Sep 04


This week’s show is largely made up of listener phone calls, to recommend reading for teens and tweens who want to read adult books.

PLEASE NOTE: One of our listeners points out that the caller who recommends Ender’s Game has included a spoiler. Obviously we all have our own definition of what makes a “spoiler”, but I wanted to alert you to proceed with caution.

Book Spine Poetry from JHofbeck

Book Spine Poetry from JHofbeck

We also want to thank all of you who have participated in our Book Spine Poetry gallery, which we launched in episode #190. If you haven’t had a chance to see some of our listeners’ Book Spine Poems, please check them out in our Yogile gallery, and feel free to upload your own. This will stay up indefinitely, so add your photos as inspiration hits.

In episode #191, we put out a call for suggestions. My 10 year old daughter, while still enjoying kids books, wants to start exploring the adult section of the library. So I asked for recommendations from you, our listeners, and you came through. There are many great ideas on the comments section of that episode’s show notes. Kalanna recommended StorySnoops as an alternative to Common Sense Media for reviewing ratings of books that your kids want to read.

Mary, by way of Kate, sent in this email: ”

Well, I remember you recommending This Scepter’d Isle to me when I was about 10…some of Mercedes Lackey‘s Valdemar stuff might be a bit racy for this girl (I’m thinking Vanyel, mainly), but Denorial and Harry are just great fun! Hilari Bell’s Farsala Trilogy is marvelous (the first one is Fall of a Kingdom). Charles De Lint’s stuff is nice. I read his Riddle of the Wren in middle school. And I still love Kate Constables Chanters of Tremaris trilogy. And oh my goodness, has she read Tamora Pierce? If not, she should do that as soon as possible!
 And a special thank you so much to our listeners who took the time to call in: Ellen, Heidi from Maine, Karen from Seattle, Pella (?)  from Chicago, Zoe from Virginia and someone who didn’t leave her name. It is very much appreciated!

Ellen suggests So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell.

Heidi from Eastern Maine Dragonriders of Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey. Dragonflight is the first. She also mentions The Lord of the Rings series and The Hobbit. Finally, Heidi suggests Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Any books by Jennifer Donnelly

The Hobbit

Gabrielle Zevin’s Elswhere

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. WredeCaroline Stevermer

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, both the young adult series and the adult series

Brian Jacques’ Redwall series

Anything by Andre Norton, the Tombs of Atuan series

Zoe mentions a series set during an alternate version of the Napoleonic wars where everyone rides dragons to win the war. I’m pretty sure she means Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, of which His Majesty’s Dragon is the first title.




  • Don Morgan

    Yikes. Your caller gives away the surprise ending to Ender’s Game. The
    book has been around a long time and I’m always amazed how circumspect
    folks are for potential readers for that book. I am not overly sensitive to spoilers, but in this case I wonder if it would not be wise to give a warning or delete the comment. The whole story is built around that secret.

    • Oh no! I can’t really go back in and edit or delete the comment, since it’s already been downloaded over 3,000 times and is waiting in people’s iPods etc. I’ll put a warning in the show notes. Thanks for the heads up!
      Ann Kingman
      Follow me on twitter: @annkingman

    • Kai

      I was also spoiled by Heid’s call . I no longer need to read it.

      • cyberbat

        but you can always read the next few books in the series. I was spoiled because I saw the movie first. Believe it or not, I read the 2nd series that focused on Ender’s friend Bean, first many years ago and enjoyed them greatly.

  • Sarah Kelly

    This is a really timely podcast! My book group topic this month is guiding our children in their reading choices. We usually discuss a book, but this question has come up largely because of those precocious readers who are intellectually capable of reading far beyond their emotional maturity. All the group members, except one who has taught middle grades, have “children.” Said offspring range from about 8 or 9 years old to parents of kids older than that.

    I want to add my vote to the Dragonrider Series, suggested by Heidi, and Tamora Pierce’s work, suggested by Mary/Kate.

    Some warnings about Charles de Lint. He writes both adult and YA, and I’m pretty sure I remember *some* of the adult ones being pretty dark and sexual.

    Another suggestion is the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix. I do specifically remember one scene because I was listening to it with my daughter. Tiny spoiler alert: girl who likes boy hears him through thin walls and assumes that the noise is sexual in nature. It is not; it was simply overactive imagination, and even what’s in her imagination was mostly implied. Because I remember that so clearly, I feel pretty comfortable saying there was nothing any more detailed.

    One specific *anti-suggestion* comes to mind. I recently read, and very much enjoyed, The Firefly Cloak by Sheri Reynolds. It is a coming of age story with a cute cover and title that might lead one to think that it is a juvie. It is NOT. It’s probably reasonable for some older teens, but I wouldn’t recommend it to my 18 y.o. (simply because she’s sensitive and reads more for escapism). It’s sad and dark and quite sexual (although not terribly sexually explicit; it’s more graphic in its violence). I do highly recommend it for more mature readers who are not necessarily looking for a happy read.

    I look forward to sharing this with my book group and to reading some on this list.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions, Sarah! Sounds like you are part of a great bookclub!


      • Sarah Kelly

        They are great! And I forgot in the other comment…I think the book you had difficulty hearing is A Certain Slant of Light. There are *multiple* books by that title on Amazon. I’ll assume the caller wasn’t recommending the Silhouette Intimate one for this particular post;) The one by Whitcomb seems like a real possibility; its “other customers bought” list includes Libba Bray, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Annette Curtis Klause.

  • Kerry Dustin

    I’ll also agree with the Pern books, but add a couple of comments. I’m reading them now and (understandably given when they were written) some of the attitudes, especially towards women are rather dated. You might like to be aware of that to make it something to discuss. There is also some sex, but it’s so subtle it’s likely to go straight over the head of a 10 year old.

    I’ll also second Sorcery and Cecelia, which is a lovely book. It also has two sequels and has recently been released as an ebook.

    Another book that I discovered recently that has been described as similar to I Capture the Castle, is A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper. I’d say it is more YA that I Capture the Castle, so might be a good transition. It also has two sequels that I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

    One of my all time favourite books that I think would be very suitable is The Changeling Sea by Robin McKinley which I love to pieces.

    Nothing else is coming to mind right now, but I’ll be back if I think of anything else.

    I also agree with Sarah that the book title you missed was A Certain Slant of Light.

    • Kerry Dustin

      That would be REreading the Pern books. Sorry.

  • Linda from Ohio

    I thought I sent this someplace (maybe Goodreads) by T. A. Baron has a wonderful series about The Lost Years of Merlin – there are at least 5 in that series and he has other series, too. I really, really like him as a person as well as an author.

  • My kids (now 15, 14, and 10) started listening to and reading The Cat Who… mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun, and the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman when they were younger than 10, and they still go back and revisit them occasionally, especially Mrs. Pollifax.

    Some might think kids wouldn’t enjoy a story with a senior citizen as the protagonist, but Emily Pollifax is so young-at-heart, as she looks at and experiences the world with wonder and curiosity. It also doesn’t seem to matter that these books were written before cell phones and the internet.

  • Beth

    One reader mentions the Tombs of Atuan series. I think she’s talking about the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin. The first book is A Wizard of Earthsea.

  • Heidi

    I’m really sorry that I spoiled Enders Game for some listeners. As I listened to the podcast I realized that my comment was spoilerish….I feel terrible about it.

  • Kira

    Another great “grownup” author for middle grade readers is Agatha Christie.

    I would agree with the previous poster who mentioned that Charles DeLint can get dark and sexual. I would even add violent to that list. Same goes for Robin Mckinley, who is another great author just be careful which books you pick.

  • Mary Russell

    Sorry, I’m the person who forgot to leave my name. Thanks for including my recommendation about Terry Pratchett anyway. On further thought, I would also recommend Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. It has a romance in it, but it is at worst a PG13 one. –Mary from New Hampshire

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