Children’s and Young Adult Fiction:
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. My fellow Cybils judges in the Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy category told me to read this novel because they found similarities between it and one of the nominated books for this past year, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince, the book that ended up winning the Cybil Award in that category. I liked The Thief, but maybe my expectations were too high because I didn’t love it.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This one is classified “YA” and won the Cybil Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. There’s a romance involved, and dragons, and war, and peace. Reviewed at the blog Things Mean a Lot.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. Spy fiction/romance with all the twists and turns that would be expected in both.
January Justice by Athol Dickson. Mr. Dickson, one of my favorite Christian authors, enters the genre of detective thriller with a complicated hero in a sticky situation. And there’s no explicit sex, bad language or nastily described violence.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This novel from a Nigerian/American author is classified as young adult fiction in my library, probably because the narrator is fifteen years old, but I think it will resonate with adults of all ages, and with readers around the world because the themes–abusive relationships, religious legalism, freedom, and the source of joy–are all universal themes.
The Litigators by John Grisham. Typical Grisham: seedy street lawyers versus equally dubious big corporation lawyers in a fight for the little guy. The novel was unchallenging, fun to read, and relaxing–just what I needed at the time.
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson. Lots of crude language made this otherwise complex story with engaging characters not as engaging as it could have been. Three generations of women try to break a family curse of sexual immorality and teen pregnancy.
Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad by Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller. Crude language and sexual misbehavior mar this otherwise inspiring memoir of a top model who began her life as the daughter of nomads in the Somali desert. The book probably began as an expose of the horrors of FGM (female genital mutilation), and it works best as a story showing the evils of that hidden practice and the courage of Waris Darie in standing against her culture in opposing it.
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has written a useful, compact history of the progression of Christian thought and heresy in the United States in the twentieth century and into our current century.