Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Top Ten Middle Grade Novels of 2011*

*with blatant cheating and some YA thrown in for good measure.

I’ve been putting off pulling together this list until I finished just a few more titles (although, to be honest, I could continue doing that for the rest of 2012), but now I feel well-read enough to be confident in my choices.  There are some wonderful books on my list this year, and some wonderful books that just missed out.  And yes, I cheated, and I threw in some YA.  My list, my rules. J

Top Ten Novels of the Year 2011
10.  The Books of Umber: The End of Time by P.W. Catanese
09.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
08.  Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
07.  Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
06.  Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd)
05.  The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherine Valente
04.  Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
03.  The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
02.  Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
01.  Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

This was a close one.  The top three are really neck and neck, and if I’m honest, pretty interchangeable.  But the title I keep going back to for 2011 is Okay For Now.  It gripped me early on in the year, and kept a hold of me throughout.  And I still have a hard time believing it was overlooked by the Newbery committee.  No matter.  Mr. Schmidt’s appreciation for his characters, even those that are flawed to the core, oozes out onto the page, and you can’t help but care for them, too.  Doug Swieteck’s faults and virtues, struggles and triumphs are ultimately relatable.  This is one for the ages, folks.

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