Friday, December 15, 2017

Top Tens in 2017: Maria's Faves

This month we're taking a look back at some of our favorite titles of the year. Every year there are so many amazing books hitting our shelves and we hope to highlight a few ones that we'll be sure to remember even after the year is over.

Today Maria shares her faves of the year:

Before the Devil Breaks You: The Diviners Series Book #3 by Libba Bray
This highly anticipated sequel does not disappoint. If you have not read vols. 1 and 2, get going. The characters are fabulous, the setting is lively, and it is action-filled.

If you like romance and historical fiction mixed with suspense and and just a touch of horror and fantasy , don’t keep The Diviners waiting.

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson
Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were two young Jewish refugees who used photography to tell the story of the Spanish Civil War. A serious book with a lot to offer.

The Free by Laruen McLaughlin
Isaac West wants nothing more than to protect his younger sister Janelle. But how can he do this from inside juvie? McLaughlin takes us into life for incarcerated youth as only Walter Dean Myers had done in the past.

Goodbye Days, A Novel by Jeff Zentner
When Carver Briggs sends a text that causes the death of three of his best friends, how can he cope? What should his punishment be? Timely.

The Hate U Give  by Angie Thomas (see our posts about this title here)
Compelling story a young African American teen gunned to death without cause by a white police man deftly handled in the prose of Angie Thomas. Should be required reading for all.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was her sister’s Olga’s role. But when Olga dies in an accident, it’s up to Julia to fill those shoes which she doesn’t want to do. Superbly written.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life  by Benjamín Alire Sáenz (see our posts on this book)
Most of Sáenz's books are character driven as this one is. You would want to meet all these characters and wish you had a father as understanding and kind as Vicente. A book about love, family, friends enveloped in great prose. In my opinion Sáenz’s best book yet.

Undefeated:  Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
A great biography and history of the beginning of American football. The story of Native American Jim Thorpe and the small school in Pennsylvania that went on to defeat prestigious schools of its time is told as only Steven Sheinkin can. Gripping, informative and inspirational.

Vincent and Theo were brothers like no others. They shared much and Theo supported Vincent to the max. Heiligman bases her story on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo throughout his life. You will learn much about their lives.
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This is the sequel to the wonderful Newbery honor winner The War that Saved my life and it’s just as good. It feels as if it should have been part of the original, of course, it would have made it too long.
One of the best books of the year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Top Tens of 2017: Mike Picks 8

This month we're taking a look back at some of our favorite titles of the year. Every year there are so many amazing books hitting our shelves and we hope to highlight a few ones that we'll be sure to remember even after the year is over.

Today, Mike shares his fave 8 of the year:

Starr lives in one world at home and feels like she goes to school in a completely different one. When those two worlds collide over the death of her unarmed friend at the hands of a white police officer, she has the difficult task of deciding where she truly belongs. This book is extremely relevant and important. 

Romance, heartbreak, friendship, Dolly Parton impersonators and a local small town beauty pageant with an unlikely assortment of contestants fill this charming coming of age novel. You will finish this book happy you met Willowdean.

If I Was Your Girl  by Meredith Russo

A well-written story about Amanda, a young transgender woman, as she transitions. Told from before and after the transition with plenty of drama and tension about the secrets she's keeping from her friends at her new school.

Flying Lessons  edited by Ellen Oh
A super collection of short stories from a wide variety of authors covering many different cultures. A great introduction to authors you may not know.

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
A touchy and funny look at growing up Iranian in America in the 1970’s during the Iran Hostage crisis. This story is still very relevant today for anyone not born in America but who is trying to fit in.

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier
A well told “road trip” set on board a train with an intriguing protagonist. The book is touching and the cast of characters will make you laugh and cry.

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
A different kind of coming of age story that happens over the course of a week long road trip. Truth is what Carson and Aisha are looking for and they will be surprised, challenged and finally delighted when they find it.

I am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

A riveting graphic novel that tells the story of an innocent black teen who is shot by a white security guard. Told from the point of view of the ghost of the teen and through a historic discussion in a high school civics class.