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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Best YA Books Under $4

I read a book every two or three days, and consequently, I have a fairly vast storehouse of book recommendations to fling at friends, acquaintances, parents at my kids' schools, their crossing guard, my bank teller, and the cable guy. I've built a page of book recommendations on my website because I need lists, and I go there periodically to check the prices of my favorite books so I can shout to my reader group on social media when there's a sale.

Here's a link to that page if anyone is interested:

A couple of my favorite YA Fantasy books are on sale right now, and I haven't done a blog post in ... wow, months, so this is a good time to talk about some great books.

Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles, book 1 of 5) by Suzanne Collins

This book is the first in a five-book series, perfect for about 10+ year-olds. Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games, wrote the Underland series first, and it's full of giant bats, rats, battles, and the sort of adventures a twelve-year-old boy can get into when he's helping a strange girl save her underworld. Be advised, Collins doesn't shy away from the tough stuff. At the end of it all, Gregor has to deal with some hard truths about war, even inside his own happy ending. I read this series out loud to my boys when they were 8, and they've since read it again to themselves. Highly recommended.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson (book 1 of 3)

This fantasy series is geared more toward girls, aged about 12+. The heroine is as unlikely as the adventure on which she finds herself in the desert, against the elements, and even against magic. Her personal journey is a valuable one as she discovers her own strength and determination to save the people she was meant to rule. The romantic thread through the trilogy is subtle, yet satisfying even to an adult reader, and I've read these books several times.

An Urchin of Means (The Baker Street series, book 1 of 3) by April White

My 10-year-old son loved this, and my 75-year-old father did too. The urchin of the title is Ringo Devereux, who knows far too much for a young Victorian man of means, as he is the product of his childhood on the street and his travels through time. He and his 10-year-old female pickpocket cohort become the unintentional inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle as they solve the actual mysteries on which the Sherlock Holmes adventures are based.

The Queen's Poisoner (The Kingfountain series, book 1 of 6) by Jeff Wheeler

This entire six-book series is currently on sale for $2 (or less) per book. It's a fantasy series appropriate for about 12+, and begins with young Owen Kiskaddon, a duke's son traded as a hostage to a corrupt king, who secretly learns to survive from the king's own assassin. The whole series is full of magic, adventure, war, intrigue, and a bit of romance just to keep it real. The audiobooks are also on sale, and the whole series is well worth the investment.

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles, book 1 of 9) by Keven Hearne

There are 9 books in this excellent urban fantasy series about a two thousand-year-old Druid masquerading as a twenty-something-year-old rare book and herb shopkeeper. It is certainly not written as a YA series, but both of my boys have inhaled it in e-book and audiobook formats, and they demanded I read it too. I loved the whole series, especially the Irish Wolfhound the Druid has taught to mind-speak, and the whole pantheon of Gods and deities from every culture in the world. Highly recommended.