These are the best YA, Fantasy, and Science Fiction books I read during 2019.
The Texas Library Association puts out a Lone Star Reading list every year. They just released their 2020 list last week. I try to read as many of them as I can each year and I'm never disappointed! The books are selected by librarians across the state. The books are well written and highly engaging for teens and adults.
Book Review: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. In 1952 a massive meteorite hits Earth destroying most of the east coast of the US including Washington DC. The climate changes from this will eventually make Earth uninhabitable so colonizing other planets gets moved higher on the priority list.
The Invisible Library does not have a fancy cover but it is simple and elegant and I am a sucker for any book that has the word "library" in it. So I had to pick it up! And I'm so glad I did! This is not a YA book but I loved it none-the-less. Book Review: Irene is a junior librarian for THE Library. This library exists on its own, outside all the countless alternate worlds. Irene travels to different alternates on assignment to collect certain unique copies of books..occasionally, by any means necessary. Sometimes this is an easy task, sometimes not. For this mission, she must go into an alternate that is infested by Chaos. To make matters more complicated she has been assigned an apprentice that is keeping something from her.
This has the word “Dragon” in it so of course I had to read it! I’ve heard some people say they hated it and some loved it. I’m in the loved it camp. It is not my typical read with tons of action, but I enjoyed it none the less.
It’s 1875. Cap Cooper is a 12 year old whose mother is pregnant with another child. She is weak and sick. Cap and his dad just want to be able to pay for her medicine, so they pick up a job of grave digging. Not to put bodies into, but to take them out. They are stealing the bodies to sell to medical facilities. It’s good money, for some rather unsavory people. Cap feels bad about it. Then one of the bodies comes back to life! Did he cause that? Does he have some paranormal power? Or was she buried alive?
This book is told in 3rd person omniscient, distant. The effect is that it sounds like someone telling a fairy tale. The prose is filled with delightful adjectives. Stephen King would absolutely hate this story for that reason I think. It made the story feel full of childish wonder. The Bear and the Nightingale By Katherine Arden Narrated by Kathleen Gati At the heart of this story is a battle of belief. Christianity versus the old gods like the domovoi who lives in the oven and protects the house. The vazila who is the spirit of the horses. The Winter King. Death. A creature in the water. An old Oak Tree in the forest. Vasalisa (Vasya) is the main character. She is born to a mother who has the sight and knows that Vasya will be special. She is a wild uncontrollable child who thrives in nature and will not be tamed.
Not everyone has the privilege of being a teacher of such diverse populations, but there is no better way to learn how others think and view the world than by reading what they write. So this month I recommend that you read at least one book that is written by someone from another country or someone from a different culture than your own.
I love this book! I usually love action packed stories. This one is not what I'd call action packed but I loved it none the less. This is a story to savor and delight in the beauty of the prose. This is unbelievably Kelene Wecker's debut novel. In the US we typically say Jinni (Jee-nee) … Continue reading The Golem and the Jinni
Here is my first guest blogger! Dianne McBride is a dear friend of mine and a fellow teacher of middle school students. She is reviewing a book that earned a Newberry Metal in 1990. It's a book which has been a go-to book for both of us over the years because it is so well-written … Continue reading Number the Stars