We’re a month into 2014, which is late for a best books of last year post. But you know what? I don’t think it matters because these books are so good, they have a chance of being your favorite books of 2014. I loved these books so much I just can’t help talking about them. So I will. In no particular order…
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: Just when you thought you were tired of dystopia, someone writes a real science fiction novel about the future! I love this world–I can see the pyramid city of Palmares Tres when I close my eyes. June is an artist, her passion for her work is infectious. She is into making a scene and making a point. Her political actions are inspiring or at the very least thought-provoking. I heard a lot of complaints that people found this book confusing and they couldn’t understand the world. I feel like they must have read a different book than I did.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis: Survival book! Brutal beginnings, and a brutal world with a water shortage. I never thought I would like this book as much as I did but the picture of this small world that Lynn lives in is vivid and her character development is spot on.
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: A book about an outsider trying to fit in. Yes, I do like contemporary realistic fiction sometimes and this is one of those times. Her passion for learning to DJ–which is layered on top of her general geekiness about things she loves–is great and it never feels like she has to change herself. Elise just has to find herself and she does. Love the soundtrack on Spotify to go with the book!
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: The second book in the Lunar Chronicles is better than the first! Layer in the story of Red Riding Hood onto the Cinderella story which is already full of cyborgs and futuristic technology, plus people from the moon and you have an awesome book that doesn’t feel like a fairytale retelling. I can’t wait for Cress…and I don’t have to wait long! It comes out on Tuesday!
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Maris Wick: I have a soft spot for books about animals, books about researchers and fantastic graphic novels. This is all three so you can see why I loved it. Ottaviani ties all three researchers together but still manages to give you a snapshot into each of their lives. It’s enough to wet your appetite for more, especially if, like me, you really didn’t know much about Birute Galdikas. I should really put a more comprehensive book about primates on my to-read list for this year.
The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies Captured the World’s Most Famous Nazi by Neal Bascomb: Another fabulous non-fiction book that is suspenseful despite knowing how it turns out. I didn’t know the exact details of this mission but I really loved reading about it. There is so much personal baggage involved for each of the people involved in carrying out this mission. We learn about this, yet it doesn’t bog down the story which keeps pushing along until finally, Adolf Eichmann is captured and the world seems sane again. If you read and liked Bomb by Steve Sheinkin, this book should go on your reading list.
The Wild Cards
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple: Some days you need a great adult book that makes you laugh. This is it and it’s lucky that it’s not only funny but also touching. Ok, that’s probably not luck, it’s actually the skill of Maria Semple. I loved this so much I finished reading it in spite of my severely dilated pupils (thanks, eye doctor) because I just needed to know what happened.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage: A tween mystery set in a teeny, tiny Southern town. What is not to love? I don’t know because I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read this Newbery-honor wining book in 2012. This year, I’ve already gotten my hands on The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, the sequel to Three Times Lucky being published in the spring. I would follow Mo LoBeau to the ends of the earth. I just hope she gets Lavender in the end! (Don’t know who Lavender is? Just go read the book! You’ll love him, too.)
Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell: Do you need a hilarious book for story time that invites participation? Mac Barnett can help! Actually, if you can find him to literally read the book for you, he’s very good at that. But I’m sure you can do this book justice because it’s written to be read aloud. The book design is hysterical because there are no monkeys to count in this book…at least, not until you get to the endpapers. But not to worry, there are grizzly bears and lumberjacks and all sorts of other hilarity along the way. Cornell’s illustrations are perfectly goofy without straying too far into cartoons.