Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cybils Shortlists

Happy New Year! And what better way to start it off than with lists of fabulous books? For all of the Cybils shortlists, go here.

I can't just leave it at that, though. As one of the Middle Grade Fiction panelists, I've got to give you more of the inside scoop. It was such fun to be a panelist. Recieving books, reading books by the dozens (quite literally -- I think my final count is 55, but I got more than 70 review copies, so you know I'll keep reading nominees), talking about books with such intelligent and insightful fellow panelists -- it was all a joy! I feel like the lucky duck that got picked to swim with the swans, or something.

We talked (and talked, and chatted, and messaged) and decided on 5 fantastic finalists. For plot summaries and general commentary from the panel go here; I'll just post a few thoughts of my own about each title right now.

2008 Middle Grade Fiction Finalists

Alvin Ho written by Lenore Look. This one was so fun! I couldn't help checking it out from the library when I got to my parents' place and reading it to all my younger siblings (and my mom and dad too). We read the whole thing aloud in two sittings (one was a long car ride, though) and everyone was smiling. This is the book you've been looking for: the one that will appeal to 8 year old boys. You know, besides all those Pokemon books. (previous review here)
Diamond Willow written by Helen Frost. I quite enjoyed this title. I felt like I connected better with Alaskans after reading it. It is one of those books that accidentally makes you smarter -- when you're done you know stuff you didn't realize you were learning. It's a very cultural book, I think.

Every Soul a Star written by Wendy Mass. This one . . . is awesome. I had to pack it back to my parents' place with me just to make sure everyone got a chance to read it. It completely makes me want to see the next total solar eclipse -- and I plan on it, too. Only 8 years, baby! Ally made me smile (she was my fave narrator) Jack made me laugh, and Bree made me think. Another one of those books that accidentally teaches you tons of cool stuff! (previous review here)

Shooting the Moon written by Frances O'Roark Dowell. This is the war book we picked. But don't worry, it's not gruesome. It's a thinker though. It made me think about my dad (Jamie's dad is an Army Colonel), my brothers, and my friends. I really felt like I knew tha main characters from the get-go. It was kind of amazing how quickly I slipped into the world this book creates. My only beef is that it ended so abruptly! I wasn't quite ready for it to be done.

The London Eye Mystery written by Siobhan Dowd. I thought I had this one pegged from the beginning. I groaned to Jacob that we had hardly begun and I already had the mystery figured out. As I read on, I didn't mind -- I liked Ted. Then! Shocker! Twist! And I finished it quite happy. But the real kicker for me on this one was that I kept thinking about it for a long time afterward. It just got stuck in my head. (previous review here)

And since there were so many good books and each panelist had a few favorites that simply couldn't be included (if only we could have had a few more spots on the list!), here are my personal honorable mentions, with links to their reviews:

My Dad's a Birdman -- reminds me of Roald Dahl, except I like it better. :)
The Willoughbys -- makes me laugh out loud.
The Diamond of Drury Lane -- kept me reading non-stop, very atmospheric.
Savvy -- Just loved the family. And the premise.
Forever Rose -- (I've linked to Melissa's review, but she can speak for me on this one!) I loved this book, but felt like I was missing out because it's the last one in the series! I just finished the first, Saffy's Angel, and highly recommend the series (in order).

And here are links to the favorites of the rest of the panel:
Kim: Yes, we can!
Melissa: Book Nut
Matt: Book Club Shelf
Sherry: Semicolon
Mary: ACPL Mock Newbery
Sarah: The Reading Zone

1 comment:

  1. I just finished the first, Saffy's Angel, and highly recommend the series (in order).

    AHHH! I need to read those. I should just stop everything and do that. Right? (Thanks for the link, BTW.)

    ReplyDelete

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