Booklist—Girls who Adventure!
In celebration of our visit from Caroline Carlson, author of Magic Marks the Spot, here’s a booklist of girls who leave society behind to do their own thing!
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Carlson, Caroline. Magic Marks the Spot
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags. But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
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The Other Books:
(Many of them have sequels or are the first book in a trilogy or a series, so make sure you look for the other titles!)
Berry, Julie. The Amaranth Enchantment
When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive within minutes of each other in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda’s course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past.
Bradbury, Jennifer. Wrapped
Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown on the lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy; it’s a host for a secret unleashing mystery, international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Burgis, Stephanie. Kat, Incorrigible
Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her late mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?
Coombs, Kate. The Runaway Princess
King Stromgard offers his daughter’s hand in marriage and half his kingdom to the prince who can rid the kingdom of evil and restore peace and prosperity to our realm. But Princess Margaret is not your traditional princess. Meg firmly objects to her parents’ giving her away, and she certainly has no intention of remaining in the tower where she is sequestered. Instead, she sets out to win the contest herself by enlisting the help of her good friend, her loyal maid, an eager guardsman, a young wizard, and a tenacious witch. Does Meg find her distinct place in the kingdom, or is she doomed to fulfill her royal duties?
Doyle, Marissa. Bewitching Season
In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t. Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for “coming out” is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry. YA
Jones, Diana Wynne. Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl–and herself–than first meets the eye.
Kress, Adrienne. Alex and the Ironic Gentleman
A student at the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy, Alex is often mistaken for a boy because of her haircut, but that’s okay—she has an excellent sense of humor. As much as she enjoys learning, she doesn’t enjoy anything else about school. Luckily for Alex, the new school year brings an exciting new teacher. Mr. Underwood makes lessons fun and teaches her how to fence. But Mr. Underwood has a mysterious family secret and not everyone is glad he has come to school. When the pirates of a ship called The Ironic Gentleman kidnap him, Alex sets off on a journey to rescue him, along the way encountering a steady stream of hilarious and colorful characters!
Lee, Tanith. Piratica
Artemesia is the daughter of a pirate queen, and she’s sick of practicing deportment. Escaping from her school, she hunts up her mother’s crew and breezily commands them out to sea in a leaky boat. Unfortunately, Art’s memories of her early life may not be accurate-her seasick crew are actors, and Art’s infamous mother was the darling of the stage in a pirate drama. But fiery Art soon shapes her men into the cleverest pirate crew afloat. And when they meet the dread ship Enemy and her beautiful, treacherous captain, Goldie Girl, Art is certain that the Seven Seas aren’t large enough for two pirate queens! Art will have the battle of her life and the race for the most fabulous treasure in pirate lore. YA
Wilce, Ysabeau. Flora Segunda
Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall–the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler–and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Flora has to deal with soldiers, Dainty Pirates, amazing hounds, magical potions and a magical butler who may be her undoing.
Wrede, Patricia. Dealing with Dragons
The youngest of seven beautiful princesses in the kingdom of Lindenwall, Princess Cimorene wants more out of life than to be the wife of a boring, proper prince. Tired of her sedate existence, she takes up fencing, cooking, Latin, even magic. But each endeavor is ended with the admonition that “princesses just don’t do that.” Faced with marriage, she decides it’s time to find some adventures of her own and runs away, ending up as the dragon Kazul’s princess, and finding adventure, danger, and challenges galore. It turns out that the life of a dragon’s princess is exactly what Cimorene needed!
Wrede, Patricia. Mairelon the Magician
Kim doesn’t hesitate when a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into the travelling magician’s wagon in search of a silver bowl. Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. Growing up a waif in the dirty streets of London has schooled her in one hard lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But there is something odd about this magician. He isn’t like the other hucksters and swindlers that Kim is used to. When he catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for–until he suggests she become his apprentice. Kim wonders how tough it could be faking a bit of hocus pocus. But Mairelon isn’t an act. His magic is real.
Wrede, Patrica & Stevermer, Caroline. Sorcery & Cecelia
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season. For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There’s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he’s not doing a very good job of it–so just what are his intentions?) And then there’s Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is. Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. Strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . .if only they weren’t having so much fun!
Weston Public Library
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And there you have it–a list of some remarkably determined young women! After reading Caroline’s book, try one of these others and get lost in a magical adventure!