Um, I started this post LAST Wednesday, so this news is a little late:
I finished my 1930 v. 1960 Nancy Drew battle over at Geek Buffet.
Ah well. Let's review, shall we?
The Red Queen's Daughter Jacqueline Kolosov
Katherine Parr was the last wife of Henry VIII. Her daughter by her last husband, Mary Seymour, died in early childhood. In this book, Kolosov imagines what her life would have been like that Queen Elizabeth's court been a little like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
Mary has a few guardians after the early death of her parents, but it is Lady Strange who teaches her how to be a white magician, to serve the Virgin Queen. Once at the Queen's court, Mary has to be on constant guard against harm--both to herself and to the Queen. It is quickly apparent that Mary's cousin Edward is a dark magician, and up to no good. Not only that, but he knows Mary is a white magician. To keep an eye on her, Edward starts to woo Mary. Mary is confused--she has vowed to stay single and chaste, to not fall prey to a scoundrel like her father, and yet Edward awakens strange feelings in her.
But Edward is not Mary's, or the Queen's, only enemy and Mary needs to keep her head about her and remember her training if she's going to save the Queen.
The "all boys will hurt you and I don't need one" theme wore a little thin for awhile, but it's a theme I would have greatly appreciated in junior high. Kolosov incorporates the folkloric properties of flora, fauna, colors, and gemstones into Mary's magic, weaving a powerful story.
A good bet for fans of historical fiction and fantasy. I liked it better than Rebel Angels because it was still that blend of history and fantasy, and Mary still had power while never appearing too anachronistic.
The Wild Girls Pat Murphy
Newt has just moved from her nice house in Connecticut to a subdivision in California. While wandering through the fields outside the subdivision, she meets Fox. Together, they form a friendship and write a story that wins them a competition and a place in a prestigious summer workshop. Where they write more stories.
That's the plot, but it's not really about that. It's about truth and finding yourself and being OK even when your world is crashing down and your dad's a jerk and always screaming and your mom wants you to be friends with the normal girls and be perfect.
It's a hard sell, but the writing is captivating and the story, as well as the characters, really draw you in.