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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

List O Mania – BFYA

As you can see, I am trying to include all the various lists that have come out recently! I am sure I am not the only list obsessed reader out there, right?

BEST 300x217 List O Mania   BFYA

Best Fiction for Young Adult (which sort-of kinda used to be Best Books for Young Adults) includes several top titles; Angela Frederick has put together a list of the BFYA 2013 and Quick Picks 2013 overlap.

I always think I’ve read so much…. and then I read these lists. Oh, well!

Here is what I’ve read from the BFYA list; for the full list, including top ten, go to the YALSA website. Here, I’m just going to list the titles I’ve read and reviewed.

Barnaby, Hannah. Wonder Show. From my review: “Portia Remini has not run away from home to join the circus. First, its’s a carnival, not a circus, and it’s called Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show. Second, it was not home, not a home with parents or family. Parents and family left, long along, fleeing the dust and looking for work, and finally the last relative had enough and sent her to the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls. . . . Will Portia find what she’s looking for? And will the McGreavey home let her go?

Barraclough, Lindsey. Long Lankin. From my review: “I was reminded of three authors: Diana Wynne Jones, because Barraclough’s capturing of childhood reminded me of Jones. When Cora discovers a piano in her aunt’s house and wants to play, she sits down. But what child just sits down on a piano stool? “I sat down on the stool, one of those that whirled around and went up and down, and I must have whizzed round on it for five minutes at least before I cam to a stop, all giddy.” Stephen King and Peter Straub, because Long Lankin is a horror story about cursed generations, missing children, murders, witchcraft, and the supernatural.”

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. From my review: ”New York City, 1926, is the best place in the world to be! At least, according to Evie O’Neill, who — get this — has been punished by her parents by being sent away from home to New York City to live with her Uncle Will. Evie can’t believe her good luck! . . .  things get weird when Uncle Will is called in to consult on the murder of a girl not much older than Evie. It’s actually weirder than Uncle Will or anyone else knows, because Evie has a gift. Sometimes, when she picks up an object, she sees things about its owner. . . . Now her gift may bring her trouble of a different kind — it may help her find a killer. Bodies pile up as the jazz plays on.”

Brennan, Sarah Rees. Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy. From my review: “Deep breath in; deep breath out. Deep breath in; deep breath out. Relax. Count to ten. Nope, still not calm enough to talk about this book. WOW. WOW. LOVE. LOVE. AWESOME. AMAZING. WAIT, WHAT? WOW. LOVE. THAT ENDING.”

Cameron, Sharon. The Dark Unwinding. From my review: “I loved that The Dark Unwinding surprised me. First, by not being a fantasy. Second, by it’s interesting look at history. Next, by Katherine herself, damaged and hurt and learning for the first time to trust and love. Finally – the ending! So unexpected yet it makes sense. And it’s brave because it makes sense but it’s not what the reader wants. The Dark Unwinding rather gives the reader what he needs.

Cross, Sarah. Kill Me Softly. From my review: “Almost like a fairy tale, Mira falls for Felix and falls into a friendship with Blue, Freddie, and their other friends. Except it’s not a fairy tale. Except it is. Beau Rivage has secrets, but not the secrets Mira was looking for. Instead, it turns out to be a place where fairy tales are real. People are cursed, to be villians and heroes and victims, and this happens again and again and again. . . . Mira didn’t read many fairy tales growing up and has just a vague knowledge of them. She’s about to find out: fairy tales are more than princesses and princes. Fairy tales are dark and dangerous.”

Danforth, Emily M. The Miseducation of Cameron Post. From my review: “Cam is both isolated yet not alone. She is isolated from her grief, and isolated because she has to hide her relationships with girls. She is not isolated, in that she has friends. While Cam cannot be public about her emotions and love, she is not alone. . . . There is Irene, with whom she shares her first kiss. There is Lindsey, visiting for the summer from the west coast, who Cam dates and who becomes Cam’s long-distance friend and mentor, a link to a world where people are out and proud and public. Then there is Coley, the girl who Cam falls for, falls hard, who presents a danger to the delicate balance Cam keeps between her private and public lives.”

Fitzpatrick, Huntley. My Life Next Door. From my review: “Samantha Reed’s mother explained to her about the family next door: “There’s one in every neighborhood. The family that never mows their lawn. The toys scattered everywhere.” The message to Sam is clear: stay away from the Garretts. Sam is fascinated by the Garretts: all the children, the noise, the chaos, so unlike her own tidy home, her perfectionist mother, her in charge sister. She secretly watches them — until one day Jase Garrett climbs the trellis. The boy next door: Jase. The boy her mother cannot know about.”

Hand, Elizabeth. Radiant Days. From my review: “OK, here’s the thing. I just want you to go read this. It is an amazing, awesome, scarily brilliant book. Scary because it is so flawless, so exciting, so magical. Scary because I’m not sure how to capture that magic and show it to you.”

Hartman, Rachel. Seraphina. From my review: “Seraphina’s world: What is her world, exactly? The book begins just a few weeks after she joins the royal household, but soon it’s learned that this is Seraphina’s first steps outside her family. Seraphina has tried to keep herself away, hidden, at arm’s length from others to protect her secret. She doesn’t always know how to interact with others. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wondered, while reading, if some of Seraphina’s brusqueness was part of her dragon heritage or the result of a deep seated sense of isolation: “I did not understand that I carried loneliness before me on a plate, and that music would be the light illuminating me from behind.” Whatever the reason, she is also a keen observer of people: “He noticed my eyes upon him and ran a hand through his wheaten hair as if to underscore how handsome he was.””

King, A.S. Ask the Passengers. From my review: “Oh, such a complicated, complex book, much like Astrid and her family. . . .  there are threads and hints of things going on beyond what we are told. King also respects the reader to not tidy this story up with a bow. Oh, there is a resolution, yes, and I felt so happy and hopeful finishing this book you’d think Astrid was sending me love from it’s pages.”

LaFevers, Robin. Grave Mercy. From my review: “You know, “nun assassins” is enough, isn’t it? (Or is it assassin nuns?)

Lanagan, Margo. The Brides of Rollrock Island. From my review: “Misskaella Prout is the witch of Rollrock Island, so ugly and disagreeable and witchy that no man would have her for a wife. Misskaella has her revenge on those who keep her at arm’s length: she uses her magic to bring the person out of a seal, creating human seal-wives for the men of Rollrock Island. The price the men pay is high; it makes Misskaella rich. But the price they are about to pay is even higher.”

Larbalestier, Justine and Sarah Rees Brennan. Team Human. From my review: “Mel Duan has lived in the vampire town of New Whitby, Maine her whole life. She is not a fan of the vampires, and is happy that they stay in their part of town. Mel is not happy to find out that vampire Francis Duvarnery (turned in 1867) is going to be attending high school as a Senior. She is especially not happy that her best friend, Cathy, is entranced by Francis. . . . Mel is Team Human, and she’s going to make sure her friends stay that way.”

Lyga, Barry. I Hunt Killers. From my review: “You may have heard about Jasper Dent’s father. Billy Dent? The Artist? Green Jack. Yes, THAT Billy Dent. The serial killer. What’s Jazz up to now? He was, what, thirteen when his father was arrested? So now he’s seventeen? Right now, at this moment, he’s hiding in some trees, binoculars trained on a bunch of police and yellow police tape. Looking at what they’re looking at — a dead body. . . . And as the son of the infamous Billy Dent, he knows people will be looking at Jazz with suspicion and fear. There’s only one solution. Whether the cops want his help or not, Jazz is going to use all that Billy taught him about how to be a serial killer to find a serial killer..”

Marchetta, Melina. Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles. From my review: “You know Lord of the Rings? Well, imagine if for the companion books, Tolkien set it in Mordor with a Mordor princess and suddenly the reader realized . . . hey, things aren’t quite so simple as good guys / bad guys / let’s kill all the baddies.”

McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall DownFrom my review: “When Arn leaves his aunt, she tells him, “Do whatever they say. Be like the grass. Bend low, bend low, then bend lower. The wind blows one way, you blow that way. It blow the other way, you do, too. That is the way to survive.” He listens to her, and her parting gift to him — to bend, to survive no matter what — saves his life. It also puts him in terrible situations, as witness to the brutalities of the Khmer Rouge.”

Nix, Garth. A Confusion of Princes. From my review: “The sixteenth anniversary of his selection as a Prince-candidate is Khemri’s day of investiture as full Prince. . . .  Khemri has big plans, based on his grooming as a Prince and the things he’s been taught. He’s going to get a warship, go explore, make his mark, and become the next Emperor. Turns out, his education wasn’t complete. Some details were left out. Like the competition between Princes can be deadly. . . .  he finds himself being saved from assassinations attempts and enrolled as a Naval candidate because the Academy is one of the few safe places.

Schrefer, Eliot. Endangered. From my review: “When the revolution breaks out, Sophie does not take advantage of the escape offered because of her passport because she refuses to abandon [the infant bonobo,] Otto. On one level, it’s because of her tight bond with Otto; go deeper, and it’s Sophie’s sense of responsibility because she fears that Otto has so bonded with her that he will not survive without her; go even deeper, and it’s about Sophie’s own issues from having been “abandoned” by her mother when her mother chose the bonobo sanctuary over moving to America with her husband and daughter.”

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. From my review: “Blue stays away [from] rich, spoiled, Raven boys. When their paths cross, she knows she should stay away from them. Gansey, rich and driven. Adam, the scholarship student with a chip on his shoulder. Ronan, lost and angry following the death of his father. Noah, quiet, watching, observing. Blue knows she should stay away – but she cannot help it. The adventure of finding [the lost king] Glendower, of discovering the magic in the world, the laughter and trust of friendship, and, maybe, love. Oh, those Raven boys. This book is better than a hot fudge sundae. With whipped cream. No, really.”

Summers, Courtney. This is Not a Test. From my review: “I want three things from a zombie book: a new take on the story. A good metaphor for what the zombies represent. And a concrete tip or two on how to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Vivian, Siobhan. The List. From my review: “Mount Washington High School has a tradition: each year, before Homecoming, a list is made. The four prettiest girls in school, one in each grade. And the four ugliest girls, one in each grade. This year’s anointed pretty girls: Abby, Lauren, Bridget, Margo. The ugly girls: Danielle, Candace, Sarah, Jennifer. The List is their story, of how it impacts each girl.”

Wasserman, Robin. The Book of Blood and Shadow. From my review: “If I’d known that my high school Latin class would lead to centuries old conspiracies, secret societies, and Prague, maybe I would have taken more than two years. Then again, it also leads to betrayal and murder, so maybe I’m just as well off not having become a translator of medieval manuscripts.”

Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity. From my review: “France. 1943. Verity, a British spy, has been captured by the Nazis. “I AM A COWARD,” she explains. She has given the Nazis the wireless codes they wanted; she is now writing out her confession, explaining how and why she ended up in Ormaie in Nazi-occupied France, why she has the identify papers of Maddie Brodart, and why she is telling the truth and telling the Nazis every little thing. How much time has Verity bought for herself? A handful of days to write her confession; and after that, what?”

Woolston, Blythe. Catch & Release. From my review: “Polly has lost everything, especially the niceness that used to define who she was and what she wanted out of life. Her future is lost to her. Her present, also. Friends are scared away by both the MRSA and her face; Polly doesn’t even get the satisfaction of graduating with her class. Her job, working with small children, doesn’t want her back because she may scare the kiddies. Catch & Release is about Polly picking up those shattered pieces by running away with Odd. Of course, she doesn’t realize at first that’s what she’s done. It’s a simple overnight fishing trip but Odd keeps driving, further and further west. Odd has his own loss: his leg and his identity as a football player.”

I have to say, I love how many books I’ve already read! Whether I can read any of the remaining BFYA titles…. well, I’d love to but there are also so many tempting 2013 books!

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

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