It having been forever (okay, a month) since I updated, I decided I would rectify this by blogging an old favorite.
Book: So You Want to Be a Wizard
Author: Diane Duane
First Published: 1983
Thirteen-year-old Nita is absolutely sick of being beat up, but fighting back seems to help just about as much as doing nothing. Hiding out from her tormentors in the library one day, she finds a book titled So You Want to Be a Wizard. Joke, right? Wizardry doesn't exist.
Except that when Nita takes the Wizard's Oath, she finds out that--oops--it does. And being a wizard isn't just about waving wands and reciting spells to get those bullies off her back. It's about danger, responsibility, sacrifice, working with other wizards, and fighting the Power that wants to grind down the universe.
Hey, the book did warn her.
So You Want to Be a Wizard is the first in a series of seven (soon to be eight) books about Nita Callahan and her partner in wizarding, Kit Rodriguez. You can probably read them out of order--they're more or less standalone novels--but it's better to read them straight through.
I've loved these books for years. They're in the same vein of Diana Wynne Jones and Madeleine L'Engle, in that while magic exists, it's not fun and cute, but powerful and dangerous, even when it's good. And when it's bad . . . hooo boy. Duane pulls no punches--her characters face moral dilemmas and terrible choices, even as they're in the middle of regular growing-up traumas. Probably what I like best is that Kit's ethnicity is never a Big Huge Thing, but instead just another part of his identity. But that's just me.
Read them for the magic, the moral dilemmas, the warm and real (and not always simple) friendship between Nita and Kit, the humor, the strange and unexpected beings they encounter (sharks, sentient white holes, and mobile Christmas trees are just the beginning, trust me), the . . . oh, just read 'em.