I've been wanting to do my yearly roundup of great reads from the past year before the holidays but I have to do a sloppy quick version. There's just not a lot of time lately. So here it goes, super fast.
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
We love all the chapter books. Funny and surprisingly informative!
Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke
My top recommendation for middle grade graphic novel for the year. Great for the boy or girl on your list. Adventure! Humor! Great characters!
Wednesday Wars, by Gary Schmidt
Schmidt is one of the best middle grade living authors, and this book deserves its shiny silver medal. Clever, interesting, page-turning.
Liar & Spy, by Rebecca Stead
I was a fan of When You Reach Me and am happy to add my love for this book. Stead knows how to craft a story, this one a mystery where her last was science fiction.
I really want to recommend Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales graphic novels, which combine history with humor, information with action, but...I haven't read them yet! I want them so much. I'm certain they're fantastic and you should definitely buy them. (And while you're at it, Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack aren't too shabby either...)
I read a lot of YA scifi this year (working on my own), and some quick standouts: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. All extremely strong and unique.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Such a great non-fiction book, not just for non-fiction readers and please, not just for the month of February. Claudette was a young teen when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white person months before Rosa Parks's famous stand. Teen readers will relate and empathize with Claudette's amazing story.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Yay! YAY YAY YAY! Read this one. I would have eaten up this smart, perfectly crafted book as a teen, and I ate it up now.
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
This book needs no help from me to find an audience, but I don't mind adding my own voice to the screaming. (enthusiastic screaming, that is. not the screams of terror.) The characters stayed with me months later.
The Diviners, by Libba Bray
Don't read this one before bed. Unless you're not a wimp. Like me. Libba is a wonderful sentence crafter and loves to play in a big landscape with lots of memorable characters.
Happyface by Stephen Emond
My top graphic novel for teens recommendation for the year.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Gotta love a paranormal romance that starts with the main character tasing a vampire with her sparkly pink taser. Humor, romance, danger, adventure.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Compelling and perfectly crafted story. Marcelo is a teen with autism venturing out of his comfort zone into his father's law office for the summer. There are a few f-bombs, but the book isn't crude at all IMHO. Very accessible, a study of humans and spirituality and finding one's place.
Monster, by Walter Dean Myers
I read this quickly, couldn't wait to see what would happen. I really felt for the main character and wanted to root for him. Interesting and accessible for any teen.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Won the National Book Award this year. Beautifully written. Heartbreaking and hopeful.
Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card
Listened to this audio book and really enjoyed hearing Bean's side of the story. I hadn't read Ender's Game in years but I didn't feel lost at all. Stands alone.
Hm, not a lot to recommend from my "adult" reading this year. Too many standout "children's" titles.
What are some standouts from your reading year?