Di Herald. When the second and third books of the series arrived in my library, one of my 8th graders absolutely wigged out. When I admitted to her that I hadn't read the first book, she literally ran to the stacks, grabbed the book and forced me to check it out right then. Every day after I checked it out, she came in before school and asked about my progress to see how far into the book I'd gotten and what I thought.
And guess what? I LOVED it. What a fun read! The premise of the book is that the normal, humdrum life of a young girl (I think she's 12 or 13) is upended when she inherits a fortune from her eccentric author uncle. She meets his close friend, Skulduggery Pleasant, and is drawn into a world of magic she never knew existed because she - like Skulduggery - believes that her uncle was murdered.
Once again, I realize how awesome YA fiction is! This book moved so fast I had trouble putting it down at all. And it's not all fluff and silly magic fantasy stuff - there are life lessons hidden in those lines. Stephanie stuggles with trusting adults and fighting against their opinions that she's 'just a little kid'. I will say that I was bothered by how quickly Stephanie disregarded her family, but at the same time, she's a teenager (barely a teenager), and we all know how difficult it is for teenagers to think about others. I really enjoyed the idea of three names - your given name, the name you take and your true name. By choosing a name (your taken name), you secured your given name and thus break any power that others might hold over you.- in a way, it's like a rite of passage. What I don't think that young Stephanie (or any teenager for that matter) thought about was the fact that once she chose a name, she would remain a part of the magical world forever. Sometimes we forget that our actions have lasting consequences - and if your life isn't exactly what you'd imagined it would be, it's easy to make a rash decision that will have long lasting consequences.