Posted by: Katie B | March 9, 2012

Homework You Won’t Whine About

As part of my preparation for the VCFA writing retreat (in one week!!!), I set a task for myself:  read whatever I could find off of the biographies of each editor and author attending.  What an AWESOME self-inflicted homework assignment.  Man were there some late nights and bleary-eyed mornings.  Prepare yourself.  This is a diverse list of reading that will transport you.

Books I Like a Lot:

White Cat by Holly Black.  Young Adult.  With this latest addition to her repertoire, she now reigns as Queen of YA in my mind.  How does she come up with this stuff????  So different from her other works.  So unique.  Smoothly written.  And from a male perspective.  Dang.  Can I drool a little as I brag that I get to meet her next week?

Tithe:  A Modern Faery Tale by Holly Black.  Young Adult.  So this was great too.  It’s her first book, and somehow I could tell.  She’s only perfected her awesome style over the last decade.  With this book, she opened a door into the world of evil faeries.  A door which Melissa Marr slammed shut.  These girls rock.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (Books 1 – 5) by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.  Middle Grade.  Yup – Holly again.  I LOVED these.  And my second grader read them right alongside of me.  Easy to read, addictive tales for any age.

The Good Neighbors by Holly Black.  YA Graphic Novel.  Four Holly books in a row.  Am I obsessed yet?  Willingly I say yes.  Graphic novels are not my style, or so I thought.  But I couldn’t but the dang thing down.

Tyrell by Coe Booth.  Young Adult.  One of the most original stories I’ve read in a very long time.  Life in the welfare system as told by a teen-aged African-American boy.  Gripping doesn’t begin to describe it.  So excited to meet Coe next week as well.  So many questions to ask…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  Young Adult.  There is no way, in my wildest dreams, I could come up with a story as original as this one.  The premise, the characters, the situation.  Just read it.  It took me a minute to figure it all out, but then I couldn’t put it down.  Laini’s editor will be at the writing retreat next week.  I can’t begin to imagine how someone edited this work.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld.  Young Adult.  They say that the sequels are never as good as the original.  Except in this case.  This book, the third in this series, is as spellbinding as the first two.  I lost a day of my life, unable to move on until it was done.

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney.  Middle Grade.  I’ve never read anything like this.  A historical fiction, set in the 1930’s (background of the Great Depression), told from the perspective of three African-American children, and tied into Joe Louis winning the heavyweight championship.

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4) by Rick Riordan.  Middle Grade.  I wrote a review of these books when there was only three in the series.  Now that books four and five are out, I thought it needed another mention.  What kid doesn’t wish they were Percy Jackson?

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5) by Rick Riordan.  Middle Grade.  The last book in the series, this book was just as quick paced as the four before it.  Amazing.  Usually I’m struggling through the last few books in any series just so I can have a resolution.  This finale was a pleasure.

Beyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson.  Middle Grade.  What a sweet book.  Sweet is not the typical word choice for book about a twelve-year-old boy who plays goalie on the travel soccer team.  But I walked away smiling.  What a well-told tale.   A nice recommendation for any middle grade reader, boy or girl.  (Oh, and I get to meet Sarah next week, too!)



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