Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2012 in 5: Kady's Top 5 (So Far)

Last year I tried to pick The Piper's Son  (Read our full review here) for all 5 of my favorite books at mid-year. Things had evened out by the end of the year, when I had a legitimate Top 10 list, but it seemed like there just wasn't that much out there in the beginning of 2011. This year, on the other hand, there's a true embarrassment of riches and books that I absolutely loved still didn't make the list. Honorable mentions would go to books like The Disenchantments (read the review here), The Fault in Our Stars (see our full review here) and Bitterblue (see our full review here) but then it wouldn't really be a Top 5 list, would it?

5. The List by Siobhan Vivian
 1 list, 4 grades, 8 girls. No one knows who makes the list that names the prettiest and ugliest girl in each grade but every year, right around homecoming, it's there. Posted around the halls of Mount Washington High School for everyone to see. But what about the girls on the list? Does anyone care about who they are behind their new label and notoriety? This book is intense, hard to read at times and harder to put down. The big reveal at the end is crazy-pants and I wouldn't want it any other way.

4. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
So this one technically came out in 2011, December 27, 2011. Whatever, I'm claiming it. Break-ups are devastating. Especially that first love one. Pawing through the artifacts (skillfully painted by Maira Kalman) of one particularly dramatic relationship, break-up and the aftermath, Daniel Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket in some circles) recreates the story of Ed and Min, why they were so mismatched and why it still hurt so bad when it ended. Bonus points for the book's Tumblr where Daniel and Maira collect YOUR breakup stories and occasionally comment on them.

3. Lions of Little Rock by Kristen Levine (see our full review here)
I'm a children's librarian, my daily life consists mostly of story time, picture books, science fair projects and recommending read-a-likes for Diary of a Wimpy Kid. When I read books for myself though, most of it is YA. There are some children's books that I like just fine, but so many of them seem kinda condescending and didactic and that's just not what I'm looking for in my pleasure reading time. Even the description for Lions of Little Rock, which bridges that tricky gap between children's and YA books, seems trite and like something we've all read a million time before: friendship across racial lines! Segregation = bad, Integration = good. BUT Y'ALL, I WAS SO WRONG. This adventure about friendships and first crushes and taking a stand for what you believe in has quickly sky rocketed to the top of my "OMIGOSH you have to read this" book evangelism. I normally have very specific and defined tastes when it comes to YA, things that I love are not  the same things that other people love and I get that: to each their own. However, if you don't find something in this book that rings true to your own experiences, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

2. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (see our full review here)
Oh hey Cath Crowley, it's like you wrote a book just for me. Spunky heroine who does not stand for getting her butt groped, even if it's by a cute boy she likes? That'd be Lucy. Dreamy, sensitive, mysterious loner boy with a secret? Meet Ed. Graffiti and poetry hidden all over, just waiting to be discovered? I don't know the city's name, but it's in Australia! One night to explore, fall in love and unravel mysteries? It's the end of high school and they have the whole world ahead of them.

1. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (see our full review here)
You've read my review; you  should know how much I need this trilogy to end so I can have my life back.

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