangers, making you want to read the next one right away.

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On 8/22/2020 at 2:43 PM, ThatBookwormMom said:

 

Would she like The Princess Diaries series? Older (I read them at the end of high school, so at least 14 years old), but nothing objectionable that I remember, and a bit of light romance. Witty, but most definitely fluff.

 

I have read the first book of The Princess Diaries and I would definitely consider it adult fiction.  The movie is much, much sweeter than the book.

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How about Alan Cumyn's Owen Skye series: http://alancumyn.com/wp/novels-for-children/

John Fardell's Seven Professors series: https://www.faber.co.uk/tutors/john-fardell/

Howard Whitehouse: The Strictest School in the World, The Faceless Fiend, The Island of Mad Scientists (out of print, but so very worth tracking down)

Tim Wynne-Jones: The Rex Zero series (scroll down about halfway: http://www.timwynne-jones.com/pages/novels.html )

Elizabeth Enright: The Melendy Quartet https://us.macmillan.com/series/melendyquartet/

Philip Reeve: Larklight series https://www.amazon.ca/Larklight-Rousing-Dauntless-Farthest-Reaches/dp/159990145

Frances Hardinge: Mosca series (and all of her other astonishingly fabulous books--she's a treasure): http://www.franceshardinge.com/library/library.html

Sally Gardner's historical series (The Silver Blade; The Red Necklace; I,Coriander)--so good, so smart: https://www.sallygardner.co.uk/

Susin Nielsen (not really a series, but there are recurring characters; her books were much loved here): https://susinnielsen.com/books/

Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (she has another series which my kids didn't like as much, but they loved this one): https://www.michellepaver.com/wolf-brother/

A few ideas, anyway...hope you find something she loves!

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  • 1 month later...

It’s been nearly 1 month since her birthday & I’d like to thank all for their suggestions! ‘11 Birthdays’ was quite timely & she liked it. ‘Evolution of Calpernia Tate’ is next on her list & I personally am excited to see her reaction since my kid’s such a unique & science-y (esp. animal loving) kid—will they connect? ‘Sisters Grimm’ has been (by far) the most adored though! I got her other books from above & plan to get more for Christmas so this list is quite invaluable. (Now, I just wish I could magically turn her into a Hobbit/Trilogy fan & we’d be all set [to connect through this soul-singing story]). LOL!

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On 8/21/2020 at 3:39 AM, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

If she must do vampires, do the original, Dracula.  I'm letting my ds13 read it.  I just read it for the first time and LOVED it.  I couldn't believe how good it was.  It's full of virtuous people doing the right thing in tough circumstances.  The plot is straightforward, there is no betrayal or backstabbing, just incredible loyalty and love.  I think 11 is too young, but if she absolutely insists on vampires, it's soooooo much better than Twilight, both in quality and message.

I agree on all counts.

Dracula is one of my favorite books. 🙂 I was so surprised the first time I read it, having only seen the Bela Lugosi movie. 🙂

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I don't know if this fits into the category of books she likes, but my girls LOVED the Betsy Tacy series starting about that age.  It's about a girl (Betsy) and her friends growing up in the early 1900's (based on the real life of the author).  As Betsy ages, the reading level gets harder.  At your dd's age, I'd probably skip the earlier ones and start with Heaven to Betsy (by Maud Hart Lovelace).

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  • 3 months later...
On 8/22/2020 at 12:24 AM, NataliaMusk said:

Since she likes Harry Potter she will probably like anything by Rick Riordan to. Starting with Percy Jackson. 

She has had ‘Percy Jackson’ for years but never got into them. However, after watching her read ‘Sisters Grimm’ for the umpteenth time, I suggested them. She read all 5 in 3 days! I ordered the next set per her request. LOL

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