What does it mean to be respectable? In the world of Mr. and Mrs. Baker, it means bringing up your daughter to be a lazy, selfish girl who is unable to do the simplest tasks for herself. I'm talking about the protagonist of House of Many Ways, of course: Charmain Baker. She's assigned to house-sit for her great aunt's uncle while he's away being treated for a mysterious illness. Surviving in his house requres a knowledge of magic Charmain doesn't have; luckily, an apprentice magician arrives to help her with the day-to-day chores, and with unravelling the mystery she's been drawn into. Can Charmain get her nose out of a book in time to save the kingdom?
Percy Jackson is your typical pre-teen misfit: awkward, isolated, and relatively angst-filled. He's just been kicked out of school. He doesn't get along with his stepfather. He's got mild dyslexia and ADHD. And occasionally, he gets picked on by bullies. But there are good things in his life too: his mom; his friend, Grover; and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner. It's learning about Greek mythology that Percy likes best. Unfortunately, things get a little too real when his math teacher transforms into a Fury and tries to kill him. Thus begins Percy's introduction into the world of Camp Half-blood, a summer camp for the children of gods.
Abdullah is caught up in a life of daydreams; they're the one upside to selling carpets in his stall at the market. He imagines that he's the son of a king, stolen away at birth by ruffians, and eventually found by his father, the carpet-seller. He imagines that he's betrothed to the most beautiful princess in the world, and that they will live in a grand palace. Then, a shifty man stops by the stall, wanting to sell his magic carpet, and all Abdullah's daydreams start to come true. Even the bad ones.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Genre: young adult fantasy
I tried to think of a Christmas-themed book that I've read which also happens to be sci-fi, fantasy, or YA, and I couldn't think of ANYTHING!
So, I decided to go with the series I usually end up re-reading around Christmastime, instead.
If you know of any Christmasey fantasy, sci-fi, or YA, please post the title and author in the comments, so I can check them out.
What can I say that hasn't already been said? The hidden world of wizards and witches that J.K. Rowling creates in this first book is incredibly appealing to readers of all ages. I first read this book at sixteen, and I was enthralled; I pulled my entire family into Harry Potter-fandom with me. While the Philosopher's Stone is slightly more juvenile than the later books, I don't find that it detracts from my enjoyment. After all, Harry is only eleven years old in this story. There's a reason this series has such a huge fan base; if you haven't already read this, give it a try. You'll be proud to call yourself a muggle.