Last year I was involved in Project Book Babe, a charity event to raise money for Faith, friend to many an author, in her battle with cancer. I'm happy to report that all is well with her! She's asked us to pass along this letter of thanks to all those who participated in any way.
I neglected a few books I wanted to praise in my last round-up, so here's part 2:
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
This book is unlike anything I've ever read. I've heard people say it's Catcher in the Rye on a fever dream. Libba has given herself an impossible premise for a book (boy with terminal mad cow's disease goes on a road trip...maybe...) and carries it off with wit, humor, thought, and drama. I thought it was fabulous, brave, and will long stand out in the growing crowd of young adult literature. Note that this book has lots of mature content.
Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo
A really lovely, peaceful kind of tale. I want to sit inside on a rainy or snowy day, cuddled up in a blanket, and read it again. I'm a sucker for Kate's prose. I love her every sentence. She writes like Gene Kelly dances. She makes it look easy, but not many writers could stand up beside her without looking a little sloppy. Her stories often seem sweet and simple, yet they bubble with so much underneath. We also love her Mercy Watson books. The paperbacks for the first two just came out--at steal at $6 for 60 pages with many full-color illustrations. But if your young ones are re-readers, the hardcovers always stand up better. Oh Kate DiCamillo, I will go with you anywhere. Including prom.
Day of the Pelican, by Katherine Paterson
Katherine Paterson, our grand dame; or as her grandchildren call her, our damn gran. (That's what I said when I introduced her last year--she has a wonderful sense of humor, thank goodness.) This is the kind of book that seizes me and won't let my imagination go until I'm finished. It's chilling to read this book. So much has been written about the holocaust, but so little (especially in children's literature) about the similar atrocities that continue in other regions. For three days, I was a refuge inside that story, and it made me realize that this could happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Rebecca, by Daphne duMaurier
I'd never read this book before, though I'd often heard about it. Written in the 1930s, it's a lovely example of gothic romance, and is probably the most uncomfortable book I've ever read. I was uncomfortable from the first page to the last. You never relax. She keeps the tension taut even during scenes which should be mundane. I was fully in this world. I think many writers have been influenced by duMaurier, including the recent What I Saw and How I Lied, last year's NBA winner for young people's lit.