deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
deborah ([personal profile] deborah) wrote2008-12-12 14:01

best of 2008

Following [livejournal.com profile] diceytillerman, I'm listing my best books of 2008. All of these are middle grade or young adult. I've marked them with an asterisk (*) if they are sequels or parts of series. And I've read almost nothing this year I didn't review, so there's so much here that's missed, I'm sure!

Fantasy and science fiction:
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
House of Many Ways* by Diana Wynne Jones
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Flora's Dare* by Ysabeay Wilce
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Realism:
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
This Full House* by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The Porcupine Year* by Louise Erdrich
Antsy Does Time* by Neal Shusterman

Books that weren't as good as I wanted them to be but were still very enjoyable:
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: very enjoyable but the well-meaning attempts to deal with body image politics backfired badly.
Rex Zero, King of Nothing* by Tim Wynne-Jones: excellent, like everything he writes. But the Rex Zero books are too nostalgic for my tastes.
Impossible by Nancy Werlin: this book was beautiful, but one of the things I like about Nancy Werlin is how grim she is willing to be. This story tied up all the loose ends more neatly than I wanted it to.
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin: I really wanted to love this book with its protagonist who unwillingly gender swaps monthly. I got hung up on some really icky race politics that are a tiny part of the book, so it's hard for me to judge the text fairly aside from that.

Books that were way better than I expected them to be
Mousetraps by Pat Schmatz: this looked like a really fun, silly book with a pat message about accepting your gay friends, until it got unexpectedly dark.
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi: Scalzi decided to write a standalone young adult novel that takes place in the middle of an existing adult science fiction series. It sounded like a train wreck to me -- but the book was great, and worked very well as a standalone. He didn't give me any interest in reading the adult books in the same series, but it did make me want to read more about Zoe from her own point of view.

[identity profile] yendi.livejournal.com 2008-12-12 19:09 (UTC)(link)
'song has insisted that I read Hunger Games (which we currently have out of the library), but Elayna started reading it before I had the chance. It's definitely one I'm looking forward to.

Sadly, I'm way too disorganized to be remember all the books I read this year, but I did enjoy both Zoe's Tale and Little Brother a lot.

[identity profile] kattahj.livejournal.com 2008-12-12 19:35 (UTC)(link)
I wasn't expecting much from House of Many Ways after Castle in the Air (which I like and all, but is definitely one of DWJ's slighter works), but I love it a LOT. Possibly some of my love may have to do with Charmaine's book-learned impracticality being something I can relate to. :-)

[identity profile] jordanwillow.livejournal.com 2008-12-12 20:14 (UTC)(link)
Completely agree about Impossible! Still haven't gotten to The Hunger Games -- maybe I"ll take it home with me at Christmas. Also, I'm dying to read the Wilce books! *moves them higher on my list*

[identity profile] rohinax.livejournal.com 2008-12-12 21:36 (UTC)(link)
Oooh! I have the Wilce and the Doctorow sitting in my unread pile. I should get on to them.

Is Louise Erdrich, like, the same Louise Erdrich who writes adult fiction for the New Yorker? If so, are there naked blue devils in her kid's book?