Where does the time go? Can it possibly already be the twilight of 2014? I have lots of posts planned – and even some started – but the chaos of December sneaked up on me while my back was turned. BUT I promised myself I would try to post at least once a month no matter what and if I managed to keep that promise during SUMMER READING I sure couldn’t break it now. Frantic for an interesting idea I could put together in not a ton of time, my lovely and dear friend Amy suggested a post of titles I’m looking forward to in 2015. Now, since I love talking about what I’m reading and lately I’m reading SO MANY upcoming titles I realized this was a perfect idea to get OTHERS reading them, talking about them, and getting them on their own radars. As Hans Landa would say: THAT’S A BINGO!
One (happy) disclaimer: you’ll notice there are no titles on the list that contain queer themes. This is because in January, I will begin serving a 2 year term on the Stonewall Book Awards Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children & Young Adult’s Book Award Committee. This has seriously been one of my life-long librarian goals and I am so excited to begin this work! But it also means I can’t publicly discuss eligible material.
These will all (well, OK fine with one exception) be titles I have already read and loved. Almost all of them I downloaded as digital galleys thanks to NetGalley or Edelweiss, which means YOU can go there and request them too! Which you should! Immediately! (thanks to all publishers who put electronic galleys up on these sites – it makes reading/reviewing so much easier. Please continue to do this, especially making it available for us to read on an eReader device!) These aren’t full reviews, just a few sentences about why I think you should have this book on your TBR pile. Mostly YA with a handful of other titles mixed in. And, of course, I still have SO MUCH to read. (and I’m always up for suggestions, of course.)
So: with grateful, joyous thanks to anyone who read this blog during 2014 and a promise that I will keep sharing and writing in 2015 – onward to the list of titles you need to get on your 2015 radar NOW!
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (out 3/15) I don’t even know where to begin with this one other than I have never read another YA book like this. It is a dark, lyrical magical realism story about how women, in particular, learn that they are more than their faces. It’s atmospheric, brilliantly structured, scary, romantic, and empowering. I think teens are going to be drawn to everything different about this one. A tour de force.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers (out 4/15) With no hyperbole: this book is going to become this generation’s Speak. This is going to be the book that gets passed around from girl to girl, that gets pressed into hands with a whispered, “I know what this means.” I’m not going to tell you this is an easy read, I’m not going to tell you it’s for everyone. I am going to tell you that for some teens – this book will save their life. And I mean it.
Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split by Anica Mrose Rissi (out 5/15) Rissi begins a wonderful new early readers series in this story about two third grade best friends and their fight. Transitional chapter book readers are one of the genres we get asked for the most at my library and everything about this book is going to be a hit with the kids: Anna’s warm, vulnerable, relatable voice, the small details that turn your third grade world, and even the sadness and anger that grown-ups often ignore in this age group. And did I mention there’s a delightful multi-cultural cast?
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman (out 5/15) I HATE fictional worlds where there is no consequence to magic. And that’s part of the reason I love this book so much: there are spells here, that will do big and huge things but they come at a very steep cost for everyone in involved. How much would you exchange for the chance to forget pain? To keep your friends close? What would you think about the person who could do this magic? Fantastic world-building and amazing character voice make this one stand out. One of the best read-alikes for The Curseworkers I’ve found – magic isn’t easy because life isn’t easy.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (out 3/15) It’s finally here! The book you’ll give to your readers after they’ve read all your Raina Telgemeier books so many times they have them memorized and they NEED something new. A beautiful, funny, empowering middle grade look at finding your path and the inner strength to be your own weird self with awesome, athletic girls and women everywhere … I mean, what’s not to love? This will NEVER be on the shelves. (PS: my boyfriend the roller derby ref read this in one sitting, laughing with the delight the whole way. Two thumbs up from him!)
The Whisper by Aaron Starmer (out 3/15) I promised myself I wasn’t going to include ANY sequels on this list because that’d be a whole other list. BUT Y’ALL. This book is the sequel to The Riverman and if you haven’t read that you should immediately stop reading this and go get The Riverman, start reading, and let it give you wild dreams. These two books exemplify one of my favorite things: high middle grade. And, better still, they are the kind of books that feel just right for how weird and scary and ever-changing it is to be a kid … and then you read them as an adult and see they’re scary as HELL. Seriously. Go. Get it now. (best read-alike I’ve ever found for Coraline.)
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (out 3/15) Another totally original voice and an experience unlike any I’ve ever had in YA. THIS is what I’m talking about, people. I loved that everyone in this book is a complicated character who doesn’t exist in shades of black and white, I love that another culture is given such breath, depth, and caring. I love that this is a book that will ask teens to look deeply into BIG questions. This book was wrenching and heart-fulling to read. Nalia is the YA heroine we’ve been missing and I’m so glad the whole world will get to meet her soon.
The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh (out 1/15) Such original, funny, sweet middle grade that the narrative complexity of the text and the emotional growth of the characters sort of sneaks up on you. I LOVE this kind of writing, this kind of depth, and I think it’s the kind that really engages middle grade readers and starts getting them ready for YA. Just wonderful. And I LOVE the way Yeh handles and addresses class issues and non-traditional family structure, two more things we need to see LOTS more of.
Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (out 3/15) Everything I never knew I always wanted – that’s a lie, I always knew I wanted this. I always knew that YA historical fiction was missing more complicated, exciting adventures for people of color and TA-DAH, Stacey Lee has given us just that. This is another one that I think does a great job mixing readability (it’s a page turner) with literary merit. I yearned and dreamed and fought with these characters and I missed them when the book was over. This is a fantastic debut that has SO MUCH going on – but it never feels like too much, Lee is THAT good.
And … the one I haven’t read yet but I am SO excited for that I think might actually pass out …
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (out 6/15) Magical powers in a city! A female lead who makes art, fights evil, and wields ancient powers. EVIL GENTRIFYING ANTHROPOLOGISTS WHO CO-OPT CULTURES! Was this book made just for me?! I mean for the love of God, look at the cover. Also, I love-love-love Older’s adult short fiction so I can’t wait to see what he has in store for YA.
What fun! I still had more books to talk about …. so you know that means I’ve just gotta do another one! Now you tell me: which 2015 books should I put on my radar now? Leave me a comment or talk to me on Twitter