Carson, Rae. 2011. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. New York: Greenwillow. ISBN 9780062025484 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
Sixteen-year-old Elisa is the chosen one, a princess, the possessor of the Godstone, the one about to be married. She is also the younger daughter, slightly overweight, not particularly pretty, the one who has never done anything special. And now she is to become the “secret wife” of a king whose country is in turmoil, in an attempt to salvage his reign and strengthen her father’s power in her country. When she arrives at her new home she is confronted by distrust, intrigue, jealousy, and revolution—all of which eventually lead to her kidnapping and her questioning all she has ever believed. This marvelous story goes far beyond the usual young adult fantasy with its wonderful world building, strong characters, romance, and its observations about family, duty, religion, and culture. Elisa is an especially strong character who is not beautiful or independent and part of the charm of this book is the growth of her as a character. The book, which can be read on many levels, is the first of a trilogy that can be enjoyed as a simple fantas, but is richer and more dynamic for the discerning reader.
This novel would be wonderful for a girls’ or mother and daughter book club as it addresses issues such as body image, gender and societal issues, and religion.
Other fantasy with strong female characters:
Bunce, Elizabeth. STARCROSSED. ISBN 9780545136051
Dixon, Heather. ENTWINED. ISBN 9780062001030
O’Neal, Ellis. FALSE PRINCESS. 9781606840795
By Janet Hilbun