I first found Olivia Berrier’s answers to Katie Merkel’s original challenge. I’m still not in the right headspace to give you all serious book reviews, and I am reading fewer books and rereading more favorites during this time anyway. So I hope you’ll permit me another week of fun challenges:
1. Look in books to find something that satisfies each category.
2. A different book must be used for each category.
3. Once you’ve found all twelve categories, share what you found and the books they came from in the comments section.
Both of them seem to answer this challenge with their favorites from their libraries. And I may do that too. But you all ought to know by now that I like imposing extra rules on challenges (plus it makes it so that I can use the same challenge more than once, and choosing favorites is so HARD!).
Round 1: Can I complete this scavenger hunt using only the 12 books that I have read most recently? Can I do it in order from the most recent to the less recently?
1. A weapon – Endgames by Ru Xu features Crow, a sentient android that controls the Goswing’s murder of flying, heavily armed drones.
2. A difficult decision – Of all the difficult decisions in Diane Duane’s A Wizard Abroad… I’m going to have to give this one to Ronan. For a boy who has always needed to be in control, yielding his self to Another and not knowing what would become of his mind or physical form afterwards took guts.
3. A beautiful setting – The Burrow has always felt like home, gnomes and weeds and chaos of housing a family of nine plus guests and all. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is when we first touchdown in the Burrow’s drive. It’s beautiful in the way that a clean kitchen is with the kettle steaming on the stove top.
4. A first kiss – It certainly isn’t Monty’s first kiss, but the first kiss between him and the boy he loves does happen during a stolen night away from their chaperone in Paris in Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It’s kind of a big deal for Monty.
5. A mistake – Pig definitely doesn’t mean, I don’t think, to drive the van up the ramp to the broken section of the dam’s wall and then over the wall in Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo’s The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness. Poor kid just can’t both see over the dashboard and reach the petals. And I expect being chased by a frog with a gun is distracting for the best drivers.
6. A betrayal – The biggest betrayal by far in the first book of the series The Dam Keeper is Pig’s father’s abandonment of him, leaving him in charge at such a young age of himself and the dam. I have feelings about this, and I hope he does turn out to be mad, because I’m not sure I’m going to accept any other explanations. (Libraries are still closed. I am still unable to borrow the third and final volume.)
7. A loss – Oof. Yeah, lots of loss in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince. I think the loss of the queen of Carthya hits Sage the hardest.
8. Best friends – I don’t want to be cliche, but Jo and Laurie are a pretty iconic duo still in Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo.
9. More than two siblings – Turns out Clay has a whole squadron of blood siblings in the graphic novel of Tui T. Sutherland’s The Dragonet Prophecy.
10. A single parent – This one is harder…. The eponymous wayward children of Every Heart a Doorway are mostly grieved by their parents and sent away to Miss West’s Home to in theory become the children that they were before the “traumatic” experiences that those parents don’t recognize as wonderful adventures in other lands. Most of the children I recall having had both parents, and this is the first book in this list that I don’t have in the house to recheck my memory. So can we go out on a limb and call Eleanor West a parent? She is in loco parentis, and she does a pretty fine job of it considering the task that she has assigned herself. And Kade is her nephew and is not wanted back by his parents.
11. A grandparent – I haven’t got a copy of Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man with me either, but I don’t recall any grandparents in this volume. The first is more like disjointed short adventures than a continuous plot. Dog Man may have saved a grandparent at some point… I really don’t recall.
12. A talking animal – I am in luck here! In Kazu Kibuishi’s The Stonekeeper’s Curse, the inhabitants of Kanalis have been becoming slowly more animal as part of a curse. The vulpine Leon Redbeard joins the crew. He’s a bipedal, clothing-wearing, talking fox.
So… kind of almost? To find a grandparent in these 12, I have to go to Endgames where Queen Corazana Lina’s recently deceased grandmother Queen Corazana began a war that Endgames, well, ends. Her portraits make appearances in the text.
If you want a more technically parental single parent, among these 12 the most befitting the title is Emily’s and Navin’s mother from Kibuishi’s Amulet series, though Pig’s father also qualifies, as does Sutherland’s Kestrel, I guess.
Look out for more versions of this game as I have a few more fun ideas for it, and thank you, Katie Merkel for the original hunt!