Among Others, by Jo Walton, is a hard book to describe. I guess the easiest way is to say that it is the winner of both the Nebula and the Hugo awards. I don't know if it is deserving of the award as I have not read the other nominees as of this writing. It is very interesting and it is in a diary type format, but I think the best way to describe it is as a coming of age story...for girls. It has fairies and boys and father issues; yep, definitely a coming of age story for girls.
Plot- We meet young Mor on an adventure with her twin and then we are transported to a future where Mor is alone and her sister is dead. Mor is leaving the Magical Welsh countryside and is stuck in a very unmagical boarding school. It is kind of like Harry Potter in reverse. Along the way we get to hear about all the wonderful science fiction and fantasy books that she is reading, some(most) of which, we still haven't read.
Characters- I don't know how much to say here as I don't want to ruin anyone elses raw interpretation of the book. Finish the book and then email me and we can talk about Mor. Mor is really the only developed character. Mor sees the other characters as fulfilling roles and they aren't established beyond these roles, this works as the book is a diary.
Overall- The book left me conflicted. It has some action I guess, but that is always secondary. It is more of an exploration of Mor and her coming of age story. Thankfully the writing is good and it is very easy to be consumed into Mor's world. I should have known it wasn't going to be a normal story as the narrator tells someone along the way that he is looking at things as if they were a story and that stuff doesn't happen in real life. I was not, however, satisfied with the ending.
I am not sure who to recommend this book to. I am letting my 11 year old read it, knowing that there are some adult situations in the book and talk of sex, pregnancy, abortion, incest, and homosexuality. She knows about all these things, but they are presented a bit differently in this book than what she may be used to and that we may discuss afterwards. it was good, but I don't know if it was great.