Top Ten is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and they chose a suitable year-end topic for this week. I don't stay up on upcoming releases very well, so I gave last week's theme a miss, but I can weigh in on which authors I "discovered" this year.
1. Leila Sales
I’ve read This Song Will Save Your Life and Mostly Good Girls, and was lucky enough to meet Ms. Sales at NCTE in November. One book’s protagonist goes to prep school, and the other is working class, and both young women’s voices are sharp and sure. These books are serious, but funny, which is one of my favorite things. I’m really looking forward to reading Tonight the Streets Are Ours.
2. A.S. King even though I finished Please Ignore Vera Dietz on Dec. 30 of 2014 and wasn’t particularly blown away. But then I read Everybody Sees the Ants, and Reality Boy, and Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. BLOWN. AWAY. I find it fascinating how angry her teenaged characters are, and rightfully so. Also love the--magical realism? Some sort of blending of realistic and impossible that is just accepted. She was also on an author panel I saw at NCTE and came off as very smart and passionate.
3. George R. R. Martin
I finally broke down and started Game of Thrones this summer. Read the first two books and made it well into the third, but then school started again, and I had to admit that I don’t have the sustained concentration to get through his novels while I’m working. But I’ll be back to Westeros!
4. Raina Telgemeier
I almost didn’t add her to the list, because my students have been reading her since 2014, but I realized that I didn’t pick up her work until late in last school year. I wasn’t expecting much, so I was doubly impressed. I flew through Smile, Sisters, and Drama, and even read one of her Babysitters’ Club adaptations. She has a colorful and clear artistic style, and a nice sense of the interesting in everyday life.
5. Benjamin Alire Saenz
I’m just basing this off of one book, but wow, what a book. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I enjoyed it on so many levels--the poetic use of language, the #WNDB inclusion of gay Latino characters, the mid 80s setting, the loving parents--it just made me happy.
6. JoJo Moyes
Another one I’m basing off of only one book. I didn’t know anything about her work,, but I’d seen One Plus One everywhere. It was summer, so I was looking for a book for grownups (it’s weird reading so much YA that you feel a need to specify when you’re talking about non-YA lit), and Me Before You was on the shelf at the library. It was another one that I related to, because of having to make end-of-life decisions for and with both of my parents.
7. Michael B. Kaplan
Betty Bunny is a handful. She hears this a lot, so she knows it must be a good thing. When she discovers chocolate cake, she responds to her mother’s nighttime, “You know I love you,” with, “You know I love chocolate cake.” But the real reason why I’ve added this picture book author to my list is Betty’s big brother Bill. When Betty declares her intent to marry chocolate cake, Bill wryly comments, “You’re going to have funny-looking kids.” He is delightfully sarcastic, cynical, and reminds me of most teenaged boys I’ve known.
8. Nicci French
Nicci French is actually a mother/son duo that writes a fascinating mystery series. Reclusive psychiatrist, twin brothers separated at birth, moody London weather. Great stuff.
9. Jane Casey
Another fantastic mystery series. Maeve Kerrigan is a strong character that is very appealing. She’s a Irish-born detective in London, and she kicks butt.
10. Becky Albertelli
I was torn for position ten on this list. I read a lot of great stand-alones over the course of the year, either debuts or new-to-me. But Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda was heart-warming, smart, hilarious, timely...unbeatable.
On a completely unrelated note, today is my 14th wedding anniversary. Still don't know how I got so lucky.
|No, I could NOT put down the last bite of my breadstick to get my picture taken, okay? They were my mom's homemade breadsticks, for cryin' out loud.|