Here are some of my favorite books from this past month:
I finally read the conclusion of the YA Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, called DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, by Laini Taylor. I've rarely read a fantasy as wonderful as the first book, and then the second one was completely depressing. This third and final installment is a fitting and somewhat lovely ending to the whole saga. I felt very satisfied when I shut the book. If you've read the first two, make sure you get a chance to finish up with this one.
THE NIGHT GARDENER, by Jonathan Auxier, is a wonderful, darkly magical MG that's got to be on Newbery committee radar. I loved this old-fashioned tale of two orphans who need to work as servants at a sinister house, that's engulfed by a sinister tree, and is harboring sinister secrets behind a small, mysterious door. Even though it's British and set in an earlier time, I found the aura of creepiness to be remarkably similar to Holly Black's Doll Bones.
NIGHTINGALE'S NEST, by Nikki Lofton, has also got to be under Newbery consideration. This is MG magical realism on a very fine level. It's based on a Hans Christian Anderson story, but with a contemporary setting. Little John works to clear brush from Mr. King, the richest man in town. His younger sister has recently died, and his mom seems to be losing it. His dad drinks too much, and Mr. King is an ogre. When Little John hears Gayle singing, he also finds that her voice has the power to heal. It's a lovely and touching story.