Here we go again!
by David Elliott
“What can I say?
Life’s no bed of roses
For a kid who’s different,
A kid with horns.
A bed of roses? ”
I hadn't heard anyone talk about this book before my librarian friend recommended it to me as the best book that she had read in 2017. High praise. It is a retelling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur but twisted so that we are looking at it from Asterion the Minotaur himself. It is a novel in verse told in different styles by different characters. I was especially moved by Asterion chapters. They were almost heartbreaking. Which might lead you to believe that This is a staid book one step away from the epic poetry of Homer or Virgil. Um... no. The first line of the book is literally Posidean saying, "Whatup bitches?" Which sets the tone.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”
Reread. It has been a few years since I read this but it held up (again). I don't know about it I find so compellingly. The writing is powerful and lovely. There is a weight to the words that make the story seem like more than a story. It is as if the book is a parabel and Neil Gaiman is telling us how to live. With all that there are exciting moments of actions, scares, and love all conveyed with a dash of surprising humor. It isn't often that a book about the dead also laugh out loud funny. I have been thrusting this book at students since it first came out.
Illusions of Fate
by Kiersten White
“Shadows go in front of you, leading into your future, and trail behind you, leaving a part of you in the past. They are clearest when we are in the light, and disappear when we lose ourselves in darkness.”
This is a fantasy that reads like a historical. I feel as if I should have enjoyed this book more than I actually did. It is full of things that I love: A sharp and focused heroine, a love interest that communicates with her, and a fantastical setting. But I didn't love it or connect to it. I have had this feeling with Kiresten White before so it might just be that I don't gel with her writing. I think that I find her heroines too cold to relate to. This is a stand-alone novel, but I felt as if there was a lot left unexplored and would not be disappointed in a sequal.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
“Knowledge is power, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.”
This book charmed me from the first sentence. There are a lot of dark elements: Babies are left to die. Faces are scarred. A mother goes mad with grief. But although the story gives these moments their gravity it isn't graphic or bogged down in the darkness. Woven throughout the book are short, one-sided hearth conversation between a parent and a child where the importance of how a story is told and by who is examined. There is also a dragon, Fyrian, who is "no bigger than a pigeon." He is a perpetual child and also convinced that he is "perfectly enormous." Please show me where I can sign up to foster him because I have need. I already bought copies for friends and my mother which. Now, if anyone needs me, I will be at the library shilling this book to every student who walks by.
The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
“She wasn't interested in telling other people's futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.”
This is the start of one of my favorite series. I wish I knew more YA fantasy lovers in real life because I feel as if I never get to talk about it. There is something about Stiefvater's prose that just touches me. I loved ALL the characters. Blue, Noah, Gansey, Adam, and Ronan. They are the sort of characters that transcend the book and start to feel like people that you actually know. Or would know if your life was a bit cooler. The book flips third person POV's seamlessly, but in the end, to me, this is Adams book. Never has the search for a dead Welsh King been so beautiful or so much fun.