books and cleverness

I read books of all sorts, but mostly kids' lit and young adult literature and speculative fiction for all ages—usually from a feminist perspective. 


I've adopted a personalized version of the CHOICE reviews approach to recommendations/star ratings:

***** = Essential, a.k.a. truly love, absolute must-read, buy it now
**** = Highly Recommended, a.k.a. this is a really good book; I would buy it as a gift
*** = Recommended, a.k.a. pretty good; worth reading
** = Optional, a.k.a. meh
* = Not Recommended; a.k.a. this is not a good book

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Series #1)

The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud My star rating goes for the whole trilogy because I can't rate these books separately, having read all three several times and knowing how they all fit together. I love that this is a fantasy kid lit/YA series about class struggle and civil rights, and it presents them in a way that resonates with readers. The snappy dialogue is genuinely entertaining, and the characters are complex and dynamic.