Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Would Dipper Do?: Book Recommendations Based on Gravity Falls

This post is a little behind the times, but I'll just blame it on trying to soak up the last few dregs of summer, as well as the stress of sending Delaney back to college, and my younger sibs off to high school (one for the very first time!). 

Still, I love nothing more than sharing vacation photos - and talking about my favorite cartoons! - so it really was only a matter of time before this post popped up on your feeds. Enjoy! 

So the whole trip was a total surprise to my brother... but we tried giving him hints via a chalkboard in the kitchen of our vacation home! Would you have been able to guess?

On August 23rd, my awesome little brother - the youngest of all of us! - turned 15. To celebrate his birthday, we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary, putting a bookmark in our annual Oregon vacation, and taking a brief excursion farther down I-5, winding through to the towering Redwoods of California. Our goal? Hit up some of the coolest attractions Southern Oregon and NorCal had to offer, in a grand homage to one of our favorite television shows of all time: Disney's Gravity Falls.

Image result for gravity falls poster
The show follows a summer in the lives of Dipper and Mabel, the Pines twins, as they go to stay with their Grunkle Stan for the duration of their vacation. What the twins originally think will be the worst summer ever, is quickly transformed upon the discovery of a mysterious Journal, detailing the existence of creatures and secrets hidden throughout the oblivious town, and forces beyond their control lying active and undisturbed within its limits. From run-ins with pesky gnomes and giant floating eyeballs, to interactions with secret societies and urban legends alike, the Pines twins are tasked with saving the town, themselves, and their summer!

So, we made our way down the coast, traveling through tourist-trap towns and in between towering trees (uck, I'm sorry, so much alliteration!) to find some of the sources of inspiration for some of our favorite settings on the show. From the House of Mystery to the Trees of Mystery, from purchasing "Bigfoot Lives" stickers at pushy roadside giftshops to trail hikes to spot the mythical monster, this road trip highlighted not just the basis for our favorite fictional town, but some of the most beautiful parts of the West Coast.

{A picture of the family outside the Oregon Vortex... my brother's the insanely tall one!; snapchatting the Trees of Mystery for my friends back home; the Pines twins' triangular nemesis, Bill Cipher, carved into a visitor's sign!}  

And, of course, I would be completely remiss talking about Gravity Falls on a book blog, without mentioning the fact that a book was recently released, as a part of the celebration for the end of the series! Journal 3 contains secrets not even revealed on the show, and plenty of more backstory to not just the town's mysterious past, but the inhabitants of Gravity Falls, human... and not. Written in part by series creator Alex Hirsch, you know this is a key component to any Falls fan's bookshelf (which is why we might be buying it for Delaney's birthday, coming up this week!).

Still, maybe you're a Pines-enthusiast who already has everything you can collect of GF merch. Never fear! Here are a handful of books I think are perfect for fans of the show: involving tales of towns whose borders ride alongside magical lines, stories of sibling support (with lots of twins), and, of course, plenty of supernatural mayhem only our heroes can tackle. Nothing can replace the Falls, but maybe these fun reads can help you pretend that summer lasted just a little bit longer.

The Spiderwick Chronicles series, Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

444304When the Grace twins, Simon and Jared, stumble upon a mysterious room in their new house - the strange and dilapidated Spiderwick Estate - they also find a series of hallways hidden in the walls...  destroying the nest of a brownie, named Thimbletack, in the process! The mayhem caused by the creature leads the children, alongside their sister, Mallory, to discover Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, an old book handwritten by the house's previous owner. They quickly come to realize, they aren't the estate's only inhabitants... just the only human ones!

This is not only one of my favorite middle-grade series of all time, but one of the reasons I tried my hand at fencing when I was 13!

The Sisters Grimm series, Michael Buckley

After Sabrina and Daphne Grimm's parents mysteriously disappear, they are sent to live in a small town in New York with their grandmother... a woman they'd believed to be dead! As it turns out, their Granny Relda is a lot more than what meets the eye, which could also be said for their new home: the town is full of residents dubbing themselves "Everafters," characters and creatures straight out of fairy tales, folk lore, and so much more, who aren't really so made up after all. Can Sabrina and Daphne take up the Grimm mantle, and save their new home from a scary giant?

Another fantastic middle-grade series! I swear ABC's Once Upon a Time is at least partially inspired by this book series, but for a different age demographic... it's probably perfect for fans of that show, too!

The Lumberjanes series, Noelle StevensonGrace EllisShannon WattersBrooke A. Allen

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are a set of five girls excited to have a fantastic summer at Miss Quinzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's "camp for hard-core lady-types"... but this isn't any summer camp you've ever been to. The woods are full of supernatural critters - like a pack of snarling, three-eyed foxes - and even stranger people - like the pack of scouting lads at the camp nearby - and these girls are ready to brave it all... together! 

Absolutely required comic book reading for spunky girls who are down for adventure. Mabel would absolutely love these books! 

The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black

The town of Fairfold was already a strange place to live long before Hazel and Ben were born. For decades, tourists have fallen to the tricks of local sprites and brownies, faeries rule the woods, and a mysterious monster made of moss and twigs roves the outskirts of the forest. A horned prince has slept in a glass coffin for generations, the object of both Ben and Hazel's daydreams... until, one day, he's vanished. As the boundaries of the mortal and magical worlds begin to shift, Hazel's going to have to remember how to fight back against the forest... but is that going to be enough to take back the town? 

It's definitely the most mature reading on this list, but this YA novel is a fun and atmospheric read that still captures the fun of living alongside faeries, sprites, monsters, and more! 

Have you ever watched Gravity Falls? Ever made your own expedition through the Redwoods? I want to hear about it! Let me know, in the comments below!

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