Silly Rabbit, books are for kids!

April 15, 2008 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

You know what I miss? Reading silly young adult novels without being judged. Come on, we all read some really, really lame books when we were younger, or at least I did. But because it’s spring, and I’m in a silly and nostalgic mood, I thought I’d talk about some of the books that stand out in my mind from those years when I read everything I could get my hands on…none of which I’d be caught dead reading now, but really loved at the time.

Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl
This was my favorite book for a year or two. Never mind that there’s no way a seven-year-old girl could build a whole living space within the walls of her house only using the tools her dead father left behind, let alone that her family would be cool with this. But I get the metaphor, though I didn’t at the time — it’s hard to miss the moth/cocoon connection later in the story, and this book is really too bizarre to be taken literally by anyone but the very earnest young reader I was.

Eva by Peter Dickinson
I checked this book out of the library at least six times over the course of my pre-adolescent years. Now that I know it’s not actually that easy to transplant a young girl’s brain into that of a chimpanzee, it has lost some of its charm, yeah. It’s probably not even scientific enough to be science fiction. Nothing is really resolved in the end, except maybe something about environmentalism and that we’re all just animals anyway and probably we shouldn’t be so cruel as to ignore animals lost in scientific progress. Or something. It’s probably important to note that this was written in the 1980s.

Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Another book about a teenage girl who does something really, really cool. Sensing a theme here? This was my favorite book ever until I had the imagination beaten out of me by serious literary criticism and an interest in journalism. I mean, come on. The girl speaks to animals, has the ability to turn into one if she wants, and at some point resurrects the bones of dinosaurs to storm a castle. There’s not much out there that can compete with that. In retrospect, I think I might have liked the story of Wolf Speaker, its prequel, better, but this is the one where she starts to shape-shift, which I thought was pretty amazing, without any of the creepiness of the Animorphs series that was kind of popular at the time.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Wolf-Woman
by Sherryl Jordan
The Music of Dolphins
by Karen Hesse
So I was fascinated by survival stories, especially ones that involved animals in some form. I also went through a really long wolf-loving phase that reached its peak in middle school, so of course a book about a girl who was partly raised by wolves (in conjunction with the girl who can talk to them — see above) was just about my favorite thing ever. But dolphins were pretty cool, too, as anyone who’s ever bought a Lisa Frank folder can tell you, so that explains the others.

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Entry filed under: Children and Young Adult, Collections and Lists.

Live from the Library A Reader’s Guide to a Wacky Post-Modernist Novel

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