With hours to go until 2014, I’ve decided to look back at some memorable books from 2013. This isn’t meant to be a best-of (or worst-of) list–they’re simply books that were weirdly notable in some way:
The Long-Awaited Sequel
The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer: 11 years is a long time to wait! And I still haven’t read it.
The Sequel I Didn’t Need, But it Was Good Anyway
Son by Lois Lowry: yes, I was very nervous about the Gabe-as-a-teenager thing, but it all worked out.
The Better-Than-Its-Prequel Sequel
Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex: wonderfully timey-wimey, with less character confusion and more irreverence than Cold Cereal.
Most Unsettling Book
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick: if the title doesn’t creep you out, the cover should. High-quality minimalist horror.
Best Animal and Household Appliance Mashup
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo: finally, a vacuum cleaner I can support, and a well-deserving squirrel hero.
The Masterpiece I Didn’t Understand
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata: I must be the only one who didn’t like this book. I couldn’t even finish it–the writing seemed sloppy, or maybe I just need books with strong, non-meandering plots.
The “Eh” Book I Really Liked
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper: beautiful writing, compelling characters and lots of surprises in the plot. It even made our holiday recommendations list.
Most Anticipated Companion Novel
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, of course.
Most Disappointing Series Conclusion
The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz: needs a heaping dose of subtlety.
Do We Really Need Another Book About a British Mouse?
Yes, if it’s The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck. He somehow makes the well-trod premise wholly original.
Deceptively Simple, Yet Somehow Effective
A tie between The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan and The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech.
The Book(s) with an Interminable Waiting List
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang: it’ll be Christmas 2014 by the time my library request arrives.
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