By the Numbers
I didn't really read 381 books this year. Many books fell into more than one category, especially those tween books that could go either up or down. There's also a larger number of teen books than in past years because of my Cybils reading.
Review Copies: 63
Oh, the whimpering and whining. I finally chose the weak way out and declared a tie between these two, both read for the Cybils nominations. Round 2 judges, I don't envy you having to pick between them.
Selected in December: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
"I was really poking along, dissatisfied with everything I was reading, but this puppy brought me out of my reading slump, and hard. I spent one whole morning on the couch wrapped in a blanket and Elisa's world. From the sweet, smart main character to the colonial-Mexico-influenced world to the descriptions of the food to the natural, organic inclusion of faith and struggles with same . . . my god, did I love this book."
Selected in October: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
"I've been keeping notes for myself on my Cybils reading. Many of them say things like, 'Interesting premise. Flattish characters.' The notes for this are a gibbering mess of 'OMG! The setting! The characters! The violence! The tone! Saba! Jaaaack!' So. Yeah. There's that. I also got a colleague to read it. When she finished the book, we basically squeed at each other until our voices gave out."
Selected in May: Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
"Hayyaat is on a quest to bring her ailing grandmother soil from her home. Sounds simple, right? Until you factor in that the soil is in Israel, and Hayyaat is a citizen of Palestine. This book gives readers an up-close-and-personal look at the devastating effects of drawn-out conflicts, and also the terribly complex nature of that conflict."
Selected in September: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
"Okay, it's set during the 70's, in the heart of the Black Panther movement (joining Kekla Magoon's equally stellar The Rock and the River in representing that little slice of American civil rights history), but first and foremost this novel is about the difficult and fraught mother/daughter relationship. I actually had a very hard time deciding whether to put this one or Meggy Swann in the Tween category. It's an older kid's book, verging on Tween, as is Meggy Swann. Argue with in the comments if you like."
All the roundups from 2011
This was a lighter year for reading. I stopped pushing myself to read so fast, and found I enjoyed myself more. This is a good thing overall, I find.