Friday, September 21, 2018

Guess Who's Going to be a Cybils Judge?

They've just announced the Cybils judges, and guess who's been tapped to serve as a first round panelist for Young Adult Spec Fic???? (Hint: you're reading her blog.)

This fall, I'll be joining old friends and new pals in reading our way through a stack of books as high as your head to pick out the ones that will go on to the Round Two judges. Can't wait!

The Cybils are a blogger-driven literary award, given to US-and-Canada-published children's and YA books in a whole range of categories, published within the past year (so, October 16, 2017, to October 15, 2018). They've been going since 2006 and the finalist lists are super-handy for all you teachers, librarians, parents, and kidlit-loving readers out there! Seriously, check out the finalist lists from previous years and you'll see some old friends. We've got good taste, y'all.

Nominations start October 1st, and anyone can nominate! That means you! If you've never nominated a book for the Cybils before, only one person may nominate any particular title, so gather up your favorite titles in each category and add a couple of spares in case someone else got there first.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Book Review: Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Title: Thick as Thieves
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Published: 2017
Source: Local Library

Summary: Kamet has it pretty good for a slave in the Mede empire. He has a high status within the household and lots of perks. Then everything goes wrong. His master is poisoned and as the slave closest to him, Kamet is almost certain to catch the blame. Offered freedom and escape by a stranger from an enemy country, he takes it, but freedom after a life of slavery is going to take some getting used to. As Kamet and the Attolian journey toward Attolia, encountering friends and foes, he discovers more in himself than he ever thought possible.

First Impressions: This was satisfying as a Queen's Thief book, but I wonder how it would work for someone who doesn't know how sneaky Eugenides is.

Later On: I love the Queen's Thief books, mostly because of the character of Eugenides. Maybe that's why this one doesn't rank as my favorite of the series, because clever, soft-hearted Eugenides barely appears even though his actions have a huge effect on the story.

That said, a not-half-bad Queen's Thief book is still a darn good book. This is a road-trip story, basically - they run into people here and there, and have occasional adventures, but mostly it's about getting Kamet away from the Mede empire and into Attolia, where all will be made clear.
Kamet's life as a slave has ill-prepared him for life outside a certain structure, and for much of the book, (besides trying to figure out why Attolia wants him) he's yearning to return to his old life and scorning the Attolian's friendship and respect. But eventually, he starts to realize that being a big fish in a small and very enclosed pond actually wasn't that great, and that he kind of likes this freedom thing.

If you've read Turner's books before, you know that she's amazing at writing books with a deceptively simple story, and loooooots of things going on beneath the surface. Very often the main character thinks they know exactly what's going on, and seeing things get turned upside down is part of the fun.
However, I was disappointed that a romantic relationship between Kamet and the Attolian was left to be read between the lines. I would have liked to see that made clearer, because it did seem like they were heading that way, and a line at the end of the book could be read to indicate that they were a couple by then. As LGBT stories become more common, such subtlety seems pointless at best.

It's still a satisfying wander through Turner's pseudo-Ancient world, and it's always fun to see Eugenides, even for a little while.

More: The Book Nut
Ms Yingling Reads
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