The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci #2) – Diana Wynne Jones

1017753(From Goodreads)

His father and uncles are enchanters, his mother a powerful sorceress, yet nothing seems magical about Christopher Chant except his dreams. Night after night, he climbs through the formless Place Between and visits marvelous lands he calls the Almost Anywheres. Then Christopher discovers that he can bring real, solid things back from his dreams. Others begin to recognize the extent of his powers, and they issue an order that turns Christopher’s life upside down: Go to Chrestomanci Castle to train to be the controller of all the world’s magic.

Diana Wynne Jones’ suggested reading order of the Chrestomanci series. Notice that this is different to the publishing order of the series.

The Lives of Christopher Chant
Conrad’s Fate
Charmed Life
“Warlock at the Wheel”*
“The Sage of Theare”*
Witch Week
The Magicians of Caprona
“Stealer of Souls”*
“Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream”*
The Pinhoe Egg

*short stories published in Mixed Magics

Diana Wynne Jones website.

The Giver – Lois Lowry

18812106(From Goodreads)

“I have great honor,” The Giver said. “So will you. But you will find that is not the same as power.”

Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice…or choice.

Everyone is the same.

Except Jonas.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community’s twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life’s work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late?

Lois Lowry’s website.

The Giver official trailer:

I capture the castle – Dodie Smith

Meet the eccentric Mortmans, who live – improbably – in the ruins of a castle: seventeen year old Cassandra charts her family life through this journal which is at once warm and rather charming. With a novelist father who suffers from writer’s block, an ‘unusual’ step mother who likes getting in touch with nature by walking around naked, and two siblings who also – from Cassandra’s perspective – have their shortcomings, this is a lively and witty story about life between the wars. With a love story woven in, this is a lovely and memorable novel.

Pages of Julia’s blog

Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren

Charming and absurd, the mischevious protagonist of this story lives alone at the end of the village with her horse and pet monkey. A true free spirit (her mother died when she was but a baby and her father has been lost at sea), she spends her days engaged in hijinks such as dancing with burglars, fighting the strongest man in the world at the circus and just generally causing trouble! A delightful, must-read story.


The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier

This novel is one of the first teen psychological thrillers. Protagonist Jerry Renault finds himself pitted against the dark side of human nature when he refuses to sell chocolates to raise money at his school. This brilliant and well-written novel looks at what happens when someone tries to go against the system.

Open Library

Machine-gunners – Robert Westall

Chas McGill has the second-best collection of war souvenirs in town, and he desperately wants it to be the best. When he stumbles across the remains of a German bomber crashed in the woods – its shiny, black machine-gun still intact – he grabs his chance. Soon he’s masterminding his own war effort with dangerous and unexpected results. The pace is unrelenting in this British World War II thriller.

Fantastic fiction

The wonderful wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

With the classic mantra ‘There’s no place like home’, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the story of Dorothy and her dog Toto who are unexpectedly picked up by a tornado and transported to the wondrous land of Oz. On her journey through Oz to find her way home, she meets and befriends a Scarecrow (who desires brains), a Tin Woodman (who craves a heart), and a Lion (who wants to possess courage). But the Wizard of Oz tells them they must destroy the other wicked witch of Oz, which is a perilous task indeed.

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