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Block was born in Los Angeles, sometimes known as "Shangri-L.A.", other times "Hell-A", depending on how the day is going. The daughter of a poet and painter, she attended the University of California at Berkeley. Francesca was a riot grrl before the term had even been invented. She read the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez while at college; his magical realism became a major influence. Block's work is grounded in urban realities, though she sees pixies and genies in that "jasmine-scented, jacaranda-purple, neon sparked city". She missed Los Angeles, and wrote her first novel to cure homesickness. That novel was Weetzie Bat, and it made a big wet splash in Young Adult literature.
Walter Dean Myers started school, looking to conquer the world. He could read well; he had discovered the powers of the written word. Words failed him, though, when it came time to speak. He had a speech impediment, one that caused him immense frustration: some words he couldn't pronounce. His frustration soon turned to anger. Luckily, a teacher recognized his problem. She told him to write words he could pronounce, and he began to write. He created poems at first, then short stories, full of words that he did not fear reading aloud. He was soon being praised for his writing: it was just a preview of the praise he would receive when he embarked on his life of writing.
You were looking for books with a mix of fantasy, history, and faeries in a modern or realistic setting. I really enjoy these types of books, too, so several titles jumped right to mind. I wasn’t sure if you were still in high school or not, but these are all young adult books for older readers. I think you’ll find them as enjoyable as Wildwood Dancing!
Last month I blogged about Leviathan, an awesome new book by Scott Westerfeld in the steampunk tradition. The trailer below illustrates the Leviathan plot and setting. For fans of the first book - you'll be thrilled to hear that the second book in the series is called Behemoth and will be published in October 2010.
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.
Experience a minute in the Forest of Hands and Teeth:
Heart pounding yet? The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a novel by Carrie Ryan, is about a young woman named Mary and her life in her village. Sounds bucolic, doesn't it? Until you learn that the village is guarded by a high fence, which is surrounded by hordes of mindless, flesh-eating zombies called the Unconsecrated. Mary can hear their moaning all day and night, and she doesn't dare get too close to the fence, for the infection that turns you into an Unconsecrated is passed by a single bite.