Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 5 of 2013 (so far): Pat Gives Us Her Best

Pat steps up to the mic with some seriously excellent additions to our top books of the year list!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
There are so many things to love about this book. Two misfits--Eleanor, with her wild outfits, flaming red hair and complicated family and Park, half-Korean, obsessed with music and comic books and with his own family issues--slowly, bravely find their way into each others hearts.  They will surely stake a claim on yours as you obsessively turn the pages, savoring these characters, their stories, the writing, the everything.  I listened to the audio book the second time around and that was also awesome.  Read this book and you'll be going around telling all of your friends they have to read it, too.  And it's not just me saying it--even John Green says to read this book. And he wouldn't steer you wrong.

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
Crash is Steven "Crash" Crashinsky.  Burn is David Burnett, the classmate whom Crash stopped from taking the whole school--a thousand students-- hostage and blowing it up with assault rifles and explosives.You know that at the beginning of this remarkable book. What you also need to know is that the author pulls no punches in describing the life of these older teenagers and I'd therefore only recommend it to older readers.  From the book description on Amazon: "It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal." It is indeed a powerful, provocative story that will carry you along until you turn the final page. And then some.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Lucy Knisley comes by her love of food pretty organically (pun sort of intended). Her mom was a professional chef and her dad was a gourmet so she grew up trying and eating all sorts of interesting foods and her memories are all tied together with food.  The drawings are a perfect accompaniment to the text and the mouth-watering recipes at the ends of each chapter.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks
I unabashedly admit I picked up this book for the fabulous cover and the brilliant title.  And I'm happy to say my first impressions did not disappoint in any way, beginning with the opening pages. When it turns out that only one group can get the funding they need, all bets are off between the uber-nerds on the robotics club who need the money for a competition and the mean-girl cheerleaders, who need new uniforms.  Nothing can possibly go wrong, right?  Great characters, a fast, compelling storyline, and art that pulls it all together.  Check it out.

OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn
 Meet high school senior Danielle Levine, an outcast even at her alternative school full of outcasts and outsiders.  Danielle's challenges with an obsessive compulsive disorder and her reservations in making friends are revealed through a series of essays, journal entries, letters, and emails.  When she is recommended to a social skills workshop by her hippie-like guidance counselor, Danielle is more than a little skeptical.  Can she really learn to abide like the Dude?

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