I just finished Helen Grant's debut novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden.
Set in a small German town where local gossip mingles with legend, for 10-year-old Pia that means parsing out fact from fiction. No easy feat for a girl whose grandmother explodes on Christmas eve. While this occurrence puts the town into a tizzy, it is soon forgotten when young girls Pia's age begin to disappear, some in broad day light. Pia, along with fellow outcast StinkStefan, take it upon themselves to find the monster that is spiriting away children.
While the story is told from the first person perspective of a young girl who still believes in fairy tales, the reader must beware as there is no honeyed ending. But rather like an old Charles Perrault, or Brothers Grimm story, ends with an unfortunate and ghastly resounding finality.
There have been several other authors who have expertly manipulated children's voices for the benefit of a well told story. In fact some of the best story telling I have read in the past couple of years are from books of this tenor.
One of my favorite introductions to a sweeping New England yarn was Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief.
I really recommend reading this book on chilly fall days, with a mug of cider, and a throw blanket on top.
Last but not least, one of my recent favorite publications is Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Bradley, an older Canadian Gentleman writes in the voice of almost eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce. A precocious, intelligent English school girl. Whose penchant for getting into things leads not only to her passion for chemistry, but into a lot of trouble as well. Her life, in a decrepit English country mansion, with her two older sisters and widowed father, is turned upside down when a stranger is found dead on their lawn. Bradley writes not only convincingly as Flavia, but wonderfully, richly. This is the first book in an at least three book series. To read more about the sequel click here.
While most of these books are intended for adults, I would definitely recommend most to older teens as well.
Hope y'all are having a great weekend!