I'm excited to have read two more Fearless Fifteeners books this week! It's almost 2015, which means our debut year is almost here, and the more incredible books I read by my talented peers, the more excited I am to be debuting alongside them. So here's what you should be looking out for next year:
I fell in love with the title of Kelly Jones's middle-grade debut the moment I heard it: UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER. Then I fell in love with the cover—look at that grouchy chicken at the top! And when the ARC arrived in my mailbox on its tour, I was excited to fall in love with the words, too. When 12-year-old Sophie Brown moves with her parents from Los Angeles to a farm in the middle of nowhere, she finds herself caring for a chicken, which she names Henrietta. But Henrietta isn't an ordinary chicken—she can move things with her mind! And she's only the first of Sophie's great-uncle's missing chickens to show up and wreak havoc. Sophie has to adapt to small-town life while protecting her inherited flock from a nefarious chicken-napper. This book is charming and funny—text and illustrations—and I would recommend it to city kids, country kids, kids at heart…anyone who enjoys a good story.
I also got to read Cordelia Jensen's beautiful and heartbreaking SKYSCRAPING this week. In fact, I raced through it in one day. This powerful novel-in-verse depicts a year in the life of Mira, a high school senior who thinks she has it all together. Then she learns a family secret that changes everything. She tries to distance herself from her family, but her father's health crisis brings her back. Novels-in-verse have to make every word count, and Jensen does just that. The writing is spare, raw, and elegantly crafted. And yes, I cried at the end. (I also loved the 1990s New York City setting—so cool to see my city through a native teen's eyes a decade before I moved here!) This book releases next June, so if you're a fan of honest, sad, and ultimately uplifting stories, put it on your calendar now.
I can't believe we're almost done with 2014! Next week, I'll be sharing my Top 10 books I read this year. I'm still trying to narrow my list down—SKYSCRAPING was number 92 (!!!), so I have a lot of really tremendous books to choose from. In the meantime, if you're itching for a Top 10 list right now, check out the YA Buccaneers' picks HERE. We have pretty good taste for a band of fearsome pirates! :)
See you next week!