Tuesday, May 3, 2016

10 YA Novels on Mount To Be Read

Mount To Be Read includes the physical shelves full of unread books in my bedroom and my always-growing To Read category on Goodreads. So, here are 10 YA novels I am hoping to read (in no particular order)...

1. Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert - I love books that take us behind the scenes in families with a public persona. This is probably because I am married to a preacher and know how it feels to live in a "glass house." Not putting religious leaders on a pedestal is one of my soapbox issues. Also, I know Kelly, the author, and she is pretty awesome.

2. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - One of the reasons I read is to develop empathy. I am one of those Jesus-followers who actually believes we are supposed to love our neighbor, hands-down, all in, agape love for everyone. Picture Oprah saying it, "Agape love for you, and agape love for you..." You get the picture. I find that attempting to understand someone else, trying to see from behind their eyes, is helpful in loving unconditionally. It makes my heart wider. I live in the south, where transgender bathroom issues have been the hot debate. I am a person who can see both sides of an issue, even when I have a definite opinion about which side is closest to right. It's a blessing and a curse. In this instance, the debate has prodded me to do more than claim to love. I pride myself on building diverse relationships but, to the best of my knowledge, I only have one transgender friend. So yes, I will be looking for novels that help me grow in understanding. Not that anyone can ever 100% understand someone else, but that doesn't let us off the hook for trying.

3. A Really Awesome Mess by Brenda Halpin and Trish Cook - This book included Juno in it's comp titles and Juno is pretty much one of my favorite films ever.  Also, I love books set in mental hospitals and the like (in this case, a rehab school). There is something about being up front with everyone's brokenness that works for me. Also, having hit my own kind of rock bottom, I am in love with people rebuilding from theirs.

4. The Living by Matt de la Peña - I have read one of Matt's other YA books. I also had the pleasure of meeting Matt and hearing him read his children's book (Newberry winner for 2016). As I have been learning Spanish and plotting the bones of a novel dealing with a Honduran-American teen, I have become increasingly interested in fiction that relates to any kind of Hispanic and/or Latino culture.  This helps my language learning and my empathy building. Plus, Matt just writes good stories. And he was really nice and snapped a selfie with me when I hung out after the reading to fangirl all over him.

5. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley - I read John's book, Where Things Come Back, and just loved the complete outside-the-boxness of that story. This new book deals with agoraphobia, and I love learning more about all kinds of fears and mental illnesses. Most of you know I am diagnosed with Depression and ADHD. I appreciate when people take the time to try to understand the inside of my head, and I love doing the same for other people. Especially through an author I can trust to do their research and not rely on stereotypes.

6. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown - And here is where I go truly all out fangirl on you. Jennifer Brown is one of my all-time favorite YA authors. Recently, she followed me on Twitter, and it was all I could do to calmly follow her back and not scream at her, "OMG YOU FOLLOWED ME ON TWITTER!" I did text the all caps excitement to my husband and dance around my house practically singing. She writes the kind of books I dream of selling, books that deal with issues without being issue books, if that makes sense. I was actually working with my previous agent on a book about a girl surviving a tornado when I heard Jennifer's book Torn Away was soon to be published. It took me a couple of years to read it, because she is so good and what if her book blows mine out of the water? As it turns out, the stories have only one thing in common - there is a tornado in them. My favorite from her is Thousand Words. I spent that whole book wishing I had written it. So. Blasted. Good. Go buy all of her books.

7. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke - This book won me with title and then with cover. I have a thing about poppies. I want to read this book, but I also need to own it. In hardback. I want to display it, because this cover will be perfect art for my living room, which I want to use that poppy color to accent. So, already in love, the actual description of the book served only to make me more excited about it. 

8. The Reader by Traci Chee - Traci is a friend. And I should have already gotten to read this, but the US Postal Service failed to forward it, instead delivering this precious package to my old address, which is a vacant parsonage. By the time I realized the mistake, someone had stolen it. *cries* I have been heartbroken over the loss of this momento, as it was an unpublished advanced copy with notes from our writing group. I keep praying that whoever took it will grow a conscience and find a way to return it. 

9. Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn - I adored the first book I read by Kate, back when she was mentor to a writer friend during a Pitch Wars competition. It was the perfect blend of creepy and heartfelt. I don't like horror, but this was just creepy enough. Know what I mean? This new book deals with wishes gone wrong, something that has always fascinated me, and moonshine. Y'all know I am an Eastern Kentucky girl. Moonshine is practically the blood in my family's veins. I'm looking forward to this one.

10. The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett - This is another I cannot just read. I must own it, and I must own it in hardback. I have all of the other Tiffany Aching books in hardback, thanks to my Daddy, so I will need this one to complete that set. When I realized, right after Sir Terry's death, that one more Tiffany book was on its way, I had a party in my living room. No one but me attended said party, but I had it nonetheless. I keep putting off buying and reading this, because it is the last. He cannot write me anymore Tiffany books.

I could go on and on with this list. There are just so many books and, as the old saying goes, so little time.

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