It is always interesting to look back on the year in books, and see what stands out as having been noteworthy. This year my choices were easy to make – my top 5 jumped out at me from the list. Here they are, in no particular order.
Way back in January of 2012, I wrote a blog about this book, about how much I enjoyed it. The Disenchantments revolves around one turquoise VW bus, three teenage girl band members, one teen boy best friend, and a week-long tour, and it all amounts to… one hell of a story. Reminiscent of another time – late sixties, early seventies perhaps – possibly due to the music the characters love, possibly due to their alternative parents, possibly due to the very nature of the funky towns they stop in. I loved this book for the journey, the forks in the road, the music, art and the extraordinary friendships.
The Edumacation of Jay Baker was a really pleasant surprise. This book was so refreshing and funny, and I laughed out loud numerous times. Jay is a fantastic main character–he is sarcastic, smart, and full of incredibly spot-on one-liners. The humor in this book is extremely intelligent, the story a wild ride, and the pop culture references are epic. I love a stand-out character, and Jay was definitely that. One of his teachers is also an exceptional character, and the verbal sparring that takes place between the two is fantastic.
Every Day was fascinating and thought provoking and I even chose it for my book club to read in October. Main character “A” (not specified female nor male) is without his own life, identity, and body. He experiences the lives and feelings of others, but every day is different. There are valuable insights and perspectives to be gained from experiencing the innermost thoughts and feelings of very diverse people. This is a truly unique and extremely well-written concept story, leaving the reader with much to discuss or ponder. As usual, David Levithan does not disappoint.
Young adult books are usually the ones that end up being my favorites, but this little middle grade gem warmed my heart and I could not leave it off this list. Main character Mo LoBeau makes Three Times Lucky the memorable story that it is. She is spunky, honest, resourceful, courageous, and endearing. An excellent role model, Mo is utterly unafraid to speak her mind, a fierce protector of her loved ones and a strong willed proponent of justice. This is a murder mystery, and a suspenseful read as well as a funny and charming one. Teachers, take note, this is a great classroom read aloud choice.
I needed tissues for this one – The Story of Us definitely caused me to shed a tear or two. There is so much to this story: family drama, friendship issues, a love story, a break up, and all of the feelings of a teen girl with big decisions to make in the summer after high school graduation. Family and change are at the heart of this well-written, witty and heartwarming story. Cricket is another unforgettable character, and this was my favorite summer beach read.
Here’s to the great reads of 2012, and I look forward to what 2013 has to offer! Happy New Year!