A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Tiffany Aching goes to the mountains to learn the art of witchcraft, she is soon targeted by an immortal creature, one that not even the bold Nac Mac Feegles can fight for her.
This second Tiffany Aching book is probably my favorite. I love the story of the apprentice learning her craft, and discovering that there is more in the world than she ever imagined. Leaving behind her beloved Chalk, Tiffany finds that her new profession is less about flashy magic and more about caring for the old and lonely, making sure the goats are milked and no one is overlooked.
The witch community is introduced in the book. Miss Level, Tiffany's teacher, is a witch with a very unique talent. There are many other young witches, each with a different variety of magic: a sweet yng pig witch and a snooty spangle-wearer stand out.
In the Feegle mound, there is also a new kelda, Jeannie, who has suspicious views of Tiffany, which leaves the young witch vulnerable to the predations of an ancient creature called a hiver (who is one of Pratchett's most interesting creations).
In short, it's a stronger story than the first Aching book, and one that fans of this Discworld YA series will eagerly read. You might also pick up one of Neil Gaiman's YA novels: Coraline is my first favorite, but there is also The Graveyard Book. And to complete the trio of great authors, there is Diana Wynne Jones. (Definitely start with Howl's Moving Castle for the best introduction to her books.)