Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Tens of 2015: Maria's Gold Stars

Our ambassador librarian, Marian, shares her favorites of the year. This year she reports a focus on nonfic, diverse and a couple younger fiction titles:

1. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

Daniel Ellsberg, a one time government analyst risked it all to expose the US government’s involvement in the Vietnam War.  He brought to life the existence of a 7,000 page document which became known as the Pentagon Papers.

Sheinkin at his best!

2.    The Boys who Challenged Hitler:  Knude Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose

Learn about a handful of Danish teens who challenged Hitler when adults were willing to just wait and see what would happen next after Hitler invaded Denmark.  Acts that began simply by changing signs evolved in acts of sabotage that got them incarcerated but which inspired other to resist.  Hoose is a master story teller.

3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kielyn (see our full review)

Police brutality, almost a daily headline is handled here with utmost care and thought.  When an African American teen gets beaten by a white police officer, who is to blame.  Read this multi-layered novel and you will talk about it for time to come.

4. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (see our posts)

Matt’s mother has just died and his father is an alcoholic.  Matt takes a job at a funeral home of all places where he not only works very hard but learn to grieve.  A most thoughtful story beautifully narrated by Reynolds.

5. More Happy Than Not: A Novel by Adam Silvera

Aaron is a teenager who happens to be gay but wants to undergo a procedure that will make him forget that he is.  This modern contemporary novel with a touch of sci-fi, is set in New York and has some unforgettable characters.

6.    Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Madeline has an immunodeficiency that has made her allergic to everything, therefore she is confined to her home.  She keeps abreast of life through her computer.  She does have a caretaker and then there is her mother who happens to be a physician.  One day, Olly moves in next door an a romance flourishers.  How, read and find out.

7.    The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada, 10 years old has been hidden away in a room all her life because of her deformity.  She has a club foot. When World War II causes the evacuation of children to the countryside in Britain, her younger brother is sent away and Ada tags along.  They find refuge with Miss Smith who is kind and loving.  This is a heartbreaking story that you wish didn’t happen but which you are glad to read.

8.    The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

We return to learn a little more about Calpurnia in this second volume of her life.

New characters are introduced and we see her growth and at the end you will want to still learn more.  Great writing.

9.    These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

The time 1890’s.  Jo Montfort is rich, beautiful and soon to be engaged to one of the most desirable bachelors in New York City.  Yet, this is not what she desires.  Sha wants to be a journalist like Nelly Bly.  When her father is found dead of an apparent suicide, Jo can’t accept it.  Her father would not have committed suicide.  She starts to investigate and discovers secrets and ugly truths that place her life in danger.  Part romance, part mystery and entirely captivating.

10.     Ask the Dark by Henry Turner

Fifteen-year-old Billy Zeets is a troublemaker with a kind heart. After a boy’s dead body is found by the river and another boy disappears Billy takes it upon himself to investigate what’s going on.  He is also trying to save his home which his father is about to lose after an accident.  Billy is a different kind of hero than you usually find in teen novels but one that you will fall for.

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