Favorite Books of 2008

I realized that even though I am a children’s librarian, I haven’t really posted all that much about the books that I am reading.  I have read lots and lots of good books this year (I don’t think a single one of them has been a real grown-up book) and I thought I might make a little top ten list of my favorites so far.  I was inspired to do this because I went to the Scholastic Warehouse sale yesterday and bought all of these lovely books for $19!!!!  (That is one of the great things about living in the big city, being in the same neighborhood as a Scholastic Warehouse!)

Now on to my favorites…………now I am not going to write full reviews or tell what ages of kids would like them because then it would just feel like I was working, and that is not what I want to do on the weekend.  So I will tell why I loved each book.  Oh, and they aren’t in any particular order.

Starcross by Philip Reeve is a sequel to the very funny sci-fi/fantasty epic Larklight.  I enjoyed Larklight but I LOVED Starcross!!  I don’t want to talk too much about the plot because it would give away things that happened in Larklight but let me just say that it involves lots of space-related adventures and some evil top hats.  It made me laugh out loud so many times because of all the absurd goings-on and also the fantastic illustrations by David Wyatt.  I also really love that it is a Victorian adventure set in outer space.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen has the most gorgeous cover I have ever seen.  That is why I picked it up and that is one of the reasons why I really love it.  It is like Gossip Girls but set at the turn of the century.  I would never willingly pick up a Gossip Girls book, but apparently all an author has to do is change the time period and make the clothes much more interesting and I am hooked.  The Luxe is about the lives of rich, jealous, lying, back-stabbing teens in New York City.  It is a totally fluffy, cheesy read that is just like reading a good romance novel, but with a much better cover.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell was really really fun to read.  It is one of those books that you have absolutely no idea where the plot will go next because so many random and crazy things have already happened.  Poor Emmy thinks that everyone in her life is ignoring her (parents, teachers, classmates) and so the only friend she has is a rat that can apparently talk only to her.  This book made me actually want to go out and find my own pet rat (but I wouldn’t put him in a cage, because apparently they don’t like that).  Lots of shrinking occurs to many of the characters as well as some other unfortunate things, but everything turns out rosy in the end, which is the way I like it.

If anyone wants to work at my library, it is a requirement that you read Life as We Knew It.  I made it five months before I read it, which is probably more than most people.  This book is so haunting and depressing, but in the most fantastic way.  The moon gets hit by an asteroid that pushes it closer to the earth, which is fine until earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes start happening all over the world.  It is told through the diary of one teenage girl in Pennsylvania and how she and her family deal with the end of the world.  After reading this book, I ate salads for ten days straight even though I hate lettuce because in one part she mentions how much she misses fresh lettuce.  I still have at least one bag of lettuce in my fridge right now just so I won’t have to worry about not having it available.

This is another book that hooked me with the cover.  Isn’t it wonderful?!!  Shug by Jenny Han is an amazing book about a middle school girl who discovers she is in love with her best friend Mark.  That’s pretty much all you need to know right there.  This book totally has the “middle school” feeling down cold.  I felt like I was back in seventh grade, an insecure girl trying to figure out why my life was so hard all of a sudden.  I totally cried rivers of tears at the end (which is kind of weird because it isn’t really sad) but I can’t wait to read it again.  I am holding myself back from starting it again right away, but I probably can’t wait much longer.

Since this post is getting kind of long and I don’t want it to take up the whole site, I will hide the rest of my selections under a cut.  So if you really want to see the rest of my favorites, continue at your own risk.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker is the new Ramona, the new Fancy Nancy, and the new Junie B. all rolled into one.  She can’t help getting herself into trouble, but she always has a perfectly reasonable explanation for it.  She lives in an apartment building where her dad is the manager and her mom is an artist.  She also has a baby brother, but you never learn his real name, she just calls him by different vegetables the whole time.  I laughed so hard at this book, and the sequels are just as good if not better.

I loved, loved, loved Rules by Cynthia Lord!!!!  I listened to the audio book on the way to and from work, and sometimes I would sit in my car for ten minutes when I got home because I couldn’t tear myself away.  It is about a girl named Catherine who has an autistic brother, David.  In order to help David learn how he should act, Catherine comes up with rules for him to follow.  This book is so funny and sad and wonderful all at the same time.  It is one of the books that I purchased at the book fair (you can see it in the picture) and when I saw it there I literally let out a squeal.  Thankfully all of the other teachers/librarians in the area were doing the same thing, so no one noticed.

Catherine Murdock wrote one of the best books ever, Dairy Queen (if you haven’t read that book, you need to rush to the library RIGHT NOW).  Princess Ben is a big departure from that book but I loved it just the same.  My favorite type of books are fairy tale updates and reinventions and this one was right up my alley.  It has everything you could want in a fairy tale, a stubborn princess, harsh queen, handsome prince, magic, and maybe even a dragon or two.  This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down.

The Facttracker by Jason Carter Eaton is a very unique book to read.  It is all about a town that sells facts to make money.  But then one day a man comes to town suggesting they sell lies, which are much more profitable than facts.  Various hilarious situations follow, especially the opening of the Lie-brary where all the lies come from.  The town (and the world) have to be saved by the Just-Small-Enough boy, who doesn’t even know his own name or his parents because all of his facts were lost at birth.  This is a really fun book to read and I did learn some interesting “facts” along the way.

Finally there is My Dog the Dinosaur by Jackie French.  I am not sure why I love this book so much, but I have told all of my co-workers numerous times that they have to read it.  The plot is pretty simple.  A boy picks out a dog from the pound for his birthday and it turns out to be a real dinosaur.  The dinosaur itself is described in such an adorable way that I want one for myself.  This book is a part of a series called “Funny Families” and the rest of the books are pretty cute too.

Well, I rambled on for way too long there, but if I get started talking (or typing) about books, it is hard for me to stop.  I don’t expect anyone to actually read any of these books, but it might give people something to think about other than Twilight (but maybe not).

Jen

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4 Responses to “Favorite Books of 2008”


  1. 1 Jill May 11, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Awesome! I just added a ton of books to my Goodreads “to read” list. You should make this a weekly or monthly segment, so I can continue to add good books to my oh, so long list. 🙂

  2. 2 Jill May 12, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    This is off-topic of this post, but I wasn’t sure where to put it for all of the nerdgirls to see:

    http://www.officetally.com/the-office-spin-off-announced

    not many details yet, but ummmmmmmmmmmm what??

  3. 3 ngtjennifer May 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I will try to make this a more regular thing. I do enjoy sharing my knowledge of kids’ books to the world!

  4. 4 ngtjennifer May 13, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I am not happy about the idea of a spin-off, but will try to withhold judgment until we know more about it.


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