Books for teen girls. Local authors. Our second review is here!
A reminder: Books for teen girls contain some very adult themes
At A Step Ahead, we are a family-oriented tutoring community, and therefore we want to revisit our warning for parents, private tutors and teachers: These books are not for every teen girl. Each of the books has a coming-of-age theme, as we would expect in books for teens. Each book also explores that theme with explicit scenes and developments for the central characters. In the first book reviewed here, the central character marries and then is intimate with her husband. In the sequel, the central character deals with mental illness, drug addition, and suicidal thoughts. So please be thoughtful about what is right for your teen.
Winter Song: a dark tale
“Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.”
S. Jae-Jones has written a dark, romantic thriller. Her central character is 19-year-old Liesl, formally Elisabeth, who has grown up hearing tales of the mysterious Goblin King. Liesl’s everyday life is tedious and grim, helping her family run a marginally-profitable inn, enduring the excesses of her father’s drinking, loving the musical gifts given to her younger brother Josef. Oh, yes, she has a sister, too. Kathe. It’s complicated.
Josef is not the only talented one in the family, though Liesl’s composing talents go largely unnoticed. Except by the Ruler of the Underground, the Goblin King. He kidnaps Kathe to set a trap for Liesl. The ‘old laws’ require a sacrifice so that spring can come to the land above. Without death, there is no rebirth. The Goblin King will let Kathe go – but only if Liesl stays. She accepts and marries the Goblin King.
Liesl’s married life is complicated by the rules of the Underground. Her music takes flight; her physical health starts to fade. What will she and the Goblin King do? They must decide what to sacrifice and what to save. It is a darkly thrilling tale, as full of twists and turns as the Underground in which they live.
“Love is the bridge that spans the world above and below, and keeps the wheel of life turning.”
Shadow Song: even darker
“Once there was a little girl, who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was an innkeeper’s daughter and he was the Lord of Mischief, but neither were wholly what they seemed, for nothing is as simple as a fairy tale.”
S. Jae-Jones’ sequel begins within a few months of Wintersong’s conclusion. Things are not going well at the family inn. Liesl wants to advance her brother’s musical career, as well as her own. Nothing is easy. Not relationships, not money, not music. And Liesl misses her austere young man in the Underground.
As Liesl and Kathe leave the family inn for Vienna, and then places further afield, life becomes more complicated, more complex. Who to trust? Who to believe? How to resolve the growing conflict between the Underground and life above?
The sequel is a darker tale, full of introspection and self-doubt. It is less action-oriented than the first novel, and at times it is almost too dark for this reader. But stay with Liesl as she battles through her enemies, real and imagined.
“It isn’t life that keeps the world turning; it is love.”