Song of the Lioness #1. Author: Tamora Pierce.
From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.
And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.
This reads like a book aimed at a slightly younger age group than YA, (but she may get older over the series?) but still enjoyable. Alanna is a strong, determined character younger girls will enjoy championing, the flip-side of the classic squire’s story.
Sexual content: Character has periods for the first time, notices breasts for the first time. While talking to healer about periods it is brought out that they don’t think you need to be married to sleep with a man – healer suggests getting a charm against pregnancy. With no implications, she is around while boys are bathing naked (due to being disguised as one), and when she looks up a friend in the middle of the night he was sleeping naked. Enemy magic strips her clothes to reveal her as a girl to comrades, but she almost immediately dons a tunic.
Language: 1 d***
Violence: Several fistfights, two practice sword fights, a girl’s beaten up multiple times by a bully before she beats him.