By the Numbers
Review Copies: 8
Teen: Mr. Monster by Dan Wells
Though my library cataloged this in their adult section, I felt like it was a perfect example of a teen book. A very dark and disturbing teen book, to be sure, but with the same themes of self-definition, growing into yourself, and understanding what you're capable of and why that doesn't mean you should do it. In some ways better than the first book.
Tween: Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
How do you follow up a Newbery winner? With another book that seems simple on the surface, but bubbles with secrets underneath. Review coming soon.
Children: Just a Second by Steve Jenkins
We don't talk about the concept of time a whole lot in children's lit. Oh, sure, how to tell time, but not the way that Jenkins does, recounting various things that could happen in various units of time. I think scientific-minded kids will get a giant kick out of it. And of course the illustrations are stellar.
Because I Want To Awards
Longest Awaited: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Years, you guys. Years. I kept wanting to re-read the others as I worked my way through this book. It's not a flashy, action-packed plot by any means, but this quietly powerful meditation on personal guilt and responsibility, and how a leader must handle them in both herself and the people she leads left an impression.
No Easy Answers: I Am J by Cris Beam
This story of a transgender teen gained points for not having J discover a place where he magically belonged. He felt as out of place in the LGBT shelter as he did at home, and that felt realistic to me. The real focus was not on "how will the world ever accept me" but "how will I ever learn to fit into this skin."
For Lovers of Traditional Children's Lit: What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb
There's something very old-fashioned about the feel of this book. I noticed the words "wholesome" and "classic" coming up a lot in other reviews, even though there are themes that would never have come up fifty years ago. I think it's because of the way that Mo is pretty much left to her own devices, seeking out adventure and answers in equal measure. Give this to lovers of the Penderwicks and other modern classic books.