Runemarks by Joanne Harris was fun! This book was written for her daughter or at least dedicated to her but it's seems as tho she and her daughter have been discussing this story for a while now. It's a great story to dedicate to your daughter. I wish my daughter still wanted me to read to her, but she reads too fast now to be entertained by reading aloud.
Runemarks is inspired by Norse mythology, but only loosely. Harris takes the well worn Norse gods and invents an alternative storyline that reminds me of the comic book technique that became popular a few years ago: alternate universes. The same characters and storylines are reinvented in a new world, similar to this one, but one in which details and even histories or futures aren't necessarily the same. Harris, like DC Comics and the Star Trek franchise, has learned that this can lead to some very fertile ground.
Maddy Smith, the fourteen year old heroine, is quickly learning that the reasons for her childhood troubles are much more complicated than she could have imagined. And when the local parson is way less than helpful, and her father seems a little clueless, who could blame her for turning to a kindly, one eyed old wanderer for understanding.
It was hard to set Runemarks aside. I found myself thinking about Maddy's mysteries and what would happen next. I gave this one to my daughter as soon as I finished it. And there's one more in line to read it already.