Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Book Award nominations...

This year's NBA nominations for Young People's Literature are... diverse? Out of the blue? Strange? I don't know how I feel about it. A part of me rejoices that the author judges have recognized books that may not get a lot of attention otherwise - but how can I say that when I haven't read any of the books? Here they are:

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
by Deborah Heiligman

I actually have this book checked out right now, but I haven't read it yet. It's children's narrative nonfiction, which is a blossoming field. SLJ says it's for grades 8 and up, which is understandable, and my library shelves it in the biography section. I've read many rave reviews, so it looks like I'll have to bump it up on my to-read list.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
by Phillip Hoose

Another biography, this one grade 6 and up. Before Rosa Parks got famous, teenager Claudette Colvin refused to move to the back of the bus. Here's her nearly forgotten story.

Lips Touch: Three Times
by Laini Taylor

Three short stories about kissing. YA. Great cover.

by Rita Williams-Garcia

Realistic fiction about bullying in school. YA.

Stitches: A Memoir
by David Small

Graphic novel memoir of David Small. YA? Some people disagree. I'm intrigued.

So, I don't know if "young people" are being represented here. Young adults surely are. And it is nice to see a blend of fiction, nonfiction, short stories, and even a graphic novel. Too bad there wasn't a novel in verse. There may be a little bit of sarcasm in the previous statement.

The judges who nominated these titles and will be voting on the winner are:

Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath

Coe Booth, author of Kendra and Tyrell

Carolyn Coman, author of What Jamie Saw and Many Stones

Nancy Werlin, author of The Rules of Survival and Impossible

Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese and The Eternal Smile

Maybe it's just me, but I can definitely match this year's nominees to judges' own writing styles and preferences.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two down, many more to go...

I went to the library today to return Fire and Shiver because I read them both over the weekend. That's 744 pages. Woo!

I love reading books back to back because I can rather unfairly compare my reading experiences of the two. In this case, Shiver wins. Okay, fine, it's not a competition, but when I think of which experience I enjoyed more, which book captivated me the most, it's Shiver, no contest. It had several things going for it at the start, though, so again, it's an unfair match. First of all, I love books told in alternating points of view. Especially when one of them is the voice of werewolf boy - oh, how my heart melts instantly. And I'm not a Jacob fan. But this story was so... soft... sweet... gentle. Those words don't quite capture the essence of the book.

You know, now that I think of it, Shiver had a Time Traveler's Wife feel to it. The woods behind the house where the girl finds her one true love - though, in this case, it's a wolf she bonds with and doesn't realize he's actually human until she's in high school. I loved the romance in this story - not quite explicit (this is where "sweet" comes in), just a boy and a girl who spend lots of time together and know that that's all they want to do - be together. Grace and Sam are wonderful together, and yes, I was sobbing by the end of the book. This is one that could have easily been marketed as an adult novel too, had the characters not been in their late teens.

As for Fire, oh what can I say? I wanted to love it. I loved Graceling. But I just wasn't feeling this one. So much war! Fire is an intriguing character, one that I would have liked to know better, but I just felt like all of the war planning and politics got in the way. The romance in this story is sweet too and most of the reason why I kept reading the book. I would have put it down fairly quickly had I not been curious as to who Fire would choose and whether or not her love would be returned. But this was only a subplot to the book, I think, so I can't really love the book for it. There were too many other parts that I would have liked to skip. And maybe it's just because I despise so greatly anything to do with war that I couldn't enjoy it. I don't know. And I also don't know who to recommend it to, which is an even worse problem. Will fans of Graceling like it? Some people seem to think so, but I think it's so far from Graceling that I wouldn't even consider it. Hmm...

Oh, and I couldn't help myself but leave with three more books from the library today...

by Maggie Stiefvater
The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa de la Cruz
Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

That's two faeries and a vampire. I can't help myself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Giddy for new books!

I have a small confession to make. I stalk books. There are some books that I, and I'm sure others do this too, find out about months, sometimes a year, before they are published, and I anxiously await the day when they hit the shelves. Unlike others, I do not purchase books. I don't pre-order books. I humbly put myself on my library's hold list, and I wait it out. And the best feeling in the getting new books world is when I receive that little e-mail telling me that one of the books I requested oh-so-long ago has finally become available for me to check out. Oh, it's like Christmas!

But wait! What happens when FOUR of those highly anticipated, oh I just can't wait to read them, books become available?! Yes, this is my current joy and dilemma.

by Kristin Cashore
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Forest Born by Shannon Hale

What to read first?! How am I to decide?! Can I read all four simultaneously? I know I'm being a little silly, but I am giddy! I have been reading rave reviews of these books since before the summer, and I am just ecstatic that I get to experience them too. :D

And on top of all that, I just finished reading two supremely excellent books that I had also been waiting to read:

A Curse Dark as Gold
by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

My Goodreads review of Flygirl:
Generally, I'm not a fan of historical fiction, and I really don't like anything war-related, but this was a fresh perspective, a different side of the war that I had never seen or heard of before. I think this would be a great addition as a choice novel for students studying World War II - especially those who are like me and are not fond of the actual war side of things. There are always people back at home who may not be directly affected by war but are trying to help in any way that they know how. And that's our Ida Mae Jones. A light-skinned African-American young woman who loves to fly and wants to support her brother who has just been sent off to the war - so she becomes a WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots. But in order to do so, she needs to pass as a white woman. It's complicated and emotional, and at times, frightening. Ida Mae is one of those characters you get to know and love, even if you don't always agree with her.

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