When we got our eldest cat, Cooper, we weren’t sure what to call him. On the car ride from the shelter to the pet store, I suggested Quinn. “Too girly,” replied Anna. “What about Finn?” I asked, hoping that would solve the problem. Anna didn’t even bat an eye: “Too Glee.”
Over the next few days, we played around with a number of options. Some were regal; some were ridiculous. None quite seemed to capture his reckless personality (which, for the record, has only grown more outlandish with age).
Then, while curled up on the couch with my favorite Saturday reading, it came to me: Cooper. As in George Cooper, the roguish and romantic King of Thieves in Tamora Pierce’s seminal – to me, at least – Song of the Lioness Quartet.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with these books, here’s a brief introduction:
Alanna of Trebond wants to be a knight, so she pretends to be a boy to train at the palace. Throughout the course of the series, she learns valuable lessons about magic, love, war and friendship. If that doesn’t get you, just look at that cover – how could you not read something with a visual like that?
The Song of the Lioness books may be recommended for kids ages 10 and up, but I still tear through them at least once a year. I can’t help it, y’all: I love young-adult fiction. Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, Graceling – I eat that stuff up. Which is especially hysterical when you consider my other tastes in reading material. Yup – In one small section of our bookshelf, you can find F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Bob Woodward and vampire-loving Stephenie Meyer. (The Amish book is Anna’s, and I take no responsibility for that.)
Listen, growing up is hard to do. I may have a 401K and wear heels to work, but the His Dark Materials books really cheer me up after a long day at the office. I currently do and always will love Katniss, Katsa, Alanna and Eleanor of Frell. I probably shouldn’t admit that in public, but it’s true.
Here’s my point: If you don’t know who any of the above characters are, get on it. Horse Soldiers and the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle may be excellent, but they’ve got nothing on seeing the world through the eyes of an adventurous 15 year-old.
Oh, P.S.: Sure, I’ve read Twilight. No, I didn’t love it. And yes, I will absolutely punch your lights out if you try and compare it to the greatness that is Harry Potter. Ahem.
Note: The Alanna: The First Adventure cover art is courtesy of the Plaid Pladd blog (although it’s really Google Images, if we’re being honest).