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Old 07-25-2008, 10:37 PM   #1
GntlmnBndt
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Need help buying books for a teenage girl

Hello all!

This may be long winded, but some of these requests seem so broad they might as well ask for a book with words in it. So...

I have a problem, and any help would be appreciated. I am completely out of my depth. I have a 15 year old niece that is about to have surgery that will leave her with limited mobility for two to four months. She will be recuperating at her grandmother's house, not the middle of nowhere but can be seen from there, which means limited access to web surfing and no cell coverage. I expect she will go through withdrawals similar to a heroine addict's.

I have already arranged a netflix subscription for her, and thought I might get her an ebook reader and pre-load some books for her (she will be able to do some downloading over a slow modem, so she can add more later). Her sister tells me she is into Robin McKinley, David Eddings, a few comic books, and something her sister called "Nice Guy Romances." When I asked what that meant, she said they were kind of like coming of age stories with romance mixed in, often (but not always) with a male POV (which I thought odd for a romance), and suggested an author named Downey, but she could not remember the first name. From the giggling, I gathered that these tend to be rather racy, but neither of my nieces would come out and say so. Amazon only shows one Romance by a Gregory Downey, titled The Curse of Raven's Rose Keep, which does not sound like what she described.

Can anyone offer some suggestions? I have already picked up some "Birds of Prey" graphic novels and several manga (whatever happened to the X-Men?). Based on the other books and formats available, I will decide which reader to get. Neither McKinley nor Eddings has lots of ebooks available, from what I can tell, and I don't want to get her a bunch of stuff she already read, but I am looking for similar styles/stories. My sister (the girl's mother) suggested the thing she likes about McKinley is the way she retells fairy tales, so I am on the lookout. My girlfriend suggested Cameron Dokey for that type of story, but the only ebooks I have found by her are Buffy the Vampire Slayer books (which may be on target for a 15 year old, come to think of it). Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Something similar to Eddings, for instance? Any clue on Nice Guy Romances? Any clues to the mind of a 15 year old girl?

Thank you!
The Bandit
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:04 PM   #2
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I think I can help -- I've got a 14 year old and a 17 year old, both girls, and I read a lot of "young adult" fiction.

See if she's read anything by Tamora Pierce. All of those are pretty good. She might also like Mercedes Lackey, both the Valdemar books (romantic fantasy) and her fairytale retellings. If she likes Robin McKinley, she's also likely to like Patricia McKillip. I would also suggest Terry Brooks' "Tiffany Aching" books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith (particularly the last, given what you've said about her, but the others are excellent as well). Also Garth Nix' Abhorsen Trilogy: Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. I believe all these are available as commercial ebooks.

For manga, I recommend Fushigi Yuugi -- lots of angsty teen romance with nice guys (and some not-so-nice guys). I don't know if it's available (legally) in ebook form, though. Ah My Goddess would probably also fall into the "nice guy romance" category. Sailor Moon, of course, is a classic, but she's probably already read it, since the series ended years ago. Ranma 1/2 is a romantic comedy. Actually, anything by Rumiko Takahashi is likely to suit.

A few ideas to get you started -- how many books were you planning on buying?
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:06 PM   #3
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Oh, also, try her on Charles de Lint. Urban fantasy, very well written. The Blue Girl would probably be right up her alley.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:23 AM   #4
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I'll try to help too

I utterly and completely second Mercedes Lackey. I'd start with her Arrow's Trilogy (Arrows of the Queen, Arrows Flight, and Arrows Fall)--I think that's one of the better places to start in the Valdemar series. I cannot recommend that trilogy strongly enough AFAIK they're not available as ebooks, but it's definitely worth buying the hard copies. There are a lot of sequel-ish books set in the same world (making minor characters into main ones, etc.)

If she likes Robin McKinley--has she read the Blue Sword? Still one of my favorites!

How about the Princess Bride? Always fantastic--and seems like it might be a good one for being stuck inside!

Anne McCaffrey might be a good one too--I think I was about that age when I started her Pern series (and devoured it)

Anne Rinaldi might be another good one, although that might be for a slightly younger audience? (can't quite remember) but she writes really nice coming of age/slightly romantic historical fiction books. Time Enough for Drums was one of my favorites.

And finally, there's Jane Austen.

Well--I hope this somewhat helped--although I know that most of what I suggested isn't available in ebook format

Anyway--I wish her a speedy recovery!
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
I would also suggest Terry Brooks' "Tiffany Aching" books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith (particularly the last, given what you've said about her, but the others are excellent as well).
Uhh... Those Books are by Terry PRATCHETT, not Terry Brooks. However I would second the suggestion, and would in fact recommend any book by that author


Quote:
For manga, I recommend Fushigi Yuugi -- lots of angsty teen romance with nice guys (and some not-so-nice guys). I don't know if it's available (legally) in ebook form, though. Ah My Goddess would probably also fall into the "nice guy romance" category. Sailor Moon, of course, is a classic, but she's probably already read it, since the series ended years ago. Ranma 1/2 is a romantic comedy. Actually, anything by Rumiko Takahashi is likely to suit.
Would also recommand Takashi's other series such as Uranasi Yatsuri and INa Yashu. Also, Most of her series are also available as Anime, and if you are getting her a netflix subscription, she could probably get those series.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bbusybookworm View Post
Uhh... Those Books are by Terry PRATCHETT, not Terry Brooks. However I would second the suggestion, and would in fact recommend any book by that author
How embarrassing. Yes, Terry Pratchett, of course.

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Would also recommand Takashi's other series such as Uranasi Yatsuri and INa Yashu. Also, Most of her series are also available as Anime, and if you are getting her a netflix subscription, she could probably get those series.
My younger daughter loves Inu Yasha. For more manga suggestions, I'd suggest checking the "Shoujo Beat" magazine and publishing house. And I agree on both The Blue Sword and the companion book, The Hero and the Crown.

Kristin Brittain has also written some romantic fantasy, much like the Mercedes Lackey books in many ways.
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Old 07-26-2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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Wow! I cannot thank you all enough. You've been very helpful.

On the manga side, she has already read all the Sailor Moon series, most of the Inu Yasha (though I don't know which she is missing, so I skipped those), and several of the Ah, My Goddess (again, which ones are unknown). She recently started Ramna, which is lucky as even the publisher does not have the earliest books, but I did add to her collection there. Also, by request, I picked up several of something called No Need for Techi (sp?). I shall have to look for Fushigi Yuugi. By the way, I have purchased all the manga in paperback form, as I did not know they were available as ebooks. Is there a good (legal) source of manga as ebooks?

On the ebook side, I was looking to get the first book or two of several different series or authors, and then let her download more of what she likes. She has already read all the McKinley and Eddings she can find. Per your suggestions, I will load up some Pratchett, McKillip, Lackey, and perhaps Pierce or McCaffrey, depending on what the selection looks like, and if good starting books are available. All seem well-represented at Books On Board so far, and they usually have the best selection and prices -- at least of the books I buy. I'll try to make sure any series I start her on is completely available -- I hate it when one book in a series is not offered as an ebook. I'll also check Fictionwise for the bundles they sometimes offer.

Again, thank you all, very much!

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Old 07-26-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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If she liked Sailor Moon, she'd probably also like Magic Knight Rayearth. No Need for Tenchi is good, based on the other titles you say she's read. I can ask my daughter for additional suggestions if you're interested in more manga-- it seems that they have fairly similar tastes. Sounds like you've got quite a nice collection for her already.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any legal ebook sources of these manga yet. There are those who are of the opinion that if you buy the originals in paper, it's reasonable to download ebook versions when they are available from other sources. This can save storage space, which can be relevant in a hospital setting, but whether you think it's appropriate or not is up to you. And storage space is less likely to be an issue at her grandmother's, I suppose.

If you're also picking up anime from netflix or wherever, "Vision of Escaflowne" would probably be a good choice for her, but don't bother with the manga version, which is nothing like the original anime. Conversely, I recommend Revolutionary Girl Utena in manga form, but the anime version is more challenging to watch.

For the Pern books, I recommend starting with the "Harper Hall" trilogy: Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums. Not that there's anything wrong with the first books McCaffrey published (Dragonflight and Dragonquest), I just thought the Harper Hall books were better-- certainly they appealed more to me at that age. The later ones vary more widely in quality.

Ah. How could I have forgotten to mention Madeline L'Engle? Particularly Meet the Austins, The Moon by Night, and A Ring of Endless Light, and probably also A Heart like a Lotus. Less well known than her series starting with A Wrinkle in Time, but probably will appeal to your niece.

Best wishes to your niece for a speedy recovery!
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:19 PM   #9
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More manga recommendations:

Mai the Psychic Girl
Nausicaa
3x3 Eyes
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:25 AM   #10
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Susan Cooper, _The Dark is Rising_ Pentalogy --- due to be a movie soon, have her read it before the movie spoils it for her.

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Old 07-28-2008, 12:38 PM   #11
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Any and all of the "Dragonriders of Pern" books by Anne McCaffrey. Thrilling and wonderful.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:37 PM   #12
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I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy, and my little Anne, and my little Catherine, and my little Fanny, and my little Emma, and my little Elinor and Marianne. If she likes nice guys, they don't get much nicer than Jane Austen's heroes (though Mr. Tilney might object to the use of that particular adjective in this context ), and all the books are available for free right here on MobileRead (I linked the .prc editions, not sure which ebook reader you are getting, but they're available in every format I can think of).
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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Possibly The Golden Compass (especially if she hasn't seen the movie).

Shannon Hale's books are also excellent.

Tanith Lee's series starting with Wolf Tower. I meant to post that earlier. I imagine by now you're done shopping, but you can pass along our recommendations to her, and if someone else searches on "teenage girl" later, they'll find these comments, too, so let us know how she likes our picks, if you can.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:06 PM   #14
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On a slightly different note, if the young lady will be relatively immobile for a month or two, she might just fancy a change occasionally from straight reading and listening to music.
I'd be tempted to buy her a book on a nice craft (jewellery-making, beading or similar) and some materials, so that she could make some earrings, a friendship bracelet or suchlike. Or a book like "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" plus a sketchbook and pencils.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:29 PM   #15
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Excellent suggestion, Patricia! Jewelry-making is not at all hard to get into. Fire Mountain Gems (http://www.fmg.com) has some good starter kits.
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