books for 15 year old girl: many restrictions! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was in this forum a few months ago asking this question about a 13 year old boy. Now, it's his sister's birthday. M is turning 15. She is interested in horses (she doesn't have one, and can't) and in graphic design (she has a Mac, and has taken some classes). She LOVES reading, and is really smart, so adult-level books that are appropriate would be fine.

Now, what is appropriate? They are a military family, fundamental Christian, homeschooling. Her parents do not permit any books that have ever been on the the challenged lists. Particularly disallowed are books that have children questioning authority or being disobedient, and anything with magic.

So I'm stumped. Any ideas at all would be appreciated!

sarah
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#2 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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Maybe some books by Janette Oke?

The only horsey books I can think of are slightly below the teen level, or have a young-rebellious-girl theme to them.

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#3 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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If you can find any, Dorothy Lyons wrote a whole bunch of teen-girl-and-horse books which are rather treacly and generally inoffensive.

The rebellious child theme is tough, because so often that's the best way to produce conflict in a story with young characters.

Maybe nonfiction is best -- something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-G...3496241&sr=8-6 for the graphic design interest? I would suggest an art-history book, but I suppose her parents wouldn't approve of nudes.
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#4 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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I would say go the old school route- anything Jane Austen or the Brontes- but she has probably already read all those.

Are you sure NO magic? Not even CS Lewis? I had a fundamentalist Christian friend who so wanted to read Tolkien but her parents said no but when I explained to them he was friends with CS Lewis, a devout Catholic, and actually the one who converted Lewis to Christianity they bought her the Lord of the Rings. Maybe?

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#5 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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AT that age I loved books of quotes by famous people...
(but I'm odd)
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#6 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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A Girl of the Limberlost by Jean Stratton Porter. It's a YA classic from way back in the day but still in print.

Elnora is a poor country girl with a neglectful mother who has never gotten over her husband's death. Determined to get an education, Elnora collects moths in the Indiana "limberlost" swamp (lots of stuff about the glories of Creation) buys clothes for herself, goes to HS in the city and makes her way among the other girls. It's really a terrific story of growing up, the redemptive power of love, lots of great characters, nature, and a determined and terrific protagonist.
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#7 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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Anne of Green Gables series
The Black Stallion series (that was my fave)

and
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#8 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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I just adored Girl of the Limberlost.
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#9 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I agree about CS Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia is a big favorite, but the slightly less well-known Space Trilogy is more grown up, more philosophical sci-fi that is equally as good, but possibly more age appropriate. It has wonderful themes of good versus evil and obedience to God's will put in terms that any of us can relate to.

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#10 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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Hmm. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle? She was a Christian (albeit a rather peculiar one), and there are Christian themes in the book, which is a fantasy and a great, but less-well-known-than-it-deserves classic. The main character is in her teens. ...OK, wait, I forgot, the book does have magic in it... but it's worth looking up anyway. If the parents don't object to Narnia-type magic, they might not mind this?

A Summer To Die by Lois Lowry is very sad, but a great book. No magic, no teenage rebellion--it's about a girl whose older sister, who has always been the prettier one, dies of cancer. The family goes away for the summer to a cottage so the sister can die in happy surroundings, and the main character makes friends and develops her photography talent and assists at the birth of someone's baby, and stuff, all with the sister's illness as a shadow. It's hard to explain, but the book is very subtly written. She might end up bawling her eyes out, but it isn't trite or corny, and it was one of my favourite books at her age. Still is, actually!

The only other author I can think of is Elizabeth Goudge. They're adult books, but should be fine for her--eminently respectable, slightly historical. She writes with a wry, witty Jane Austenish air and has gorgeously quirky characters--A City of Bells would be a good one to start with, maybe. A few of her books have references to fairies and Celtic mythology, but not in an offensive way. Towers in the Mist is good if she's into Elizabethan stuff; or Gentian Hill is good too. Think of her as Jane Austen crossed with Dickens and just a touch of Lucy Maud Montgomery, but less soppy, and there you have it.

ETA: Thirding the Limberlost recommendation. It's uncommon enough she might not have read it, but a genuinely good book and a classic.

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#11 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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Other Madeleine L'Engle books you might go with are The Arm of the Starfish and A Ring of Endless Light. Both have teen/young love elements, but also spiritual/finding one's place in the world/wrestling with the universe aspects.
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#12 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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Yeeeah, but bear in mind the later Madeleine L'Engle books get progressively weirder. They have ley lines and kything and unusual spiritual elements which this girl's family might well see as dodgy. AWIT is quite tame in comparison.

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#13 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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here are 2 l'engle books i read the fall/winter right before my 16th birthday -
The Summer of the Great Grandmother and The Irrational Season. i still have them and have read and re-read them over the years - finding new meaning each time.

how about a book about an artist? i have a great o'keefe book that is very interesting and well-loved - or how about a book about the women of bauhaus?
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#14 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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Francine Rivers and Bodie Thoene are both Christian authors that I've enjoyed. I'd suggest Thoene for a teenager.

You could also do a true story, something like The Hiding Place.

Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#15 of 43 Old 10-08-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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How about I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith? I liked it, and it is fairly tame. It is charming and a good coming-of-age type book. One of the reviews says:

Some people have compared I Capture the Castle to the novels of Jane Austen, and it's just as well-plotted and witty. But the Mortmains are more bohemian--as much like the Addams Family as like any of Austen's characters. Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmations, wrote this novel in 1948. And though the story is set in the 1930s, it still feels fresh, and well deserves its reputation as a modern classic. --Maria Dolan

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#16 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:35 AM
 
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What about YA stuff by Joan Bauer? It's full of quirky, humorous teen situations - but with meaningful stuff going on, & responsible kids - & I think there's nothing that would offend. She's got a number of novels out there: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw...auer&x=12&y=22

Also, for horsey stuff, I loved Robin McKinley's The Hero & the Crown, and The Blue Sword - but there is fairy tale type magic in there, don't know it that'd be objectionable (FWIW, The Hero & the Crown is a winner of the Newbery medal, an ALA Notable book & an ALA Best Book for young adults)

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#17 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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Wow, that's kind of tough. Are books about orphans OK? What about the Madeleine L'Engel books about the Austin family, I think those are pretty tame. I remember reading a lot of old Lassie and Lad books, Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, The Five Little Peppers, Little Men. Those aren't necessarily great for a 15 year old, though, but I assume they wouldn't let her read things with adult themes either. How about a book about graphic design or drawing.
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#18 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 03:45 AM
 
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What about Barbara Kingsolver?

No magic, check.
No rebellion, check. In fact, this family gets along great.
No sex, check.
Adult books, but you said that was fine.

I don't know what a challenge list is though?
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#19 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 04:09 AM
 
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I don't know - some of the Kingsolver books do feature sex, outside of marriage. And then Poisionwood Bible doesn't portray religion in the best light.

I've always liked Lois Lowry ... she did write one book that was Jewish in theme - not sure if they're OK with other religions portrayed in books. But, it did have Christians in it! I also was a fan of A Good Summer to Die ... and as a bonus, it featured a UC!

Madeline L'Engle gets kooky for sure ... there's some magic in her books, though explained more as energy and science versus hocus pocus. I loved her books, personally. Still read them.

What about Huckleberry Fun and Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

I'm actually not even sure what is on the banned list. I didn't know there was a banned list (I mean, still).

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#20 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 04:17 AM
 
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I can't count how many times I read Little Women. I just never got tired of reading it, no matter how many times it had been. I have no idea how young or old I was, but I remember LOVING it.
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#21 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 11:11 AM
 
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The Christy books are usually a hit with parents looking for Christian fiction for teen girls.

http://www.amazon.com/Christy-Cather.../dp/0380001411
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#22 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 12:56 PM
 
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Do a search at Christian Books under teen fiction. Surely something will fit her parent's criteria. Though even Christian books aimed at teens tend to have some rebellion towards parents in them.

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#23 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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Huck Finn is pretty high up on the banned books list. And aren't Bronte's characters sort of built on being rebellious?

Honestly, given those restrictions, a nice manual on graphic design is the best idea I can think of. Or maybe some sort of nice horse breed type book, like this?
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#24 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:18 PM
 
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You could always give a gift certificate for a bookstore and let her choose. Those are pretty popular with the teen crowd IME.
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#25 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:31 PM
 
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Maybe that series set at a summer horse camp? The girls there aren't around their parents so they wouldn't be disobedient to them. I think they break the rules some times, but I seem to remember that resulting in natural consequences: e.g. going for trail ride alone=>teenager lost and scared.

How about non-fiction about horses? Like an illustrated book of different types. Or a book on dressage or something.
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#26 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most-challenged books -- it's on many banned lists and I would definitely not choose it given her parents' restrictions.

I Capture the Castle is a really good choice, and so is Little Women (although she's more likely to have already read LW).
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#27 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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I would second the Anne of Green Gables series, or something else (The Story Girl, eg) by L.M.Montgomery.

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#28 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, thanks everyone! My list of possibilities is HUGE now! I'm heading off to the library tomorrow to check stuff out.

Now, does anyone remember plot specifics of My Antonia (Willa Cather)? I remember loving that book, but don't remember much about it. I guess I could get it out of the library too.
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#29 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 04:47 PM
 
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From what I remember, My Antonia should be fine. It's been a while since I read it, though.
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#30 of 43 Old 10-09-2008, 05:06 PM
 
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Melody carlson writes great books for girls, she is a top christian author
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