When I was in the middle school, I got to work in the school library for a semester in lieu of a study hall. It was really a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time sitting at a desk surrounded by books. I loved it. (And I was annoyed to find out in high school that the local public library wouldn't hire me after school to do the same job-library workers were required to have a graduate degree-hmph).
I discovered bunches of new books that way. Instead of having a scant 10 minutes once or twice a month as part of English class to browse the shelves, I was there every day. It was during this time that I discovered my first paranormal YA series-The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. I think I read all of them in relatively short order.
It has been over 20 years and while the details of the plot have gone extremely fuzzy, I have always remembered the title and the fact that I enjoyed it. So when I found a compilation at Barnes & Noble last fall of the complete series, I bought it. Alas, my TBR pile is still tottering precariously, but I have finally made it down to this one.
Over Sea, Under Stone is the first in the series, or perhaps it's the prequel.
Siblings Simon, Jane, and Barney find a medieval treasure map in the attic of an old house on the Cornwall coast one summer. With help from their mysterious Great Uncle Merry, they follow the clues in the map to find a chalice hidden since the days of King Arthur. Along the way they have to outwit evil enemies who are also hunting the same grail.
To my romance-reading friends, note this is not a romance. And it is a much younger YA than today's brand of sexy teen-angst novels or practically-adult paranormals. I would rank it halfway between Harry Potter and The Magic Treehouse series, alongside CS Lewis for complexity of language and age-appropriateness of storytelling for middle-schoolers.
I have not yet started on The Dark is Rising, which begins the tale of Will Stanton, the protagonist of the rest of the series, but I will certainly be reporting back on my re-read of these.