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Fridays Featuring Flintridge – For Fantasy Lovers

Want Your Kids to Read? Be a Reader–a message from Catherine Linka

If we want our children to eat their peas, we get there by eating our own peas with enthusiasm. We model the behavior we want so they will follow our example.

So if you value reading, you need to model it. And that means, making time to read in front of your child. Turn off the TV, the computer, your phone and sit down and read where they can see you–not just in bed after the kids are down for the night.

Andrew Smith, teacher and author, insists that it is especially important for fathers to model for their sons that reading is masculine.  He says that boys “ look at what their father does, and what their older brother does and what their best friends do.”

Be a reader to raise a reader.

Books for Fantasy Lovers Who’ve Read Everything

THE UNWANTEDS ($16.99,  Aladdin) by Lisa McCann – My pick for kid-pleasing. At 13, kids are tested and sorted into Wanted and Unwanted and the Unwanteds are taken off to be executed. But it turns out that what looks like a prison is really a sanctuary that takes creative, artistic, musical kids and turns their talents into strengths when the Wanteds invade. Gentler than HUNGER GAMES, but with lots of action. (ages 8+)

EMERALD ATLAS ($7.99, Yearling) by John Stephens – Our community read One Summer-One Book for kids. A little like NARNIA, a little like A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, a little like LORD OF THE RINGS. The first in a trilogy. The second is due this fall. For the strong reader 9+. It has three brave kids, an evil countess, a magical book, terrifying Screechers and donut-loving dwarves. Funny and scary. (now in paper, ages 9+)

NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT ($6.99, Puffin) by Gennifer Choldenko -Now in paperback. Unlike Choldenko’s other realistic fiction, this story follows three children who tumble into a fantastical world where their every desire if fulfilled–except their desire to leave. Appealing to both guys and girls. (ages 10+)

GHOST KNIGHT ($16.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) by Cornelia Funke -Set in a present day English boarding school, a boy calls upon the ghost of a famous knight to fend off the other ghosts who are threatening him. Funke’s setting is real and many of the ghost knights she introduces were real people whose brief bios she includes at the end. (ages 10+)

THE FALSE PRINCE ($17.99, Scholastic Press) by Jennifer Nielsen -A conniving noble trains four street urchins to impersonate a missing prince. Only one will survive the training as the noble attempts to take over the throne. Twists and turns and double-crosses. Lots of action. So well-written an adult would love to read it aloud. (ages 13+)

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Fridays Featuring Flintridge – Boys Like Hunger Games, Too!

“WHY do more than 50% of boys surveyed consider themselves to be “non-readers” by the time they get in to high school? And why do boys entering high school in grade 9 typically lag behind girls by 3 to 4 grade levels in reading and writing? It didn’t used to be like this, and we can’t blame TV and video games.” —–Andrew Smith

Once again in our ongoing Fridays Featuring Flintridge column, Catherine Linka of Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Canada, California weighs in on what she believes are some other surefire hits for fans of HUNGER GAMES. For more about Catherine, please visit About Our Reviewers page.

HUNGER GAMES has lit a fire under a lot of young readers who hunger for high-stakes excitement. Many twelve and thirteen year-old boys abandon reading, because it doesn’t interest them anymore. Books that offer the excitement of TV or video games, BUT that introduce ethical questions and consequences can get reluctant readers to keep going through the story.



DIVERGENT and INSURGENT by Veronica Roth ($17.99 Hardcover; $9.99 Paperback, HarperTeen)

A huge hit with both guys and girls in my Teen Advance Readers club. DIVERGENT is now in paper and INSURGENT has just been released. An intriguing, futuristic culture where personality tests determine your clan and role in society. Romance, martial arts, war and betrayal. Very fast-paced. (12+)

STARTERS by Lissa Price ($17.99 Hardcover; $9.99 Trade Paperback, Random House)

My favorite of 2012. In this cinematic, futuristic novel, a young girl accepts a well-paying job–to rent her body to an older woman to have fun while her mind is dormant. But it turns out the woman intends to use her body to assassinate someone. How cool is that?! (12+)

LEGEND by Marie Lu ($17.99, Putnam Juvenile)

My favorite of 2011. Sequel PRODIGY  due in January. A twist on Les Mis where a boy who is enemy number one is tracked by a girl who is a brilliant, highly-trained and  relentless pursuer who thinks he killed her brother. Lots of action! Guys and girls love it. (12+)

THE ROAR by Emma Clayton ($ 12.59 Hardcover; $6.29 Paperback, Scholastic)

Finally, finally, finally in paperback. For a younger reader than ENDER’S GAME. A boy who’s very talented at gaming thinks he’s training to become a better player when in reality he’s being trained to go to war. The sequel is just released. Very exciting. (10+)

MORTAL ENGINES by Phillip Reeve ($9.99 Paperback, Scholastic) 

Finally, finally released in paperback this month. Four book series for 10+. The final book won the LA Times Prize for Children’s Books. The coolest concept ever: cities on tractor treads chase other cities, catch them and dismantle them –municipal Darwinism. In this book the historians are the heroes. Lots of action! (11+)


For teens or adults– thought provoking. I could definitely see an adult book club
discussing the ethical questions it poses. A young girl awakes from a yearlong coma and discovers that
her biotech father may have gone too far to keep her alive after a car crash.  (13+)

Please visit the Flintridge Bookstore today to pick up your copy of these great books, buy gifts, enjoy their extensive selection of other great reads  and relax over a great cup of coffee.  Also visit the website at to keep up-to-date with story times author events and other exciting special events.

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