Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
During my last two years of college, I discovered Fanny Burney. While, shamefully, I have yet to pick up the rest of her delightful canon, I heartily enjoyed Evelina. It was so fresh and fun. After examining recent YA-packaged editions of the Burney-inspired Jane Austen, I wondered why eighteenth century coming of age novels featuring actual young adults (only Northanger Abbey features a teenager) weren’t given the same treatment.
Mapping the World of Harry Potter edited by Mercedes Lackey
The Harry Potter fandom was actually my first brush with literary criticism—no wonder, since the fandom spent so much time between books feverishly picking them apart to find out what could happen next. While I don’t want to go and find it again (there are some things best left to history and nostalgia), I specifically remember an essay about Peter Pettigrew that opened my eyes to how much meaning you could take away from a text. With that in mind, I decided to pick up Mapping the World of Harry Potter (known in later printings as Mapping the World of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for copyright reasons, I assume) as my first foray into the pop cultural offerings of Ben Bella Books.