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Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. Today's iteration features young adult fiction titles and some of our favorite things: finishing school, spies, servants, and secrets. 

ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
by Gail Carriger
(2013)

In an alternate England of 1851, spirited and clever fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where lessons include dance, dress, and etiquette alongside espionage, poisoning, hand-to-hand fighting, and deceit. Not only does Sophronia excel at her lessons, but she also manages to solve a mystery—and fall in love—during her first year.

LEVIATHAN
by Scott Westerfeld
(2009)

In an alternate 1914 WWI Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, fleeing the Russian Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn, who disguised herself as a boy to join the British Air Service and is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS
by Eva Ibbotson
(1981) 

Young Russian countess Anna must flee to England after the Russian Revolution. She hides her identity and becomes a servant for an important family. But will she be able to suppress her attraction to Rupert, the dashing Earl of Westerholme?

MAID OF SECRETS
by Jennifer McGowan
(2013)

In 1559 England, Meg, an orphaned thief, is pressed to become a servant for the Maids of Honor, Queen Elizabeth I's secret all-female guard, but her loyalty is tested when she falls in love with a Spanish courtier who may be a threat.

PALACE OF SPIES
by Sarah Zettel          
(2013)

In 1716 London, an orphaned sixteen-year-old girl from a good family impersonates a lady-in-waiting only to discover that the real girl was murdered, the court harbors a nest of spies, and the handsome young artist who is helping her solve the mystery might be a spy himself.

GRAVE MERCY
by R.L. LaFevers
(2012)

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where lessons include espionage, poisoning, hand-to-hand fighting, and deceit. When the convent sends her to Brittany’s court to protect its young princess, Ismae discovers the court harbors a nest of murderers and spies. It will take all of Ismae’s skills and charms to keep the young princess—and herself—alive.

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