CYBILS and the books I loved


So, the Cybils finalists were announced today and I was very happy with the choices we made as a team. I have an inkling of which one I'd love to win overall, so I'm crossing my fingers until the big winner is announced.

I was on the Middle Grade Speculative Fiction panel and we had some awesome titles. Here's our shortlist:

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood
Rose, by Holly Webb
Sidekicked, by John David Anderson
The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
The Water Castle, Megan Frazer Blakemore
And here are some books I loved but didn't make it…
Pi in the SkyPi in the Sky by Wendy Mass – I loved this one and it was my favorite sci-fi on the list. I felt it had a great meaning to what it is to be human.
Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. His older brothers help his dad rule the cosmos, but all Joss gets to do is deliver pies. That's right: pies. Of course, these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they're still pies.
Joss is happy to let his older brothers shine. He has plenty to keep his hands full: attempting to improve his bowling score; listening to his best friend, Kal, try (and fail) to play the drums; and exploring his ever-changing home, The Realms. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of Annika, an outspoken girl from Earth, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime…and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he'd imagined.
Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #1) Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates) by Caroline Carlson – I listened to this one (narrated by the great Katherine Kellgren) and absolutely loved it. It had some hilarious moments and lots of adventure. I guess the actual book was hard to read at times because of the scripts used though, so be wary of that.
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.

There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

How to Catch a Bogle How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks – I really loved this one, it was a Victorian London setting, with an orphan girl, monsters and fantastic writing.
If ever a chill entered her soul, or the hope suddenly drained from her heart, she knew a bogle was to blame. Birdie McAdam, a ten-year-old orphan, is tougher than she looks. She's proud of her job as apprentice to Alfred the Bogler, a man who catches monsters for a living. Birdie lures the bogles out of their lairs with her sweet songs, and Alfred kills them before they kill her. On the mean streets of Victorian England, hunting bogles is actually less dangerous work than mudlarking for scraps along the vile river Thames. (See glossary!) Or so it seems—until the orphans of London start to disappear . . .
The Year of Shadows The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand – I fell in love with this one when I read it, it was a big angsty with a grumpy cat, ghosts both friendly and dangerous, and a father who doesn't live up to expectations.
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother left, her neglectful father — the maestro of a failing orchestra — has moved her and her grandmother into his dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help — if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living . . . and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.

I read a lot of great books this year, which I am thankful for and have a lot I did not get to still. I read 101 of the 149 books on the list, which I thought was pretty good seeing as I had only read a dozen or so before we started getting nominations in.
What do you think of our shortlist? Read any of them or rooting for any to win?


Kristen is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. Kristen is an Elementary School Library Media Specialist in the Chicago suburbs who loves reading. Why else would she be a librarian?

One response to “CYBILS and the books I loved

  1. Kristen, you were an absolute reading machine!  I mean, GEM!  *grin*  I am in awe of your pace and insights about all of the books on our list.  Happy New Year and happy reading for fun in 2014!

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