Best Middlegrade Novel
I’m still (though somewhat distracted) determined to read everything Schlitz has written but Splendors and Glooms was seriously awesome. You should go read it if you haven’t already. Check out my review for reasons why I love this so much.
I reviewed Radical Children’s Literature by Kimberley Reynolds over at The Book Wars and The Horologican over here. The latter was written so charmingly and with such good humour that if you are interested in English as a language, I recommend it wholeheartedly to you. I really want to check out Forsyth’s other books as well. Maybe in the new year? Alison Waller’s volume of critical theory on children’s literature and fantastic realism was probably the best of the lot. The volume of work is truly interdisciplinary yet written with verisimilitude so that even a newcomer to critical theory would be able to easily follow her reasoning and methods which uses to analyze several books. Check it out for some interesting thoughts on children’s literature and children.
I got to meet Oliver Jeffers this year and hear him about his art, working process and projects. The Incredible Book Eating Boy is just as lovely as Heart in a Bottle and it can be a wonderful addition to your shelves or a gift to a little one. Billingsley wrote one of my favourite YA novels of all time Chime but I confess I may like her picturebook better. The book marries art and story in such a wonderful way that I’m just bowled over. I recommend it. And finally, Bink and Gollie. There are three volumes so far and all of them have been brilliant. I won’t talk too much about it right now but I will say that they would make the best presents for your best friend, whoever she/he may be.
Best in a Series
The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke was the second and final in her Assassin’s Curse duology and the reason I like it is because it does wonderful things with the romance. I know that not many people like it as much but for me, it worked a lot. Cold Steel was the final installment in the Spiritwalker trilogy by Kate Elliott and it will forever remain my favourite climax to a series. It was just so wonderful in so many different ways. Dreams Thieves substantiated my love for The Raven Boys. I loved Ronan and his nihilism.
Book That Gave me The Feels
Just. My heart is still shuddering with the feels. Read my review. Sniff.
Tough Love (Books concerned with real life issues)
You Don’t Know Me by David Klass will take your heart and stomp on it and once you think it’s done stomping, it will stomp some more. Lyrical, painful and beautiful. I recommend it, if you are a sadistic type. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a poignant look at a boy growing up on the cusp of two very different worlds. It manages to be funny and heartbreaking at the same time. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen is a brilliant look at what happens in the aftermath of a bullying incident taken too far. The consequences of having a family member be a school shooter. It is told with humour and gentleness and I will review it soon. The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale is one I read just last week but it lingers with me and earns a place on this list. It will be reviewed soon. Finally, Skin by Donna Jo Napoli looks at a girl who copes with having a skin disorder.
Urban Fantasy/High Fantasy that Kicked it Up a Notch (or Several)
The Well of Ascension is the second in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and I liked it a whole lot better than the first one. I may review it. I’m not sure yet. Ever After by Kim Harrison was brilliant and I cannot wait for the next one in the series. Fortune’s Pawn was fantastic while Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews rekindled my love for the series.