Sunday, January 1, 2017

It's 2017! One More "Best List" From 2016: Middle Grade and YA Literature

Happy New Year!  I'm celebrating the day quietly: reading, laundry, a workout....later I'll take my girls to see Sing with some friends, and then tonight we've been invited to play games at a friend's house.  

I've had this list constructed for a few days, and wavered a bit over adding some additional titles. I read 60-ish middle grade and YA books this past year.  So, picking just five was hard, but not impossible.  However for every book that made this list, there's another one that was also enjoyed a great deal.

Here are five of the best books I read this past year geared toward middle grade/YA readers:

1.  Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk- you might need some kleenex at the ready for this novel.  Annabelle lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. Her life is stable and pleasant until some neighbors have their granddaughter move in with them. Betty is mean and manipulative and able to cause more damage than one could ever imagine. Her evil will be felt for many years in the community.

2.  Summerlost by Ally Condie - Cedar has moved into a new house for the summer, still grieving the death of her father and brother.  She meets up with a boy who is working at the local summer theater and soon has a friend.  The two set about to discover more about the mysterious life of a local actress who made it big in Hollywood and died tragically at a young age.

3. It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas- Dumas' memoirs have been some of my favorites and I was so excited to see she had written a novel for children.  Zomorod and her family are new arrivals to California from Iran.  She is busy trying to fit in in America, changing her name to Cindy to better fit in. And then the Iranian Hostage Crisis occurs.

4.  Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet - I've heard this one mentioned a few times when the Newbery is discussed and am hopeful about it's chances.  Noah and his family make an abrupt departure from their very normal, ordinary lives and move to East Berlin, behind the Iron Curtain. Noah is forced to change his name and told not to ask any questions.  Nesbet creates some suspense in this novel, all the while doing a great job of conveying information about what life was like before the Berlin Wall came down.

5.   Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist -Will Porter is blind and now at the age of sixteen is starting highschool - his first normal school experience of his life.  He finds a group of friends to hang out with that are able to see beyond his disability and finds a girl he is romantically interested in. When Will is given the opportunity to undergo a surgery to restore his eyesight he must decide if he will be able to withstand the adjustment that such a surgery will entail.  

I'd love to know what made your list in 2016, so please share!

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