Monday, March 19, 2012

Bleg: Book Suggestions for 13-year-old Girl

A reader asks:
Can you suggest a couple of book titles for my 13-year-old granddaughter? They must be audiobooks as she is dyslexic and mostly listens to books on tape.

I thought, perhaps, you might have some thoughts about good, wholesome books for early Teen girls; I fear that my granddaughter, who will be 13 this month, is already into those Twilight books (on tape) and somehow I don't think they're terribly appropriate, based on what I've heard and read! I always prefer the classics, myself, and if you have any particular audio versions that you like, I would love to hear about that.
Now I had a few thoughts, but they were very few, so I also turned to a couple of readers I trust.

Sarah Reinhard says:
  • Regina Doman books -- ALL of them (I once called her books the "answer" to the Twilight books)
  • The Eragon books (four in the series, I just read the last ones...I've heard less-than-glowing reviews, but I liked them)
  • Book I haven't had a chance to review loudly yet (but will start next week at - The Dragon's Tooth
  • Michelle Buckman has a YA series of two books which are GREAT w/ Catholic worldview but no PREACHY (and really, you couldn't tell they were Catholic if you didn't know, which I LOVELOVELOVE): titles are Maggie Come Lately and My Beautiful Disaster

Rose says:
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  • Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
  • Princess Diaries
  • Pride & Prejudice

My thoughts:
  • Genesis by Bernard Beckett (SF novella)
  • Neeta Lyfe, Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (I know a couple of these are "classics" which can be a turn-off, but they are classics because they are great stories. It might be that if she heard a good audiobook version the story would be gripping enough, with a great enough heroine, to make her forget the damning "classic" label)

I know there are lots of you out there with other great ideas. Please do chime in!


  1. the Redwall books! Martin the Warrior, in particular, but really most of them are pretty good. With the audiobooks, get the ones listed as narrated by the author (Brian Jacques) with a full cast." They're a bit pricier, but they're worth it.

    The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. The audiobook of him reading it is delightful!

    Also, the Time books by Madeleine L'Engle. I haven't heard the audiobooks, but the stories are fantastic.

  2. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall - Haven't read the two others in this series yet but the first one was enjoyable.

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - read by Neil Gaiman.

    Inkheart (Inkheart, #1) by Cornelia Funke - much better than the movie. - Read this via audio and it was very good. Avoid the audio of the second book as Brendan Frasier's voice is not suited to audio books.

    Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    Not sure if the last two are on audio but if they are I highly recommend them.

  3. How about _The Reformed Vampire Support Group_ by Catherine Jinks? I think they're a good (and humorous) antidote to the Twilight books. (And there's a good speaking role for a priest.)

    It's on audio CD, but I haven't heard it.


  4. How about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

  5. The Penderwicks is a little young for a 13 year old--enjoyable as the stories are, I'd say they are more for 10 year olds... I read Little Women at 12. Also, I was reading the later Betsy and Tacy books (the high-school ones) every year from 12-16. Gosh...I wish I still read those every year.

  6. Audio can be difficult to find, but look for titles by Joan Bauer, Megan Whalen Turner, Dianna Wynne Jones (especially Howl's Moving Castle) and Gail Carson Levine. Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series would be great. I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings at that age as well as Jane Eyre. Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men and sequels are very funny. So many good books to choose from!

  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- Excellent story, engaging characters. After a chapter or two, you recognize who the narrator is and become fascinated at why this person telling the story.

  8. A friend of mine recommended the Flavia De Luce mysteries when I had the same question. . I read the first one and thoroughly enjoyed it. Addictive, though. I have to avoid them if I have work to do.

  9. Some of the Swallows and Amazons novels are available as audiobooks on iTunes.

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  11. To your reader ... my 13-year old daughter is dyslexic also. See if your granddaughter can read a Kindle - especially with changing the text sizing and spacing (takes a little trial and error). My daughter's teachers also allow her to do her class reading (if available) on the Kindle. Added bonus - if she comes across a word that she can't decode - she has a built-in dictionary and the text-to-speech is pretty good.

    For reading suggestions (in addition to the other suggestions!) - "The Lightening Thief" series, "The Help" (good for all ages), any of the classics ("Rebecca", "Jane Eyre", "Withering Heights" for example). She is currently reading "The Hunger Games"

    I have found that my daughter wants to read "adult" books without the "adult" element ... so I generally read what she is reading to make it "more grown up"


  12. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

  13. oooh, Rebecca is a great idea. I Capture the Castle, perhaps--though maybe she should wait till 14 for that one... i get confused with the movie.