Right now I’m reading The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray – it’s the latest (and I believe last) book in the Gemma Doyle series (trilogy?). Yet another young adult series that has captivated me, Bray creates a world of magic and petticoats. Taking place in the 19th century, achingly close to the 20th century, the books focus on the ideas of women’s rights (or lack thereof). The girls are all destined for whatever life their families have chosen for them (or been forced to succumb to) but each ache for something more, or at the very least an opportunity to choose for themselves.
Girls reading the books will see how much opportunities they are given these days but at the same time may notice how little some things have change – how far we’ve come as a society, and how little we’ve progressed at the same time. Magic and romance add a lovely spark to this historic novel which takes place in London for the most part, though the series began in India for a few chapters and has a constant Indian presence throughout the series. It is exotic and traditional all in one moment, exhilarating and stifling – much like adolescence.
Perhaps these books are even better to read at my age or older, fresh out of adolescence with a clearer mind of the girls’ mistakes – I am not the young hot headed teenager I once was and can see with great perspective when they are being silly, but I’m young enough to rally around them anyway (or perhaps simply human enough). Add to that a fresh dose of mommy issues, something I always enjoy (Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Alias) – I do adore any story where family ties are not traditional and simple.
Anyhow, I just started Act III of the book and yet I’m not even halfway through. I’m loving every minute and squealing my way through with delight and I suppose since I haven’t finished the book that’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject thus far.
Other books of a similar genre that I’d recommend are: The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz; the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer; The Luxe by Anna Godbersen; Tricksters Choice by Tamora Pierce and her other books as well.
Anyone else know of some other good ones?