I've been busy reading this past month, and have some titles I would love to share:
One that I just can't stop thinking about is MAGGOT MOON, by Sally Gardner. Set in the bleakest of worlds (think England in the 1950s if the Germans had won WWII), the Motherland has complete control over everything. Standish Treadwell's parents have disappeared, and he lives with his grandfather in a rat-infested pit of a neighborhood. Considered stupid because he can't read or write, Standish is actually an extremely creative thinker. By combining his wits and his bravery, Standish makes a difference. This book is unique, beautifully written, and quick to read.
Ruta Sepetys's second book, OUT OF THE EASY, is very different from her Newbery Honor book, Shades of Grey. It's a complex and interesting story about seventeen year old Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute in 1950s New Orleans. Josie works hard. She excels in school, cleans the brothel, and works at a bookstore. But Josie aspires to a better life--she wants to go to Smith college up in Massachusetts. Nothing is easy, though: Josie's life is a tangled web of loyalty, betrayal, love and murder.
FOX FOREVER, by Mary E. Pearson, is the final installment of the Jenna Fox Chronicles, which had its most excellent beginning with The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Fox Forever follows the journey of one of Jenna's friends, Locke Jenkins, who was also preserved in a black box, to be regenerated 260 years later in a more perfect body. This is a worthy conclusion to the series--it has action. mystery, and a love story set in a futuristic dystopia. Read this trilogy in order tho.
At Gwen Dandridge's suggestion, I read THE DEMON KING, A Seven Realms Novel, by Cinda Williams Chima. Absorbing fantasy, and I am really sad that I didn't have the second book at hand to begin immediately when I had finished the first.
And I have also been enjoying the first two books of the Ashfall trilogy, by Mike Mullen, specifically ASHFALL, and ASHEN WINTER. They're fast paced, action-oriented books set after the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. These are plot driven books that relentlessly describe the lengths people go to for survival.
NIGHT SKY WHEEL RIDE, by Sheree Fitch, with illustrations by Yayo. I liked everything about this fun picture book. The text is a poem describing the first time a pair of children rides the ferris wheel at a fair; it's full of sound and color and movement, and so are the quirky illustrations.
SLEEP LIKE A TIGER, written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagrenski, won a Newbery Honor this year, and it's a real treat. A little girl who doesn't want to go sleep, talks with her parents about how other animals manage to do it. The text is simple but descriptive and fulfilling, and the illustrations are completely gorgeous.
RED HAT, by Lita Judge, is wordless except for the sounds made by the animals, who play with a child's red hat hung outside to dry. It's full of action and fun perspective. Seems like it would be a really good story time crowd pleaser for younger kids.
UP! TALL! AND HIGH! by Ethan Long won the Geisel Award recently, and it's a pretty great example of a picture book that functions as an easy reader. The story is succinct but complete, and the illustrations do a terrific job of portraying what the words say. The flaps are a novelty, but they enhance the story.