1. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt -set during the Vietnam war this book counted for the War Through the Generations challenge and the Read From Your Shelves challenge, AND it was wonderful! I laughed out loud at so many places and yet there were parts that were sad, too. I can't wait until Schmidt's book OKay For Now comes out this spring allowing me to revisit these wonderful characters.
2. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell - another fabulous YA historical fiction book, set in Florida as one girl uncovers lies in her family.
3. A Faraway Island by Annika Thor- this is the first book by Thor that has been translated into English. Another World War II story, these sisters are sent to live with strangers, away from the persecution Jews are facing. I am anxious to read the second installment in their story.
4. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards - historical fiction - no big surprise. Written in verse and narrated by various characters tells the story of 1889's Johnstown's flood.
5. Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord - fans of Rules, Lord's Newbery winner, won't be disappointed. Touch Blue's Maine setting is the perfect backdrop for Tess and her family who take in Aaron, a foster child, in an effort by many island families to keep their school open.
6. Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber - YA historical fiction- set in the 1920s. Iris is sent to be a live-in helper to a doctor's aging mother. Her own mother died when she was young and Iris has never felt wanted since, especially as her father has found a new girlfriend. This is a touching book, showing that there are many forms a family may take.
7. The Properties of Water by Hannah Roberts McKinnon - I was so flattered when McKinnon contacted me about reviewing her book, and felt even luckier that I loved it so much. Lace's sister Marni is involved in a tragic diving accident and life is never quite the same.
8. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - this is the only selection on my list that is not realistic fiction or historical fiction. Dystopian is how I would classify it....and absolutely thought provoking. When a meteor hits the moon and throws off the world's weather system life on earth is forever altered. This is the first in a trilogy, and since life doesn't seem to be returning to normal anytime soon, I am anxious (and a bit scared) to find out how many more struggles Pfeffer will have her characters endure.
9. The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez - historical fiction- 1960s Cuba. I loved the way this book made the 60s come alive. I loved learning about the Pedro Pan project and I loved learning more about Cubans/Cuban Americans - not just what I have been told in textbooks or on the news.
10. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper- told in the perspective of Melody, a girl with Cerebral Palsy. She happens to be the smartest kid in her class - maybe even her school- but she can't speak or write and is totally unable to communicate with others. This one is amazing!