Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Tens in 2015: Nico Wraps Things Up

It's almost New Years and here's our last list. Tomorrow we'll wrap up what everyone's favorite books were. Nico is here today with her picks for favorite books of the year:

Simon vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (see all our posts)
I'm gifting this book to basically everyone this year because it is the ultimate pull-yourself-out-of-a-bad-day charm of a read, and who doesn't need that?

Simon and Blue's epistolary Tumblr based romance is so good hearted and real I kept thinking about it basically all year.

It's hard to believe this is a debut, I can't wait to read more from Ms. Albertalli.

Carry On: The Rise of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell (see all our posts)

Our reviewer, Katie, mentioned that this book gave her all the "Harry Potter Feels" and that is the truth. This magic school adventure was so delicious I had to read it again as soon as I finished it.

I love that it's the last book of a fictional series and you get to just hit the ground running, also I basically love every character in the entire thing. Though I'd read a separate book about each of them, the epilogue here was so satisfying that I'm very happy with just this book.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (see our full review)

There are a lot more reasons to love this book besides that it's timely. But, that's a start. It's a book that I want to make sure everyone is reading because it's important.

Not only that, but it's so good. It will move you and make you think about what more you could be doing. Rashad and Quinn are real teens who struggle with what to do in the wake of something that never should have happened.

It also was also a book that accurately shows how powerful teens can be in making change.

Oh, and it made me cry in a coffee shop, so you know, be careful if you don't like your baristas worrying about you.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (see our full review)
Sarah Ockler is now one of the authors I reach for when a teen comes in looking for romantic realistic fiction, because anything we have in that she's written is awesome.

I think this might be my favorite of her books yet. Elyse is a super compelling narrator who has you turning page after page to try to find out more about the secrets she's hiding.

Also, there is a side plot about a little boy who wants to march in the town's mermaid parade that was just about my favorite thing ever.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (see our full review)

Do you know about Malcolm X before he becomes a figure in the Civil Rights movement? I confess that I didn't and that's with a degree studying American History and taking a ton of classes about the exact time period that this book talks about. That's ridiculous!

Kekla Magoon is amazing, basically I think everything she touches is a home run. This book makes a historical character a person. Ms. Shabazz layers Malcolm Little with family stories and lore, making it all the more personal and easy to relate to.

Also, you get to spend some time rubbing elbows with Billie Holiday in Harlem as well as running through 1930s Boston. This is no boring text book, it's one the most engaging historical book I read this year.

This Broken Wondrous World by Jon Skovron (see our full review)
The world where Boy lives is full of monsters, theater and road trips. The second I opened this second book in the series I was so excited to be back with these characters.

Also, this book takes the boundaries of the first book and expands them. Let's see what's happening in Switzerland and in South America! Let's meet more monsters and more humans, some of whom are the actual monsters.

It's a romp with a social conscience. Oooh I liked it so much.

** disclaimer: the author has done/ does a ton of programming with us... but that started because I am a total fan of his writing. That hasn't changed.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick (see our full review)
After his Arbuthnot Honor Lecture this spring, I was extremely excited to get my hands on this book and I was not disappointed.

It starts with page after page of gorgeous illustrations about a young actor losing and then finding his family. The story that follows it is about that same thing. The stories are decades apart and each features a lot of loss and a lot of love.

Also there are silent movies, museums that are homes, ship wrecks, beautiful ephemera and a totally bewitching world that you will not want to leave.

You know when people talk about someone writing "the book of their heart?" It's clear that Selznick has done that with this beautiful book.

Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols (see all our posts)
Who says that series have to feature apocalypses and natural disasters, sometimes just getting through high school is enough of an adventure to fill three books.

The books in The Superlatives series are some of my favorite contemporary books ever. Each book features a girl who is trying to figure out her place in the world and in each book everyone has grown and changed since the last one.

That's one of the things that makes Most Likely to Succeed so awesome: Sawyer is not the bad boy who we met in the first book, Biggest Flirts. He's been through a health scare and gotten a glimpse of a future that he doesn't want.

Kaye is a narrator that you root for from page one. She's uncomfortable in the box her mother, her boyfriend and her classmates seem to have put her in. When Sawyer sees through to who she really is, the reader totally understands how that makes him suddenly someone for Kaye to reexamine. Jennifer Echols builds some serious chemistry from the ground up.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (see all our posts)
I love that I can count on Katie McGarry for big cinematic blockbuster romances. This one is based around a motorcycle gang and it was exactly what I wanted in my summer read.

As I pointed out in my review, another thing I love about this book is that once the two main characters fall for each other, it's them against the world. They lean on each other as all sort of drama piles on top of them.

This is the beginning of a new series and I am super ready to read about more members of this family.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (see our full review here)
I'm a big fan of YA that takes place outside of wealthy suburbs. The small struggling hometown where the characters of this book hail from makes it stick in my memory.

Skylar and Josh both have a LOT going on in their personal lives and are used to avoiding leaning on anyone if they can help it. Personal trauma and military service have made both of them a lot older than their years. But this shared outlook is about the only thing they have in common and neither one of them is great with trust. 

Everything is tentative and touch and go in this book and it's realistic look at recovery (both physical and emotional) makes it one of my favorites of the year, for sure. 

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