Every generation is defined by certain famous books. Today’s pre-teens are the Twilight generation. While I do find it laudable that Stephanie Meyer encouraged many teens and pre-teens to read who normally do not, there are better books out there. Books with developed characters, great overarching messages, original plot lines, good writing, and romances with kick.
So, what should your pre-teen be reading? Tamora Pierce books.
Who is Tamora Pierce? The “secret” fad author of my age bracket (I’m now 23). A favorite author of smart girls with imagination everywhere–A vast majority of my female friends at Notre Dame admitted to reading her when they were younger. Her first book Alanna: The First Adventure was published in 1983. Perhaps her first books simply came out too far before the social media boom for her fans to coalesce into an internet presence large enough to turn her work into a global sensation a la Twilight or Harry Potter, but that doesn’t make her any less remarkable. I’m still crossing my fingers that her books will be made into movies or a TV show (this is a call out to all Hollywood producers everywhere.)
What does she write? Tamora Pierce writes fabulous fantasy quartets for young adults. I would most strongly recommend her works set in Tortall, a mystical kingdom in an alternate fantasy world. She has completed three intersecting quartets set in this universe so far. While there are no vampires, werewolves, or angels, Pierce’s magical characters are bound to win over the hearts of the supernaturally obsessed. Magic wielding lady knights. Part-god wild magicians. And “normal” characters with an abnormal amount of personality and pizazz complete the cast.
Why should you secretly encourage your pre-teen to read Tamora Pierce’s books? They’re well-written, accessible, and have wonderful plots. They’re light and meaty at the same time. They are one of the few sets of books which I re-read regularly (every two years) and still can’t put down. Her characters are real and gritty, and yet personable at the same time. Her heroines aren’t mamby pamby depressed teens who wallow in self-pity until they’re swept off their feet by disturbingly perfect heroes. Pierce’s books teach real lessons about love and loss, friendship, growing up, and fighting for what you want out of life, instead of hoping it will be drawn to your scent while you sleep.
So, go and take a look at these hidden gems. I challenge you to breeze through a few next time you’re at the bookstore or on amazon.com.
For more information on Tamora Pierce and her books check out these websites: