Saturday, January 16, 2021

2020 Cybils Finalists Reading Challenge

Cybils Shortlists 2020

Yes -- it's that time of year again!

Here are the Finalists from all the categories in the Cybils this year. Again, I hope to read them all, but lately I've been terrible at finishing so no guarantees. If anyone else wants to read along, feel free to leave your direction in the comments and I'll come over to cheer you along. This challenge does mean I tend to hide from the announced winners until I catch up to that category, but if I accidentally find out in February I don't worry about it. 

I am attempting to preserve the links so that clicking on the books leads to somewhere that might put some money in the Cybils tip jar if you buy it, but I am not very good at this so apologies if I break some things. The links in my list here take you to the Cybils pages; you have to scroll to see my progress.

Young Readers 

Easy Readers: (kcls)

  1. See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog (AmazonIndieBoundby David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.This is exactly the sort of book I would have enjoyed reading with my newly reading four year olds (both my kids started learning to read at 4. One continued learning to read until he was 7.) It's self referential, and the illustrations challenge and argue with the text. It is great for share reading. I like the vocabulary, which ranges from simple words and repetition to the occasional stretch word (embarrassing). 
  2. King & Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor (AmazonIndieBound)  by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers. I like this gentle mystery with the dog sleuths staying slightly ahead of the young human investigators. And the cranky neighbor apologized when he was wrong, which warms my heart.
  3. What About Worms!? (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!) (AmazonIndieBoundby Ryan T. Higgins and Mo Willems. A fun read, and it would be fun to share it with a budding reader. Tiger has a very believable reaction to worms, and the conclusion with the worms reflecting his attitude is charming. The meta bits would have delighted my youngest reader. 
  4. Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! (My First I Can Read) (AmazonIndieBoundby Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata. Gentle and cosy story of a boy with an imagination and a box, and eventually a family to enjoy it with. I like how the illustrations shift from the world to the imaginary scenes, and how his family is kind even when they are busy.
  5. Yasmin the Gardener (AmazonIndieBoundby Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly. This was another family story about a girl figuring out what her plants need -- it's got a rather didactic vibe as Yasmin perseveres until she solves her problem independently. But Yasmin is fun and sparky and does her own thing.
  6. The Best Seat in First Grade (AmazonIndieBoundby Katharine Kenah, illustrated by Abby Carter. A cosy story about a first grade class that discovers the unexpected truth behind a classmate's tall tales. I liked the easy sentences and supportive illustrations as well as the nuance behind the emotions of the story; we've never told his story is doubted but it clearly is.
  7. Cat Has a Plan (Ready-to-Reads) (AmazonIndieBoundby Laura Gehl, illustrated by Fred Blunt. This one didn't work as much for me. It felt like the basal readers the schools would send home that we'd dutifully read before moving on to more interesting stuff. The clearly sibling inspired conflict over a toy is played for laughs and resolved through consumerism. 

Early Chapter Books

  1. Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote (The Questioneers) (AmazonIndieBoundby Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts. This has the feel of a novel to me, not a picture book. There are several subplots besides the main story of the class election with our Sofia as Election Commissioner, which is a great position for a second grader. I really like how well the class steps up to their responsibilities.
  2. Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Five (AmazonIndieBoundby Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. The school here seems more more realistic -- the teacher is great and Stella loves her, but terror is still a vital educational tool that Harvey maybe takes a bit too seriously. The kids are sent to the principal's office for arguing, and the receptionist taunts them as they wait, until Harvey breaks. Stella responds with courage, compassion, and creativity, and it's a bit inspiring.  
  3. Monster and Boy (AmazonIndieBoundby Hannah Barnaby, illustrated by Anoosha Syed. I really enjoyed this connection between a monster who lives under a bed, the boy in the bed, and his more capable younger sister. I enjoyed the interlude chapters that pulled back a bit and had a different tone. The book called these out by dramatically changing the color of the page which was effective but made things a bit hard to read; that was probably an old-eyes problem. I still shelved it as a picture book -- it wasn't quite complex enough for me to want it to count towards my yearly total.
  4. Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business (AmazonIndieBoundby Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho. This seemed a solid enough book about an early elementary kid dealing with a new school in a new state, and a father still grieving the death of his wife (Mindy's mom, but Mindy has moved on more). Her dad is pretty remove and the new school doesn't have really nice teacher or administrators, but the kids are mostly OK. 
  5. Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us (AmazonIndieBoundby Lauren Castillo. Cosy pictures and a warm tale of friendship make this easy to love, but I never got into the rhythm of its blend of fantasy. Mole prefers her tunnels for safety, but is close friends with the owl, so what does she need safety from? Hedgehog has a stuffed dog for a friend? The human child can talk, but the baby chickens only say peep? There's a polaroid camera? I felt confused. And it's OK for Beaver to mourn the loss of his dam! I think I was in the wrong mood -- this book might work better snuggled up in bed.

Elementary/Middle-grade Speculative Fiction (May)

  1. In the Red (AmazonIndieBoundby Christopher Swiedler. Sometimes I want a book that is mostly an adventure, and that's what this one was right when I wanted it. Sure, there is some complexity in Michael's anxiety disorder and how that affects his relationship with his dad, but there was also the old-fashioned joy of a protagonist who is a math prodigy and a Martian landscape suddenly reverted to its deadly, unmodified state when the colony's ionsphere generator goes down. Now the two kids must face the elements armed only with their wits and their futuristic spacesuits. 
  2. Rival Magic (AmazonIndieBoundby Deva Fagan. The emphasis on friendship was a great strength, and the way the magic system worked with this theme was really skillful. This was a lot of fun, if a bit missing in boy characters (well, in strong side characters). 
  3. A Wish in the Dark (AmazonIndieBoundby Christina Soontornva. I really liked the balance of personal and larger concerns, and the vivid city with its Thai background. I feel seemed more like a nine year old throughout (they age him and his friend up to 13 after the start) but I'm so old it's all the same to me. I liked the mix of magic and science and the different strengths of the boys and the gir. 
  4. Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (AmazonIndieBoundby Julie Abe. Another great read with an interesting world and magic system. I liked the mix of cars and magic, and the Pokemon style apprenticeship where the kid goes out in the world to practice her craft. There are hints of more -- this is clearly a series and the rival and the EVIL OVERLORD will have be be confronted, but the first book was about learning confidence and faith in oneself. 
  5. Thirteens (AmazonIndieBoundby Kate Alice Marshall. I really liked the realism of these almost thirteen year olds. It didn't feel so immediate as to be almost dated, but these kids were clearly of our world and dealing with problems from a shared base. I liked the developing friendships, and how Pip and Otto were open to a new friend to their group. The parental relations were also solid, from the good to the bad to the very complicated. I took off a few points because the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger and I need to see the next book to know if it will stick the landing, but I definitely want to read that one. 
  6. Mulan: Before the Sword (AmazonIndieBoundby Grace Lin. Great kid does great stuff, and we get to hear a lot of stories along the way. Grace Lin has a pattern, and it's a very enjoyable one and I really enjoy the flavor of her Chinese fairy tales.
  7. Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island) (AmazonIndieBoundby Alex Aster. I had fun, but thought it the journey format was a bit plot-coupony. I liked the various strengths of the three kids, but found the deterministic nature of their society a bit off-putting. A neat twist at the end opens the book into a series, and the main character is in a more stable place emotionally to face it. 

Fiction Picture Books (Feb)

  1. I Am Every Good Thing (AmazonIndieBoundby Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James. I expected this to be a book for adults, one that inspired the reader and was probably ok with the kids listening. But as I read this I could see kids (I was picturing my kids when they were small in particular) really enjoying it. The pictures are vibrant and specific, showing a kid in situations everyone could identify with, and the words were delicious to read aloud. I now think it's a book for kids and people who read to them. 
  2. I Talk Like a River (AmazonIndieBoundby Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith. The way the art worked to portray stuttering while the worlds conveyed the narrator's experience was an amazing act of cooperation. And seeing the how the dad's words and love helped his son frame his disability in a new and powerfully affirming way was inspiring. I'd want to see how kids respond; it was hard to picture my children falling in love with this as a story. But maybe I underestimate them in my memory. 
  3. The Camping Trip (AmazonIndieBoundby Jennifer K. Mann. Let me emphasize that I am rating these by my personal enjoyment, not as a judge. I'm an individual now! And I have a confession -- I don't like camping. It's even worse when I am the responsible adult than it was when I was a kid. So the things that make this book great make me shudder. It vividly depicts a camping trip with young children, with a focus on the one camping for the first time, showing the enthusiasms and the trepidation. Kids should enjoy this story and be inspired to go camping. Obviously I would never let it in my house.
  4. The Paper Kingdom (AmazonIndieBoundby Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion. It's a bit of a quiet story -- a boy is pulled from his bed to accompany his parents to their work as janitors. He resents how messy the company executives leave the kitchen and office spaces but enjoys the dragons and royalty his parents evoke as they try to keep him happy until he can fall asleep in a chair. It's all rather tragic as the parents both encourage him to become an executive and keep their young son up until all hours because they can't afford back-up childcare.
  5. In A Jar (AmazonIndieBoundby Deborah Marcero. The illustrations were lovely -- large scenes that emphasized the small but mighty characters, who caught up their memories in jars together. Their grief at parting was enormous and child-sized, and I liked how we don't see the families, just the two friends. I guess the new friend at the end is supposed to be increasing the circle, not replacing the old friend. It does seem the kind of book adults love to read to kids and kids are OK with, rather than a book the kids themselves read. 
  6. Dozens of Doughnuts (AmazonIndieBoundby Carrie Finison illustrated by Brianne Farley. Very cute and pretty, with a large friendly bear and a lot of small doughnut-loving neighbor animals. Adult me found the bear's lack of boundaries a bit stressful; thankfully when the inevitable crash happened the other animals rallied round to make amends. I mean, setting boundaries from the start would have been better all around, but at least everyone got doughnuts. I am impressed at their ability to create all the different ones!
  7. We Are Water Protectors (AmazonIndieBoundby Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade. OK, I have no soul. I found this very preachy. Water is good, pollution bad, Native Americans have a mystical connection to the land. The colors were good and the illustrations lovely but the message was superloud, overwhelming the art. I mean, great message, I'm all for it, but that what was calling the shots.

Graphic Novels (March)

Elementary/Middle-Grade Graphic Novels

  1. Go with the Flow (AmazonIndieBoundby Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams. Four girls in high school are friends. There are boys, there is homework, there's the crush one has on another, there is the embarrassment of getting a period and having to be rescued, there is having debilitating cramps every month, there is organizing a political protest demanding the school provide supplies in the bathroom, preferably for free. The girls are so diverse I could tell them apart, which I always like in a graphic novel.
  2. When Stars Are Scattered (AmazonIndieBoundby Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy. Wow, a great way to see how a good kid manages in conditions I can barely understand. I've read books about Somali refugees in camps before, but the addition of the little brother with special needs and how the older brother rises to the occasion (and sometimes trips) made this even more moving. It's terrifying to think about all the other kids still trapped in the refugee camps, unable to either go home or go anywhere else. 
  3. Class Act (AmazonIndieBound)  by Jerry Craft. I really like this series, both because of the emotional arc of the kids, their basic decency that is realistic but not idealized, and the insight into the racial dynamics at an elite school that wants to feel enlightened but doesn't really want to have to change anything.
  4. Black Heroes of the Wild West (AmazonIndieBoundby James Otis Smith, Introduction by Kadir Nelson. I felt very clever that I had known of one of the heroes, although the woman at the front was my favorite story. I liked that we got both an exciting scene and then her entire life; the two men were mostly just the exciting scene. The fore and after matter was good but the print was so small I didn't make it through all the after stuff. 
  5. The Runaway Princess (AmazonIndieBoundby Johan Troïanowski. OK, I am terrible at reading graphic novels, and this one was hard for me. There was little text so I had to navigate the pictures, and that's my weakness. Also, there was a family of four brothers and I couldn't tell them apart, except I think the oldest had green hair. So this wasn't my favorite but I can see people who read better than me (which would include most kids) would enjoy it more. 
  6. Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly) (AmazonIndieBoundby Mika Song. This was cute, but not as appealing to me because it aimed younger. Also, I was distracted by the name of one of the squirrels (Belly). But it had mischief, friendship, and nice word play, and I'd be happy to share it with a young reader.
  7. Snapdragon (AmazonIndieBoundby Kat Leyh. I never really warmed to the character, and partly because the art style didn't really appeal. There was a lot of coincidence, and then the introduction of magic in the second half seemed to really lesson the stakes. I did like the old witch character. This is probably a me thing.

YA Graphic Novels

  1. Dancing at the Pity Party (AmazonIndieBoundby Tyler Feder. OK, if I were judging this award this book wouldn't be so high, but because I am voting for me this is absolutely my favorite. I am of an age where death of a parent is something I will have to deal with, and although I'm a generation older than Tyler I don't expect it to be much better. So seeing how the family copes and doesn't cope and laughs and cries and cries some more was very moving. I also liked how Jewish it felt.
  2. That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story (AmazonIndieBoundby Huda Fahmy. I'm always excited when my nominees make it through to the finalists! I saw this on a list of "why hasn't this been nominated" so I pulled it from my library at the last minute and adored it. I wasn't sure if it counted as YA, but I figured the Cybils people would know better than me -- I loved how nerdy Huda is and how she observes her religious customs because she thinks they work for her -- not because she's never considered any other way.
  3. Superman Smashes the Clan (AmazonIndieBoundby Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Gurihiru. Superman comes out as an immigrant! He is helped in this journey by a girl he his helping; Roberta's family is a target of the Klan Supes is smashing. I like the old-timey style but with modern attention to girls as well as guys. And I liked how the immigrant/racism themes are mirrored in Superman's story as well as in the people he is trying help. 
  4. Flamer (AmazonIndieBoundby Mike Curato. I had to read this with my eyes squinted for a bit, because the suicidal thoughts were so vivid. High school is a scary thing to start, and for kids who are already the victim of bullying and terrified about their sexuality the temptation to avoid it by any means is strong. I also enjoyed the description of the boy scout camp; as someone who went to girl scout camps in the same time range I found the mix of familiar and unfamiliar fascinating. As a sorta-memoir this is powerful, and the use of red and fire to describe the banking and then rebirth of power worked really well.
  5. Almost American Girl (AmazonIndieBoundby Robin Ha. Vivid memoir about a rough transition that put pressure on the deep relationship between a mom and her daughter. The art clearly showed the alienation of a non-English speaking Korean immigrant in an Alabama junior high, and how the child grew into the parts of the different society her mom either prioritized or tried to limit. Interesting look at the different expectations from different cultures, and how immigrants learn to balance them.
  6. Displacement (AmazonIndieBoundby Kiku Hughes. I think I prefer internment stories with the actual people, although the idea that this represents the hidden effects of interment on future generations was interesting, and the attempt to link it to modern anti-racists efforts. I found it a bit distracting -- I kept wondering about silly details about time travel instead of the real point of the story. But still a very good book with good art.
  7. You Brought Me The Ocean (AmazonIndieBoundby Alex Sanchez, illustrated by Julie Maroh. Huh. This is a very unusual thing for me to say, but I really wish this book had left out the superhero powers. I felt they muddled the emotional story, which deserved better. The story of coming out as yourself, and how much of that pain might be self-inflicted, and the importance of honesty in relationships was well done, but since I really like superhero stuff, I kept getting distracted by that and then annoyed that the author went back to the emotional issues. The best thing is when the fantastical elements echo and strengthen the emotional arc, and that could have happened, but instead they drained it by deflecting problems or making them seem less important. 

Middle-Grade Fiction (April)

  1. Fighting Words (AmazonIndieBoundby Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I loved Della's voice. She wasn't kidding about her superpower. I liked how she would surprise adults ready to ride off on their assumptions was a matter-of-fact truth. The resolution of the plot with Tyler, the school bully, did a great job of realistic school dynamics, a problem kid who wasn't pure evil, and kids pushing until they get safety. And the sisters' relationship was beautiful, and the foster mother was inspirational, and I cried a couple of times. 
  2. Efrén Divided (AmazonIndieBoundby Ernesto Cisneros. I really like books about competent, compassionate kids, like the kids that I know, so this was right up my alley. When Efren's family needs him, he steps up -- watching his siblings after school, helping his dad. This isn't easy -- he's resentful of the missed time for homework and desperately worried about his deported mom. I liked that this book didn't look at the politics but at the people, which is how a junior high kid would react. They want changes and they want the world to be fair, but mostly they want their families to be safe. 
  3. From the Desk of Zoe Washington (AmazonIndieBoundby Janae Marks. Zoe is really cool -- I liked the matching stories of her cooking ambitions, her damaged friendship with Trevor, and her discovery of her father. I found her parents rather lacking -- her mother especially. I am glad that Zoe had the courage to stand up against adults who are complicit with evil, even when those adults are her caregivers. And I can forgive her for her logical failures, although I would rather the author had pointed them out somehow. The ending was a bit pat, but I'll take it. 
  4. Echo Mountain (AmazonIndieBoundby Lauren Wolk. I loved hanging out with Ellie, who is young but amazingly compassionate and willing to trust herself. She understands sacrifice but also wants connections with her family and her friends. The setting is another fascinating character, as she leaves her mom and sister behind through her love of the wild setting their family was forced into by setbacks during the Great Depression; her family can't help seeing her joy amidst their misery as a betrayal. But they are still a family, and they have to find a way to come together, and the strength and courage of the Ellie may be their only hope. It's got literary allusions, a fast paced plot, and probably a bigger appeal for adults like me than for most kids. The ones that appreciate it will find a great book home here. 
  5. King and the Dragonflies (AmazonIndieBoundby Kacen Callender. King was a great character, but he was a bit steamrollered by the many issues he had to deal with during these weeks. Grief, abuse, peer group changes, loyalty vs responsibility, sexuality questions, homophobia, moving from childhood to adolescence among peers and family -- these are all tough problems and in reality they do often jostle together, but in fiction (and in life) having them all pile up means not really having time to grapple with any one. Goodreads marks this as Magic Realism but I disagree -- King pretends to see magic, but he is clearly just trying to avoid grief or at least partial it out in amounts he can bear.
  6. The Land of the Cranes (AmazonIndieBoundby Aida Salazar. I've had some better experiences with verse novels, so I was ready to give this one a chance, but it mostly confirmed that I don't really like them. A lot of the poems felt like an excuse for leaving most of the page as white space, the child narrator moved upward and downward in maturity as called for by the plot (not her situation, but what the book needed). And it did bring in more specific policy arguments, so I got a bit distracted thinking about them rather than the characters (for example, I don't think having a family myth that your distant ancestors came from a geographic region is a good argument for American citizenship; maybe for some European countries, but not America). Also, I don't think it's an insane and draconian requirement that DACA candidates not leave the country, so throwing that in next to really uncontroversial issues like the inhumane and barbaric conditions in detention centers is just bizarre. 
  7. Show Me a Sign (AmazonIndieBoundby Ann Clare LeZotte. I liked the topic and the historical content -- I had never heard about the sign language used on Martha's Vineyard, or about the community that combine hearing and Deaf culture so well. But I found the characterization a bit stilted -- the girl felt carefully modern, not like a girl from history. She strained to align herself with all of today's moral values, and to show how she was not racist, was anti-slavery, supported the land rights of Native Americans, etc.


Elementary Nonfiction

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist (AmazonIndieBound)  by Linda Skeers, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns 

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera (AmazonIndieBoundby Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History (AmazonIndieBoundby Lindsay H. Metcalf (Editor), Keila V. Dawson (Editor), Jeanette Bradley (Editor/Illustrator)

The Fighting Infantryman (AmazonIndieBound)  by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents (AmazonIndieBoundby Kate Messner and Adam Rex

The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls (AmazonIndieBoundby Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Duane Smith

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery (AmazonIndieBound
by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Middle-Grade Nonfiction

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team (AmazonIndieBoundby Christina Soontornvat 

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure (AmazonIndieBoundby John Rocco

Normal: One Kid’s Extraordinary Journey (AmazonIndieBoundby Magdalena Newman and Nathaniel Newman, illustrated by Neil Swaab

Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species (AmazonIndieBoundby Ana Pego and Isabel Minhós Martins, illustrated by Bernado P. Carvalho 

STEM in the Final Four (AmazonIndieBoundby Meg Marquardt

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON STEROTYPES: How Science Is Tackling Unconscious Bias (AmazonIndieBoundby Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Drew Shannon

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth (AmazonIndieBoundby Wade Hudson (Editor), Cheryl Willis Hudson (Editor)

High School Nonfiction

All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto (AmazonIndieBoundby George M. Johnson

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights (AmazonIndieBoundby Karen Blumenthal

The Radium Girls Young Reader’s Edition: The Scary But True Story of the Poison that Made People Glow in the Dark (AmazonIndieBoundby Kate Moore

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (AmazonIndieBoundby Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival (AmazonIndieBoundby Amra Sabic-El-Rayess and Laura L. Sullivan

Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports (AmazonIndieBoundby Robyn Ryle

Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace (AmazonIndieBoundby Ger Duany and Garen Thomas

Young Adult Fiction (July)

  1. Punching the Air (AmazonIndieBoundby Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. This is a verse novel that really worked for me -- the individual pages felt like poems, and the structure felt vital to the story being told, which was much more about the narrator's raw and confused emotions than about any events or plot. It's a grim story but told with live and passion, which makes it even more heartbreaking. 
  2. You Should See Me in a Crown (AmazonIndieBoundby Leah Johnson. This was a super fun story with an improbable prom season and a fun reason to engage. I liked the characters and how they were allowed to mess up and make mistakes without being condemned -- yes, people got mad, but also people are basically decent and willing to forgive. So a lot of great people doing crazy things, some because they are teenagers (and teenagers in love!) and some because that's the world, it wants them to do crazy things, because PROM! I liked how it was diverse; it wasn't "about" that but who people were naturally was a part of their character, duh. 
  3. Clap When You Land (AmazonIndieBoundby Elizabeth Acevedo. I like Acevedo's books, but I'm cranky about verse novels. I'm a relic. The story itself was good -- two teen girls who discover they share a father when his death reveals a lot of secrets, and they handle it so well that the adults around them finally decide to grow up.

Dear Justyce (AmazonIndieBoundby Nic Stone

Even If We Break (AmazonIndieBoundby Marieke Nijkamp

Furia (AmazonIndieBoundby Yamile Saied Méndez

The Edge of Anything (AmazonIndieBoundby Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Young Adult Speculative Fiction (August)

  1. Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything (AmazonIndieBoundby Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. How did this work? I spent the first hundred pages thinking I was reading from the fiction YA category, and suddenly realized the fantasy elements were real. As were the SF elements. It was super full, had what should have been annoyingly short chapters, and yet was amazingly cohesive and fun to read. I have no idea how it worked, but I'm not sure I want to find out. 
  2. Elatsoe (AmazonIndieBoundby Darcie Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai. My (adult) book club read this. I liked it and learned to enjoy the tone. It pushed against some of my expectations, which I enjoyed, and also had an interesting dimension in Elatsoe's grounding in the Lipan Apache Nation, which was an important part of her family and the source of her arcane knowledge. I liked how the family trusted each other and Ellie respected her parents and expected them to respect her. The baddie was rather black-hatty, but also recognizable. And the ghosts were awesome. 
Burn (AmazonIndieBoundby Patrick Ness

Cemetery Boys (Amazon, IndieBoundby Aiden Thomas

Legendborn (AmazonIndieBoundby Tracy Deonn

Red Hood (AmazonIndieBoundby Elana K. Arnold

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising Trilogy) (AmazonIndieBoundby Kiersten White

No comments: