The Reading Life of a 13-Year-Old Girl

For those of you with book gobblers, you know how difficult it can be to keep up with their reading habits. I’m constantly asked the question, “Do you have any books I can read?” I have shelves and rooms full of books but they’re not always age appropriate, and sometimes I can’t believe how fast my 13-year-old girl reads. But I should’t really be surprised as one of her older sisters was also a ridiculously fast reader. Sometimes I tell her to re-read something and she often does, multiple times. These are some of her recent new titles, plus some of her re-reads.

The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch (1951)

‘As Peter wanders around the ruined castle of Carreg Cennen he makes an amazing discovery – a rusted metal gauntlet. As he slips it on to his hand he is transported back to the fourteenth century, to a time when his Norman ancestors held the castle.
Accepted as the eldest son of Sir Roger de Blois, Peter learns how to hawk, fight, and shoot a longbow – but when a rebellion arises, it’s up to Peter to escape from the besieged castle and fetch help.’

This was one of my husband’s favourite books as a young teen and all of our children have enjoyed it. A re-read for Moozle & one of her favourite books.

There’s No Escape by Ian Serraillier (1950)

A thrilling and sometimes humorous adventure set in war time Europe in the fictional country of Silvania. Peter Howarth is parachuted into enemy territory in order to find and rescue the brilliant scientist, Dr Helpmann, before the enemy catches him and forces him to reveal his important discoveries. A re-read and highly recommended for ages 10 years and up. Moozle has read this multiple times.

The Samurai’s Tale by Eric Christian Haugaard (1984)

Set in turbulent 16th Century Japan when powerful warlords fought for supremacy. Haugaard is a skillful writer who captures the feel of the times.

‘I shall begin my tale on that day when I lost not only my father, but my mother and my two older brothers as well. A storm swept our land and when it passed I was the only survivor of my family. In the morning of that day my name had been Murakami; I was a bushi, a knight’s son whom every woman in the village would fondle and spoil. Before the sun set I had been given the name “Taro,” a servant’s name, and I was of no more importance than that name implied.’

I’d recommend this book for confident readers about age 13 years and up who are interested in history. There is a profusion of Japanese names which some readers might find confusing and it is a bit brutal in places, which isn’t surprising considering the time period.
This was the first time Moozle read this book.

Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1906)

Although Conan Doyle is best known for his Sherlock Holmes’ character, he has a good number of historical fiction titles that aren’t as well-known & they are all excellent. Sir Nigel is a swashbuckling knight errant in the service of Edward lll, who goes looking for honour and renown to gain the hand of his lady-love, who waits patiently in England.
Sir Nigel, although written at a later date, is the prequel to the The White Company, which recounts the adventures of Alleyne Edricson, who is in the service of the middle-aged and married Sir Nigel.
This gets re-read fairly frequently.

Mr Fitton at the Helm (1998) & Mr Fitton’s Hurricane (2000) by Showell Styles

Information about this author may be found here. Both books are set in the early 1800’s, are based on an actual Naval officer and are historically accurate. I picked these two books up secondhand & got my husband to preview them before I handed them over to Moozle. She enjoyed them & would like to read others in the series. Both these books are suitable for about age 12 years and up.

Flying Aces of World War I by Gene Gurney (1965)

This is a re-read & we’ve had this book for many years. If you can find a copy, it’s a great read for anyone interested in WWI and flying. If your children like Biggles, they’ll be happy with this book. My children loved anything like this and if the interest is there this book is really suitable for any age.

The King’s Fifth by Scott O\’Dell (1966)

A Newbery Honor book set in the time of the Conquistadors. O’Dell writes well but his books are often a little dark and sad, so it’s probably good to give them a quick preview to see if they are suitable for your child. First time reading.

The Snow Smugglers by Patrick Pringle (1939)

This is a book I picked up secondhand recently. It’s a good adventure story especially for boys (8 years and up) who are reluctant readers, and while Moozle read it and didn’t mind it, it was a bit too predictable plot-wise for her. Two young lads, Geoffrey and Keith are on a school excursion in Paris. Geoffrey’s father is a secret agent, and unbeknownst to the boys, they are being watched by members of a drug cartel who plan to kidnap them in order to get their hands on Geoffrey’s father who is on their trail. I like how the boys are portrayed, and if I’d come across this book when my boys were younger, I’m sure they would have enjoyed it.

Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery (1938)

Up until reading Mistress Pat, Moozle had enjoyed every other book this author has written, but this one was a disappointment. From what I can gather, the previous ‘Pat of Silver Bush,’ is a much better story than its sequel. Moozle’s opinion of Mistress Pat:

‘Pretty boring. They just sat around and gossiped all day and never did anything.’ย 
Just as well it only cost me a dollar.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R.R.Tolkien

We bought this beautiful boxed set in the Folio Society Christmas sale and Moozle devoured all three books in about a week. She hasn’t watched the movies and probably won’t until she’s a bit older. At the end of next year her Orchestra will be performing the music at the cinema while the movie is screened. They did this awhile ago before she joined the Symphony & it was a huge success.

The Young Victoria

Not a book, but we watched this movie the other night and afterwards ended up delving into British History & Queen Victoria’s reign. It’s rated PG and I’d recommend it for about age 13 years and up. It is a lovely movie that looks at court intrigue and the machinations of government and politics in the lead up to Victoria’s ascent to the throne and her marriage to Albert.

12 thoughts on “The Reading Life of a 13-Year-Old Girl

  1. Thank you for these reviews! I smiled when I read your daughter's review of Mistress Pat. I am currently reading that very book! The first book (Pat of Silver Bush) follows Pat as she grows, from a little girl to a young woman. Mistress Pat follows her through her 20s as she tries to hold on to the memories and places of her childhood. She doesn't want to really grow up, or get married but of course love finds her in the end. It's a more adult book than the first one and I can understand why your daughter didn't connect with it, especially if she hadn't read the first book, which would make some elements of the story a bit confusing. I really like both Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, though, and I would recommend her trying them again when she's a bit older. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Goodness! Thank you! While I do have 4 teen girls, I've forgotten what they loved to read a few years ago! My 11.5 year old girl comes away from the library with nearly empty hands as the proffered selection is so trashy. Just today I've been scouring booklists for recommendations, and here is this one! She's younger than your girl, but I've pinned this post for future reference. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Hi Anne, I hardly ever find anything at the library either. Your daughter would probably enjoy the Aussie Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce. Theyโ€™re sort of an Australian Anne of Green Gables.


  4. What a great list. You know between the ages of 8 and 12 I mostly read comic books, other than what I read at school, although I had a few favorites. Also I was very visual, so books needed lots of pictures and probably that was why comic books were so effective for me.Nevertheless, I missed out on some great novels for young people.So when my son was that age, I joined a children's books club and got all the books that I never read and we read them together. So, a few years late, but I finally journeyed through that rich source of imagination for older children.Better late than never.That Samurai book looks good; I may have to get it for myself.And even though I have more than one set of Lord of the Rings, I find new sets so irresistible. But I must be strong and not buy any more. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I had not heard of most of those books. Now having seen them here, if I shall happen upon them in my travels I will hopefully remember, and add them to our library too. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Sharon, I always thought I read a lot as a child but I can only remember a few and I don't think there were any classics among them, although I did get some fairy tales in. I read some weird stuff in my late teens, trying to figure out what I should believe etc. When I became a Christian at age 19, I really started catching up on all I'd missed. A memorable book was The Gulag Archipelago which I'm re-reading at the moment.


  7. Deborah, some of these are books I used with my older children. Thankfully, all mine enjoyed historical fiction & there is so much available. Most of these authors have written other excellent book.


  8. Thank you so much for these recommendations, Carol — they are almost all new to me! Gianna will be thrilled for the new free reads. ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe you were the one who recommended AA Milne's Red House Mystery maybe last year? I bought it for Gianna for Christmas and she adored it. Anyway, I think she and Moozle have very similar tastes. ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. You're welcome, Celeste. Yes, I've mentioned The Red House Mystery a couple of times as I found it when my older ones were younger. It's a great introduction to that genre. Gianna would probably enjoy Agatha Christie's The Secret Adversary, one of her Tommy & Tuppence series. There's one in that series I wouldn't recommend (By The Pricking of my Thumbs – it's a bit weird) but some of the other T & T are good for a younger reader. It's a tricky age to find suitable reading material for when they are such good, not to mention, fast, readers!


  10. Sadly, I went to our Library website to put these books on hold for my voracious reader and they only had 1 and this is with Interlibrary loans as well! Thanks for all the ideas!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s