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Real life girl meets magic--recs?

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Hi all, I'm back for more recommendations. :) I'm feeling a bit weary of death, death, and constant death in my reading diet, and looking for something a bit...cheerier. I mean, death is okay as long as it's not all about how the MC has to go kill some other people because...assassin/the government made me do it/now I'm a zombie/Our Dystopian World is Ending/etc. I know these books are very in right now (it's nearly the ONLY thing my library has), but sometimes you want to break out and try something new? So, recommendations, please! Mostly I feel like a fun book involving an ordinary girl (can be contemporary OR historical OR in some cool exotic foreign country) who meets magic somehow and has to deal with it. And some humor. And some great action scenes. And some romance. (But no love triangles, please!) Also with an engaging MC who resorts to enough interiority that you feel like you know AND like her (as opposed to something more distant/obviously This Is A Story/omnicient 3rd person told from ten feet away). It can have Truth and something that sticks on your bones, but mostly, I'm looking for some kind of fun distraction sort of book. Maybe this is an impossible request, but if you've got one like this, I'd love to hear about it!
#1 - October 09, 2013, 01:01 PM

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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic totally fits the bill. I'm just bumming because it's the first book in a planned trilogy and it will probably be a year before the next one...but I loved it. And actually, I'm wandering around bereft, staring at my bookcases and looking for something to fill the gap that having just finished it (for the second time) has left. It has flaws, but I loved it anyway.
#2 - October 09, 2013, 01:16 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

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Last time I was craving something like this, THE ROOK by Daniel O'Malley really hit the spot. It is fabulous.
SAVVY by Ingrid Law
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (cool foreign countries and cool magic? check!!)
If you like Meg Cabot, her Mediator series is fun and really light - kind of like Buffy but for ghosts, and there are a bunch of them
I feel like I should be able to think of more, what you described is one of my favorite kinds of book....
#3 - October 09, 2013, 03:26 PM
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 04:32 PM by Lwrites »

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Seconding The Rook...loved that book too, and hoping his next one comes out soon.
#4 - October 09, 2013, 03:35 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

It's older so you may have already read it, and not specifically one girl, but The Night Circus hits on a lot of your points.
#5 - October 09, 2013, 04:15 PM

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Time Traveller's Wife.
Vijaya
#6 - October 09, 2013, 04:19 PM
TONGUE-TIED (Heinemann, 2019) BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018) TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015) & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com

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If you want fun you have to read the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. One of my favorites.
#7 - October 09, 2013, 04:24 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Oh! Another book that really worked for me the last time I wanted something like this: SIDEKICKED by John Anderson. Really fun riff on superheroes, very funny, great MG voice, cool plot twists and more depth than I expected. Highly recommended!
#8 - October 09, 2013, 04:39 PM

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I'm reading FLORA AND ULYSSEUS by Kate DiCamillo right now. It's a fun read with light magic, humor, verging a bit into tall tale territory, but the MC is a very real girl.
#9 - October 09, 2013, 05:30 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

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These don't have real girls meeting literal magic, but the Something That Happens that they must deal with isn't a Dark Thing:
BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross
THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage
THE VINE BASKET by Josanne La Valley

And literal magic:
THE ART OF WISHING by Lindsay Ribar
IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters

Adult, male pov, great lols here:
MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE by Robin Sloan
#10 - October 09, 2013, 06:28 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
www.deenalipomi.com

I've really enjoyed the Mary Robinette Kowal series of Jane Austen era magic for adults: SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY is the first.
In the same vein is Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Carolyn Stevermer and Patricia Wrede) for YA
#11 - October 09, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Princess for hire series by Lindsey Leavitt
Don't expect magic by Kathy McCullough

#12 - October 10, 2013, 01:40 PM
The Safest Lie in stores now
The End of the Line - VOYA Top Shelf & YALSA Quick Pick
www.angelacerrito.com
FB/twtr/Tmblr AngelaCerrito

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I have the absolutely perfect book for you: Ellen Booream's SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (please don't call them fairies!). An ordinary contemporary girl meets up with magical creatures in a fun MG book with humor mixed with seriousness, not to mention characters you will love. And you thought your request was impossible!
#13 - October 10, 2013, 07:57 PM

I have the absolutely perfect book for you: Ellen Booream's SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (please don't call them fairies!). An ordinary contemporary girl meets up with magical creatures in a fun MG book with humor mixed with seriousness, not to mention characters you will love. And you thought your request was impossible!
I second this! Loved this book! Delightful!  :)
#14 - October 10, 2013, 08:48 PM
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Oh, and anything by Laura Amy Schlitz :)
Vijaya
#15 - October 10, 2013, 08:52 PM
TONGUE-TIED (Heinemann, 2019) BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018) TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015) & 100+ bks/mags
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Okay, some of these I've already read, and some of them, my library doesn't have. But I did find The Rook, and it's awesome so far. Just crazy enough to be a distraction and just mysterious enough to keep me reading--pretty impressive for an adult book! :)

But uh...feel free to add more if anyone else comes up with any. :)
#16 - October 12, 2013, 02:36 PM

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I second the suggestion of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series: light, imaginative, and funny.

Also, POISON by Bridget Zinn is a fun YA fantasy.
#17 - October 12, 2013, 03:07 PM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
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I saw "girl" and "magic" and immediately thought CHANGELING by Delia Sherman - it's MG I believe. I'll be honest, it took me a few chapters to really get into it, but when I DID get into it I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. It's a cute little story, plenty of smart, brave girls, adventure, and some comedy.
#18 - October 26, 2013, 09:49 PM

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Rose, it's "boy meets magic" rather than girl, but I'm partway through James Treadwell's ADVENT and it's amazing. Atmospheric as all getout (think Susan Cooper or Alan Garner) and creepy and beautifully written. Just wonderful. It's a planned trilogy, I believe, and the second book came out this fall.
#19 - December 06, 2013, 08:21 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

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Ooh, that sounds good, Marissa!
#20 - December 06, 2013, 10:21 AM

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Anne Nesbet's books, THE CABINET OF EARTHS and A BOX OF GARGOYLES, fit this description almost perfectly. Wonderful books.
#21 - December 06, 2013, 12:12 PM

Have you read HOWL's MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones? Love that book, and it fits your description pretty well.
#22 - December 06, 2013, 07:57 PM

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Yep. I've read both of Anne's books and I think Diana Wynne Jones's complete oeuvre, and Poison (sniff! I *so* wanted the chance to read more books by Bridget!) and Small Persons with Wings and Princess for Hire and Savvy and The Raven Boys. (That is the problem when you hear about books before they even come out... ;) ) But I haven't read the others, so they're going on my list. :)
#23 - December 07, 2013, 05:37 AM

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I'd have to second BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross. I also loved RED by Alison Cherry, it's located in the States but the town seems like an exotic land! And then Austenland (adult but ohhhhh so fun!).
#24 - December 07, 2013, 08:40 AM
The GILDED series (Skyscape/ACP)
www.ChristinaFarley.com
Twitter @ChristinaFarley

The FLORA series by Ysabeau Wilce is really fun. It starts with FLORA SEGUNDA, which is about a girl who takes a wrong turn in her family's castle and encounters the magical butler, who has been banished and wants freedom. Mishaps and adventures ensue.
#25 - December 07, 2013, 09:48 AM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

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