Books I’ve already talked about
Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald
A suggested Diana Wynne Jones reading list
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Cherry Money Baby by John Cusick
Dr.Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud: This is a lovely, spooky read. I really enjoyed the interaction between the three main characters, although I occasionally wished that the descriptions of George had not fallen into problematic tropes. Aside from that, this is pure enjoyment. Stroud is sometimes hit or miss with me, but this is a keeper. Can’t wait for the sequels!
Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan: Short stories from Lanagan. I think I like her short stories, since her writing is often like dark chocolate: intense, bitter, and great in small doses. “The Point of Roses” and “Ferrymen” were, I think, my favorites.
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett: I started to warm up to the Watch books with this one. Sam started to be more competent and I liked the way Pratchett used the golem tradition.
The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand: I like the way Florand plays with the themes she uses. Here, her heroine hates Paris, for good reasons, and hates desserts, also for good reason. As usual, there’s a subtle weaving in of fairy tale/mythological themes, and some lovely writing.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: A Cybils book. I liked this one, but not as much as others have. I never quite managed to engage with the characters or the story, and I felt a bit lost as to the setting. I didn’t dislike it, but it never quite clicked either.
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller: A Cybils book. I liked this one a lot, even though the plot summary sounds a bit ridiculous. The glimpse into Greek sponge-diving culture in Florida was nice, and Callie is a gutsy, wonderful main character.
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu: A Cybils book. I wasn’t super wild about this one. I appreciated some aspects of the depiction, but the relationship between Beck and Bea never quite worked for me, somehow. And I felt overall that the characters were so completely defined by their diagnosis, which bothered me.
Mrs. Pollifax at the Hong Kong Station by Dorothy Gilman: More Mrs. Pollifax. Dated, and more than a little ridiculous, but lots of fun.
Jingo by Terry Pratchett: I loved this one. Nobby and Fred Colon, Sam Vimes really coming into his own (wild cheers!), 71 Hour Ali. The way Pratchett sets up expectations and then deftly turns them on their heads.
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett: Loved this one, loved the way we get more of a sense of who Sybil is. My only complaint is that this means I’m getting close to the end of the Watch books. Nooooo.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina: A Cybils book. The best book about bullying I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s not even fair to call it that, really. There are no easy answers, no adult judgment making it clear that if only you did this, the problem would be solved. Medina captures the helplessness and insensibility of bullying, while also creating some great characters.
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr: A Cybils book. I loved Lucy and her relationship to music, her search to find the thing to fill that gap in herself. I hated Will. I loved the way Lucy’s perceptions of her family and of herself began to change, becoming more complex and faceted. It’s one I’m still thinking about a few days after I read it.
The Lampfish of Twill by Janet Taylor Lisle: A middle grade title. I liked a lot of it–the worldbuilding, the descriptions of fishing and the sea. Ultimately it felt a little too precious for me to love it completely, but it’s a nice quiet fantasy for kids who like that sort of thing.
This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky: A Cybils book. I wasn’t sure what I would think of this one, but I ended up loving it. Sophie and her vulnerability, her fears about what her mother’s life means for her, her realization that she can’t do it alone–it was lovely stuff and I actually got choked up at the end.
Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavirel Kay: Sequel to Sailing to Sarantium. I loved the way Kay structured the book, and the world, and the characters. I was a little dubious about the very very end, which needed a bit more set-up to work for me. But overall, LOVE these two.