Note: To call special attention to favorite books published by authors and small press publishers, they get their own page.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This gut punch of a book is made easier by the sense of humor. Very thought provoking—a good read for older kids and adults.
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
This slice-of-life story touched me unexpectedly. I really enjoyed it. The details are dated (the book over 30 years old) but the emotions and experiences seem timeless.
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
A delightful story of Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. This is a series I need to catch up on.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I wasn’t sure I would like a sci-fi Cinderella story, but it totally won me over. I am so eager for the sequel to this one! It’s made me a total fan-girl. And Reads 4 Tweens is listed in the paperback version coming out soon! Squeee!
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
I’ve only read the first one so far, but it’s a great fantastical adventure story. My son really loved this one, too, and he’s read several in the series.
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman
One of the most original books I read this year, and that’s saying something! There’s a companion book coming in June 2013—it looks like it will focus more on science fiction than fairy tales.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I really liked this book. I read the sequels voraciously, but honestly I just didn’t feel like they lived up to the promise of this one. And that’s a great topic for someday over coffee.
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
I want to get my hands on the rest of the series. I found this clever and enjoyable. It’s on the top of the pile of books to read aloud with my kids.
The Season by Sarah MacLean
A simply delightful Regency romance for the younger set. My daughter and I loved it and she’s reread it several times. I also think this is a strong influence on her currently working her way through Pride and Prejudice, as well as her new love of costume dramas (yay!).
The Shadows: The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West
This story is so creepy, but in a fun and clever way. I don’t usually like scary books, but I make an exception for this one!
Some that deserve particular mention
Most pleasant surprise
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I loved this book when I was a kid, but I was afraid it would be painfully dated. I’m thrilled that it’s just as funny now as it was then. I read it out loud to the kids, then they both read it on their own. It’s the standard to which all read alouds are now held. We own two new copies (annotated hard cover and a new paperback) because the old one was falling apart from repeated reading.
New favorite series
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The reviews for the other two books are coming—I’ve already read them and just need to write up the reviews. I love these sweet wonderful books about the Penderwick family. My daughter is enjoying them as well.
New favorite author
I’ve been reading as much Cameron Dokey as I can get my hands on. More reviews will follow in the upcoming year. Sunlight and Shadow is probably my favorite so far, though.
Book I read because I thought I should and liked more than I expected
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
I’d been meaning to read this award winner for years. It took me a while to get into it, but I stuck with it and then I finally realized why it’s such a good book. It’s unique and worth experiencing.
Series I like so much more than I expected
It’s amusing and silly, but deceptively deep and thought provoking. I’m not the target audience, but I still really enjoyed these books.