high school fi

anonymous asked:

What are other books/series that you'd recommend that are in the same vein as Animorphs?

Honestly, your ask inspired me to get off my butt and finally compile a list of the books that I reference with my character names in Eleutherophobia, because in a lot of ways that’s my list of recommendations right there: I deliberately chose children’s and/or sci-fi stories that deal really well with death, war, dark humor, class divides, and/or social trauma for most of my character names.  I also tend to use allusions that either comment on Animorphs or on the source work in the way that the names come up.

That said, here are The Ten Greatest Animorphs-Adjacent Works of Literature According to Sol’s Totally Arbitrary Standards: 

1. A Ring of Endless Light, Madeline L’Engle

  • This is a really good teen story that, in painfully accurate detail, captures exactly what it’s like to be too young to really understand death while forced to confront it anyway.  I read it at about the same age as the protagonist, not that long after having suffered the first major loss in my own life (a friend, also 14, killed by cancer).  It accomplished exactly what a really good novel should by putting words to the experiences that I couldn’t describe properly either then or now.  This isn’t a light read—its main plot is about terminal illness, and the story is bookended by two different unexpected deaths—but it is a powerful one. 

2. The One and Only Ivan, K.A. Applegate 

  • This prose novel (think an epic poem, sort of like The Iliad, only better) obviously has everything in it that makes K.A. Applegate one of the greatest children’s authors alive: heartbreaking tragedy, disturbing commentary on the human condition, unforgettably individuated narration, pop culture references, and poop jokes.  Although I’m mostly joking when I refer to Marco in my tags as “the one and only” (since this book is narrated by a gorilla), Ivan does remind me of Marco with his sometimes-toxic determination to see the best of every possible situation when grief and anger allow him no other outlet for his feelings and the terrifying lengths to which he will go in order to protect his found family.

3. My Teacher Flunked the Planet, Bruce Coville

  • Although the entire My Teacher is an Alien series is really well-written and powerful, this book is definitely my favorite because in many ways it’s sort of an anti-Animorphs.  Whereas Animorphs (at least in my opinion) is a story about the battle for personal freedom and privacy, with huge emphasis on one’s inner identity remaining the same even as one’s physical shape changes, My Teacher Flunked the Planet is about how maybe the answer to all our problems doesn’t come from violent struggle for personal freedoms, but from peaceful acceptance of common ground among all humans.  There’s a lot of intuitive appeal in reading about the protagonists of a war epic all shouting “Free or dead!” before going off to battle (#13) but this series actually deconstructs that message as blind and excessive, especially when options like “all you need is love” or “no man is an island” are still on the table.

4. Moon Called, Patricia Briggs

  • I think this book is the only piece of adult fiction on this whole list, and that’s no accident: the Mercy Thompson series is all about the process of adulthood and how that happens to interact with the presence of the supernatural in one’s life.  The last time I tried to make a list of my favorite fictional characters of all time, it ended up being about 75% Mercy Thompson series, 24% Animorphs, and the other 1% was Eugenides Attolis (who I’ll get back to in my rec for The Theif).  These books are about a VW mechanic, her security-administrator next door neighbor, her surgeon roommate, her retail-working best friend and his defense-lawyer boyfriend, and their cybersecurity frenemy.  The fact that half those characters are supernatural creatures only serves to inconvenience Mercy as she contemplates how she’s going to pay next month’s rent when a demon destroyed her trailer, whether to get married for the first time at age 38 when doing so would make her co-alpha of a werewolf pack, what to do about the vampires that keep asking for her mechanic services without paying, and how to be a good neighbor to the area ghosts that only she can see.  

5. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner

  • This book (and its sequel A Conspiracy of Kings) are the ones that I return to every time I struggle with first-person writing and no Animorphs are at hand.  Turner does maybe the best of any author I’ve seen of having character-driven plots and plot-driven characters.  This book is the story of five individuals (with five slightly different agendas) traveling through an alternate version of ancient Greece and Turkey with a deceptively simple goal: they all want to work together to steal a magical stone from the gods.  However, the narrator especially is more complicated than he seems, which everyone else fails to realize at their own detriment. 

6. Homecoming, Cynthia Voight

  • Critics have compared this book to a modern, realistic reimagining of The Boxcar Children, which always made a lot of sense to me.  It’s the story of four children who must find their own way from relative to relative in an effort to find a permanent home, struggling every single day with the question of what they will eat and how they will find a safe place to sleep that night.  The main character herself is one of those unforgettable heroines that is easy to love even as she makes mistake after mistake as a 13-year-old who is forced to navigate the world of adult decisions, shouldering the burden of finding a home for her family because even though she doesn’t know what she’s doing, it’s not like she can ask an adult for help.  Too bad the Animorphs didn’t have Dicey Tillerman on the team, because this girl shepherds her family through an Odysseus-worthy journey on stubbornness alone.

7. High Wizardry, Diane Duane

  • The Young Wizards series has a lot of good books in it, but this one will forever be my favorite because it shows that weird, awkward, science- and sci-fi-loving girls can save the world just by being themselves.  Dairine Callahan was the first geek girl who ever taught me it’s not only okay to be a geek girl, but that there’s power in empiricism when properly applied.  In contrast to a lot of scientifically “smart” characters from sci-fi (who often use long words or good grades as a shorthand for conveying their expertise), Dairine applies the scientific method, programming theory, and a love of Star Wars to her problem-solving skills in a way that easily conveys that she—and Diane Duane, for that matter—love science for what it is: an adventurous way of taking apart the universe to find out how it works.  This is sci-fi at its best. 

8. Dr. Franklin’s Island, Gwyneth Jones

  • If you love Animorphs’ body horror, personal tragedy, and portrayal of teens struggling to cope with unimaginable circumstances, then this the book for you!  I’m only being about 80% facetious, because this story has all that and a huge dose of teen angst besides.  It’s a loose retelling of H.G. Wells’s classic The Island of Doctor Moreau, but really goes beyond that story by showing how the identity struggles of adolescence interact with the identity struggles of being kidnapped by a mad scientist and forcibly transformed into a different animal.  It’s a survival story with a huge dose of nightmare fuel (seriously: this book is not for the faint of heart, the weak of stomach, or anyone who skips the descriptions of skin melting and bones realigning in Animorphs) but it’s also one about how three kids with a ton of personal differences and no particular reason to like each other become fast friends over the process of surviving hell by relying on each other.  

9. Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Louis Sachar

  • Louis Sachar is the only author I’ve ever seen who can match K.A. Applegate for nihilistic humor and absurdist horror layered on top of an awesome story that’s actually fun for kids to read.  Where he beats K.A. Applegate out is in terms of his ability to generate dream-like surrealism in these short stories, each one of which starts out hilariously bizarre and gradually devolves into becoming nightmare-inducingly bizarre.  Generally, each one ends with an unsettling abruptness that never quite relieves the tension evoked by the horror of the previous pages, leaving the reader wondering what the hell just happened, and whether one just wet one’s pants from laughing too hard or from sheer existential terror.  The fact that so much of this effect is achieved through meta-humor and wordplay is, in my opinion, just a testament to Sachar’s huge skill as a writer. 

10. Magyk, Angie Sage

  • As I mentioned, the Septimus Heap series is probably the second most powerful portrayal of the effect of war on children that I’ve ever encountered; the fact that the books are so funny on top of their subtle horror is a huge bonus as well.  There are a lot of excellent moments throughout the series where the one protagonist’s history as a child soldier (throughout this novel he’s simply known as “Boy 412″) will interact with his stepsister’s (and co-protagonist’s) comparatively privileged upbringing.  Probably my favorite is the moment when the two main characters end up working together to kill a man in self-defense, and the girl raised as a princess makes the horrified comment that she never thought she’d actually have to kill someone, to which her stepbrother calmly responds that that’s a privilege he never had; the ensuing conversation strongly implies that his psyche has been permanently damaged by the fact that he was raised to kill pretty much from infancy, but all in a way that is both child-friendly and respectful of real trauma.  
Things I learned about Ming-Na from hearing her talk at Collectormania
  • Agent May’s character was originally named Althea Rice and was not specifically cast as an Asian woman. When she got the part, Maurissa Tancharoen said, ‘We’re not going to be able to call you ‘Rice’, are we?’
  • She does 80% of her own stunts on Agents of Shield and injured her knee in the scene where (spoilers) May and Coulson are fighting two of the robotic clones of the Russian
  • She doesn’t have any belts although she has studied tae kwon do, kung fu and is studying wushu
  • After she played Chun-Li in Street Fighter she said she’d never do any more action roles again. (She was incorrect.)
  • She is still close with her co-stars from The Joy Luck Club and calls them her ‘sisters and aunties’
  • She was nine months pregnant when Dr. Chen gave birth on ER, and could not stop crying, for real, during the scene where she gave up the baby for adoption (and told off Noah Wyle when he told her to “save it for the close-up!”)
  • She loves tequila and dirty jokes and says she is probably the biggest handful on set, although when Chloe was suggested she added, “Sure, Chloe! I’ll throw Chloe under the bus!”
  • She does not really want Coulson and May to get together because she loves the tension, and the way they have a strong friendship they don’t want to complicate or damage
  • She loves Star Wars. As a kid she said she would pray to “God, Buddha and the Force” and would love to be cast in any role in the movies, even the tea lady or someone who just hands people lightsabers (Disney, you know what to do!!)
  • She also loves Mulan and is hoping to be/talking to Disney about being involved in the live-action version (SAAAME)
  • She was president of her high school sci-fi club so genuinely enjoys doing genre work
  • She would love to do more comedy, romantic comedy, etc. in the future
  • She loves beaded bracelets although had to stop accepting any for awhile because people gave her so many
  • She has been trying to write a lifestyle book because people keep asking her how she stays so young, but she’s finding it more difficult than she expected for various reasons
  • She wore a small lapel pin for photographs which I could see was green and thought was a charity badge of some sort but the flash from the photo clearly shows it is a Hydra pin, cheeky lady
  • She is as bubbly and cute as a whole bagful of buttons and could still kick my ass and I would 100% thank her as I lay broken on the floor, but I think she wouldn’t because she doesn’t seem like she’d be prone to random violence

Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t accomplish your dreams, show them you can and you will, no matter how long it takes ! Your dreams are places in your heart for a reason - Semper Fidelis ✊

My Top Five Favorite Shows Right Now!

1. Anne with an E

Originally posted by captainnagata

About a week ago, I stumbled upon a gif from this movie (or mini-series?) called Anne of Green Gables, which lead me to the Netflix adaptation. Since then, my life has been ruined. I absolutely LOVE this show. Anne is such a great protagonist, she’s relatable and I don’t know, you just understand her. Especially if you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong. Also, I loooooooove Gilbert Blythe.  

2. Stranger Things

Originally posted by starkjon

Stranger Things is a rare kind of show. It has everything I could possibly ask for in a show. The 80s, Sci-Fi, High School cliches, romance. This show is so well-written. The cast is stunning and absolutely amazing. Plus, my girl Winona Ryder is in it! The story is intriguing and honestly, this show is unlike any other. I love it. 

3. Superstore

Originally posted by malayapinedas

Okay, so anyone who loves The Office or Parks and Rec will love this. It’s written by the same dude who wrote for The Office and this show is straight-up hilarious. A lot of shows can’t make me laugh out loud, and this is one of the few that does. Honestly, this show is very slept on and needs more love!

4. From Dusk Till’ Dawn: The Series

Originally posted by begavet

This one is kind of random, ngl. I really liked TVD, and this show reminds me of that. Except it’s darker, edgier, and the story is just… what the fuck? I can’t even describe how this show makes me feel. It’s just so good. Unfortunately, it looks like it isn’t getting a season 4. (rip)

5.The 100

Originally posted by hisstericallypawesomesleepurr

Around Christmas/early January, I started watching The 100 on Netflix. Albeit, it has it’s flaws. The fandom is kind of toxic. And there is a lot of wrong with this show. But there’s also a lot of right. The characters are well-written. The story is well thought out. It’s something I’ve re-watched a couple of times.

Tags: @belikeharry @lizziebennet @arrwen