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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: Debby G on March 23, 2010, 11:10 AM

Title: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Debby G on March 23, 2010, 11:10 AM
My friend's smart ten-year-old daughter is reading YAs now, but has no interest in boys. My friend asked me to recommend YAs for girls without romance. I think I might also steer her to tweenish novels without romance, such as Kira-Kira, Rules, and When You Reach Me. I'd love more suggestions for YAs or tween novels that have girl appeal and no romance. Thanks.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: dinalapomy101 on March 23, 2010, 11:33 AM
At my library, and as the YA Librarian, this is a hard request to come up with -- and it comes up often! I have had moms come in and say that their 10yo daughter is an excellent reader so now she is reading YA but wants no romance in the YAs.

NO romance at ALL in YA is hard, so what I usually tell the parent is that if her 10yo is a good reader, that is excellent!  Then I explain that one of the main differences between the YA and (upper) MG sections of the lib is not the vocabulary or difficulty in reading of the books, but instead is based on the age of the characters in the books and what they are dealing with in their lives, which skew older and tend to deal with an aspect of romance.  So if what she wants are just more good books for a good 10yo reader, I'll recommend some upper-MGs, such as RULES, WHEN YOU REACH ME, etc, like you said, Debbie.

(And Debbie, I also know you know this yourself, but it comes up fairly often at the lib so I thought I'd elaborate here on how us librarians tend to work with the parents on it. ;) )

That said, some other upper-MG goodies that I've read lately:
THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY by Adam Rex
WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin
THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE by Jacqueline Kelly
THE IMPORTANCE OF WINGS by Robin Friedman
HAVEN by Beverly Patt

Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: vfmom on March 23, 2010, 11:33 AM
Well, these may be more MG and the protag is a boy, but Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series (Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, etc) are pretty light on the romance.  There are a couple strong females, but the mc is a boy.

I am sure there are better suggestions, but that is the first thing I thought of!

eta: loved Smekday!  great book.

What about something like Watership Down?  or some of the Madeleine L'Engles?  (some romance, but not over the top, iirc)

etaa:  I think some of Diana Wynne Jones' are light on the romance, but I can't come up with specifics atm.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: ello on March 23, 2010, 11:49 AM
I highly recommend the Theodosia books by R. L. LaFevers. She's a blueboarder also and these books are FABULOUS!!!! It's all about Egyptian curses and a wonderful girl protagonist who is so smart and really likeable. My 10 year old loves them! And there's no romance in them at all!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: RJ_Anderson on March 23, 2010, 01:23 PM
Also ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN and TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE by Adrienne Kress are excellent, adventure-packed contemporary/fantasy novels with the emphasis on friendship and action rather than romance.

Philip Reeve's LARKLIGHT, STARCROSS and MOTHSTORM have a tiny bit of romance but it's very much viewed through a middle-grade lens (i.e. the narrator either overlooks it or makes fun of it) so I bet she'd get a kick out of those too...

And Sarah Prineas's MAGIC THIEF books would also fit the bill nicely, I think.

None of those are YA novels, admittedly, but it really is pretty hard to find YA's without ANY romance...
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: ecb on March 23, 2010, 01:45 PM
Quote
None of those are YA novels, admittedly, but it really is pretty hard to find YA's without ANY romance...

...And not just that, but it's not simply romance alone that makes a YA inappropriate for a ten-year-old.  There's no romance in STARCROSSED, for instance, but it's DEFINITELY not for a grade-schooler (there is no romance because the main character's lover is murdered in the first chapter).

That said, I'm going to suggest Tanith Lee's books PIRATICA and the Claidi Journals (WOLF TOWER, WOLF STAR, etc. And that might be out of order.). Both have hints at romance, but the adventure is very much the focus.

Also, at ten and an advanced reader, she might enjoy reading the classics--a higher reading level without necessarily overly-mature content.  Has she read all the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series? Or THE HUNDRED-AND-ONE DALMATIANS  (the original novel by Dodie Smith)? What about THE HOBBIT? The Chronicles of Narnia? At that age, my brother *loved* GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (and having read that in college, I have to say I think 10 might actually be the proper target age for that book).
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: andracill on March 23, 2010, 02:49 PM
Susan Cooper's DARK IS RISING series might fit the bill, as well -- no romance, and the MC is 11 in the first book.  THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY is another good one (I read it at 11).
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Marissa Doyle on March 23, 2010, 03:00 PM
Tamora Pierce comes to mind...and definitely a huge yes for Diana Wynne Jones.  I think there's plenty of upper MG out there to keep her in reading material for a long time.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: jeanne k on March 23, 2010, 04:02 PM
The first thing that came to mind was the upper MG Pictures of Hollis Wood (Patricia Reilly Giff).
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: vfmom on March 23, 2010, 04:12 PM
Thought of some more (been a while for me, so not positive on content)

My Friend Flicka (and sequels)
Misty of Chincoteague
Black Beauty
Black Stallion and sequels
Anne of Green Gables
Wizard of Oz series
Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm
Treasure Island
Island of Blue Dolphins
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
The Secret Garden
Nancy Drew
Trixie Belden
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Liz Straw on March 23, 2010, 05:50 PM
Laurie Halse Anderson - Fever and Chains

Books by Avi

Peter Abram's Down the Rabbit Hole, etc.  Echo Falls Mysteries

Carl Haasen - Hoot, Flush,

Karen Karbo - Minerva Clark Gets a Clue and Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs

Gordon Korman Books

Richard Peck books

Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: hazelnut on March 23, 2010, 10:08 PM
Historical Fiction:
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Rodzina; Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman
Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotsen

Contemporary Fiction:
The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

And a sweet contemporary fantasy with a hint of romance: Savvy by Ingrid Law
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: andracill on March 24, 2010, 10:09 AM
If you look for Tamora Pierce, get her Circle series -- those are good fantasies with no romance.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Debby G on March 24, 2010, 12:01 PM
Thank you! These should keep her busy!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: bechick108 on March 24, 2010, 12:24 PM
Hazelnut, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was my all time favorite book in 5th grade. Thanks for jogging my memory, haven't thought about it in years. I think I'll go hunt me down a copy.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: CynJay on March 24, 2010, 12:45 PM
I'd add The Green Glass Sea and Red Menace both by Ellen Klages.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: hazelnut on March 24, 2010, 04:55 PM
Quote
Hazelnut, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was my all time favorite book in 5th grade. Thanks for jogging my memory, haven't thought about it in years. I think I'll go hunt me down a copy.

You're welcome! It's a wonderful book; I've reread it, too!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Amanda Coppedge on April 07, 2010, 02:15 PM
Hilary McKay's books about the Cassons are mainly focused on family relations and friendships.  They are super-clever, hilarious and deeply moving.  First one is SAFFY'S ANGEL.  I recommend these books all the time.  There are some romantic subplots about the oldest sister but the point of view for the books usually comes from her younger siblings and is more focused on them.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Mike Jung on April 07, 2010, 02:45 PM
I haven't actually read it - and I hope my memory isn't sabotaging me - but I have this recollection of blueboarder Megan Crewe talking about her YA novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, and how she specifically chose to write a book dealing with issues of friendship and peer relationships, not romance.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: andracill on April 07, 2010, 03:30 PM
Yes, Megan's book doesn't have a strong romance in it -- maybe some tiny hints is all.  However, it's definitely YA, so I don't know if a 10-year old would 'get' it -- though it's a wonderful book!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Amanda Coppedge on April 08, 2010, 07:49 AM
I was going to recommend GIVE UP THE GHOST too because it's not a romance, but yes, there are some YA elements in there that definitely make it not something I'd recommend for a 10 year old.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: C.K. on April 08, 2010, 08:41 AM
Skin Deep by E.M. Crane.  :bicycle
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: mtrain on April 11, 2010, 05:58 AM
I might be a little late to the game on this one...in other words, you may already have your list of books for your friend, but my 11-yr-old daughter sounds similar in reading ability and style to the child you were inquiring for on this thread.  Some of her recent favorite choices for books have been:

WHEN YOU REACH ME
Avi books, especially THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE
Mike Lupica books  (sports related, but male MC?)
HEARTBEAT
THE LIGHTNING THIEF (and she didn't like fantasy before this one)

And remember...there are still a lot of great stories in the middle grade category that can appeal to a more complex thinker and stronger reader.  As a teacher, I always remind parents that kids don't need to read "older" books, just because they are stronger readers.  There are a lot of thought-provoking, great reads for pre-teens too.  Some of my favorites for a ten-year-old would be:

THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
HEARTBEAT (and anything Sharon Creech, really)
A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT

My website tracks my daughter's choices and opinions if you want to give that info to your friend.  Good luck!



Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: olmue on April 11, 2010, 06:11 AM
Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes, by Gennifer Choldenko. Funny, unusual historical setting (the MC lives on Alcatraz Island while Al Capone is a prisoner there). The MC does like a girl on the island, but especially the first one is definitely about friends, his little sister, and of course, the criminals!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Natalie on April 11, 2010, 10:10 AM
And remember...there are still a lot of great stories in the middle grade category that can appeal to a more complex thinker and stronger reader.  As a teacher, I always remind parents that kids don't need to read "older" books, just because they are stronger readers.  There are a lot of thought-provoking, great reads for pre-teens too. 

I agree with this. I looked up both GIVE UP THE GHOST and WHEN YOU REACH ME on this site: http://www.arbookfind.com/ and found that while both have the same reading level (mid-4th grade), the interest levels are different--YA for the former and MG for the latter. This site does have a MG+ category for 6th graders and up, so your friend could browse those. And of course (as I know Debby already knows) parents know their kids best and know what they can handle content-wise. My 5th grade daughter loves light romantic elements in books (she's in love with the TWILIGHT series), but can't sleep when she reads something disturbing, like the tragedy in OUT OF THE DUST. (Apparently, vampires don't count as "disturbing" since they aren't realistic. ;))
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Aud on April 12, 2010, 04:15 AM
I have nothing to add. But I have an eleven-year-old daughter who will thank you all very much for your ideas.

This is a delicious thread, no?
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Donna Farley on April 12, 2010, 02:10 PM
This is a GREAT thread...many old favorites listed, but loads of new ones I want to read myself!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: MysteryRobin on April 18, 2010, 02:30 PM
I'd probably also look to some classics like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Time Machine - and Pyle's Legend of King Arthur and Robin Hood are at a pretty high reading level, but very appropriate for a 10 year old. My daughter loved them!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: EbunAdewumi on April 19, 2010, 12:32 AM
I loved Phillip Pullman's trilogy "The Golden Compass". Also my all time favorite "Harriet the Spy".

Two boys I baby-sit are 9 and 10 and they read young YA books now and watch shows like "iCarly" and "Big Time Rush" but they aren't really interested in girls. I think if its not the main focus most kids just kinda glaze over it. Like they know its there but they have a whatever attitude towards it and focus on the characters and plot line.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: laura pauling on April 19, 2010, 05:12 AM
What about Cornelia Funke? And Christopher Paolini? The Warriors series? Holes by Louis Sachar? My daughter loved To Kill a Mockingbird. Sometimes classics offer the vocabulary challenge.

There's lots of upper middle grade and young YA fantasy series. Check out your library. And Good luck!
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Hannah on May 11, 2010, 11:23 AM
Your request seems so simple, but it's quite a challenge! I think these may fit the bill:

13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson
FEELING SORRY FOR CELIA by Jaclyn Moriarty
THE DECLARATION by Gemma Malley
THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer
HOLES by Louis Sachar
THE SCHOOL FOR DANGEROUS GIRLS by Eliot Schrefer

If these do have romance, I'm fairly certain that it's not the main part of the novel. I just went through my goodreads to find this list; a lot of these I haven't read in ages.
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: TanjaW on May 20, 2010, 07:56 PM
Flashing back to my inner 11 year-old self...with many thanks to you all for this thread!  Saw some old favorites listed and a few new ones I'm very curious to check out. :)

- t

 
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: teri on May 20, 2010, 08:01 PM
Mine?  The Line -- no romance at all.

I just went back and read that she is ten.  I think The Line would be okay, but it is a dystopia.  
Title: Re: YAs for girls without romance
Post by: Donna Farley on May 26, 2010, 05:46 PM
Holes by Louis Sachar?

My daughter got me both the book & the movie for Mother's Day because she knows I'm a big fan of the movie and have been wanting to get round 2 reading the book too...the movie has romance, though, is it not in the book? It's not in the mc's present story, but in the historical back story....

And many of the books mentioned in the thread are ones I read and loved as a kid....because I didn't care for books 'for girls' but read Robert Heinlein and Jules Verne and ER Burroughs......