Okay, so I just read Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover, after someone mentioned it on the Child Lit listserv (where I lurk, but never post) last week and made it sound supremely appealing. Wow. How have I never read her before? What an utterly delicious book — just ask Christopher, who had to stop reading this to listen to excerpts every few minutes.

I know that Jenny and Justine are fans, so then the question becomes why they did not FORCE me to read her sooner? At gunpoint, if necessary?

More later on some elements of this book in contrast to more recent teen fantasies (it holds up remarkably well, but there are some things in here — things that work, I might add — that you just don’t see today).

In the meantime, are there any other wonderful, lesser-known (to me, anyway) YA/children’s fantasy novelists I should know about that y’all are keeping from me? I should confess here that my own seams are showing — the fantasy I grew up reading was mostly of the supernatural variety for adults or from Latin America ditto (aside from the classics for younger children that everyone reads); next up are Franny Billingsley and Susan Cooper’s books, so any recommendations are welcome, even if they seem obvious to you.

17 thoughts on “Betrayed!”

  1. Franny Billingsley is so great. Have you read Elisabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Guard?

  2. I love all of Margaret Mahy’s books! The first one I read was The Tricksters, which I’ve continued to re-read every couple of years, but all of them are wonderful. And I’d definitely second Holly’s rec of The Perilous Gard – I just read it for the first time last month and it’s now one of my favorite fantasy novels ever, for kids or adults!

  3. I haven’t read The Perilous Guard, but will get a copy immediately.
    Okay, Justine, I guess you’re off the hook. And, yep, I adore Rosemary Sutcliff. Have fun in Paris, btw.

  4. Have you read anything by Nicholas Stuart Gray? Fantastic children’s writer in both senses of the word, now sadly out of print. Start with Grimbold’s Other World, then The Seventh Swan.

  5. Ditto on “The Perilous Gard.” Also, check out Mahy’s, “The Catalogue of the Universe” if you get a chance. Crazy good story that.

  6. I’ve added Gray to the list. And I’ve put every single Mahy book at the library on hold. As well as the Perilous Gard. Yay!

  7. Oh, you’re going to have fun with Susan Cooper.
    On an unrelated note, the Fesser and I found ourselves–felicitiously–at 3rd St. Stuff & Cafe in Lexington on our trip back from Columbus, OH, today. Woulda called if I’d had yr number for some SBA facetime. Maybe next time. Made up for the disappointment by rousting Carrie and Lowell for a drink on the final leg of our journey. Seemed like the right thing to do….

  8. You were literally a block and a half away from our place — that’s our coffee shop. We took Lowell and Carrie there when they were here, even. Next time for sure!

  9. Oh, that Carrie and Lowell, always willing to go drink beverages (beer or coffee) in good company.
    Meanwhile, this list is utterly fabu (as is a similar list by Justine recently, of overlooked YA). My library hold card is now full; have “Perilous Gard” and “Changeover” arriving first.

  10. YES to Perilous Gard, a book I checked out from the library AGAIN AND AGAIN as a child and have reread & loved again in the last few years also; yes, too, to Alan Garner, “The Owl Service” is surely his best but “Weirdstone of Brisingamen” and “Moon of Gomrath” also excellent. How did you not read Susan Cooper?!? Those books are going to blow you away, esp. “The Dark is Rising” and “Greenwitch.” NB I assume you have read “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” and subsequent installments in Joan Aiken’s series? They trail off in quality towards the end, but the first four or so are wonderfully good.

  11. This is probably my own failing, but I have never liked the Cooper books. I read the series when I was a kid and tried to re-read them again recently, to see if I would like them more the second time around, and couldn’t get through the first book. I don’t know what it is, but I find the writing too … static?
    I’ll be interested to hear what you think, G. It is odd to not love a series that so many people that you share enthusiasms with, like Trixie and Jenny, do.
    However, it’s hard to think of a more perfect book than Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

  12. Robert Westall’s THE WATCH HOUSE and also THE SCARECROWS are also terrific. I loved Annabel and Edgar Johnson’s science fiction y.a. AN ALIEN MUSIC when I was younger, but haven’t read it in a while.
    I love Nicholas Stuart Gray, and I’d also recommend Pope’s THE SHERWOOD RING, which is somewhat frothier than PERILOUS GARD.
    And not actually fantasy, but just in case no one has pointed you at it, Gwenda, Konigberg’s A PROUD TASTE FOR SCARLET AND MINIVER is wonderful. And I keep meaning to track down a copy of THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE NEVER DID RUN SMOOTH by Marilyn Singer — was reminded of it after reading DRAMARAMA.

  13. Anyone here ever read any Tamora Pierce??
    Or the Snow Queen by Joan D Vinge?
    Also Robin McKinleys The Blue Sword.
    I’ve always had a soft spot for those ones.

  14. wow. i do not have internet but have always wondered if there were any other overaged YA sci-fi freaks of the discrimininating kind.
    i love Mahy, Jones, Pinkwater, Hoving and Pratchett and am always hungry for more mazing books…
    I hope yall know Isabel Hoving- some things translate awkward but still overall The Dream Merchant is one the most epic books i#ve come across and i like Scott Westerfeld (though not all his franchises): Peeps and the Uglies trilogies stand out, again alot of awkward or just workmanlike devices but the ideas are so gooooooood.

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