Kerry Williamson is 15 years old and suddenly has been selected by three of the most popular girls in school to be a part of their group. In Richard Peck's book Three Quarters Dead, we meet Tanya, McKenzie, and Natalie, the three girls who rule the school and are the meanest girls around. Kerry is surprised by this sudden attention from these three who previously ignored her. They sit with her at lunch, they include her in their shopping expeditions, and she is invited to their party preparation meetings. Tanya is clearly the ring leader of the group. She is in charge of all the activities and the wardrobe decisions. While at lunch with Tanya, Kerry begins to notice that time seems to stand still and lunch goes on much longer than it has in the past although the clock has not stopped. There are several significant occurrences like this that Kerry notices but she is so happy to be part of the group that she ignores any signs that things may be weird.
Banished from their small village, three small, bald cousins aimlessly wander in the desert. The one with a star on his shirt is greedy and sneaky. The tallest one is jolly but dim-witted. The quietest one is a hero in the making, though he doesn’t know that yet. They quickly become separated and when they reunite they are wrapped up in the beginnings of a brutal war involving humans, dragons, and a frightening race of giant rat-creatures…stupid stupid rat creatures.
Jeff Smith’s graphic novel series Bone manages to combine the look and humor of Disney cartoons while tackling the sort of epic adventure that one might find in J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini: "In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters."
If you like fantasies like Eragon, read these recommended titles full of action, adventure and heroics for the young-adult audience. Many of them are also available as audiobooks.
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud.
Nathaniel, an apprentice to an ineffective magician, takes matters in his own hand and summons up a djinni to help him get revenge on the evil Simon Lovelace. This is the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy.
Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen
Jakkin, a bond boy who works as a Keeper in a dragon nursery, secretly trains a fighting pit dragon of his own in hopes of winning his freedom.
She's been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and that clever fable maker Aesop. For children (and adults!) in today's world, her carefully crafted stories sing with a timeless rhythm and an honest truth. Her family's Russian-Jewish roots have given her the jumping-off place for many a tale (And Twelve Chinese Acrobats, Firebird, and Baba Yaga), but some stories seem to drawn from the heart of the world itself.
Jane Yolen, born in New York City on February 11, 1939, showed a talent for writing early on when she wrote and composed the words and music to her grade school pageant, starring as the lead carrot. She seems to have never slowed down during her years in high school: news editor of the school paper, Spanish club vice president, singing with the a capella choir, and captain of the varsity basketball team. Summers spent at a Vermont camp run by Quakers influenced her deeply. Several of her later books (The Gift of Sarah Barker and Friend: The Story of George Fox and the Quakers) relate to this period of spiritual growth.
Here are suggestions for books that pick up on the sword and sorcery, quest, and dragon aspects of "Eragon":
Piers Anthony's Magic of Xanth series. The first one is A Spell for
Chameleon. Here's a review:
Though already developing a successful career in SF with such heady
novels as Chthon and Omnivore, Piers Anthony did not reach brand-name
status until he cooked up some fantasy in 1977. And it was cheerful,
humorous fantasy at that, as in his first Xanth series novel, A Spell
for Chameleon. The book's young hero, Bink, is without magical powers in
If you liked the "Harry Potter" series for the believable way the magic elements are handled, for the glorious escapism, and for their appeal to girls, you may enjoy these titles:
"Olivia Kidney" by Ellen Potter
12-year old Olivia gets locked out of her apartment and spends the evening searching for her father, the building's superintendent. Her encounters with the strange occupants of the building help her to resolve the problems in her life.
"The Trolls" by Polly Horvath