Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill – A story that sometimes got a little bit goofy, but in a very self-aware way that I enjoyed. And I am completely in love with these characters – Bug and Pesto are too much fun.
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan – While this one didn’t pack quite as much of an emotional punch as The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I thought that it was really well-plotted and absolutely terrifying. And that’s exactly what I want from a zombie book. Loved the connections between the two stories. (Review copy provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter)
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins – Cute but predictable story set in a(nother) school for kids with magic. I did think that the mean girls side of the story was handled well, but I didn’t find this novel especially memorable. (Review copy provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood – I was completely won over by this rollicking old-time story that has tongue firmly planted in cheek. I didn’t think that the conceit was going to hold through a full novel – was pretty sure that it would feel one-note and boring by the end – but I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case. I think it worked because Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles are such winning characters. (Review copy provided by publisher.)
The Color of Earth and The Color of Water by Kim Dong Hwa – While I realize that these books are about a young girl’s developing sexuality, it sure would be nice if we were ever privy to a single one of her thoughts that doesn’t center on boys and sex. Diversify, please! On the good side, the art is absolutely gorgeous.
She Thief by Daniel Finn – Interesting story, but suffered from some pacing issues, and the slangy sort-of-Cockney dialect was distracting. I did like the setting a lot – a future London that sometimes feels a lot like the past until a cell phone shows up in somebody’s pocket. (Review copy provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Are we in the golden age of YA dystopia or what? I keep thinking “oh man, another depressing dystopian novel, here we go again” and then I keep getting blown away. This was taut and exciting and surprising and exactly what you would want from this type of story. I handed it directly to one of my library kids when I was finished, and he came back the next day gushing and asking for the sequel. Which I need. Right now.
The Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda – Great beginning – the first chapter definitely brings the intrigue. And the whole things move quick and draws the reader along. And Billi is a bona-fide ass-kicker. And yet… just didn’t make me care as much as I wanted to. Can’t put my finger on why.
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – Ok, confession time: I read The Thief and liked it fine. But I didn’t love it, and so I never got around to the rest of this series. Go ahead and berate me for a couple of minutes – I totally deserve it. This series is AMAZING. Eugenides is THE AWESOMEST. I need to talk about these books in ALL CAPS. The Thief improves on re-reading, and the rest of the series is so full of intrigue by people who are smarter and craftier than I could ever be – I can’t get enough. Read the whole series in three days. (Review copy of A Conspiracy of Kings provided by the publisher.)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – This is a book that you will feel intensely. Just stunning – and a good crossover adult/YA title. Kambili’s story is a necessary read.