Summer reads.

by Jennifer Dyer

I’ve spent a lot of time reading this summer, trying to find good reads for my 10-year-old daughter.

Here are some of the book series I’ve read:

The Gallagher Academy books, beginning with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, is a delightful series about a group of exceptional young women who appear to attend an exclusive prep school for high-society young ladies. The school, however, is anything but what it seems. It is actually a school training young spies. The books start with the main character Cammie at 15 trying to figure out the world even though she knows more about it than the average person. The books feature strong, dynamic characters who each take on the world in their own super-intelligent, super spy manner. The main character must learn to embrace the truth, depend on her friends, play by the rules, and to discern when not to play by the rules to save those she loves. The girls also spend hours decoding boys, and the main character experiences a PG-rated romance with a boy in the first book. She learns a lot about lying and the pitfalls thereof. The second book brings in mysterious spy guy Zach, but the romance is rated-PG or even G–depending on your POV. I think there might be a kiss per book. The author focuses more on character development and the mysteries facing the characters with a bit of boy decoding thrown in the middle. I have read all the books in the series and have enjoyed it. Super funny and super fun. With a little discussion, I wouldn’t mind my daughter reading these, but by the time she is 12 the books would be fine with me.

The 39 Clues series. I have only read one of the many books in this series so far, but enjoyed it. Lots of adventure, smart characters, and fun. The book I read seemed fine for any age reader able to read on that level.

Books by Ted Dekker. Ted has a group of Young Adult fiction (YA) called the Lost Books. (I put a link to a site that lists all the books. They are on his website, but I didn’t find a list of them together there.) I haven’t gotten to read all of these yet, but the ones I have read I liked. Adventure and fidelity and a race of good vs evil. Some of Ted’s thriller books would be best for older teens and adults, but if your child is into/interested in vampire books, Immanuel’s Veins was an interesting take on the subject and definitely points out the evil inherit in the entire idea of being a vampire. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: Also, I found out that I am not the only one who wonders if Nephilim were vampires… :-)

The Sister’s Grimm Detective series. This was recommended by a friend who had read the first book in the series. The fantasy children’s series features a host of fairy-tale creatures, called “Ever Afters” trapped in a town in New York state to contain their mischief to a single area. I enjoyed the first book and went on to read the rest. The third book seems to take a bit darker turn. The author writes one of the most abominable characters I’ve read, a hateful social worker who puts the main character orphans into a foster home with a serial killer just released from prison. This social worker, among other things of interest in her office, has a copy of Purpose Driven Life. The author also mentioned the witches in the Ever-After city belonging to a Wiccan public interest group. The main character is 11 and has a love interest developing. She is confused about her feelings, but in my opinion is too young to be dealing with the issue.

Here are some more resources for those of you searching to find good reads:

American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Fiction Finder.

Jeff Gerke’s  Marcher Lord Press website features lots of great books for sale and a list of books Jeff recommends. Jeff is a Christian who has worked in the Christian publishing industry for years, as well as written many books. He specializes in speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and just plain weird–his words) that honor Christ in one form or another without being preachy or heavy handed. I’ve read his fiction and non-fiction books and heard him speak at several writers conferences. He has helped me with my own writing, and I can assure you he is a man of character. He puts that same character and love for Christ into all his projects. He even has a note for parents on his website. Check it out!

Another of Jeff Gerke’s websites Where the Map Ends has, among other things, a booklist of more than 500 books he recommends. A fabulous resource I have used often.

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