Tag Archives: crossover fic

The Hobbit

hobbit cover

Tolkien, J.R.R. (1966). The hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Print.

Reader’s Annotation

Enter the magical world of Middle Earth where little people, Hobbits, are just as common was dwarves, elves, shape shifters and giant spiders in the deep dark woods. This story is sure to capture your imagination as you join Bilbo and the 13 dwarves of Thorin Oakenshield’s company to rescue a long lost treasure from the clutches of the evil and foul wyrm Smaug.

Plot Summary

Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quite life in his home under the hill at Bag End in Hobbiton, he enjoys long walks, second breakfast, and tending to his poetry and garden. In short, he leads an ideal life for a Hobbit, full of good food and completely lacking in anything out of the ordinary. Until one day when Bilbo runs across a troublesome wizard, Gandalf, who introduces him to a group of even more troublesome fellows: thirteen dwarves bent on retrieving a pile of treasure buried in a mountain hundreds of miles away. What’s worse is that the treasure has been commandeered by a dragon and Gandalf has convinced the dwarves that Bilbo is just the fellow to get it back. In a very un-Hobbit like manner, Bilbo joins this company of dwarves on an adventure that changes his life forever.

Critical Evaluation

I’ve read this book more times than I can count and it never stops being excellent. The world that Tolkien created in The Hobbit, is a world that I would gladly live out my days in. From the rolling hills of the Shire, with its verdant farm lands and fields that produce the most excellent hops, as evident in the Hobbit’s fondness for beer. To the endless trails where countless adventures away. Elves are no more than a few days walk away with the stoicism and riddled way of speaking, languishing the days (or years) away in the company of Elrond in his beautiful home in the valley of Rivendell sounds like a fine pass time. If you prefer a bit of danger wander into the Misty Mountains or try adn treat with the sneaky elves in Mirkwood, just watch out for trolls and giant spiders.Yes, for me after all these years it’s really the world that Tolkien has created more than anything else.

Author Information

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in 1892 in South Africa, and moved to England at age 2 after his father died. His mother passed on when he was 12, leaving Tolkien and his brother orphans. The boys lived with their aunt, Beatrice Suffield, and later with another unrelated woman, Mrs Faulkner, and were provided for by their family priest Father Francis Morgan, until Tolkien entered Exeter College at Oxford in 1911.By the time he entered Oxford he had already mastered Greek and Latin, and went onto to study the Classics, Old English, Gothic and other Germanic Languages, as well as Welsh and Finnish. Around 1913 Tolkien dropped his study of the Classics turned his focus onto English Literature and Language.

In 1925 Tolkien returned to the college as a professor and there he befriended C.S. Lewis, who shared Tolkien’s love of myths, language and folklore. Lewis and Tolkien founded the Inklings in the 1930s where they gathered with several friends to share and critique their work. Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and the prequel to them both The Silmarillion. He also authored The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book; Smith of Wootton Major; Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth; The Book of Lost Tales, Part I and Part II, as well as several translations of ancient myths.

Genre

Adult, Young Adult, Juvenile, Cross Over, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties

n/a

Booktalk Ideas

Reading Level/Interest Age 

12+

Challenge Issues

The Hobbit has portions with violence and magic. This may offend some readers. As always the library urges readers to choose material that is right for them. We are supporters of the ALA Library Bill of Rights and thus do not support censorship of material. The library will reconsider items and reserves the right to make the finals decision after review by the board.

Reason for Inclusion

I included The Hobbit in this project because it is the book that made me the nerd I am today. I read it for the first time in the 6th grade, and hundreds of times since, and never looked back. It should be required reading for any fan of fantasy fiction ought to be in every young adult library.

My Sister’s Keeper

Picoult, J. (2004). My sister’s keeper. New York: Washington Square Press. Audiobook.

Reader’s Annotation

Anna is suing her parents for medical emancipation. A so-called designer baby, her embryo was specifically selected because it was a genetic match to her sister, Kate, who was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia at age three. What happens when one sister refuses to be a donor for another? Will Kate survive long enough to find out?

Plot Summary

Anna Fitzgerald is not sick, but she has been hospitalized repeatedly from a young age. Her older sister, Kate, has a rare and aggressive form of leukemia and Anna is a perfect genetic match, a personal blood and marrow farm for her terminally ill sister. When Anna is 13 and Kate needs one more donation, a kidney, Ana puts her foot down. She hires the ornery attorney  Campbell Alexander to represent her case for medical emancipation, much to the shock of both her parents when they are served with papers in Kate’s hospital room.

As the family struggles to survive the book reads from the perspective of all the major characters: their mother, Sara Fitzgerald, tells the story of Kate’s cancer from diagnosis to present day. Jesse Fitzgerald is the eldest child of Sara and Brian, and his story is that of the forgotten son, misfit and trouble maker he struggles to find his place in the family that gave up on him in favor of Kate so long ago no one can really remember how it happened. Brian Fitzgerald is father to the three children and husband to Sara, his narrative takes place in the present day as he struggles to protect his children and keep his marriage whole. Julia Romano is the beautiful court appointed guardian ad litem and spurned high school lover of Campbell Alexander, the attorney with the mysterious service dog who keeps everyone at arms length.

My Sister’s Keeper is a beautiful coming of age story about a family discovering what it means to act autonomously in the face of death and betrayal.

Critical Evaluation

Normally Jodi Picoult isn’t the kind of author that I’m drawn to. I know that her books are high circulating and that she’s a best seller and that everyone loves her, but I generally don’t have any patience for this kind of story, what with its love and feelings (that was supposed to be funny). I read My Sister’s Keeper specifically to include it in this project and was pleasantly surprised by the contents. This is not a shallow-feel-good-family story. Picoult gives each character depth and personality, and as readers we become intimate with struggles and pains of all the players.

Jesse was one of my favorite characters. In the story Jesse and both of his parents say repeatedly that he’s the one everyone has given up on. This blew my mind. Is this a real thing? Your one kid gets cancer and you let the other one live above the garage and brew moonshine? The thing is that Jesse tries so hard to be nonchalant about his parents disappointment, or I guess non-responsiveness, but he desperately wants to be a member of the family that matters: he asks Kate’s doctor, with tears in his eyes, if he could be a donor for her when her death seems all but imminent; he sets these outrageous fires which his dad, capitan of the fire department, has to come to put out. If anyone could ever wave a flag that said “here I am, notice me!” this kid is doing it.

Author Information

Jodi Picoult was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She began writing a very young age, 5, and her first story was called The Lobster Which Misunderstood. She went on to study creative writing at Princeton and is the author of eighteen best-selling novels. Some her first work was published by 17 Magazine while she was still a student. Before becoming a full time novelist she held several other positions in writing and education: technical writer for a brokerage firm, copywriter at an ad agency, editor at a textbook publisher, and teaching 8th grade English. Eventually she returned to school and obtained a Master’s in Education.

She’s won a ton of awards for her work, an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association and a New England Bookseller Award for Fiction, just to name a couple. In addition to her 18 novels she also penned 5 issues of Wonder Woman for DC Comics and he work has been published in 35 countries, and several novels were produced as television movies, and of course My Sister’s Keeper her first big screen movie. In short, Picoult is a well loved American author who’s work appeals to all kinds of readers.

Genre

Young Adult Fiction, Cancer, Families, Adult Fiction

Curriculum Ties

n/a

Booktalk Ideas

Do think Brian and Sara have a happy marriage?

What is Jesse trying to accomplish with his fires?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

14+

Challenge Issues

This novel is pretty clean, though it is obviously about cancer and death, it’s hard to imagine what a parent/patron would object to. As with all the items in this collection a strong collection development policy, along side our clear support of every reader’s right to read and protection from censorship, backed by the ALAs Library Bill of Rights, should offer some protection. We trust that parents and their children have agreed amongst themselves what is appropriate reading material.

Reason for inclusion

This is a touching coming of age novel written for adults that will appeal to YA readers, included as a crossover novel.

References

Picoult, J. (2012). About Jodi Picoult. Retrieved from: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)

Grossman, L. (2009). The Magicians. New York: Viking. Print.

This book is part of a series, both titles are included in the collection.

Reader’s Annotation

Quentin Clearwater has been smarter than everyone, and desperately bored by life, for as long as he can remember. Life starts to look up for Quentin when he discovers that magic is real and is admitted into a super exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, but even magic gets boring eventually. Will Quentin be able to find the adventure he’s looking for? At what price?

Plot Summary

Quentin Clearwater is a genius, but he’s not very happy. To distract himself from his own plight he obsesses over a series of Narnia-esque children’s books that take place in the magical land of Fillory. Things change for Quentin when he ends up accepted into a school of magic, like Hogwarts for college kids. As Quentin discovers the extent of his magical powers he expects to find fulfillment in his own ability, but somehow always ends up looking for more. After graduation Quentin and his friends embark on a path of hedonistic pleasures, striving to fight off the ennui of regular human existence. Quentin remains disconsolate until he and his friends discover that not only is Fillory real, but that they’ve found a way in. Will access to this magical wonderland be everything that Quentin had hoped for? Will his impossible quest give his life the meaning he’s always sought after? Follow Quentin and his friends as the venture into magical lands and discover the depth of their own being.

Critical Evaluation

This book, and its followup The Magician King also included in the collection, is excellent. Even though the main character, Quentin, is totally whiney and insecure, you can tell by Grossman’s writing that he’s like that on purpose. Indeed, even Quentin’s girlfriend Alice remarks on the idiocy of Quentin’s self-obsession. I can get behind a character who is written to be purposefully selfish, it’s the ones that come off that way unintentionally that rub me the wrong way. This book explores the question that every scifi and fantasy nerd ever have been wondering about since they picked up their first copy of the Hobbit: what if? What if those impossible lands we’ve been reading about since we were kids are real? We learn quickly that our imaginings come with a price, but Grossman’s characters are so good and the book so well written you’ll want to read it again and again.

Author Information

Lev Grossman lives in Brooklyn, New York and studied comparative literature at Harvard and Yale. He also the author of the bestseller The Codex and is a writer and book critic for Time magazine.

Genre

Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Magic

Curriculum Ties

Literary response and analysis grades 11 and 12:

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

3.4 Determine characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.

3.8 Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text.

3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text.

Booktalk Ideas

How does the Fillory than Quentin and his friends find compare to the Fillory that they had hoped for?

How does Fillory compare to Narnia?

Why does Quentin sleep with Janet?

Is Quentin a reliable narrator? What personal flaws does Quentin have that make him reliable or unreliable?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

17+

Challenge Issues

This book is intended for older readers. The library does not keep a circulation history for each user, but trusts that parents and their children have established guidelines for what is appropriate reading within their own households. The library supports the ALA Library Bill of Rights and defends each patron’s right to read. This book is not intended for educational purposes, though it does support several curriculum points of the CA Dept of Education for literary analysis. Patron’s are welcome to challenge materials and requests for reconsideration are reviewed by the board. Final decisions will be made by the director.

Reason for inclusion

One of the best books on magic and young people published, a real winner.