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Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When my brother gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday, I did something I never do: I bought a book without reading it first. (Usually I read library books, and then buy the ones I know I'll read again.)

After finishing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I'm glad I took the leap.

I won't summarize the plot for you here, but suffice to say this is a YA fantasy supplemented with darkly intriguing vintage photos like the one above. I didn't learn until finishing the book that almost all are actual vintage photos (a few slightly modified), and were not made specifically for the story.

This was quite the revelation, and I found myself going back and looking at each photo again, marveling at how seamlessly the author, Ransom Riggs, was able to weave them into the storyline. These aren't simply bonus illustrations on the side; they're integral keys to the entire plot line. As a result, you can tell that Riggs built some of his characters around their images, as opposed to the other way around. Fascinating stuff.

From the description and cover images I was afraid this was going to be a horror story. It's not. In fact, I am a *huge* wimp when it comes to scary books, and I was able to read this in the dead of night just fine - although I could imagine a few of the creepier images in the middle revisiting the odd nightmare here and there. (The Santa in particular was pretty shudder-worthy.)

The ending was everything I like: enough resolution to satisfy - no annoying cliff-hangers - but enough room left over for possible sequels. And I dearly hope there's a sequel.

So, if you like young adult fiction (and after Harry Potter, who doesn't?) I definitely recommend Miss Peregrine's. For a debut novel, the story alone is fairly impressive - but combined with the photographs, it becomes one of those tales that will stick in your memory for years to come.

And finally, I was about to embed the book trailer here, as it's one of the best I've ever seen, but I just stumbled across something even better: the making-of video. Turns out, Riggs went urban exploring in Belgium to shoot the trailer, trespassing in abandoned old mansions, and the resulting film is filled with jaw-dropping scenes of simply gorgeous urban decay. So, by all means, watch the finished book trailer, but you simply HAVE to see this:



Wow. I think I'm going to watch that again now.

Oh, and if you're inspired to take the leap, too, Miss Peregrine's is currently $10.25 at Amazon.


Young Adult fantasy is my genre of choice, so I've read most of the popular titles and I'm always looking for more. Have one to recommend? Then please, tell me in the comments!

Posted by Jen at 3:46 PM Labels:

192 comments:

  1. Have you ever read Airborn by Kenneth Oppel? You would really like that one! (It's a series of three books). And the Hunger Games of course!

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  2. Oo! Oo! Have you read The Enchanted Forest Chronicles? Awesome. YA fantasy is one of my favorites, too. We could swap book titles all day! :)
    Thanks for the book review!
    ~A

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  3. He posted the first two or three chapters (on Neatorama, I think?) and I was HOOKED. So happy to know the rest of it is as good - I'll probably go ahead and get it, since I can't find it at the library and I like supporting authors who are just starting out. Not usually a huge fantasy reader, but I adore YA!
    (p.s. come to Raleigh NC on your book tour :D )

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  4. "The Forest of Hands and Teeth", "The Dead Tossed Waves" and "The Dark and Hollow Places" by Carrie Ryan. Zombies are happy.

    "Tiger's Curse" and "Tiger's Quest" (the third book comes out in November) by Colleen Houck. It's a neat spin on Beauty and the Beast with a splash of Indian mythology.

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  5. I don't know what your feelings regarding graphic novels are, but Kazu Kibuishi is writing a great series titled Amulet. The fourth book in the series should be out in September. It has gorgeous illustrations and an engaging plot that will keep you wanting more. Not to sound too much like the back cover. More info here.

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  6. Please tell me you've read The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy. Awesome! YA fantasy in the order of The Phantom Tollbooth but darker and longer and better! Also, are you on Goodreads? Kennedy is & he 'friended' me after I reviewed the book. great way to track your own reading, find new books and see what others are reading!

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  7. @ willgirl - Airborn is one of my favorite YA books EVER. Love it. I've only read the 1st book in the Hunger Games series, but I couldn't put it down. I've still got to get my hands on the next two. :)

    @Anne & EMT pixie - I'm off to look up those titles now. Thanks!

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  8. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. The cover alone is captivating, and your description of the way the vintage photos are integrated into the story have me fascinated. Definitely going to pick up a copy to share with my daughter!

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  9. I'm actually listening to this right now as an audiobook. Unfortunately the guy reading has the most ludicrous british accent I have ever heard. He makes Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins sound good. This is kind of ruining what would otherwise have been a very engrossing story.

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  10. I've been reading the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and the Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. Oh, and the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. I'm waiting for the next installments in all 3...lol With all three, the further into the series I read the better they were. :) Seems like there is another one...but I can't quite think of it at the moment.

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  11. Have you read Eon by Alison Goodman. Fun gender-bender teen fantasy, in the same vein as Tamora Pierce's Lioness books.

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  12. Just read the other comments---I completely second The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Love Princess Cimorene! :) (Still waiting for them to be available on the Kindle!)

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  13. My 16 yo daughter was given "The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick Ness as part of a whole school reading project. All the incoming 8th graders and current 9, 10, and 11th graders, plus the staff receive the book at the end of the school year and then the author is brought in to discuss the book with the students about a month into the school year. This is a school with 2900 students and 250 staff.

    This is the first book in his Chaos Walking trilogy and the other two are interesting reading also.

    Must add this new book to my TBR list.

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  14. I quite liked Fly By Night: http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Night-Frances-Hardinge/dp/0060876301/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310069218&sr=1-1

    It's got suspense and mystery, and a fun, spunky heroine (and a spunky goose!)

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  15. Whew! So glad to have EPBOT! I love YA and I don't always share with my other reader friends that I am reading YA books (although we all LOVE Harry Potter), so am glad to come out of the closet so to speak. Thanks for sharing all of the great titles and authors. I haven't read them all yet, so will have to get reading them all. Oh have your read the Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. So very good.

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  16. I'm a big fan of the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Luckily the last book came out last year so no more waiting around for the next book.

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  17. I love YA. I just got this book in the mail yesterday. Unfortunately being an adult is seriously cutting into my reading time. =\ As for other books, off the top of my head, I'd say Anything by Diane Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce, Diane Duane and, Patricia C. Wrede including the ones she co-wore with Caroline Stevenson (I think). The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix.Uhh, that's all I can think of with out looking at my bookshelves.

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  18. Most of you guys have probably read it, but I can't help but mention Coraline by Neil Gaiman. If you haven't read it, you should! It's creepy but delightful.

    Some books that aren't YA in the sense that they are in the YA section, but you all might like anyhow, are Mercedes Lackey's fairytale books. Her elemental masters series take fairy tales and re-set them in a pre-WW1/WW1 setting. They are somewhere between the original dark versions and the Disney versions in tone.

    She also writes a series from the 500 Kingdoms which involve a land where fairy tales are just part of life. They are kind of behind-the-scenes, dealing with fairy godmothers, or other characters who are trying to avoid or change their fairytale endings.

    As a side note, her version of The Black Swan is my favorite book ever. I've read my copy so many times the pages are falling out.

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  19. Looks intriguing! I'm more of a grown up than I like to admit, but I love YA fantasy.

    No One can legitimately claim to be a fan of the genre without having read everything by Robin McKinley at least twice. The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown are a good place to start. Beauty is one of my personal favorites. Deerskin is darker. Sunshine is for adults and a complete departure from her YA stuff, but a masterpiece. Scary, though, so you probably wouldn't like it.

    You might also like Sharon Shinn's books. They walk the line between YA and normal fantasy, but are fun, escapist reads.

    Happy reading!

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  20. i second the hunger games and am surprised no one's mentioned the uglies/pretties/specials yet. i enjoyed the hunger games more than U/P/S but they were still an enjoyable (and super quick) read! thanks for the tip on miss peregrine's!

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  21. Your blog is officially a full family read. My little sister is obsessed with steampunk and cosplay and attends lots of cons, so she loves that. My older sister is a librarian who specializes in YA (kids come in asking for Ms. Michelle because she knows all the best books) so she loves you too. And me? Well I love Cake Wrecks and I think you are frakin hilarious. Plus your DIY stuff makes me want to be more crafty. This book looks awesome - I now have it on hold at the library. Keep up the awesome work - your blog is the best!!

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  22. I have always loved "Winter of Fire" by Sherryl Jordan, it's a dystopian book centered around a 16 year old girl ( a little Hunger Gamey) but I read this when I was 11 and have re-read it dozens of times since.

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  23. The Wrinkle in Time series by Madelaine Le Engle and the Dark is Rising by Susan B. Cooper are two of my favorite YA series. What I love about truly well done books designed for the younger audience is that they do not insult their intelligence, or mine.
    Your recommendation will go into my list of books to read and pass on to the younger folks in my life.. thank you!

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  24. Amazing, I was considering this at the digital library a few weeks ago. I got Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky. It was great - about a teen girl in the future. The story of how she and some friends rebel against the "digital school." Which happens to be run by her father. It was excellent. I'll have to add Miss Peregrine to my list! Thanks!

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  25. You should try Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore.

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  26. A lot of the PERN series from Anne McCaffrey is labeled as young adult, although I wouldn't recommend the series to less than a PG audience.

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  27. YA books that I'd recommend - oh my. This is my favorite genre as well, so there are a lot, but the ones that stick out right now are Unwind, The Book Thief, and the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix. My husband and I also enjoyed reading the Land of Elyon series together by Patrick Carman, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was a fun read as well. :)

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  28. Oh man! I love YA Novels, my favorites right now are ANYTHING by Tamora Pierce. She writes books in sets of 4 and they all intertwine but each set highlights one particular character. SO good! Also LOVE Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. It is a 3 book series and easily the coolest YA commentary on politics and magic!

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  29. Julie G. from IowaJuly 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    The "House of Night" series is good.
    Although I think the author's are trying to keep the bucks rolling in by stretching out the series too much. I mean really, 12 books? Harry Potter didn't even need that many!
    But don't get me wrong, they're a nice easy fun read.

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  30. With three teens in the house..well one is 21 now...I love YA books. Right now I'm reading "The Skinjacker Trilogy" by Neal Shusterman "Everlost" is the first book.
    If you want to be depressed, "Life as We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer was really good...the second two were pretty good, but really loved the first one.

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  31. I totally second the comment about the Fablehaven series...( they are all on the kindle too). Also a big fan of the 500 Kingdoms books by Merecedes Lackey.

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  32. Wow.

    I will have to pick that book up now. It would most likely have caught my eye on my next book store wander, but it's a have to find now.

    Wonderful video.

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  33. garth nix's keys to the kingdom series. and the portal chronicles by imogene rose is really good if you like more sciencey sci-fi. and i actually adored reading all of the percy jackson and kane chronicles etc... books with my son. very good.

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  34. I can't say that I normally read any YA novels, but after watching that and the original trailer I am definitely intriguied and must have this book!!!

    I find the most interesting things on your blog!!

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  35. That was very cool. :0)

    I'm starting the Looking Glass Wars. Pretty good so far.

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  36. Thank you for the suggestion! I'm always looking for new books and I tend to enjoy Young Adult fantasy... and the cover/your description made me add it right to the top of my list! Would you consider writing a post with your top book suggestions sometime? :)

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  37. I now have a whole list of books to read. I LOVE YA fiction but I hardly read anymore unless it's children's books. My all time YA book is The Giver. I can read it over and over without it losing it's hold on me.

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  38. A bunch of others have already recommended Tamora Pierce and I agree with them whole-heartedly. She was my favorite author as a teenager/young adult. Anne McCaffery's stuff is also good, but for the YA, start with the Dragonsong/Dragonsinger ones. Point of Note: My father read me Dragonsong when I was 5 and that was the book that got me interested in reading. I haven't let up since.

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  39. OMG Looking Glass War series is one of my favs. As a former bookseller this is my favorite genre to introduce adults too. Many books in YA are really over looked. My current obsession are the Rick Riordan books both the Kane Chronicles and Percy Jackson series. If you haven't tried Michael Scott's Nicholas Flamel series check it out too.

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  40. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, I am currently reading it right now on recommendation from a fellow librarian who recommended the "Hunger Games" trilogy to me. Fantasy fiction about a living prison and a boy who wants to get out and a girl who wants to get in. I am only 100 pages in and I am really enjoying it.

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  41. My friends and I just pass around the YA books that we find interesting. I second the u/p/s series by Scott Westerfeld as well as his Leviathan series. Sooo many elements of steampunk in that it's ridiculous and wonderfully detailed pictures to boot!!

    Also, I second Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy. And the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

    Books that haven't been mentioned, that should be: Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones being the first book)
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore
    The Hollow Kingdom by Clare Dunkle

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  42. Wow. I just went and purchased this book! Looks great. :)

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  43. The Nicolas Flamel series by Michael Scott is great - so is "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore.

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  44. I'm glad to hear a positive review. It was already on my want to read list but my family rule is no buying yourself anything for a month before your birthday and mine is at the end of this month (I'm hoping to get it as a gift)

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  45. I want to assume you've read the Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson (DISNEY, Adventure, Mystery, characters comming alive!) but I thought I'd add it just incase!

    Also, The Mortal Instruments Series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels) by Cassandra Clare. Also, a prequel series she is SIMULTANIOUSLY writing called the Infernal Devices (So far the only book is The Clockwork Angel). Steampunk adventure? Yes Please!

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  46. I love young adult and children's fantasy even though I don't read fantasy geared toward adults. I'm not sure why it's different-- more of an emphasis on imagination instead of politics and for some reason it's often better prose.

    Some books that I've loved are:
    The Mysterious Benedict Society - books by Trenton lee Stewart. Not really fantasy per se, as they take place in the modern world with no magic, but they have a similar feel to it. A team of genius orphan children have to save the world a few times. Accessible for a much younger audience but I loved them reading them for the first time as an adult.

    The Golden Compass - Trilogy by Phillip Pullman. Controversial because of the anti-religious themes that come through, particularly in the last two books, but a really excellent story and very original in its characters and its approach to parallel worlds.

    Pendragon - Series by DJ MacHale. Flatter prose, but fun series as the teen protagonist travels between worlds to save all of existence. This is one to be read primarily for plot.

    The Alchemaster's Apprentice - book by Walter Moers. Apparently part of a larger series. Not really geared toward kids, but has a younger feel to it in a darker setting. The rich descriptions and wordplay are truly fantastic. I'm in the middle of this now and am truly loving it.

    Rowan of Rin - series by Emily Rodda. Geared for a younger audience with more simplistic storytelling, this is compelling because of the way the author weaves together over several books seemingly unrelated details in a way that you can tell she has orchestrated the entire tale from the beginning, which I like.

    Artemis Fowl - series by Eoin Colfer. Part fantasy, part science fiction, this is a mostly silly series about a teenage mastermind criminal who enlists the help of the faerie folk. Fun characters. The distinguishing factor in this series is the combination of magic and technology.

    Swallows and Amazons - series by Arthur Ransome. Decidedly not a fantasy series, but still a favorite. These kids vacation with their boats and adventures happen. They pretend to be pirates and stuff. My description doesn't capture why this series is probably one of my favorites ever, but it is.

    The Enchanted Castle - book by E. Nesbit. She wrote in the early part of the century and all of her books are charming. This is probably the most famous and most fantasy, as the children find a magic ring.

    Half Magic - book (and series) by Edward Eager. This series helped define the classic "Once there were four children who discovered a magic (blank)" framework of the genre.

    The Chronicles of Narnia - series by C.S. Lewis. This is classic. And awesome. Words do not describe.

    The Dark is Rising - series by Susan Cooper. This series is a bit darker in parts and gets a little weird toward the end, but is one of the few series in the genre available when I was a kid.

    Most of these are not new books or series but came out in prior decades, which I enjoy reading because of the difference in writing style. It's great to read everybody's suggestions and I think I will have to go to the library again soon...

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  47. For YA fantasy, read the Hourglass Door series. It's a trilogy, Hourglass Door is the first book. They're by Lisa Mangum and the aren't like any other YA stuff I've read.

    I also liked Matched by Ally Condie. It's YA, but not so much fantasy.

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  48. I love the YA books by Clive Barker. He's written three that I love: The Thief of Always. And then a series called Abarat. There is currently only 2 of the planned 4 or 5 written, but, the 3rd is coming out this fall.

    Clive usually writes in the horror genre, and while his books aren't scary, you can see the influence of that in his work!

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  49. I read this book after reading a review/interview in "Entertainment Weekly." I downloaded it as an e-book and the pictures were still good quality, just not as easy to look back on. The author did mention more photos that he's saving for future books. I can't wait!

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  50. I'm making a list of books mentioned here in the comments as soon as I write my own, heh. I posted the link to Miss Peregrine on FB; I know lots of my friends and fam would be intruiged.
    I'm currently rereading the Artemis Fowl series, before turning the books over to my son, once he finishes Percy Jackson.

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  51. I love love love the Darkest Powers Series by Kelley Armstrong...she writes adult books too, but I really love the YA books!

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  52. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak is one of the best books I have ever read. I obtained my Master's Degree in Literacy and had to read it as part of one of my classes and I fell in love with the book. It is set in WWII Germany and told from the perspective of Death but it is not morbid, in fact it is told with such compassion and grace that it makes the story really come alive and tug at your heart strings.

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  53. You may or may not know that Ransom Riggs also writes for mentallfloss.com, he has posted previews of the first 3 chapters of the book in articles on Mental Floss. They're listed under his author page here:

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  54. @Ross Momma: Thanks for the Order of Odd-Fish love! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Since this blog is by Jen of Cake Wrecks, I thought it might be fun to share this: a fan from Florida made a monstrous, beautiful cake that recreated one of the scenes from Odd-Fish in which a giant fish vomits out a building:

    http://jameskennedy.com/edible-art/#Fish%20Vomiting%20Cake

    Not a wreck but certainly an insane cake...

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  55. I have a Kindle, and try to get most of my books on there. Turns out that there is a Kindle version of this book. And it's only $9.74! Yay it's cheaper! :) Can't wait to read it, sounds sooo much like the other books I read.

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  56. I second, third and fourth everyone who said Garth Nix. He is a fabulous author!
    Also, Isobel Carmody's 'The Obernewtyn Chronicles' is a fantastic series.

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  57. I love YA! Some books I recommend are "The Other Side of the Island" by Allegra Goodman and "Green Rider" by Kristen Britain. Sorry if someone recommended these already, I didn't read the comments. :P

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  58. Thanks so much for sharing the video. It was simply gorgeous. I can't stop watching it!

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  59. I'm currently reading this book. (Loving it. It is so good.) However, I had no idea that there was a trailer for it. That is amazing. *goes to watch again*

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  60. I'm a big John Marsden fan, so I would definitely recommend the "Tomorrow" series, starting with Tomorrow When the War Began (and I just learned there is a movie when googling it). I read it in middle school for a project, and to this day it stands out as one of the best things I have ever read. Thanks for the reminder to put it back on my reading list!

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  61. Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but to this day one of my favs is by Garth Nix called "The Abhorsen Trilogy" 3 books well worth your read!!

    I intend on reading the Hunger Games books soon too, I hear great things about them!

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  62. I see a lot of my favorite YA authors already listed, so I'll just add votes for Tamora Pierce, Diane Jones, and Patricia Wrede.

    But let's not forget CS Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle.

    And I don't see Edward Eager listed here; he's a personal favorite. All of his books have kids as main characters taking fabulous adventures, often book-related ones. :)

    Good crossover authors to adult-ish fantasy novels; Mercedes Lackey, Sharon Shinn, Sherri Tepper.

    WV brolog: the list of attributes or description of a bro.

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  63. I guess it depends on what kind of books you like within the genre. I like dark fantasy. I love Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. I also love the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. I also love Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway. And for inexpensive e-reader books, anything by Amanda Hocking. Oh, Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. And all of Maggie Steifvater's books.

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  64. Please tell me you've read the Hunger Games trilogy. Love. It!

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  65. That video was fantastic! I love YA fantasy books as well. I'm going to write down the suggestions from the comments here. Without forcing you to do reviews on all of them, could you possibly list your favorites in a post as well?
    Thanks!

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  66. Good to know I'm not the only adult who like YA books! I cannot stress enough how good Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is. I don't know if it's technically YA, but I first discovered it in 8th grade and fell in love! Everything he writes in amazing but the Ender series is still my favorite.

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  67. Phillip Pullman's Golden Compass/His Dark Materials trilogy. The movie was awful, but the books, or at least the first one, are first rate. Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass are not quite as good, but you get sucked in and can't help reading them.

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  68. HAH! I ordered that last week but it hasn't come yet. I'm glad you liked it; that means I probably will too.

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  69. I had to come back to see if there were more suggestions...I'm such a book junkie. I noticed a couple of people mentioned Neil Gaiman---love him. I actually picked up Neverwhere because I liked the name and the cover and it's a great book. It's weird and I immediately reread it after I finished it the first time, but still excellent. (Which led me to Coraline, I was surprised when not long after they made the movie!)

    Also Cynthia Voigt has some great books, most especially Jackaroo and On Fortune's Wheel.

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  70. I have to buy this book now! I read a lot of Ransom Riggs' stuff on mentalfloss and I was wondering if this book was any good.

    You should read "Promise Not to Tell" by Jennifer Mcmahon. It's really amazing, as are all of her books, and that's the one that hooked me.

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  71. Just one more...The Mysterious Benedict Society was the other one I couldn't remember earlier, by Trenton Lee Stewart. I've only read the first one so far, but I plan to buy the second one soon. :)

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  72. So weird! I just put this on my Kindle THIS MORNING!!!

    Ayun

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  73. I echo Elissa's recommendation of Beauty by Robin McKinley and I have to put in a plug for local Utah author, Shannon Hale. We have three generations of family that liked her book Princess Academy.

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  74. samalee MatuszakJuly 7, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Gideon Trilogy/ Time Quake Series by Linda Buckley Arthur is delish!

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  75. Anything by Cassandra Clare, particularly The Mortal Instruments trilogy, it fills the Twilight gap with more action! Also, the newly released prequal that hints at a new series starting with The Clockwork Angel. This one has a lot of Steampunk vibes!

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  76. An oldie but goodie (and they've recently re-released it) is The View From The Cherry Tree, by Willo Davis Roberts. Gave the the creeps when I first read it in junior high. I think I still own a copy somewhere.

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  77. Wow, I got two positive reviews of that book on two separate blogs on the same day. Guess it's time to add it to my Nook.

    Meanwhile, if you haven't read the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud (first book: the Amulet of Samarkand), DO SO. Someone who can appreciate fine snark will not be sorry they picked it up. It is charming, complex, dark and HILARIOUS. It is my all-time YA go-to recommendation (after Harry Potter, of course).

    Also, seconding Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. Turned my hubby on to both of these series recently, and he's loving them, too.

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  78. I have loved the Song of the Lionness quartet by Tamora Pierce since I was in middle school, and reread them throughout the years many, MANY times! I think you would love them. They are Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lionness Rampant.

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  79. That, "Searching for Miss Peregrine", was the most stunning thing I've watched in quite some time. Thank you! I just wish it had been longer.
    (My son watched the book trailer with me and immediately asked me to buy it.)

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  80. If you like Ransom Riggs, he's a writer for my other favorite blog, MentalFloss. If you go search his older posts, he did several of old photographs while he was writing the book, and he also regularly explores strange out of the way places, definitely worth checking out.
    I'm currently a little more than halfway through the book and loving it!

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  81. I've had this book for about a week and just read the first few chapters last night.

    I love this book so far!

    I was so shocked to see you post about it today.

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  82. Just a quick note to say that my jaw dropped when I saw this entry today because MY brother gave ME an Amazon gift card for my birthday too! Of course, my birthday was over a month ago, and I bought Black Swan & a blender, haha, but still...odd coincidence! :)
    Love both your sites, Jen. And John-the-hubby-of-Jen.

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  83. I saw Miss Peregrine's reviewed in Entertainment Weekly and was considering picking it up. Now I WILL pick it up after your review!

    I actually have been trying to find some good YA books to read because I read them in between tackling the taxing, bazillion-paged Clive Barker books that for some reason I just love. He's a wonderful horror writer, and his stuff is, to put it bluntly, disturbing. BUT, he did write a YA fantasy novel I just read called The Thief of Always. It's got the same kind of vibe as Neil Gaiman's work. It's great!

    Right now I'm re-reading an OLD one, Remember Me by Christopher Pike. One of my favorite YA books. It's about a teenaged girl who dies at a party and how she deals with it as a ghost. AND she thinks she's been murdered. I always liked Christopher Pike's YA novels.

    I have also enjoyed James Patterson's Maximum Ride novels, even thought I've only read the first one so far, titled The Angel Experiment. Flying kids with special powers. So cool.

    I'm a bit tired of everyone trying to jump on the HP bandwagon and make every single YA novel out there into a movie. But, it has made me take notice and consider picking up some books. And I did enjoy the Cirque de Freak and Percy Jackson movies, so I plan to buy those. Used bookstores are my havens!

    Ironically my WV is quils...

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  84. I would highly recommend the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques. Kind of a Wind in the Willows meets fantasy. Also, the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is excellent as well as Ariana Kelt series by J. R. King.

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  85. Diana Wynne Jones Chrestomanci series is captivating & her "Howl's Moving Castle" is fabulous!!!

    Holly Lisle's "The Ruby Key" & "The Silver Door" are enchanting. :)

    Just finished Cornelia Funke's "The Thief Lord" - different spin on fantasy but thoroughly enjoyable.

    Pierdomenico Baccalario's "Ring of Fire" & "Star of Stone" follow 4 kids through their respective countries as they discover their respective powers.

    Then, in graphic novels, there's Svetlana Chmakova's "Nightschool (The Weirn Books). Beautiful mystery in 4 books. :)

    Those are my most recent favorites. :)

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  86. I love young adult novels. I feel strongly that they are better than most adult fiction out there. One excellent book I just read is Airman by Eoin Colfer. He also wrote the Artemis Fowl series if you have read those (and if you haven't, you should!). Airman has a wonderful steampunky vibe that you would just love, Jen.

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  87. (Rapidly scribbling notes for future reading) I second many of the books already mentioned. I love YA books because they are generally without the explicit adult scenes that I'm really not interested in reading... If it's a good story, it's a good story! Two I haven't seen mentioned yet are books by Will Hobbs (ex: Far North and many others)and The Navigator Trilogy by Eoin McNamee. I just finished the three Navigator books and kept visualizing the "alternate" world all steampunk.

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  88. Guess I'll be making a trip to B&N soon. I have a gift card.:-)

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  89. The Search for WondLa - Tony diTerlizzi

    The Mousehunter - Alex Milway

    A Drowned Maiden's Hair - Laura Amy Schlitz

    The Arrival - Shawn Tan

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  90. The Mortal Instrument Series!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
    By Cassandra Clare

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  91. Oh oh oh. The Demon's Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan. It's about a couple of teenage boys and their dysfunctional family. The kind of dysfunctional you just can't get without murderous magicians. It's mostly about how the brothers cope with their weird and dangerous life, and the consequences it has on everything and everyone else. I don't want to tell you too much, because it's one of those books you CANNOT countenance ruining.

    It's deeply interesting though, and raises a number of moral questions, as well as being quite feminist and generally open-minded. The characters are the most vivid I've EVER read in ANYTHING, and I could seriously read about them forever, particularly the two brothers. Which is another point in favor: though there's romantic elements, the books themselves absolutely revolve around a trying and painful sibling relationship. As a caveat, the first book can be a little difficult to get into at the beginning, as it's told from Nick's point of view. And Nick's perspective is....abnormal. He takes getting used to, but give him a few chapters. He grows on you.

    The first book is titled The Demon's Lexicon, second is The Demon's Covenant, and the third is The Demon's Surrender. Totally worth checking out.

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  92. Nice! I pre-ordered this book on Amazon and read it a few weeks ago. I'm glad you liked it too!

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  93. I haven't read many YA novels, but I have read Holly Black's books and really enjoyed them. Tithe and Ironside are pretty good, and she has a book called Valiant too, which is set in the same universe. They involve a secret, gritty faery underground unvierse in...New Jersey (what?). They're kind of dark for YA (I thought) but definitely fun reads nonetheless!

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  94. So many people have already listed the ones I have in mind, but I'll throw them out there for "votes" anyways. :)
    Diane Wynn Jones books (just about all of them, but mostly the Howl books).
    Robin McKinley (I just picked up her newest, Pegasus, and if she doesn't hurry up it's sequel I'll be sad) ;)
    The Percy Jackson series as well as it's new books are always good as well.
    Mercedes Lackey's fairy-tale books are also good more "young-adult-ish" as are her Velgarth/Valdemar books.
    Also not QUITE YA, but very good light reading are the Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga'Hoole books. I'm finishing up the 15-book light series now, and though they're aimed at just under YA, they're a fun read.
    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are hilarious and well, enchanting, and I can't forget about:
    His Dark Materials trilogy either. That does get a bit deep, but in a very good way.
    David Edding's Belgariad series is also probably light enough to consider YA, though it's in the regular Sci-fi/Fantasy section.
    Part of my "problem" was I started in on the "regular adult" section of the library in 6th grade, so I didn't read as much of the YA section as I probably could have. I do poke around it now-a-days though to see if anything catches my eye. :) So there's my 2 Cents! Loved looking through everyone else's recommendations as well!

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  95. OK, I need to make a list of the books and authors listed here. I am not a big fan of adult fantasy novels, but I do read YA and Junior fantasy. Some of the recent books I've read are Michael Buckley's "The Sisters Grimm" series, about two young girls who discover that fairy tale characters really exist.

    I've also read Emily Rodda's Rondo series, about a magical world accessed by a music box. I just saw that there's a third book in the series, so I'm going to have to get that one.

    I just read Roderick Gordon's "Tunnels," and I'm still deciding if I'm going to continue the series. It was a little dark and I haven't decided if I like dark in a YA book.

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  96. its midnight, i live alone and now im too afraid to sleep.... that video scared me!

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  97. Thanks for posting that video. The cover of the book is intriguing enough, but the trailer sealed it for me. This is the type of book that I like to read, so I'm going to have to check in to the YA fantasy books that have been mentioned in the comments.

    Thanks for putting together this blog & Cake Wrecks, Jen. I really enjoy both of them.

    Del
    ;o)

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  98. I'm coming out of lurkerdom to recommend "Wise Child" by Monica Furlong. It's not one many people have heard of (at least no one I know is familiar with it)- I got it in a bag of books that a schoolteacher neighbor gave me (she got a big box of books at a yard sale and passed the ones that were too advanced for her class on to me). It's one of my favorite novels PERIOD, regardless of genre. There's a prequel, "Juniper", which I have but haven't gotten around to reading yet (mostly in fear that it's not going to be able to measure up to "Wise Child"!).

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  99. Howl's Moving Castle also has two sequels to it -
    Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways which I loved.

    I'm going to be picking up a lot of these books now, thanks for all the suggestions! haha, as for YA, i love it - lets see...

    Have you tried Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events - its probably considered younger than YA but its got some dark elements. An interesting and clever read all in all.

    Old favourites: Hatchet by Gary Paulson and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

    Not fantasy but still wonderful reads.

    I've begun reading the Leviathan series which is amazing and the pictures are gorgeous.

    NOT YA (but actually fantasy)

    The Name of the Wind, book 1 of the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

    book 2, The Wise Man's Fear is already out and its just as brilliant. I definitely recommend these

    as for horror, try out David Wong's "John Dies at the End" which is gut-bustingly funny and amazingly scary all at the same time

    Thanks again for all the suggestions, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who likes to read YA fantasy, haha

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  100. I just ordered my copy! If it's as good as I think it's gonna be, I plan to donate it to my school's library. I teach 8th grade Literacy, so I'm always looking for great young adult books.

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  101. If you like young adult fiction, you MUST read Robin McKinley. Her version of beauty and the Beast (called Beauty) is just amazing. She has several other books I adore such as Chalice, Spindles End, The Hero and The Crown (which has a prequal called the Blue Sword that I haven't read yet) and many others. Her vampire book Sunshine is currently sitting on my desk waiting for me to finish my current book.

    There are also two other books I adore but can't remember the author's name: Graceling and Fire. Read them last week and they were amazing. There is a third book being released soon called Bluebell and I can't wait!

    I feel silly loving YA fiction so much but I was reading Les Miserable at 10 so I skipped YA fiction when I was an actual Yound Adult.

    Not a YA book but possibly my all-time fave book ever (that isn't Star Trek related) is Phantom by Susan Kaye. It's the story of the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, following him from birth to death and it was the sort of book that when I started it I couldn't put it down and when I finished I felt like I'd lost my best friend.

    Sorry for such a long post but I LOVE reading. I lost my books (467of them) in the queensland floods earlier this year and it broke my heart. The only good thing was that it gave me an excuse to go buy more! (Some were irreplacable though) *cries*

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  102. If you like the story intertwined with pictures, I'd recommend Time and Again by Jack Finney. It's sort of sci-fi combined with historical fiction..a secret government project to send people back in time using hypnosis. And it includes actual photos from the 1890s. He also wrote a sequel, From Time to Time. Both very good! As for YA authors, all of my suggestions have been said already.

    There's a website called Paperback Swap, where you can trade books with other members. They have a lot of YA stuff.

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  103. The author, Ransom Riggs is a contributor on Mental Floss' website. He posted several articles detailing his trips to find locations to photograph for the book. Very interesting.

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  104. LOVE anythingby Tamara Pierce. Definitely my all time favorite author.

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  105. The immortals series by Tamora Pierce in fact all her books.

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  106. Sherri C. Finally!!!! I LOVE MERCEDES LACKEY!!! I'm reading the silver gryphon right now

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  107. I was going to suggest a bunch of books, but everyone else got to it first. But I can only second/third/fourth/sixtieth the suggestions of Anything-by-Robin-McKinley, Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom and Abhorsen series, Tamora Peirce's work (especially Song of the Lioness, Protector of the Small, and The Will of the Empress series), and Sharon Shinn's oevre (especially the Archangel world books, the Twelve Houses books, and Jenna Starborn, cause updates of Jane Eyre are automatically a good idea).

    I'll also suggest anything by Patricia A. McKillip (I didn't check if anyone else had) - not YA necessarily, but beautifully written fantasy. Seriously, I devour her books, and as soon as there's a new one I have to buy it. She has an amazing dream-like quality to her writing, and I really love how she conceptualizes magic and the super-natural. I really really loved the newest one, The Bards of Bone Plain, as well as the Riddle-Master trilogy, The Bell at Sealey Head, Alphabet of Thorn, the Cygnet books, and Od Magic. She does have a few YAish, like The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.

    Happy Reading!

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  108. Capt. Hook
    The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
    by J. V. Hart, illustrated by Brett Helquist

    First off I love the illustrations of Helquist... as for this book, it is difficult for me to read a book through several times and not skip over the parts that we not quite as interesting, this was not one of those books. It really is a great back sorry for a well known character.

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  109. I almost forgot!! Also check out A. Lee Martinez's books. They are HILARIOUS!!! My favourites are A Nameless Witch, Gil's All-Fright Diner, and The Automatic Detective. And He's pretty prolific - two more books are supposed to be coming out in the next year. Not really YA, but light and fluffy (with really interesting themes that sneak up on you behind all the funny).

    He uses a lot of 'monsters' in his books, but the humour seriously mitigates any potential frightening bits (though I don't find his books at all frightening, I don't know if you would or not. I did grow up reading horror and ghost stories, so maybe my idea of 'horror' is a bit skewed)

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  110. not out yet but got a sneak peak from my friend who is one ofthe authors...
    http://www.omnivoracious.com/2011/07/the-thackery-t-lambshead-cabinet-of-curiosities-cherie-priest-and-mike-mignola-exclusives.html

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  111. During a semester-long exchange in Australia, a friend introduced me to Isobelle Carmody's "Obernewtyn Chronicles" - these books are absolutely fabulous!

    I am HORRIBLE at summarising books properly, but this is from the obernewtyn.net fan page:

    "In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous. There is only survival by secrecy, and so she determines never to use her forbidden Talent. But it is as if they have their own imperative, and their use inevitably brings her to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Sent to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn where escape is impossible, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those who would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse."

    There are five books out now (six in the American printing, because they decided to split the last book in two parts), with at least one more on the way. If you've read all the other books mentioned, you should DEFINITELY read these. They are available through online order at Borders.com.

    Oh, and one final awesome bit: the main character is an awesome strong female character, which totally rocks.

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  112. The library in my town has a huge Young Adult section that I love. I think my daughter has read almost everything they have. I will have to check out some of the recommendations.

    I just read Zombies vs. Unicorns a few weeks ago. It's a compilation of short stories by many of my new favorites.

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  113. I'm so glad that you posted this! I read about this book a few weeks ago in Entertainment Weekly and I've been planning on picking it up.

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  114. I'm reading this book as well! I love Ransom Riggs. I've been reading his stuff on mentalfloss.com for a while now. He has some great old pictures that he posts there as well!

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  115. Any of Neil Gaiman's YA books are wonderful. Coraline is great and The Graveyard Book is just stunning. I thought Graveyard was going to be too scary to read to my daughter, but if you can make it past the first chapter, it becomes more intriguing than frightening. Amazing writer, and he doesn't dumb down for the young reader, which I greatly appreciate. And he uses his skill with foreshadowing like he does in his adult novels. Even Andrea picked up on it as we got further in the box and realized that some of the twists had been subtley hinted at earlier on.

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  116. Brilliant! Thanks for the review; I've put the book on hold through my library system. :D

    If you're looking for more steampunky reads, you might try 'Larklight' (and its two sequels) by Philip Reeve. I've done a review here.

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  117. Well, if you're a wimp, you might not like this one, but I recently got around to reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and it was the first time since I finished the Harry Potter Series that I have spent the entire day reading. I swear I did nothing but read and eat! It's not exactly YA, but as I am a young adult/teen, I feel the need to recommend it here.

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  118. I don't think it has been mentioned yet but a series that I am a fan of is the Monster Blood Tattoo Series (The Foundling Series in the US). It is well written, enjoyable and with characters to whom you form emotional attachments. It looks like you'll have quite the reading list, Jen, but I'd definitely reccommend you give them a go when you have time :)

    More Info

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  119. How about the Hunger Games trilogy...or did you recommend that to us??? Anyway, great books, all three, my 17 year old son thinks so too.
    LOVE these houses. I am a house person. Every dream I've ever had centered around a house or houses. Einstein's house once...that was a nightmare so terrible that I was afraid to go to sleep for weeks...and I was in my '40s at the time!!!

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  120. OH, BTW, thanks for the review! I was looking for something to add to what's in my Amazon cart to avoid paying shipping! I'd much rather spend $10 (or $100) on another item than spend $2.95 on shipping!!!

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  121. Crazily enough...last night I bought this for my Kindle...and then stayed up late reading it!

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  122. As a teacher of 4th and 5th graders, avid reader and lover of all books, I am bookmarking this comments page for fall (Not thinking about school yet! Not thinking about school yet!) so I can have more ideas for kiddos when they need books. I have read A LOT of these books you all recommended and saw the others but may have overlooked them. Not any more!

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  123. I am just going to list the YA authors I love. Some have already been mentioned here.

    Garth Nix - Keys to the Kingdom and Abhorsen (I can think of few authors with such an amazing imagination)
    Eoin Colfer - Artemis Fowl Series (If it wasn't weird I would admit to having a crush on Artemis)
    Cassandra Clare - Mortal Instraments (I have only read the first book but was sutibly impressed. Though there is a bit of a scandal associated with Ms. Clare when she wrote fanfiction.)
    Tamora Pierce - Alanna Series (Greatest Warrior Woman YA Series)
    Johnathan Stroud - Bartimeas Trilogy (Ahh the Snark. very very well written)
    Frances Hardinge - Fly by Night (I named a wooden goose that sits on my table Saracen after the goose in the story.)
    Linda Buckly-Archer - Gideon Series (Just damn good!)
    Cornelia Funke - Inkheart Trilogy (Please Please disregard the movie. The books are amazing.)
    Erin Hunter - The Warriors Series (especially for cat lovers)

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  124. Oh, and I second Chandra's post about Septimus Heap and the Magyk series! My students love, love, LOVE them and I am re-reading them until the next George R.R. Martin book comes out next week. I am a huge fantasy nerd! :)

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  125. I have never met anyone who has read the Mistmantle Chronicles, and yet they are the most wonderful YA fantasy works I have read as an adult. The first in the series is Urchin of the Riding Stars. The story arc over the first three books is brilliant--and the underlying themes of choice and redemption are powerful. I have not read past the first three--because I loaned out my books and of course cannot read more until I go back and re-read the first!

    For the books I loved in my youth, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series has already been mentioned, but no one has yet mentioned Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle or Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain.

    One of your commentors mentioned "The Enchanted Castle" by E. Nesbit--it is notable for being the FIRST such story to have the magic happening in our "real" world. Before this book children in fiction were whisked away to strange lands for their adventures or were dreaming (ala "Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland"). this was the first fantasy novel that made the worlds of fantasy and reality actually converge, and it opened the door for fantasy writing as we know it today. And the Ugli-Wuglies in the book are truly creepy.

    I love this post and all the comments!

    (and might leave another comment myself once I get over to the bookshelf. . . )

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  126. Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" Series. Oldie but GREAT read.

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  127. No book recommendation, but a store/web-site recommendation instead.

    Rather than always making Amazon your go-to for books, check out IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/

    Even if there isn't an independent bookstore near you (and you may be surprised!) there are hundreds of independent bookseller who do internet sales. Shopping locally keeps more money in YOUR community!

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  128. Ok, more:

    If you have not seen it, you would like 1) The Invention of Hugo Cabret which is even a wee bit steampunk with all its clocks and gears, and has wonderful ambiance in the black and white illustrations.

    2. The old, old fantasies by George MacDonald that inspired Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and Madeline L'Engle. The Princess and the Goblin is one.

    3) Tom's Midnight Garden

    4) The Lampfish of Twill

    5) one that I have not read as an adult, but which made a HUGE impact on me as a YA: "Under Plum Lake

    I love and collect YA fiction--some of the best writing out there. But as an adult, I have little patience for "twaddle" and find most modern YA fiction does not hold my attention. These are all older titles, but ones that I could not put down, or which resonated in my spirit, or which I could not stop thinking about after I was done with them. These are the signs of enduring stories to me, and I hope you try them!

    P.S. please follow up on this post when you have read some of the titles your readers suggest, to let us all know which you tried and enjoyed. I know I would love to hear more title suggestions and reviews from you. : )

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  129. I'm with Olivia. I, however, wasn't a huge fan of Specials, but Uglies and Pretties were great. I also adore The Hunger Games. I read it last night and now have to go buy the other two. I also love The Host, and The Mortal Instruments series. I read YA almost exclusively and am excited to go through the comments and find some new books!

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  130. Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series is a delight, about a very tricky young man who is his kingdom's official thief/spy. The first three novels are The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia.

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  131. Am I the only long-time YA admirer who absolutely HATES Harry Potter?

    Yes, I have read them - the first four, anyway. Terrible, terrible writing. Copy-cat plots and absolutely hateful characters. I wanted to strangle those kids more times than I can count.

    /Rant off.

    I've been reading YA pretty much my whole life - for contemporary writers you can't beat Dianne Wynne Jones, Laurence Yep, Daniel Pinkwater and Lemony Snicket.

    I hate to say it, but much as I love fantasy myself, I think YA has Too Much of it now - where are the mysteries and histories that used to be so common? Crowded out by Harry Potter clones. I kinda worry about kids who read Nothing But fantasy.

    This book does sound intriguing - more in the Lemony Snicket (or Griffin & Sabine) line than HP (I sincerely hope, hope, hope).

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  132. Have you read anything of John Green's yet? So far he has: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns; Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle); Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan); and (his newest not out yet, but available for pre-order) The Fault in Our Stars (all pre-orders of the first run will be signed by John himself!!)

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  133. Got to echo the comments for Diana Wynne Jones, particularly "Charmed Life". It's been accused of borrowing a little from Harry Potter, probably because it doesn't read like it was written in 1977! Two orphan siblings, one highly talented, are sent to live in a castle, and both find more than they bargain for. It has some nice twists, and quite a steampunky, Victorian feel, in that modern tech has got a little stunted in favour of magical alternatives, which I think would appeal to you.

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  134. No one has mentioned Jasper Fforde's books so far?! His "The Last Dragonslayer" is YA and charming to read! His "Thursday Next" series (what a fantastic name for a heroine!!) is my absolute favourite of any books I've read (and reread) the past couple of years. The idea is living within BookWorld is fascinating!

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  135. My YA recommendations...

    "City of Ember" (the first in a four-book series; less intense than "Hunger Games", which is also awesome) - Post-apocalyptic (OR IS IT?) underground city...none of the inhabitants know there is an above-ground world, but the generator is starting to break down. What happens if the lights go out forever?

    "Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help" - Irreverent and sarcastic Milrose can see dead students...and it turns out they're a lot more interesting than the living. What happens when he meets a fellow student who can also converse with them and the school's guidance counselor decides to "cure" them both?

    "Scourge" - Steampunk YA novel. 'Nuff said. =)

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  136. Love the series by R.L. LaFevers with character Theodosia, a girl living in the Museum of Legends and Antiquities with her archaeologist parents. She removes curses on artifacts and finds herself working for a secret society to fight off evil doers. I also enjoy James A Owen Imaginarium series. Uses famous authors as time travelers in a parallel existence.

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  137. I'm glad to hear you liked this - I'd seen it on Amazon and read another review and wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. I think I'll try it now!

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  138. OMG! You found Ransom! If you like this video, take a look at the video "Talking Pictures"

    http://youtu.be/M49Dw7dXx7U

    Wherein, Ransom talks about his long history of collecting vintage photographs and his fascination of the inscriptions on them. They tell stories of such great poignancy.

    One of Mr. Ransom Rigg's best friends is award winning YA author John Green. Check out his Vlogbrothers channel on Youtube and learn all about the Nerdfighters (the name is misleading--Nerdfighters are people(geeks like us) who are entirely made of awesome and who try to "decrease world suck'. They are NOT persons who fight nerds but are very much Pro-nerd. Warning: You can spend months in Nerdfighteria. I highly recommend this introductory video--How To Be a Nerdfighter: A Vlogbrothers FAQ :http://youtu.be/FyQi79aYfxU
    DFTBA! (Don't Forget To Be Awesome)

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  139. I love The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart. So far there are three book out, and I love them all! The character are so fun, and the books are full of riddles that are fun to figure out as you're reading. I'm a school teacher, and I read these books aloud to my students every year. They LOVE them!

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  140. Due to this post I went and bought it on my kindle last night and stayed up reading the whole thing. He really does a good job pulling you in. Awesome book- thanks for letting me know about it!

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  141. I second CarolynC's recommendation of Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series. Wow. Amazingly good not-quite-Greek medieval settings, and her writing is delighful.

    Robin McKinley has been a favorite more than half my life. Mercedes Lackey's earlier stuff is better, imho; maybe I just got older. :-P

    Robert A. Heinlein's "youth" stuff -- "The Rolling Stones" and about 20 others -- were my go-to for a long time. They were written in the 50's-60's, and are a bit dated with gender roles &c. It would be interesting to read them beside today's YA/SF, such as Lackey, and compare the characterizations.

    Tamora Pierce is a recent find; delightful! I enjoyed Kristin Cashore's "Graceling," but am in the wrong head-space for its darker sequel, "Fire."

    Caroline Stevermere, Pat Wrede, and OH! Lois McMaster Bujold. I picked up "The Warrior's Apprentice" when I was 16, the age of the protagonist, and we have aged together (more or less! He's only made it to his mid-30's). The women may (or may not) be in the foreground, and they are STRONG. Bujold is in the "grownup" SF-Fantasy section ... and on my auto-buy list. Every book of hers is on my Keeper shelf.

    I"m making a library list of the suggestions above, you bet!

    Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy (on Ravelry)

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  142. Well, I am INTRIGUED. By everything: the title, the mysterious review and the pictures and the video and and and there we go, just ordered it. So curious, can't wait!

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  143. Terry Pratchett, of Disc World fame, has a spin-off series for young adults. It starts with The Wee Free Men. I loved the way he had the young female heroine use her brains and a cast-iron skillet to save her world.

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  144. i will agree with a whole lot of authors that were listed, but they left off a few of my favorites. terry pratchetts ya series about tiffany aching is awesome! and the prydain chronicles by lloyd alexander are also wonderful. the myth series by robert lynn aspirin is pure fluff! peter and the starcatchers by dave barry and ridley pearson was amazing. and check out the spiderwick chronicles, i don't remember the author's names at the moment.

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  145. There are so many wonderful book suggestions here! Many I've read and loved, and a few I'll be looking for next.
    Have you read RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke? (She also wrote the Inkheart trilogy.) It's about the fairy tale world on the other side of the mirror. And it is DARK. There are not many parts that are truly scary, but a lot of parts that are creepy and squirmy. Great writing. The characters are very interesting, in that few of them are noticeably "good" or "evil." And it's supposed to be the first of a series.
    ~CurlyMarie

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  146. Oh my goodness, that was so beautiful! Buying it right... now.

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  147. "Sabriel" and the rest of the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix. It's hard to find truly well written young adult novels, but Nix has incredible technique.

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  148. You absolutely must read (and recommend to your readers), The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. By Catherynne M. Valente.

    It's amazing and the story behind it (crowd-funded online chapter by chapter, then getting a publishing deal almost a year later) is awesome. :)

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  149. It's maybe not exactly fantasy, but it isn't based in real life: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. It's about teens that are coming back to life after dying, which is blamed on "teenage hormones and fast-food preservatives." LOL! Anyway, people have to learn how to deal with the "living impaired." When looking up who the author is, I learned that there are two more GD books (ok, that made me laugh) so I will be looking for those. Like I NEEDED more books on my "to read" list!

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  150. Right now I'm reading Grimms' Fairy Tales (AMAZING)!!!! Have you thought about Enchantment by Orson Scott Card? It centers around the original story of Sleeping Beauty with modern/time travel scenes!! Also The 10th Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley. It was made into a made for tv movie and it is kind of an easy read but enjoyable just the same. I'm also reading Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts which was also a movie. The book is better (as always) but it's good!

    Hope you check some of these out! Good luck and you rock!!
    Kati! :)

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  151. Totally agree with RainbowCatcher. Jasper Fforde is my absolute favorite author. My favorite of his is the The Fourth Bear, second in the nursery crime series. He also has another series that has started with Shades of Grey. Don't try ordering The Last Dragonslayer on Barnes and Noble though. They have it listed but will cancel your order because it hasn't been published in the US. Should be printed early 2012 for the US as listed on Mr. Fforde's website, but in the meantime I think it is available as an Apple App.

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  152. Although it's not YA, it reads just a little above YA: "Magic Kingdom of Landover ... SOLD !", by Terry Brooks.

    I enjoyed them. Suspense ... Comedy ... Romance ... Alternate world ... Fantasy ... A very good series.

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  153. Besides seconding a lot of the other suggestions, I would also suggest anything by Jasper Fforde. He has three series going, which are not YA per-se but which have a lot of the same appeal that YA books have.

    His first series is the "Thursday Next" series (6 books), set in an alternate-reality 1985 U.K. where the Crimean War is still going on, where extinct species have been re-engineered, where there is a special police force just for the protection of literature, and where there aren't any ducks or airplanes. There are heaps of literary insider jokes, the whole series is hysterical, and it is just loads of fun.

    His second series is the Nursery Crime series (2 books) which in which D.I. Jack Spratt (who's first wife died of heart disease) attempts to solve mysteries in a world of talking animals and nursery rhyme characters--Humpty Dumpty is murdered by being knocked of his wall while inebriated, the Gingerbread Man is a psychopathic serial killer, and the Three Bears have mob connections.

    The third series (only the first book of a planned three is out) is about a society in which the social and political heirarchy is governed by the parts of the color spectrum which one is able to see. It is a pretty big departure from what he wrote before but it is still plenty good.

    And he does have one stand-alone YA book called "The Last Dragon Slayer" which is also a lot of fun.

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  154. Ooooh the stairs at 6:20 - love!

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  155. This was mentioned towards the top, but Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series (a trilogy composed of The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men) are some of the best books I have ever read. I read a lot - hours every day - and I couldn't read at all for days after I finished them because I wanted them to be the last thing I ever read, forever.

    They're about love, war, friendship, loss, terrorism, morality. There are HUGE questions asked, and no clean answers given. They are stunning, stunning books.

    If you enjoy the style of them, Moira Young's Blood Red Road is also excellent, with a fabulously complex female protag.

    China Mieville's novels are all fabulous, but on the YA end Un Lun Dun is AMAZING. It's set in an alternative London (think Neverwhere for kids), in which The Chosen One gets taken out of commission within the first third of the novel, so her best friend has to take over the adventure. She may not be chosen, but by god she will save the world if she has to!

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  156. I am so glad to see some of my long-time favorites mentioned, such as Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" set--but she also wrote other books that are quite good as well, such as "The Boggart" and "King of Shadows."
    I also highly recommend "The Ear, the Eye and the Arm" by Nancy Farmer (1994). I've never read a book quite like this before. First of all, it takes place in (a future) Africa, and is the most interesting dystopian concept I've read in a long time. Soooo interesting--I couldn't put it down.
    Thanks for all the new recommendations, too! Can't wait to hit the library!

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  157. I finished reading about Miss Perigrine and her children last week. I, too, find myself reading quite a lot from the YA fantasy shelves. It's nice to know I'm not the only "grown up" who haunts that section!

    I'm assuming you've read Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series? If not, you probably should. (I read her new book, Beauty Queens, a couple of weeks ago and didn't like that one nearly as much.) I have really loved the Mortal Instruments series, too. (And the same author. Cassandra Clare, is working on a series of pre-quels with a steampunk feel, by the way.)

    Again, I'd guess you've gotten to it already, but Sorcery and Cecila or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot is just a lovely, funny book. There are two sequels, which I didn't like quite as much, but are still fun.

    My daughter and I were in New York last week and spent a couple of wonderful hours browsing The Strand. We came home with a bag of books we didn't really have room for in our luggage. I've just started reading Ruby Red (by Keirsten Gier), which we bought there and which seems like it will be good.

    My daughter highly recommends Scott Westerfeld. She started with Leviathan and Behemoth (both of which are steampunk-ish) and is now working on his Uglies quartet.

    I could keep going . . .

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  158. Here are a few more...most of these are aimed at the 9-12 yr old (and up) set, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them. 1)Anything by Marguerite Henry. These have been around for a long time, but she never talks down to her readers and she uses amazingly rich and descriptive language. My kids and I have had many fascinating discussions based on her books. 2) The Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins (also the author of The Hunger Games). 3) The dragon books by Jessica Day George (Dragon Slippers, Dragon Flight, Dragon Spear--haven't read this one yet). Light, but a good story and a spunky heroine.
    I have a nice long reading list now from these comments. Yay!

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  159. The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Steivater.. the 3rd book comes out in only a few days. Really amazing writing with a pretty original idea.

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  160. I just finished "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making" By Catherynne Valente. It's catalogued as a children's book at my library, but the vocabulary is a little older. It has a Victorian "Alice in Wonderland" feel, with modern sensibilities, and a touch of Lemony Snicket's witty imagination.

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  161. So, I second most of the authors other people have mentioned. I'll focus on a few that were only mentioned once or twice: anything by Pratchett is amazing by default, and Holly Black's Tithe series is a wonderfully gritty modern faerie tale. Gregor the Overlander is set in a world underground, beneath modern New York, and is populated with gigantic sentient animals (bats, rats, spiders, and bugs) along with humans. The hero goes in to rescue his father and becomes entangled in that world. Megan Whalen Turner's Thief and its sequels are set in a Mediterrranean-like group of countries, focusing on politics, intrigue, and adventure. And, last but CERTAINLY not least, is Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series. Her protagonist is... difficult to describe, and the closest I can do is Napoleon + Sherlock Holmes.
    Now for some original suggestions: people have mentioned Uglies, but Westerfield also wrote the Peeps series (standing for Parasite Positive, rather than the marshmallow candy). Another good one is Catherine Jinks's The Genius Wars, about a genius child who was raised in such a way as to try and make him a sociopath, as he discovers empathy by finding an intellectual equal who is physically handicapped. There's also The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. Our protag awakes, amnesiac, in a community composed entirely of kids and teens, at the center of a constantly changing and deadly maze. And, just because I don't recall anyone mentioning it, there's the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. The original novel, Ender's game is great, but its sequels get a bit more adult. Also, I actually prefer the companion series, which begins with Ender's Shadow, and focuses on other characters.
    And for some more fantasy-flavored original suggestions: Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern, which are faerie tale-esque without being retellings, and Obert Skye's Leven Thumps series.

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  162. WOW! I agree with nearly all of these. Pierce, Wrede, Goodman, Pullman, Cast and Cast, I like most of these authors and titles.

    One by Wrede I haven't seen mentioned yet is Thirteenth Child. It's something like historical fiction, only with magic. Second one comes out in August, and is called Across the Great Barrier. Eona by Alison Goodman is good too.

    Oh. And one of the best bets out there is the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. Starts with The Eyre Affair, and has several after that. And then, there is Shades of Grey where humans can only see one or two colors, which determines their social standing. The Last Dragonslayer is great too.

    Let us know about any more great finds you and Jon have. Thanks for all you do Jen!

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  163. Ooo, actually, I assume people would know about this site but www.bookdepository.co.uk offers books at a great price and with FREE postage anywhere in the world.

    I'm just waiting until my next payday before I go and rebuy a bunch of books I need to replace. A lot of books I have trouble finding in bookstores, new or secondhand, here in Australia.

    *sigh* I do love books..........

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  164. I second "Matched" by Ally Condie. The story (a YA dystopian novel) was fantastic and the writing was like a lullaby--it's soothing, and a little strange, but in a really good way.

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  165. The Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson are excellent stories about the origins of Peter Pan.

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  166. I'm always recommending Scott Westerfeld's Uglies
    and his Leviathan
    trilogy. If you are looking to branch out into YA manga, I highly recommend Skip Beat
    . SK is fabulous if you need a good uncontrollable snort laugh.

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  167. first time commenter - just read Tamsin by Peter Beagle. More contemporary ghost story than fantasy, but a fantastic read. He does a great job nailing the voice of the teenage female narrator. And as always for Beagle, some beautifully poetic passages and sentiments.

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  168. YA Books that I really enjoyed: Graceling by Kristen Cashore (there's also a companion book, Fire) and am currently finishing up the third book in Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty.

    I'm on the waiting list for Miss Peregrine's right now- I'm dying to read it.

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  169. I love YA too. I'm trying to think of what books I could recommend that most people haven't already read. I just recently read Akasha by Heather Tregaskes.

    It's set in America in probably the 1800s, but (without giving too much away) there are elements of fantasy that kinda seem like they could believably exist in the world right under our noses (the way Harry Potter does). She self-published it, and I actually won a copy by following her blog, but you can get the kindle edition for only $1, or Amazon has the actual book for pretty cheap as well.

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  170. I love YA books! I saw several people recommended Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, but I actually prefer the characters in her Infernal Devices book, Clockwork Angel. The second book in the series comes out in December. And as a bonus that are a lot of Steampunk elements to it.

    Also a fan of anything Tamora Pierce. My favorite being Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. Kirsten Cashore's Graceling and Fire are excellent reads. Elizabeth Bunce's Star Crossed is also quite the page turner.

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  171. I think I was reading that book on the day you posted this! I really liked it too, and I agree that there needs to be a sequel. The pictures are amazing. Can't wait to read more! :)

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  172. In the "for-what-it's-worth" department... I promptly went to Amazon and downloaded the book for my iPhone, purely on your recommendation.

    And I LOVED it.

    That is all. :)

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  173. Okay, Jen. Based on your recommendation, I bought this book yesterday afternoon and stayed up until midnight last night FINISHING it! It was great. Thanks so much!

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  174. I DO NOT recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Sorry EMT Pixie, but I thought it was really really creepy. I'll make you a list sometime, I just need to sit down and do it. Off hand, I loved Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, the second book is Linger, and the third is coming out soon. I thought the Healer's Apprentice was great, and I loved the new book Hourglass. There will be more, really. :D
    Are you on goodreads?

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  175. Diana (from Singapore)July 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    thank you for recommending this book. just bought it via amazon :)

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  176. I love you for recommending this book!

    I orded it almost straight away cause I thought it seemed up my street and it totally is.

    It arrived tuesday morning and I have now (wednesday afternoon) read it twice :)

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  177. So I went out and bought the book and just reached the Santa part last night. I flipped the page to the picture and jumped half outta my skin with a loud "GAH!!!". Could hardly walk down the dark hallway to the bathroom after that one. I do second Anne's Enchanted Forest Chronicles suggestion, awesome series! And it's not exactly fantasy, but Life of Pi is a very good book.

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  178. RainbowCatcher: I am was able to get The Last Dragonslayer for my Kindle. I love Jasper Fforde also and am trying to figure out if anyone besides me and my husband will know who I am if I dress up as her for Halloween...

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  179. Thanks for this! I wrote my own post about Ransom Riggs urban exploration stuff here, and I would never have found it if it wasn't for you!
    So thanks!
    MacGuffin

    http://macguffinandpuffin.wordpress.com

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  180. The one I can think of that hasn't been mentioned here yet that I like is "The Cry of the Icemark" by Stuart Hill. I've reread that a couple times. Just got 2 and 3 in the trilogy to read but from what I've heard they're good but not as good as the first.

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  181. T.A. Barron is awesome, his Heartlight series is good and his Lost Years of Merlin series is amazing.

    Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword are excellent books by Ellen Kushner. Quick reads, but really enjoyable.

    The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain is really worth looking at, it uses a lot of the standard fantasy formulas but the characters are charming and likeable and the story is solid. Just be warned that she takes 4 or so years between books. Also pushes the PG line.

    Not very sophisticated, but still a lot of fun is the "So You Want to be a Wizard?" series by Diane Duane.

    And less YA then the rest, but still AMAZING, and if anyone likes alternate history at all and fantasy even a little should really consider reading the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (starts here. Napoleonic Wars + Awesome Dragons. What isn't to love.

    And finally I have to second (or whatever) the votes for The Thief of Always, anything by Robin McKinley, and The Series of Unfortunate Events.

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  182. I just started Miss Peregrine's yesterday after receiving it from barnesandnoble.com, where I ordered it almost as soon as I had any book money to spend after reading your review. I freaking LOVE IT. It's brilliant and clever, and the characters feel real, even if the world isn't. I wanted to say thanks for putting it in my way!

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  183. Since nobody mentioned it yet as far as I can see:
    The Belgariad and its sesquel, the Malloreon, by David Eddings. Each series consists of 5 books, but you can get anthologies.
    Nowadays. It fills 1 of my bookshelves - I got it in german first, and later bought the original version...
    The first book came out 1986, so I'm officially old. Off to read it again.

    ps: the captcha says "dampfunc" - is this steampunks weird uncle?

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  184. Have you read Todd Mitchell's Traitor King?

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  185. I am reading "Peculiar Children" right now, and so many of my other favorites are listed here, that I feel like I'm right at home with all of you! I'm going to compile a list of all your recommended titles and work my way through the ones I haven't visited yet.

    One series which hasn't been mentioned here is the Flavia de Luce books: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie being the first. While they are more mystery than fantasy, and not exactly young adult, they do feature a quirky young protagonist that I'm sure you'll all love.

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  186. I've been a silent reader of both blogs for years, Thanks for the book recommendation, it was a great read. Have a great weekend!

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  187. How about Savvy by Ingrid Law? We just got a copy of her new book: Scumble. Strongly recommended!

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  188. An oldie but a goodie--the Dark is Rising cycle by Susan Cooper. One of my personal favs. The series has a couple of Newberry Awards under its belt.

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  189. Many thanks for your great finds! I can't wait to read about the Peculiar Children. ;~)

    As for a book recommendation: Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy is among the best I've ever read. Fabulous characterizations, witty dialogue, and absolutely devious plotting - three books you won't want to put down. If I had to describe the theme of these books I'd say they are about the power of language and story-telling to make us truly human.

    Then, take a look at Holly Black's new Curse Workers series: White Cat and Red Glove. An absolutely original premise, twisty plots, and devious cons, with a family you'll be glad isn't your own.

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  190. I read Miss Peregrine's... and was a bit underwhelmed by it, although I'm not quite sure why. As for YA books, in one of your other posts you mentioned Howl's Moving Castle, but my favorite Diana Wynne Jones book by far is Fire and Hemlock, which I've reread more times than I care to admit to. It's a take on the Tam Lin myth, but is oddly compelling. Also, anything by Robin McKinley, Garth Nix, etc. Enchantress From The Stars was also pretty amazing, although the sequel, The Far Side of Evil, is much darker and more political. Probably the best book I read this summer, though, was The Curfew, by Jesse Ball. Not quite YA, but one of the best dystopian-magical-realism-prose-poetry books I've ever read.

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  191. "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." Madeleine L'Engle...this pretty much sums it up, now NO MORE GUILT lovers of young adult and juvenile fiction!!

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  192. I have just received the second book: Hollow city, I am so excited to read it!

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