Ok, so we’re a month plus into 2013 and I’ve finally, finally! started a 2013 title.
(Just One Day, by Gayle Forman, in case you wondered.)
And now I need to decide what to read next. So let’s talk 2013 publications that belong on the contenda list already, whether for critical acclaim (by which I mean, stars) or buzz.
I’ve got a few titles on the list already, so I’m thinking I’ll show you mine and you’ll show me yours. Good? Good.
I’ve been checking in with Jen J’s star list pretty frequently recently, where a handful of definite YA titles have already hit the (arbitrary and possibly ripe for revision) 3-star minimum that we’ve used the past two years to compile the contenda list.
Those titles are:
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell — I’m already hearing raves about this book, and will be reading it as soon as I get my hands on it.
Etiquette & Espionage, Gail Carriger — One I’ve already read! I revealed this in a comment already, but this was the Mary Poppins book I mentioned last April. It’s delightful. It’s not a contender, though, and this is exactly the kind of book that has us thinking about that 3-star thing.
Widwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick (with 4 stars already) — This was on my to-read list anyway, because I think his prose is masterful. I don’t even care what it’s about, I’m reading this thanks to pure blind author faith.
Teeth, by Hannah Moskowitz — Gone, Gone, Gone, Moskowitz’s 2012 publication was one of the 2012 books I wanted to read but never got to, so I am definitely making time for this one.
Uses for Boys, by Erica Lorraine Scheidt — And here is the argument for using stars, however arbitrary, because I haven’t heard of this one at all, and without the reviews I doubt it would have come to my attention, especially with that slightly sparkly romantic cover, which seems to be not at all indicative of the content — this is one I might have brushed right past as a commercial clone even if I had seen it (and frankly, accidental discovery is all but impossible these days — even big bookstores are only carrying the glossy stuff).
The list also has two crossover MG/YA titles with three stars already: Courage has no Color, by Tanya Lee Stone and Emancipation Proclamation by Tonya Bolden. Why am I not surprised that the crossovers are nonfiction??
So much for stars. On to my personal list. These are pretty much all based on faith — as with Sedgwick, these are works by authors I trust to deliver something worth my time. It remains to be seen if any of them are really contenders, but I’ll be reading them.
(And I’m not listing all the series books, but you can take as a given that A, I’ll be reading them, and B, it will be the rare mid-series title indeed that could make the contender list for real, but if one of them does jump out as that elusive beast, we’ll certainly mention it.
Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff (a title and cover that make me think of this amazing and bizarre stop-motion short) — I loved her first book, then never could finish her second, but am hopeful enough that I actually bought this for me (as opposed to for my library) yesterday. Here’s hoping that was the right call!
Spoils, by Tammar Stein — I read Light Years what feels like light years ago, and I found it flawed but intensely compelling. I’ve managed not to read Stein’s latest two, but this one is on my list for this year.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black — loved the short story, excited for the book. And I still think Black’s Curse Worker’s trilogy is criminally under appreciated (see what I did there? The puns, I love them). It’s brilliant.
Mortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox — I’ve loved Knox since I read The Vintner’s Luck, and the Dreamhunter duology remains one of my favorite books of all time (yes, there are two volumes, but it’s more a book than a series nonetheless). So, you know, I’m not expecting much.
Mojo, Tim Tharp — I know most people will remember Tharp for his NBA nod with The Spectacular Now, which had some spectacular and some not-so moments, but actually the book that won my heart was The Knights of Hill County, a football book I read in my BBYA days. I thought I would hate it but in fact it was a quiet, beautiful, brilliant work. I’m hoping Mojo is more of the same, without the issues of The Spectacular Now (that awful clichéd scifi stuff — urg).
17 & Gone, Nova Ren Suma — Imaginary Girls might have been flawed, but it was the kind of flawed that sticks with you, so I’m in for more of Suma’s sumptuous prose.
Black Helicopters, Blythe Woolston — Although I focused on the issues when I reviewed Catch & Release with an eye towards the RealPrintz, Woolston has some serious skill. Also, she already has a RealPrintz honor, and we generally read anything a former winner or honoree writes.
The Different Girl, Gordon Dahlquist — I’m the only person I know who read Dahlquist’s adult books (and they were very adult), but I loved his imagination and the scope of his world building, plus at least one person I trust has already read and loved The Different Girl. Also, I hear the cover will glow in the dark.
Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys — Confession: I never did read Between Shades of Gray, but I recognize that I should have.
When We Wake, Karen Healey — Guardian of the Dead was genius, and The Shattering was very good. I am not thrilled that Healey has moved on to dystopia, a word that at this point leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I’m going to give it the old college try anyway and hope that she’s good enough to rise above the rest.
The Tragedy Paper, Elizabeth LaBan — I have no idea who Elizabeth LaBan is, and I think this is a debut, but she went to my high school, a fact I knew before I Googled her, because I too wrote a tragedy paper. And it was a transformative rite of passage, and I (like all the other graduates who experienced that class) can still quote that teacher. So this is the sentimental read, borne out of a desire to see my high school experiences reshaped into fiction.
And… that’s it. That’s all I’ve got for now.
Mark and Sarah at Crossreferencing raised a few more titles (including The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, a book that made my to-read list just for the awesome cover); Liz B of Teacozy and Kelly and Kimberly of Stacked have already started reviewing 2013 titles, some of which might be contenders; and I’ve been prowling Goodreads in the post ALA weeks looking at what those who attended and collected ARCs are listing, all of which has put a few more titles on my list. But despite my efforts, this feels like a paltry list so far.
So please, won’t you add to my list until it’s wildly out of control? What are you looking forward to? What have you read already that has contender potential?