Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series)
A bit late to the party on this one – after various recommendations, including from young students, I picked up the first book and loved it. Greg’s journal – not a diary! – is a mix of written entries and comic strips, which breaks up the pace nicely and adds to the humour. The drawings are simple but effective – and often hilarious. Greg is a real kid – no overly-mature insights or realisations, just authentic observations on middle-school life and the zany antics that go on. Loved it. Then onto books two, three, four and five – which I zoomed through in a weekend. I would say ‘highly recommended’, but I am pretty sure everyone else in the universe has already figured out that these are brilliant, so… yes. I’ve seen the light and am eagerly awaiting book 6.
Hannah Moskowitz – Invincible Summer
I’ve been following Hannah’s blog for a while, and this – her second YA novel – sounded mightily intriguing. I can’t think of anyone else writing like this in the YA field at the moment – this is a story about a family breaking apart, brothers, summers, innocence, sign language, and Camus. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in dramatic, realistic, smart fiction about teenage boys. My own favourite character was their younger sister, Claudia – I live in hope of a Claudia-POV sequel.
Cat Clarke – Entangled
Cat Clarke’s debut novel grabs you right from the start. Seventeen-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, no idea of why she’s there or how to escape. She recounts the events that led up to the night she met her captor, involving betrayal and angst and self-injury and all kinds of fun stuff (oh, not one for the faint-hearted). A page-turner that has me excited to see what this author does next.
Sarah Dessen – What Happened To Goodbye
Oh, Sarah Dessen. You can do no wrong. This is the story of a girl in her senior year of high school who’s reinvented herself every time she and her dad move to a new town – it’s easier than making real connections with people, which is the last thing she wants after her parents’ messy divorce. But then – of course – there is a boy. And there are new friends. And our heroine, Mclean, finally finds herself belonging somewhere – though this is not without its own complications. While I would have loved to have seen more of the supporting characters and their backstories, Mclean’s journey is a compelling and authentic one, with all the gorgeous details that Dessen fans are used to.
Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls
Completely lives up to the hype. And I hate hype. It makes me grumpy and cynical and sceptical and convinced that everyone’s just jumping on the bandwagon. I had heard so much about how brilliant this book was. How moving and heartbreaking and all that jazz. But yes. Yes it is. And the illustrations are an additional strength. Go read. Now. Now. Now.
Sarah Rees Brennan – The Demon’s Surrender
The conclusion to the Demon trilogy, this time focusing on Sin, the dancer at the Goblin Market. Plenty of drama, intrigue, fighting, and fabulous one-liners in this book, but mostly – ALAN. Oh, Alan. (With a dash of OH, JAMIE!) One I stayed up late reading, needing to see how it all ended.