Robin’s Top 10 Books for 2013
So yes, to be honest, this is a somewhat odd list. These are the top 10 books I enjoyed in 2013. A couple of them are children’s books, a couple of them were published before 2013, a couple haven’t come out yet (and one I haven’t finished.) What can I say? Being a librarian is weird.
Let’s start with the children’s books. I have friends with a 4 month old who will go completely still if you read to him (a kindred soul.) My first encounter with Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry was at his house, but I have yet to find a toddler who doesn’t sit still for it. It is the perfect combination of engaging text and illustrations, regularly punctuated by the truck saying “Beep! Beep!” which all toddlers seem to love. This book is a wonder – you should by it for all of your expectant friends. The other children’s book is Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately the Milk. I was just excited to find one of his I can read without getting completely freaked out. My twin 5 year old friends loved it, too.
Two of my favorite books from this year haven’t come out yet – Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. I have to be honest, I would read a washing machine manual written by either of these authors, so when I get my hands on an advanced copy of one of their titles, I can’t resist. I reviewed Rebel Belle for TLT here. I can say with the utmost confidence that IKoM is going to be a very important book for a very long time. Add both to your list for next year.
Sarah Rees Brennan continued last year’s brilliantly funny, gender-swapped gothic fantasy Unspoken with this year’s Untold. Most readers I’ve seen comment on it are overwhelmed by the feels. I’m just along for the ride (it’s a good one.) Also, team Angela.
You can read my review of Meg Rosoff’s Picture Me Gone, which I was unsurprised to find on the National Book Awards shortlist for Young People’s Literature. (I was a bit surprised to find it in the Young Adult category of the NYT Notable Children’s Books of 2013. It belongs in the Middle Grade section. Feel free to argue with me in the comments.)
Jasper Fforde (my favorite author) finally had his sequel to The Last Dragonslayer published in the US this year. You can read my review of Song of the Quarkbeast here.
What can I say about Eleanor and Park that hasn’t already been said? It has one of the world’s most adorable authors (you should follow her on Twitter.) It’s beautiful and sweet and charming and completely draws you in to its world. And it’s devastating. I confess that this is the one I haven’t finished. It just hurt too much. I could see where certain things were going and I couldn’t cope. It’s waiting for me, though, right there on my bookshelf for when I am ready. That says a lot, doesn’t it, that it’s on my top 10 list and I haven’t finished it?
And finally, there is Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I realize that this was published in 2012, but I finally got around to reading it a couple of months ago. I remember there being a rather significant buzz about it when it came out. I also remember there being several books published in that time frame with very similar titles, and getting them all confused. The buzz was sufficient for it to make it onto my (extremely limited) library purchase list, though, and I finally picked it up when I was stuck supervising something extremely boring at work. It is amazing! I was immediately drawn in to the story, and delighted to find that the author had so completely realized her fantasy world. If you missed it as well, I highly recommend it.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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