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“The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley

There are those books that you read when you are young which make a life-long impression. Sometimes you won’t think about it for years, then you see a copy of the book and suddenly you’re back in your 13 year-old self, reading faster and faster as whole new worlds open up to you within the pages of a great book.  For me, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley was that kind of book.  The main character, Harry, was (and is) the perfect protagonist, in my opinion. She had a cool nickname, she was quiet and smart, and she handled a scary situation (my 13 year-old self only thought of it as an adventure) with courage and self-possession. Not to mention, the happy ending! Robin McKinley has a unique and beautiful way of writing that draws me back to her books again and again. She’s also an author who assumes a certain level of intelligence in her readers; you sometimes have to work to see the full picture, which was a revelation to me as a young reader.  I still re-read this book sometimes, and I love it more with every reading. If you’ve never read The Blue Sword, please do so immediately, and try all of Robin McKinley’s other books while you’re at it.

Here are a few other titles that had an impact on me. I can’t wait to give them as gifts to my niece and nephew so they can form their own fond memories:


The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare


First Test by Tamora Pierce



Island of the Blue Dolphins Scott O’Dell


Lyddie Katherine Paterson



Ella Enchanted Gail Carson Levine



Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer

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