By the Numbers
Review Copies: 7
Teen: Mistwood by Leah Cypess
I kept this on my list because there were some comparisons to Meghan Whalen "Creator of Eugenides" Turner, but secretly I was wondering how it would be. I think the comparisons were warranted. While some secondary characters weren't very strong, this is definitely in the same vein of complex political machinations and multi-layered inner life of the mysterious protagonist.
Tween: Julia Gillian and the Dream of the Dog by Alison McGhee
This last book in the Julia Gillian trilogy is all about what we knew would happen from the first book. To put it succinctly, yes, the dog dies, and serious, sensitive Julia Gillian has to handle it as best she can. Well, really, what did you think would happen? Sniff.
Children: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Of all the things to fear, this is the biggie: death, and Alvin Ho handles it in his inimitable fashion. He's still an unabashed scaredy-cat, but he's starting to handle it now, learning that being afraid doesn't mean he shouldn't face things. He's also getting into some more stereotypically second-grade trouble, although mostly because he's too shy to open his mouth and correct misconceptions.
Because I Want To Awards
Was Most Surprised to Like: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Okay, y'all . . . homicidal mermaids. So many ways this could have been bad. Instead, it was surprisingly good. Although I would have liked to had Calder in his merman guise on the cover, instead of Generic Girl Mermaid.
Most Challenging: Love You Two by Maria Pallotta Chiarolli
Also known as the polyamorous-mom book. Because I have very strong feelings about monogamy in marriage, I was squarely in the protagonist's camp at the beginning of the book, not a comfortable place to be really. The happy-sweet-we-love-and-accept-everybody-no-really-everybody message started to be a bit much near the 3/4 mark, but I still think it's well worth reading for the reminder that love comes into our lives in all forms.
Least Sympathetic Main Character: Archvillain by Barry Lyga
Lyga treads a careful line in making his superpowered genius kid arrogant, a little nasty, a lot thoughtless, but not truly evil, just painted that way by circumstances. An entertaining look at the other side of the mask and cape, and the start of a series I'll keep on hand for comic-book mavens.