Okay, post 2 (Karen has usurped my throne as blog queen, but never fear- I will defeat this coup attempt!)
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults created 4 themed booklists this year. The second one I want to post about is Magic in the Real World. These books take place firmly in the real world. They ask us to imagine--what if magic existed and we just don't know it? These books explore what happends when people discover the fantasy elements surrounding us. Below are two of my favorites of this booklist.
Holly Black is one of my favorite authors. She writes fabulous dark fantasy stories. Her second book, Valiant made the list. After betrayed by those she loved, Valerie runs away from her home to New York City. Rescued by her new friends, they become squatters in the subway system. This gritty runaway story is filled with the horrors of drugs, but told in a fantastical manner. The drugs they use are magical; creatures are real, and trolls really do live underneath bridges.
I can't stress how much I adore Ms. Black's writing. She's gritty, realistic and yet, completely fantastical at the same time. One can always relate to her characters, even if they're a changling, a faerie, a runaway, a troll... They're still real.
The other title I enjoyed immensely was The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. Jack always took his medicine--his heart medicine. But one day he forgot and it changed his world. Discovering his warrior powers that were hidden by his medicine, Jack is thrust into a battle between warriors and wizards--and their designated fighters decide who will rule until the next decisive battle. Most fighters are killed before the battles even occur and lucky Jack--he's a fighter.
The companion (not necessarily a sequel) to the book came out in 2007--The Wizard Heir. But beware, it has a very similar cover to this one. It just has a little more green to it!