Sorry about the late posting on this one, guys. Second month in a row, too! Blame it on Cybils excitement. Have you nominated your favorite yet?
By the Numbers
Review Copies: 7
Teen: Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Can I be Ellie when I grow up? Sarcastic, resourceful, and severely lacking in histrionics, she forms a solid core for this novel's wild flights of fantasy, drawn heavily from Maori mythology. And it's a standalone book! Heavens!
Tween: Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
The thing I like best about Karen Cushman is her ability to make a downright unlikeable girl into an engaging and sympathetic main character, without milquetoasting her in any way, shape, or form. Also, she excels at bringing a historical world to life. Meggy Swann is prickly, defensive, and rarely nice, but you'll want to hang out on the mean streets of London with her.
Children: 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.
Because I Want To Awards
Enjoyed This Much More Than Expected: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Oh, jeez, more vampires! But the two girls at the center of this vampire novel are hardly likely to swoon over the fangs. For one thing, one of them is a vampire, and fated to be the vampire queen. The other has been raised alongside vampire boys most of her life, and regards them as brothers (except that one). Entertaining enough to keep the rest of the series on my to-read list.
Loved It/Hated It: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
What I loved? The worldbuilding, the mystery lurking underneath, the inquisitive and intelligent main character. What I hated? The "romance." That was not a functional relationship and I resented being asked to care about it.
Worthy Successor to the First One: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Okay, it's not a sequel to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but the illustrated-novel format means that they'll forever be paired in the brains of librarians. I liked the dual-storyline style of this one, and an insight into Deaf culture means that it should have a place in libraries forever.