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Best plots in children's lit?

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Hi everyone,

Which books in your opinion have the most well-crafted, most powerful plot lines? Speicifcally plot.

Thank you! I'd post my own thoughts on the subject but honestly I'm still thinking about what my answer would be.
#1 - August 13, 2012, 10:43 AM

A few came to mind for me --

Despereaux
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ella Enchanted

Would love others' opinions!
#2 - August 13, 2012, 11:07 AM

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Masters of plot are Rebecca Stead in WHEN YOU REACH ME and Clare Vanderpool's MOON OVER MANIFEST.
#3 - August 13, 2012, 11:20 AM
FLYING THE DRAGON (Charlesbridge, 2012)
A LONG PITCH HOME (Charlesbridge, 2016)

www.nataliediaslorenzi.com
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C. Lee

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I still love Al Capone Does My Shirts for plot. I thought she wove the plot threads beautifully.
#4 - August 13, 2012, 11:44 AM

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban comes to mind for plot.
#5 - August 13, 2012, 11:48 AM
Katie L. Carroll

Pirate Island - MG adventure
Elixir Bound - YA Fantasy
www.katielcarroll.com

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I just finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and it's probably the best fiction I've read all year. Great characters, great plot.
Vijaya
#6 - August 13, 2012, 12:29 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Okay for Now--Gary schmidt
I second, When you Reach me.
#7 - August 13, 2012, 01:32 PM

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Have any of you read, Bigger Than a Bread Box, by Laurel Snyder? The plot is spectacular, a fun series of twists and turns. As far as plot, I liked her imagination.
#8 - August 13, 2012, 06:27 PM

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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt-LOVE THIS ONE!
#9 - August 13, 2012, 07:33 PM
Lisa
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I second Harry Potter. The plot covering the seven book story arc is staggeringly complicated and satisfying.
#10 - August 13, 2012, 09:25 PM

The Queen's Thief series by megan whalen turner.

The Curseworkers series by holly black.
#11 - August 13, 2012, 09:27 PM
Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow: 4/28/09)
Fury of the Phoenix (Greenwillow: 3/30/11)
Serpentine (Month9Books: 9/1/15)

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Can't believe I'd forgotten to add HOLES by Louis Sachar...
#12 - August 13, 2012, 11:40 PM
FLYING THE DRAGON (Charlesbridge, 2012)
A LONG PITCH HOME (Charlesbridge, 2016)

www.nataliediaslorenzi.com
http://bibliolinks.wordpress.com/

Mistwood - Leah Cypess
Bleeding Violet - Dia Reeves
The Amulet of Samarkind - Jonathan Stroud
#13 - August 14, 2012, 01:57 AM

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The Westing Game
#14 - August 14, 2012, 07:17 AM

Reader, reader, reader...
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ENDER'S GAME (though, does that count when it was originally for adults?)

And very much THE WESTING GAME, HARRY POTTER, and WHEN YOU REACH ME.
#15 - August 14, 2012, 09:28 AM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

Good call on THE WESTING GAME. I so agree.

I am mixed on Harry Potter. I love them and am impressed by the continuity--unlike many long series, I can't recall any unresolved plot points. That said, for me books 1 and 3 stand above the other books individually, and the series as a whole, in terms of plot.
#16 - August 14, 2012, 09:40 AM

Just read MOON OVER MANIFEST for the second time, and I'm in awe of her ability to weave the threads together - over an 18-year period! Plotting is a weakness of mine, and I appreciate the suggestions here!
#17 - August 14, 2012, 09:46 AM
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2019, Dancing with Daisy (PB)
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2018, Talking to the Moon (MG)
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Mike Jung

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Fanboy mode: among Kate Milford's many strengths as an author is plotting. For evidence, please see her 2010 novel THE BONESHAKER and her upcoming release THE BROKEN LANDS.
#18 - August 14, 2012, 09:48 AM

C. Lee

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I'm kind of into revisiting some of the oldies: The Secret Garden, Because of Winn-Dixie (one of my all time faves.) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
#19 - September 12, 2012, 08:16 AM

I totally second "The Westing Game" (it's the book I have re-read the most in my life), The Queen's Thief series, and "Holes".

It really depends on what you want from your plot, though, that will define what type of good plot you are looking for. The ones I've mentioned above have puzzle pieces and many twists and turns that are artfully pulled together. Some really well-done character-arc plots include "Flash Burnout" by L.K. Madigan, "Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins, "Flipped" by Wendelin van Draanen, and "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks" by E. Lockhart.
#20 - September 12, 2012, 08:34 AM
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 08:35 AM by HDWestlund »

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Harry Potter stands at the very top of any plot of any book I've ever read. Following through on all the plot lines to satisfying conclusions, check. Embedding character "weaknesses" early on that serve as solutions later, check. Clashing character arcs (ie mini plot lines), check. Details that turn out to have massive importance (the whole series is encapsulated in book 1), check. Revelations that change the reader's view of "the truth," check. Irrevocable choices characters make that have good--and bad--consequences, check. The MC rising to the occasion after having to face worse than the worst he could imagine, check.

Other books that are excellent in plot:

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater--it is, hands down, one of the most structurally perfect books I can think of!
Flipped, Wendelin van Draanen--there is a lot of character and voice in this book, but it's also full of characters making choices that drive the plot. Also a very nifty solution at the end.
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (series) by Brandon Sanderson, for his setup of certain tools that the MC can use at the end to solve the problem
Al Capone Does My Shirts and the sequel, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, by Gennifer Choldenko--a really excellent example of the solution to book 1 setting up the problem for book 2
Things Not Seen, by Andrew Clements, for the way Bobby, the MC, takes charge of his fate and drives the plot
The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner--for using surprise elements effectively in the plot
Entwined, Heather Dixon--I don't know how else to describe the plot except to say it was sort of like chiasmus (a form of Hebrew and Greek poetry that is repeats itself in reverse, sort of like an hourglass). What you think is the "truth" at the beginning gets reversed over the course of the book, and the actions and discoveries the characters undergo.
The False Princess, Eilis O'Neill is also good for characters uncovering more information, which shifts your whole picture of what is really going on in the story.
Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson (a lot of her MG novels, actually)--there's a good deal of MG justice and characters getting what was coming to them, which has a lot to do with plot lines fully playing out
Rules, Cynthia Lord--a really great example of a contemporary novel with a really strong plot--each character has a strong arc, and a number of them clash with each other, and there are hard choices to be made that will create a very real outcome. Plot has to do with important choices your characters make that change things permanently.
Sorcery and Cecilia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness--the parts just fit together really well, to the point that when it all comes together, it's like the story has snuck up behind you and walloped you over the head.
Cosmic, Frank Cottrell Boyce--for getting his impulsive character into a situation that only he can solve, but not without a GREAT number of problems. (Plus, it's funny! And heartwarming, too.)
How to Save a Life, Sara Zarr--again, a quieter contemporary novel that nevertheless has a plot, because people do things that strongly affect their futures as well as the futures of others.
The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer
Brat Farrar, by Jacqueline Tey (an old mystery published as adult, but which I suspect would be marketed as YA today)--another good case of character arcs intersecting, plus a mystery
The Ghosts, by Antonia Barber--cool way all the plot parts fit together
#21 - September 12, 2012, 08:59 AM

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What Natalie said. Totally!

MOON OVER MANIFEST
WHEN YOU REACH ME
HOLES

They make weaving multiple plots together look easy because they do it so masterfully, yet it's oh, so hard.
Jean
#22 - September 12, 2012, 04:14 PM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
Others at www.jeanreidy.com

I second a lot of those already mentioned, but one that stood out this year for me for plot (and plot twists):
THE FALSE PRINCE
I didn't see the plot twist coming, but when it did, it totally made sense.
#23 - September 13, 2012, 08:21 AM
twitter.com/enzor_jenni
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New!
13 little blue envelopes

By

maureen johnson


Engaging, fun, mad, farsical tale of adventures in London, Paris, Rome each with a surprise. You immediately buy into the premise.
 :coffee3:
#24 - September 20, 2012, 03:56 AM
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 10:43 AM by jojocookie »
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