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In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Over the summer, a tavern had opened for the farming community around the camp and the Border guard alike. It was called the Elven Tavern. There was a sign outside that showed an elven warrior, though in oddly revealing armor that Elliot had never seen any elf warrior wear and striking a strange pose. Elliot brought the matter of the sign up with the tavern keeper.
I am still not completely converted to the WSFS YA Award. But the vote was taken, the decision was made, and we have it for the next while at least. However, this book caught me completely - it's the story of Elliot Schafer, son of a distant father and absent mother in our world, who finds himself taking the opportunity to slip into another magical world, à la Harry Potter, for magical military school. I found it funny, moving and sexy without being inappropriate for younger readers. Elliot is a smartass kid who gradually grows up under the influence of meeting other kids from other backgrounds, and also actual combat; and despite his abrasive personality, he turns out to have a gift for the nuts and bolts of diplomacy. Although the narrative is tight third to Elliot, we can see the mistakes he makes and we know just how he is making his own life and loves more difficult. There are some glorious gender inversion moments, and some bits that are just hilarious in any setting. I have one finalist in this category yet to read, but I think this has my vote. You can get it here.

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