Every Wednesday, I post a list of 5 random things. This week: 5 of my favorite Tween Series!
You might have noticed by now that I love to go back to the books I read when I was a child, especially when I don’t have a lot of time to really invest myself in new books.
Considering that I just ‘survived’ (mind the quotation marks, the actual survival-part is still somewhat up for discussion) my exams, I can definitely say that has been the case, yet again, in these past couple of weeks.
And of course, that got me thinking – of all the series I keep turning back to: which ones are my all time favourites? Well, for starters: the five you’re about to read right now!
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I already mentioned this series in my post on 5 Books I’d like to Rediscover, but let me tell you again: I devoured this series from when I was about 10 until when I was about 14.
This series tells the story of a girl, Amy, whose mother dies when they go to get a stallion for their farm, a ‘company’ which specialises in treating horses that have been hurt or traumatised and getting them back into ‘top shape’. You basically follow Amy, her sister Lou, their grandfather, the stable boys Ty and Ben, and…
Well, suffice it to say that I actually loved every single one of these characters (something which young, critical me didn’t come across very often) and although this series was adapted to a tv-series, I have to admit that for me the books, in this case, really are vastly better!
The main reason why I loved this series, though? Because it had horses, a realistic relationship between the sisters (read: they bicker. A lot.) and because throughout the story, you find yourself rooting for just about every single character you come across – as I already said: not something I come across very often!
I first read this series when I was about 10 (again 🙂 ) and I fell in love with it immediately. Let’s get something out of the way first: at the beginning of this series, the main character, Artemis Fowl, is at best a jerk, at worst a full-blown criminal. Unfortunately, he is also rich, crazy-smart, and 12, so he tends to get away with just about whatever he wants to do.
And then he discovers that there’s such a thing as elves, magic, and so on and so forth and, of course, decided that he’s going to use those for his own pleasing – in this particular case: hold a leprechaun to ransom and become even richer than he already is. Of course, that’s not counting in the fact that the person he actually ends up kidnapping is Holly Short, a Captain of the ‘magic underground’-police forces, and that she isn’t about to go along with his plan gladly…
Throughout this series, Artemis Fowl gradually transforms from ‘twelve-year-old villain’ to ‘actually okay guy’, even if he never fails to find a possible angle that might be beneficial to him. Add to that the amazing combination of magic and science, amazing writing, and story lines that never seem like repetition and always had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and, well, really – can you blame me for loving this series?
So, imagine James Bond, right? Now imagine a James-Bond-like figure having a nephew that he has to take care of, because said nephew’s parents were also ‘James-Bond-like’ figures, and were murdered on a mission. Then imagine the James-Bond-like uncle dying, and his nephew being thrown into the thrust of things – and becoming a mini-James Bond while at it.
Are you starting to see why I loved this series so much?
There was actually a Dutch series which was pretty similar to this one, called Sam Smith (by Jonas Boets) which was all about a school where people went to learn how to be a spy, that I would definitely recommend as well, but Alex Rider was the first series I can ever remember reading with this kind of a main character and as such will always have a special place in my heart.
(Also, the first book of this series was adapted to a movie featuring Alex Pettyfer, and can we just appreciate the beauty that is his face?)
So I know that this isn’t technically Enid Blyton’s most famous series with adventures (that would be Famous Five), but this is the series that I loved most – and also the only of all her adventurous-series that i own complete – some works even twice (that’s what happens when you buy an incomplete set in Dutch, and then add on to it with the English versions).
Basically, you have two pairs of siblings, Dinah and Philip and Jack and Lucy-Ann, as well as Jack’s parrot, Kiki, who somehow find themselves ending up in the middle of a secret plot no matter where they are – usually on a holiday with Philip and Dinah’s mother.
And of course, these have all the elements of a good Enid Blyton-adventure: a nice amount of mystery, children doing what the grown-ups can’t get sorted, and of course: just an awful lot of fun chattering. I’m pretty sure that at least part of my love for England comes from these books and the way they made it seem as if it was just one big country filled with mysteries waiting to be solved – unfortunately, I haven’t run into any yet, whenever I’m in England…
Okay, so, yes, this is another series by Enid Blyton – but it’s really nothing at all like the one above. Blyton’s work aimed at tweens can be largely divided into two groups: the adventure-stories, and the boarding-school stories. This one is definitely the latter! I guess I probably also could’ve gone for her St Clare’s-series, which is basically the same concept as this one, only it features a set of twins as its main characters, rather than the one girl in this one, but I read Malory Towers first, and as such, I love it ever so slightly more.
The main character in this series is Darrel, and she is not perfect! Why do I say that so bluntly, you ask? Because one of the things that bothers me about books aimed at Tweens quite often, is that – certainly if they’re written in the fifties, or around that age – they always have these main characters who show exactly how one ought to behave, and quite frankly: I read to dream, to get out of real life for a bit, and so that’s definitely not what I want from my tween-books. Darrel, however, has a mean temper on her, sometimes judges people too quickly, and goes through quite the evolution in her 6 years at Malory Towers – so does just about every other character mentioned in the series, by the way, and that’s exactly why I love it so much.
No matter the critique Enid Blyton’s work has received over the past decades (and, granted, some of it is definitely deserved) she always managed to make her character just right so that they felt like actual people to me – not just the perfect puppets I so often came across in other books…
(Also: boarding school. I repeat: boarding school)
So, there you have it: 5 of my favourite tween-series – did you also read any of these? Have you heard of them? I have to admit, I may be approximately 10 years too old for these, but as I already said at the beginning: I definitely do go back and re-read them from time to time, so if you feel like you know of a tween-series that’s somewhat similar to these, or just one that you feel everybody should have read – be sure to let me know below!