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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Books I Enjoyed This Year

Everyone seems to be doing a “best of 2018” so I thought I’d do a few - not all of them published this year, but books I’ve read this year and enjoyed.

In no special order, here are a few:

The Boy And The Spy by Felice Arena. A wartime adventure about a Sicilian boy who helps an American spy who falls from the sky near his little fishing village. Check out my review here.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which has been turned into a film we haven’t yet seen in Australia. Here is my review. I thought it well worth all the hype it got. It features a strong heroine who stands up for justice when her friend is murdered by a police officer.

Perhaps not quite as dramatic but similar in flavour is Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan, about a couple of girls, close friends, one white and one black - and fat - who work to make a difference at their school, which is supposed to be progressive in its philosophy but shuts up girls who don’t appreciate being treated as stereotypes. I won’t go into detail here, because it’s not out in Australia yet - I got an ARC at the YA Showcase recently - but it will be out in February.

Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson, which I’ve reviewed here. This is a time slip novel reminiscent of Kate Constable’s Crow Country, which has a very similar theme and which I’ve also reviewed.

Idylls Of The Queen by Phyllis Ann Karr. A reread, really, but I enjoyed it again, as I said in my retro review. It’s set in Thomas Malory’s Camelot, based on a very short story in Malory, expanded into a full length murder mystery, in which Sir Kay, the king’s foster brother and seneschal, plays the detective. I thought it would be out of print, but I believe you can still get it on Amazon.

Swallow’s Dance  by Wendy Orr. A wonderful children’s book set in the Minoan era. Wendy’s previous Minoan novel was Dragonfly Song, about a young bull dancer. This one is centred around the Thera explosion. It has a strong heroine who does all she can to help her refugee family when they have escaped with not much more than the clothes they are standing up in. I think this might be my favourite book of the year. 

Well, that’s six books I have enjoyed this year, what are some of yours?  


Brian Joseph said...

This looks to be an impressive list. I think that I would like to read all of these books. I might really try to get to The Hate U Give in the next few months. I read so few new books. I believe thaf I read only two published in 2018.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Not all of these were published this year. I just read them this year. Never too late! 🙂

Maria Behar said...

I'm not familiar with most of these books. The one exception is "The Hate U Give", which I'm planning to start reading this month. One of my blogger friends, Barb @ Booker T's Farm, will be reading it along with me. (Which gives me an idea....maybe you and I could do a "buddy read" later on this year. Let me know!)

I have not heard of any of the other books you've mentioned, but they SURE sound GREAT!! Being an avid fan of Arthurian tales, I'm especially interested in "Idylls of the Queen". What an original concept -- Sir Kay as a detective! AWESOME!!

I don't do this type of post at the end of the year, because it's hard for me to pick favorite books from the ones I've read in during the preceding year. However, I usually publish a New Year's post featuring upcoming books for the next year.

Thanks for sharing!! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It's already 2019 down under!!!! YAAAAAY!!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! Yes, The Hate U Give is definitely well worth a read. I’m hoping to get the time to reread it before the film opens here.

Of the others, three are from Australia - The Boy And The Spy, Inheritance and Swallow’s Dance, but I’m pretty sure you can get Swallow’s Dance in the US already and perhaps The Boy And The Spy. Inheritance is new and published by a small press, Black Dog, but you might be able to get it from Book Depository. Wendy Orr, author of Swallow’s Dance, is actually a Canadian author living in Australia, so they made a(well deserved)big fuss over it in Canada, where it has won at least one award, and another major award here in Oz. It is a children’s book, as is The Boy And The Spy, not sure how you feel about stuff for younger readers.

Let me know when you are thinking of a buddy read.