Friday, July 24, 2009

Clean Reading Recommendations

I obviously can't read every book ever published, so I've started asking other people if they've read any "clean" books recently. ("Clean" in this case means no explicit (or illicit) sex, no blasphemy, and no graphic violence.)

This week, I'm featuring Middle Grade and Young Adult fantasy books recommended by author R.J. Anderson.

(Click on the titles to read reviews, either here or on other book blogs. I included her comments about the books she recommended.)

The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. (There's a sweetness and innocence about them that is refreshing. ENNA BURNING deals frankly with the effects of war and violence and the deadly effects of anger in a way that is sometimes haunting, but I feel it's not gratuitous.)

The Magic Thief and The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas. (Very clean indeed, with an interesting and fresh approach to the idea of magic and some lovely character interactions as the young gutter thief Conn learns to trust and form a friendship with a grumpy old wizard named Nevery. The magic involves runes and words but there's nothing occult-ish about it, IMO.)

Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. (Anything by Patricia C. Wrede is clean.)

The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. (I adore these books, which are just plain amazing. They take place in an alternate world based loosely on Renaissance-era Greece and the Mediterranean in which the gods are real. A very complex series with some very rich character development and interaction, and some fairly traumatic events (not graphically described, but implied) that have long-lasting consequences for the hero. I think they're some of the best books I've ever read, period.)

Dragon Slippers and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. (Nice clean reads. I suspect all her other books are as well, but I haven't read them yet.)

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate by Adrienne Kress. (Delightful adventure stories with a hearty dash of magical realism.)

Airman by Eoin Colfer. (An adventure in the spirit of Dumas -- some harrowing incidents and violence would make it appropriate for teens rather than children, but it's not excessive.)

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross. (The story of a young man with superpowers who had to figure out how he got those powers and how to live a normal life with them. It's basically a teen superhero comic in book form, with a witty and engaging cast and a blockbuster climax, and I got a huge kick out of it.)

Foundling and Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish. (He writes a fantastic, incredibly well-developed secondary world fantasy involving a world populated by monsters that the humans must fight against. He challenges the reader's preconceptions about which characters are good and which evil, but he does so in a very conscious way not encouraging confusion of good and evil *itself* at all. The hero has a lovely character that's quite different from your standard fantasy hero -- somewhat Sam Gamgee-ish in his humility, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. Some of the monster-fighting stuff gets a bit gruesome, but I didn't feel it was too much for the context. The books are appropriate for ages 10 and up.)

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson.

Thank you, R.J. Anderson, for taking the time to send me these recommendations.

I've read Patricia C. Wrede's books before and enjoyed them. And, of course, I've reviewed Shannon Hale's books on this blog. Several of the others sound quite interesting, and I think I might pick up a few to review on my blog in the future.

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