Welcome back to another week of #SixforSunday, created by Steph from A Little But a Lot.
The theme for this week is books you love that nobody else seems to have heard of. A lot of these are from my childhood and may not stand up to the scrutiny of re-reading with more critical eyes, but I hope you find it interesting nevertheless!
Check out some of my previous weeks of #SixforSunday here:
The theme this week is favourite books that nobody seems to have heard of.
As always, at first I really struggled to think of any, then I thought of loads. The first six that came to mind were…
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father’s abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He’s also made many enemies and allies–most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.
But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob’s younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal.
You should be used to this one appearing by now. I love it and am consistently surprised that more people haven’t read it and are raving about it like I do! Cornelia Funke draws lovingly on a plethora of folk tales and fairytales to create a dark, twisted Mirrorworld where nothing is quite as it seems. There are going to be five books in total and I am very excited to read them all!
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
When they first arrived, they came quietly and stealthily as if they tip-toed into the world when we were all looking the other way.
Ade loves living at the top of a tower block. From his window, he feels like he can see the whole world stretching out beneath him.
His mum doesn’t really like looking outside – but it’s going outside that she hates.
She’s happier sleeping all day inside their tower, where it’s safe.
But one day, other tower blocks on the estate start falling down around them and strange, menacing plants begin to appear.
Now their tower isn’t safe anymore. Ade and his mum are trapped and there’s no way out . .
This was a recommendation from Amy @GoldenBooksGirl and I have since joined our small fan bandwagon of two. I have been attempting to convert others, with my boyfriend already being badgered into reading it! Ade is the most adorable character and the adults in the story are amazing too. A very unexpected, yet beautiful read.
The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat
Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest.
This hasn’t aged particularly well, but I loved it when I was younger even if I cannot pinpoint exactly why. I loved the excitement of The Cavaliers versus the Roundheads, the children learning to thrive in the forest, Edward and his awkwardness in the household of his enemy…I just loved it! To this day I still want to visit the New Forest thanks to this book. This is another book that I would be hesitant to read again as I wonder if adult eyes would enjoy it just as much or it would ruin it.
Horsemaster by Marilyn Singer
It began with dreams – dreams of a mysterious flying horse that took Jessica high above the trees. The dreams felt so real, she was almost sure that they were.
And then she and her friend Jack found an old tapestry in an abandoned farmhouse. The horse on the tapestry matched Jessica’s dream-horse – and then both she and Jack were thrust headlong into another time and land from which they could only hope to find their way home.
“Time travel, a mysterious tapestry, and a gutsy heroine add punch to this strong fantasy. Singer does an exceptional job. . . . This book is highly recommended.”–School Library Journal.
I think I picked this up at a school book fair, mainly because I liked horses and fantasy (still do!) This was a YA book before YA was properly a genre. I can remember snatches of the story, but unsure how much I would like this now. I have the memory of the main character being a bit of a Mary Sue…although I didn’t know what that was when I first read it! I liked the fantastical setting, the exotic places to which they travelled and how it made Jessica re-evaluate her own life in the real world.
Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
Lucien is seriously ill but his life is transformed when an old Italian notebook gives him the power to become a stravagante, a time traveller with access to 16th century Italy. He wakes up in Bellezza (Venice) during carnival time and meets Arianna, a girl his own age who is disguised as a boy in the hope of being selected as one of the Duchessa’s mandoliers.
I’m not sure exactly how I came across this book, but the Venetian-style setting made me immediately want to read it. Though I'[m not sure how well it would stand up to re-reading, I loved it when I first read it. Lucien and Arianna are both fantastic characters (even though the twist is obvious quite early on) and Lucien dealing with his illness had a real impact on me. There are now furtehr books in the series – I read the next two a few years ago and enjoyed them, but this first one is still the most magical for me!
The Twelfth of July/ Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard
The first chapter takes place in a Protestant street. Tommy and Sadie Jackson are already looking forward to the 12th day of July which is a Protestant celebration day. Meanwhile, Catholic Kevin McCoy is out causing trouble in the Protestant part of town. What will happen when Sadie and Kevin meet? Can they become friends when everyone else in Northern Ireland is so full of hatred against the other religion?
I’m from Northern Ireland and grew up during the tail end of The Troubles, something which would be known as civil war in any other country. Pretty much everyone in Northern Ireland was affected by The Troubles, either by being directly hurt or knowing someone who has been hurt. Without getting into politics too much, there are deep and abiding scars in the society in which I grew up…and yet very little literature about it. The Kevin and Sadie books, which start with the 12th of July, talk about the impact sectarian violence had on families on both sides of the community, something which many other books do not do. I had not realised until looking these up on Goodreads that there are five books in the series, but these first two provide a really good insight into what life was like for a lot of people who could work alongside both Catholics and Protestants, but would never consider being friends or getting into a relationship.
What did you think of my choices this week?
Have you read any of them or would you like to read them now?
Which books are you always recommending to others?
What favourites do you have that nobody else has heard of?
Let me know in the comments – I love getting book recommendations!
Don’t miss my write-up about an evening of Folklore and Fantasy with Samantha Shannon, Melinda Salisbury and Lisa Lueddecke
Thanks for reading!