I love love love Terry Pratchett. I want to say that I love all his books, but in truth I am a Discworld freak. Most of his Discworld books are for adults, not that teens don’t enjoy them but there have been only five specifically written for younger audiences. The first is called The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents; I hate admitting that I don’t like it very much, but it’s true. It’s even based on the Pied Piper story, which should make it a winner, but for me it’s just OK. Not bad, just OK. The Wee Free Men series, however, now that’s a whole other kettle of fish. For those of you following Middlemarch Madness, you may have seen Tiffany Aching in the YA Fantasy bracket. These are her stories. Tiffany is a great character who fights magic with common sense and a frying pan, but the Feegles are the stars. Feegles are pictsies; immensely strong, wildly unthinking and about six inches tall. As Tiffany progresses through her four books, The Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight, she learns about people, the world and how to be a witch. The Feegles provide comic relief and astounding bravery along the way. The best thing about Pratchett, in my opinion, is that he can take you from hilarity to inspiration in a few pages.
Another author that I am in love with is Diana Wynne Jones. I had seen her books a dozen times before I decided to pick one up. For some reason, the blurbs on the back of the books make them sound kind of run-of-the-mill and boring when they are anything but. She has a clever sense of humor, a lot of her jokes make me feel smarter for getting them, but she is not above a good pratfall if it fits. She has written over twenty books for young readers, but the ones that are easiest to find are the Chrestomanci Chronicles and Howl’s Moving Castle. Deep Secret is also in print and, if you have ever been to a sci-fi convention, you must read this book. It’s like going to the craziest con you have ever seen, with real mages and a surprise centaur.
Last, but not least, is Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. They are based on Greek mythology, set in the modern day US of A. The Greek gods are still running around seducing women, and men, leaving demi-god children scattered around the country. Percy is the son of Poseidon who grows into a hero that helps save the world from a Titan resurgence. In a lot of ways, they are typical adventure novels, but Riordan’s sense of humor makes them into something more. Percy’s best friend Grover is a satyr who eats tin cans when he is stressed out. One of the first monsters he ever encounters is a Minotaur wearing tighty-whities. His books also suffer from boring blurb syndrome, but they are well worth the read. He has started two new series, one a continuation of the Greek heros and the other with an Egyptian theme, and I am looking forward to both.
Images taken from Amazon