Well, the year is almost over. That means it is time for wrap-up lists, one of my favorite parts of the year! What are your favorite books of the year?
Below are my favorite titles published this year:
- Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume- I read this way back in the beginning of the year and it still stays with me. An amazing, haunting gothic tale of the fall of the south, through a young girl’s eyes. I loved it and so did my students. In my review I said, “This is a novel that intelligent readers will love, because Blume does not condescend or speak down to her readers. In many ways, Tennyson reminded me of Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting. “
- Diamond Willow by Helen Frost- A more recent read, this verse novel is gorgeous. The theme of the diamond willow branch flows smoothly throughout the story and is accessible to readers of all ages. Helen Frost is a master storyteller and I can’t wait to share this with my students.
- Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass- I love Wendy Mass and I think this is one of her best. It is a beautiful story with a ton of kid appeal. Plus, it made me go out and look up more information on solar eclipses. Plus, I haven’t seen it since I put it in my class library. My kids absolutely love it, too!
- Six Inningsby James Preller- I don’t even like baseball and I loved this book! A great book to hand to boys and girls alike, it goes much deeper than just baseball and deals with life. The characters are realistic and easy to relate to. It’s just a great book all around!
- The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) by Rick Riordan- Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of this series when the news first broke. Trading cards? Online games? It sounded like a lame ploy to get kids to read. But when I gave in and read the first book, at the insistence of my class, I was hooked! This is a great mystery series full of Rick Riordan’s trademark humor and realistic characters who have unrealistic lives. Needless to say, it is a huge hit in my classroom and we are all desperately awaiting the release of the third book in the series!
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson- Our current read-aloud, my class and I love Chains! Isabelle is a complex, multi-faceted character and her conflict with the American Revolution has made us all stop and think of our fight for independence in new ways. See my review here.
- My Father’s Son by Terri Fields- I am a bonafide crime addict. Well, reading about crime, at least. And watching many, many episodes of “Law and Order”. So when I had the opportunity to read and review Terri Fields’ My Father’s Son, I was very excited. And the book did not disappoint! Terri has crafted a fascinating story about a boy whose father is arrested and accused of being a serial killer. I couldn’t put it down.
- The Underneath by Kathi Appelt- From my review: “The Underneath is all at once tragic, consuming, passionate, full of love, hopeful, and alternately beautiful and ugly. Appelt does the almost-impossible, by threading 3 separate stories into one amazing climax that will renew your faith in goodness and love. It is an adventure, full of magic, myth, and mysticism, of sorrow, of family – of life. Woven together like an elaborate tapestry, the result is gorgeous and awe-inspiring. Our first read-aloud of the year, both of my classes absolutely loved this story.”
- The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby- This is a thrilling YA memoir with huge adult crossover appeal. In this day and age of TV crime dramas, this true story of a family very nearly destroyed by the brutal shooting of their police officer father will grip readers. And the fact that it is 100% true will horrify readers.
- the dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer- Susan Beth Pfeffer is single-handedly responsible for many of the voracious readers in my class. I am telling you- hand any reluctant reader a copy of the dead and the gone and they will be begging for more. The companion novel to her Life As We Knew It, takes place in NYC after a meteor has knocked the moon out of orbit. It’s absolutely terrifying, in a fantastic way!
- What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell- This sat on my TBR pile until it was nominated for the National Book Award (which it eventually won). The nomination moved it up on the pile, as I finally learned what it was about. (The ARC had no blurb or summary!). Judy Blundell has woven an intricate story, full of dark twists and turns down paths you can’t even imagine. There is murder, intrigue, a fascinating backdrop of World War II, racism, classism, and a classic (but dark) coming-of-age story. This is a gorgeous book and one I would love to see used in classrooms over the next few years!
I read about 150 books this year, as of December 26th. These are just a few of my favorites. Ask me again tomorrow, and you will probably get a different list! But I would to know what your favorite novels were this year.
Filed under: Best of 2008 Tagged: | 39 clues, best books of 2008, Best of 2008, cylin busby, helen frost, james preller, john busby, judy blundell, kathi appelt, kidlitosphere, laurie halse anderson, lesley m.m. blume, susan beth pfeffer, terri fields, the underneath, Wendy Mass