Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of 2013. (Keep in mind this is what I have read this year and not necessarily books published in 2013.)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - Don't be distracted by the title. This is a sad but powerful story of labor camps in the Soviet Union.
Heist Society by Ally Carter - I have read all three books in this series. They are fun art thievery stories that are light and fun but well-written.
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz - this is a creative, high school story about a boy with Asperger's who sets out to the solve the mystery of a gun going off in the school cafeteria.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - 2013's Newbery Medal winner. It's a sweet, sad story based on true events, but Applegate brings the animal characters to life.
In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz - This is the second in a three book series. Gidwitz takes the most gorey fairy tales and strings them together in clever stories.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage - This children's book received a lot of acclaim, but I felt that the characters were unbelievable and the story was slow.
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz - This was another that critics seemed to love, but I can't even begin to describe everything I thought was wrong with it.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - I thought this book was okay, but it wins my award for the most overrated book of the year.
Matched by Ally Condie - Condie jumped on the love triangle, dystopian novel bandwagon without success. I've read the first two in the series, but have decided to leave the third alone.
The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult - Definitely my least favorite book of 2013. As with Splendors and Glooms, there is just so much wrong with it.
As a children's librarian, I read hundreds of picture books a year. Most are forgettable, but here are just a few standouts from my readings. Again, they were not necessarily published this year.
- Love Waves by Rosemary Wells
- Hush: a Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Holly Meade
- Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long
- Oh, No Gotta Go by Susan Middleton Elya illustrated by G. Brian Karas
- The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Perez by Rene Colado Lainez, illustrated by Tom Lintern