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Kim Tomsic

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2011 "I Can't Wait" YA/Middle Grade Reading List

2011 is looking book-sweet and I can't wait to read these titles: 

1. NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT by Gennifer Choldenko (Dial/ February 2011). I only had to see the author’s name, Gennifer Choldenko, to know that I can't wait to get my hands on this. Not only am I a huge fan of the Newbery winner, AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS (a “five” lollipoper), but I’m also a huge fan of the lady behind the words. Ms. Choldenko spoke at an SCBWI conference I attended. She was gracious, lovely, funny, and encouraging...mirrors to her work which is absolutely entertaining.
2.  Crystal Allen’s middle grade novel, HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY (release date: Feb. 2011).  This book is about a thirteen-year-old who vows to spend his summer changing his image from dud to stud. The manuscript gained a lot of attention and ended up selling to Kristin Daly-Rens at Balzer and Bray/ Harper in a six-figure, two book deal.  Behind Crystal Allen's debut novel are talented, respected people:  editor(Kristin Daly-Rens) and agent (Jen Rofe).  The writer/agent/editor trifecta combined with the buzz about this exciting book make it number two on my 2011 "can't wait" list. 

3.  PEARL(Candlewick Press/July 2011) by Jo Knowles.  Again, I base my interest in this book on past performance.  She delivered JUMPING OFF SWINGS as well as LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL.  Both are riveting Young Adult books that each have received an entire shelf worth of awards.

4. FORGOTTEN (Little Brown/Spring 2011). "Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future."  Could this really be the teen version of When You Reach Me?  Not only do I trust work represented by Cat Patrick's agent, Dan Lazar, but I also seem to relate to the protagonist...now wait, what was I doing?

5.  LEMONADE AND OTHER POEMS SQUEEZED FROM A SINGLE WORD (May 2011/ Roaring Brook Press) a quirky poetry book by Bob Raczka and Illustrated by Nancy Doniger.  This Middle Grade poetry book is described as "part anagram, part rebus, part riddle--these poems capture scenes from a child's daily life and present a puzzle to solve.  Sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, but always cleaver..."

6.  LEARNING TO SWIM by Sara J. Henry (Crown Books/February 2011) made my list when I discovered review after review written by those lucky enough to have ARCs.  Publisher's Weekly calls it, "an impressive first novel."  Meg Clayton on Twitter says, "Mystery readers are in for a treat."  Northshire Bookstore says, "I will hand-sell "Learning to Swim" until my fingers bleed."  And award-winning author, Daniel Woodrell, says "from the grabber beginning to the heartfelt conclusion, Sara J. Henry's Learning to Swim is an auspicious debut. Fresh setting, well-realized characters, cleanly written, with a mysterious and suspenseful story - just what I was looking for."  Daniel Woodrell is the author of The Death of Sweet Mister and Winter's Bone

7.  VILLAIN SCHOOL: GOOD CURSES EVIL by Stephanie S. Sanders (Fall 2011/ Bloomsbury kids)
The title alone makes me want to crack it open. 

When Rune is caught doodling in class at Master Dreadthorn's School for Wayward Villains, the last thing he expects is a reward. However, when he reports to the Dread Master's office for detention, instead of scrubbing slug slime, Rune gets awarded his very own villainous Plot! Rune is overjoyed until he discovers that he must steal a baby, find a henchman, kidnap a princess and overthrow a kingdom. And he only has one week! He embarks on a journey with his Conspirators, the lovely and lethal Countess Jezebel and the furry and slightly slobbery Wolf Junior. Along the way, Rune encounters unlikely friends and even more unlikely villains and learns what it takes to be truly Villainous.

8.  CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S GUIDE TO NOT READING by Tommy Greenwald (Roaring Brook/Spring 2011).  Based on  information provided by my good friend, Google, there seems to be something very Gordon Korman-ish about Tommy Greenwald.  Translation--the book promises to be hilarious.  Review to follow.  UPDATE:  THIS BOOK HAS BEEN READ AND REVIEWED...PLEASE SEE LINK http://t.co/xTsHHry

9.  NOTES FROM THE BLENDER (Egmont/May 2011) by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin has been promised as one of 2011's most hilarious books.  It's a YA story of when the loser-dude's widowed father marries the popular-girl's mother. A little Brady Bunch/Meet the Fockers/Modern Family rolled up into one funny story. 

10.  PLAYING HURT (Flux, March 8, 2011)written by fellow SCBWI member Holly Schindler.  Holly's debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK, received the following review: "Breathtakingly, gut-wrenchingly authentic...A haunting, realistic view of the melding of art, creativity, and mental illness and their collective impact on a young person’s life."—Booklist, starred review.   PLAYING HURT naturally landed on my "can't wait" list.   



Lindsay Buroker said...

Looks like a good list. I may have to check out #2 just because it has bubba in the title. :P

GamerBlog said...

Haha, Lindsay! You must be a Forest Gump fan :-)

Sara J. Henry said...

I hope you love my novel LEARNING TO SWIM! It's actually not classified young adult, but one of my test readers was then 15-year-old Steph Bowe, the Australian author of GIRL SAVES BOY (she's now all of 16) - and she enjoyed it and has been touting it for mature teens (I'd say 14 and above). Thanks much for including it!

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