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*Portal Pages: FANTASY

Book Reviews for Young Adults


Lowry, L.(2014). The giver. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.

Awards: 1994 Newbery Medal, 1994 Regina Medal, 1996 William Allen White Award, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children's Book, Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book, Booklist Editors' Choice, School Library Journal Best Book

ReviewAsk anyone you know what their favorite color is and you will always get an immediate answer. But in The Giver, by Lois Lowry, this question would be met with confusion and maybe even danger. Set in the future in a dystopian society, the community where protagonist Jonas lives is peaceful, orderly, and completely without color. Here there is no pain, no sadness, and no choice.

At the age of 12 each community member is sorted into their future career roles by their leaders, the Elders. When it comes time for Jonas to receive his future role in the community, he is shocked to be named the new Receiver. Working each day with the old Receiver, now called the Giver, Jonas learns the dark secret of his seemingly perfect community. He receives memories of color, cold, happiness and excitement, but also of pain, death, and sorrow. Learning that the Elders have taken memory from his people, Jonas must struggle with the moral implications of his new role and the isolation that being Receiver brings. Back home, he is able to find some small comfort in the baby, Gabriel, who his father is hoping to help thrive so that he might not be released, a term which here, means killed.

Giving happy memories to the baby, Jonas bonds with him and watches as he is soothed and comforted by the joy of memory. When Gabriel fails to show enough improvement, however, Jonas is faced with a terrible choice. Will he return the memories, good and bad, to the community to save Gabriel's life? Or will he bear the burden alone, knowing that he could have saved an innocent life, restoring free will, and the evils that come with it, to his family and friends. A terrible choice and an exciting sleigh ride will decide the fate of Jonas, Gabriel, and the Community.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Long lauded as one of the greatest Young Adult Fantasy novels ever written, Lowry’s book is poignant and thoughtful, earning it a place on fan favorite and awards lists for over 50 years.


Pratchett, T. (2003). The Wee Free Men. New York: Harper Collins.

Awards: ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children's Book, Book Sense Pick, Bulletin Blue Ribbon (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books), Horn Book Fanfare, Kirkus Reviews Editors' Choice, New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library's "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing", School Library Journal Best Book, Margaret A. Edwards Award 2011


Tiffany Aching, a 9 year old girl from the small shepherding community known as the Chalk, is different from other children. She can see things, hear things, that others can’t. She has a knowing and a fearlessness that drives her to protect the people of the chalk. When her younger brother, Wentworth, and the Baron’s son, Roland, are kidnapped by the nefarious fairy queen, Tiffany does not hesitate to dive into the fairy realm to do battle with forces unseen… well, unseen by everyone except for Tiffany and her diminutive fairy helpers, the Nac Mac Feegles. Will Tiffany save her brother? Will the Baron’s son be returned before an innocent woman is convicted of his abduction? Will the Nac Mac Feegle ever stop stealing the Aching’s chickens? Find out in this first installment of the Tiffany Aching books from Terry Pratchett's Discworld.



​Pratchett, T. (2004). A Hat Full of Sky. New York: Harper Collins.

Awards: New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children's Book, Horn Book Fanfare, Locus Award


An ancient evil has awoken. It is empty, disembodied, and seeking, seeking power. The Hiver lies sleeping, until great power makes itself known, and 11 year old Tiffany Aching is powerful indeed. As the Hiver draws nearer, Tiffany is busy apprenticing to be the new witch of the Chalk. As she clips toenails, births babies, cleans and cooks for the elderly, and tends to the injuries and illnesses of the community, Tiffany is crestfallen: Surely there is more to witch craft than chores and muck! Little does she know that enough magic and excitement to last a lifetime is coming for her in the form of the Hiver. Join Tiffany and the spitting, swearing, thieving, Nac Mac Feegle as they once again team up to battle the darkness. The Darkness where Tiffany will learn that the mucky jobs have meaning, the people part is important, and that sometimes evil isn’t evil, but something else entirely.   


Pratchett, T. (2006). Wintersmith. London: Doubleday.

Awards: ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, ALA Booklist Editors' Choice, ALA Notable Children's Book, New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age

ReviewThe adventure and apprenticeship continue as Tiffany Aching, now thirteen, begins training under the formidable mountain witch Miss Treason. When Miss Treason takes Tiffany to witness the Dark Morris, a ritual dance welcoming the coming winter, Tiffany forgets herself and lets her feet run away with her. Joining the Dance, the young witch is mistaken by the Wintersmith, spirit of the season, as his destined queen.  Tiffany is a promising young witch, but will the power of her ancestral Chalk Lands and the aid of the rough and rowdy Nac Mac Feegles be enough to banish her coldhearted suitor? Or will the world fall into eternal winter under snowflakes and icebergs fashioned in the likeness of Tiffany herself?  


Pratchett, T. (2010). I Shall Wear Midnight. London, England: Random House Children's Books.

Awards: 2010 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Winner


Tiffany Aching is a young woman and will dress like one thank you very much - even if she is a witch.  Oh she will wear the hat and ride the broom, but as she says, “When I am old I will wear midnight” and Tiffany, despite being the Mac Nac Feegle’s Big Wee Hag of the Hill, is far from old! On the Chalk Lands witches have a tendency to make people a bit jumpy, even witches dressed in green and blue. But lately people are treating Tiffany more suspiciously than usual, looking at her with fear and even anger. When a local girl is beaten and her baby lost, the rumors begin, rumors of kidnapping and stealing away babies in the night, of demons and curses and the wicked witch of the chalk. It’s not just Tiffany who has come under attack, all the witches of the disc are facing the same trials, brought on by the mind bending hate of the Cunning Man. The Ghost of the vengeful witch hunter is determined to see all witches burn, starting with Tiffany. Will Tiffany be able to read the omens in time? Who is the old witch in midnight? Why does the Hare run into the flames? Tiffany must use all her headology to come up against the cunning man to save witchcraft on the Disc.