First Jones

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Tue Aug 31 13:00:40 EDT 1999

Funny how many of us are biased towards the first Chrestomanci book we
read.  Of DWJ books for a teenage boy my choice would be The Lives of
Christopher Chant.  Definitely!  Ok, so aside from the fact that it was my
own first, I agree with Paul about the unpleasantness of lots of the
characters in Witch Week.  Christopher is just as bad sometimes, but we
started off with such an empathic view of life as he'd experienced it, that
his behaviour was easier to take.  Also, for me, the sheer wonder of the
other worlds was most compelling in this book.  By the time I read Witch
Week (my third or fourth I think), I trusted DWJ enough to believe that
there would be that shift of perception and growth in the characters.  I
had very much the same experience reading the books to Cara (my younger
daughter, now 9).  She's much more easily put off by nastiness than Becca
is, and was looking decidedly uncomfortable by about half-way through WW.
Becca and I reminded her of Christopher, and she was able to keep going,
and then was very happy she had.

Mind you, I have never in my life recommended a book to an adolescent boy.
I did suggest Becca try The Perilous Gard with a boy in her class, but his
bossy older sister took it over, didn't like it much, and didn't let him
read it! I still think he would have liked it, though not many boys that
age would. Also lent Connie Willis' "To Say Nothing of the Dog" to my
sister-in-law, who passed it on to her 13 year old son.  It was the first
book in years that he had really become engrossed in, so I suppose I could
count that as a semi-success.

For other readers, my recommendations would be very much along the same
lines as Deborah's.  Howl for almost anyone, and Hexwood, F & H and Deep
Secret only for readers who like complexity.  I think it's no big shock
that no one has claimed to start with Sudden Wild Magic.  I'm almost
finished that, and will then go back and read all your references to it,
and see if I have to read it again.  But meanwhile, I'm just thankful that
I didn't come across it first.

(hallieod at

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