Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Top Ten in 2012: Pat's Picks

Pat is here today to reveal her impeccable picks. Her choices are always so good they need no introduction. So, here they are, without further ado:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (see our full review here)
It's tough to publish a YA "cancer" book the same year that John Green released The Fault in Our Stars.  But do yourself a favor and read about 17-year-old Greg, his unlikely friendships with the extremely short and expressively foul-mouthed Earl, and Rachel, the dying girl.  I guarantee you will laugh way more than cry, and that this may turn out to be one of your favorite books of 2012, too.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (see more posts here)
I couldn't possibly have a "best of YA" list without Libba Bray. Read this one for the setting (NYC), the time period (the 20's), the characters (Evie, Memphis, and all the rest), and/or the occult theme (seriously creepy).  Mostly read it because it's a smart, complex, amazingly well-researched, exquisitely written story that will grab you by the throat and not let go. It's going to be a long wait for the next installment.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (see more posts here)
There's nothing to say about this brilliant, searing, beautiful novel that hasn't already been said.  Read it and weep.And be grateful that John Green continues to write for teens

.The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (see full review)
In small town Montana in the early 90's, exploring one's sexuality isn't exactly encouraged.  So Cameron tries to keep a low profile, which works for her until the beautiful  cowgirl, Coley Taylor, moves to town. This wonderfully written, sophisticated coming-of-age story will resonate with anyone who has had to find the courage to be the person you know you are deep within.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Seventeen-year-old Dodger may live in the sewers beneath the streets of London, but don't sell him short because of that.  Among others, he encounters Sweeney Todd, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Disraeli in this rollicking, engaging, coming-of-age adventure written by master storyteller, Sir Terry Pratchett.

Every Day by David Levithan (see our full review here)
"A" wakes up every single day in a different body.  Male, female, straight, gay, black, white, slacker, overachiever and everything in between.  Sounds strange, but David Levithan has the writing chops to make it work. This book is a brilliant take on identity and what makes us who we are.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The friendship and courage of two women engaged in a covert mission during World War II frames this intensely powerful, remarkably constructed story.  Anyone who thinks YA literature is fluffy or "less than" so-called adult  literature should read this book.  So should anyone else who is looking for a gripping thriller filled with unforgettable characters and rich in historical details.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Ari and Dante could hardly be more opposite, but perhaps that is the draw in their unique friendship.  This isn't a fast-paced plot driven story, but a brilliantly unfolding story of  friendship, the meaning of family, cultural, individual and sexual identity.  But mostly it is the story of two boys turning into men and the journey that leads them there.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Another strong book by the Printz-honor winning author of Please Ignore Viera Dietz and Everybody Sees the Ants.  Astrid longs to confide in someone about her feelings for her co-worker, Dee, about her dysfunctional family, about all the emotions roiling inside of her.  But it's scary.  And people in her town and school can be small-minded and try to put you in a box.  And Astrid doesn't feel like she fits neatly in any box, thank you very much.  So she sends her love to the folks flying in planes high above her.  And begins to learn  what it means to define yourself on your own terms.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
On what seemed to be a typical Saturday morning in a California suburb, Julia woke, along with the rest world, to discover that the earth's rotation had begun to slow.  On the cusp of adolescence, Julia is as concerned with her first love, fitting in with the girls in her school, and her parents' disintegrating marriage as she is with the looming apocalypse that the earth's slowing portends.  This book stayed with me for a long time after I turned the last page, questioning if I'd become a "clock-timer" or a "real-timer" and how I might respond to such an inexplicable event.  While not officially a YA book, this harrowing coming-of-age tale has great appeal for older teen readers.

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