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My Favorite Favorites of 2013

All month the interwebs have been aflutter with the best books of the year list. PW has one. So does EW. And of course there was #libfaves13 on Twitter.

This got me thinking about the books I loved this year. So here goes (in no particular order)


1. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown because sometimes we just need to shed our clothes and act out our inner tiger.

2. How to Negotiate Everything by Lisa Lutz and Jamie Temairik which is my new guide to life.

3. Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston is probably the only book in the work to make you care and root for a teenage terrorist. The tension made me ill. Excellent and haunting on audio.

4. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner might be the only historical dystopian worth reading.

5. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta puts the fun and heartbreak in dysfunctional family.

6. Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal is as grown-up fairy tale/ thriller narrated by the ghost of Jacob Grimm.

7. Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin because there is no better book about a secret pizza party.

8. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizen has a heartbreaking romance between two teen girls in



9. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is the closest read-alike to The Hunger Games that I’ve found..

10. The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster inspired me to be better organized and to have my own Crocktoberfest.

11. You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt turned friendship during the Cold War into something mysterious and cool.

12. Doll Bones by Holly Black reminded me of Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

13. Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin is a beautiful story of an intersex boy discovering his true identity.

14. Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende had me hooked into this literary mystery/ coming-of-age story from page one.


15. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan was the most beautiful and true book I have read this year. Everyone on the planet needs to read it.

16. The Universe Vs. Alex Woods by Gavin Extence was made for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. 

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight = Gossip Girl + Gone Girlrelish

18. Relish by Lucy Knisley wins the award for best illustrated cookbook memoir.

19. Nobody by Us by  Kristin Halbrook = Romeo and Juliet + Bonnie and Clyde

20. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King was another gem in a glorious year of gay ya. I still want Astrid as my bff.

Of course I read many more books than this, like 200 more (but 1/4 of those were picture books and 1/4 were audio books during my commute/ house cleaning times) and I could have picked more that I loved (or hated). All of these make great last minute gifts if you know a reader (young or old).

What were your favorite favorites of 2013?

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12/12/12 or My 12 Favorite books of 2012

Today is 12/12/12. It’s also the start of 12 days of books on Twitter ( #libfavs2012 #12daysofbooks). It seems like everyone has an end-of-the-year-list (librarians love lists). I’m going to cheat a little and give you the whole damn list at once in the event you still need a holiday or hostess gift or are in desperate need for something new to read in order to avoid your in-laws (not that I would ever avoid my in-laws).

Ring those Jingle Bells because here are my twelve favorites of 2012:

Favorite Picture Book: 

cfnCharley’s First Night by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. A gorgeous and heart-warming take on a puppy’s first night at home.

PB Runner-up: 

IbI’m Bored by Michael Ian Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. It’s girl vs. potato over who is the most interesting in this hysterical romp thwarting boredom.

Favorite Middle Grade Book:

ls Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Seventh grade Georges is befriended by Safer, a twelve-year-old loner and spy who is tracking Mr. X, one of their neighbors.

MG Runner-up: 

syahSee You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles. Fern’s family struggles to stay together when a tragedy threatens to tear them apart.

Favorite YA Book: 

rbThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. This is the first book in the series.

YA Runner-up: 

dtyDead to You by Lisa McMann. Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. The only problem is, he doesn’t remember anything or them. What if this wasn’t his old life after all?

Favorite Adult Fiction:

wygbWhere’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. When Bernadette, an eccentric recluse, disappears  it is up to her daughter Bee to find her. This charming and funny mystery unfolds via email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence.

Fiction Runner up:  

aomThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. Julia must cope with the normal disasters of everyday life in a time of uncertainty.

Favorite Adult Nonfiction:

bofBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness by  Susannah Cahalan. This is a gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease that left her unable to move or speak until she is saved by a real life “Dr. House.” Susannah recreates the swift path of the illness from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family

NF Runner-up #1: 

osafOne Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season by Chris Ballard. In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois defied the odds. Led by a teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final. It’s an engaging story that speaks to the power high school sports have an effect on player’s lives.

Runner-up #2: 

btbfBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians struggle to survive by sorting and selling garbage, stealing, and political corruption. Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction. This book is pretty much on everyone’s list.

Best Graphic Novel:

mfdMy Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. Backderf, a high school classmate of Dahmer’s, creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against his urges—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit.

What were your favorites in 2o12?

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