Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

I have now read almost 900 pages out loud to get my 7 year old through the epic tale of Taran of Caer Dallben, Assistant Pig Keeper and erstwhile hero. In book 4, Taran Wanderer, he’s cast off his nomenclature because he doesn’t know who his parents are. And unless he’s highborn, he has no hopes of ever marrying the Princess Eilonwy, who loves him in return but isn’t free to choose her own future. While slower paced than the other books, Taran Wanderer isn’t…

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The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

One of my favorite books growing up is now one of my 7 year old’s obsessions. We just finished reading The Book of Three out loud, and have already begun book two, The Black Cauldron. Reading the books aloud has me appreciating Lloyd Alexander’s gift for dialogue. The characters are so much fun to voice, especially Gurgi and Eilonwy. His prose is simple and elegant and never descends into trite cliché or tired imagery. I’m teaching the book with our 4th/5th graders in our homeschool…

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Reread)

Synopsis: Check out my review from three years ago. Review: What struck me most on my re-read ofThe Magicians was how hard Grossman was working to pull off the implausibility of his scenario. He needed Quentin & co. to be college age so that they could drink and then head out into the working world and suffer quarter life crises and all that, but he also wanted to play with the conventions of the classic boarding school story, which typically take place in high school.…

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Synopsis: A young boy steals an invaluable painting in the wake of a bombing, and it comes to dominate his life. Review: If anybody actually follows this blog, they probably think I am dead. I have never gone this long without posting a review! It’s been 3 weeks! What a way to start the new year. Basically, what happened was that I started a reread of Game of Thrones. Then my friend loaned me a copy of The Goldfinch, so I started reading that at…

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The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Synopsis: Anais has never known a family, having spent her entire life in the foster system, and now it seems she’ll be trading the small bit of freedom she still has for a jail sentence. Review: The Panopticon‘s marketing copy would have you believe that it’s another dystopian YA story. If you write it off because you’re weary of the genre, then you’ll be missing out. Anais is one of the most alive characters I’ve ever experienced in a book. For all her vulgarity and…

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The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist

Synopsis: Veronika and the three other girls who live with her on an isolated island are mostly the same except for their hair color, but when plane crash victim May washes up on shore, Veronika begins to think in ways she’s never thought before, even as May pushes her to wake up to a truth she’s not equipped to face. Review: Gordon Dahlquist’s background as a playwright is evident throughout The Different Girl. He’s not afraid to come at things sideways, and trusts the reader…

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Joyland by Stephen King

Synopsis: It’s the summer of 1973 and Devin Jones has just signed on to work at a beachside carnival–that may be haunted. Review: Joyland is Stephen King at his most elegiac and nostalgic, ordinarily my least favorite mode of his, but this book really got me. I loved the carnival setting, the lingo, watching Devin learn the ropes. Sure, he was a little bit Mary Sue but it mostly worked. I felt that the plot faltered in the second half but I wasn’t expecting anything…

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Me on the Floor, Bleeding by Jenny Jagerfeld

Synopsis: After inadvertently slicing off the top of her thumb in sculpture class, Maja wants her mother to comfort her–but her mother is nowhere to be found. Review: Me on the Floor, Bleeding was a surprisingly funny coming of age story that took a lot of unexpected turns. It was a fun, easy read with a likable protagonist who kept me interested in her story. Great voice. Share on Facebook

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Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle

Synopsis: Lucretia, a 12-year-old girl living in the projects in Queens, just wants to spend her birthday with her best friend, but the boarded up apartment on the top floor might be inhabited by people who have a different plan for the girls. Review: Scary, smart, beautiful, haunting, powerful, resonant–can I please have a few more adjectives of praise to apply to this fabulous novella? Victor LaValle might be the most exciting contemporary writer I can think of. He is endlessly imaginative, a brave writer…

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The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King (Dark Tower, Book 4.5)

Synopsis: On their way to Calla Bryn Sturgis, Roland and his ka-tet take shelter from a starkblast, and Roland tells the story of his first quest after killing his mother, and within it tells a fairy tale about a brave boy who tangles with a demonic trickster. Review: Oh, my, and it was good to hear Roland’s voice again, you say true and I say thankya. With the series complete, King didn’t need to add to his Dark Tower saga, but The Wind Through the…

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