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National Book Awards Announced

Yesteday, November 18, the National Book Awards were announced. Founded in 1950, these awards are intended to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

The top winners in each category are:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Teen Review: Elisa, our main character, is an extremely overweight princess and the bearer of some sort of magical gemstone. She learns how to become a more confident, better leader when she is kidnapped from her court and forced to go on dangerous missions. Elisa was married to the king (Alejandro) in this book, but they had no chemistry at all. While the young king was physically appealing, Elisa later found out she was in love with a shepherd boy named Humberto who was later killed.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

It's 1987 and 15-year-old Ari has withdrawn from his family and is getting into fights. He wants to know why his older brother was sent to prison, but his parents won't speak of it. His father is haunted from his time fighting in Vietnam and is emotionally distant. He drifts through his days until he meets Dante at his local pool. The two Mexican-American boys form a deep connection, strengthened by their mutual social isolation. As time passes, they realize their friendship could deepen into something more.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I loved this book!!! Stephanie Perkins truly captures the feeling of being in love. It is an extraordinary story of a girl named Anna, set in the City of Lights (Paris). She at first is reluctant to do anything but Etienne St. Clair changes her mind. Etienne St. Clair is the MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD. Anna meets a lot of people at School of America in Paris. Meredith is a great girl with a great personality. She is eventually Anna's best friend. Rashmi is a bit judgmental but a well thought out character. Then there is playful Josh. He is Etienne's best friend.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

The first novel in Caine’s new series, called The Great Library, starts out with some lovely world building. Set in the not-so-distant future, the premise is that the ancient Library at Alexandria was never destroyed and grew to be the most powerful - and oppressive - force in the world. In this world, personal ownership of books is illegal. So when book smuggler Jess Brightwell becomes a Librarian, things get a bit awkward with his family.

Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

The prologue, guys and gals, starts the book with a bang or in this case, a dive off a cliff. One tragic car accident takes the life of Em and Navin's father. Two years go by when their mom decides to move the family to this supposedly haunted house in the middle of nowhere that once belonged to their great-grandfather. Their first night there Em hears a noise. Scared, her mom goes to check it out. She expects to find a raccoon or some other thing. What she doesn't expect to find is this globby alien creature that swallows her and takes her away.

H2O by Virginia Bergin

While post-apocalyptic books are a dime a dozen these days, mid-apocalpse books aren't quite so common. Originally published in the UK as The Rain, this book shows just how fast things can go downhill when a disaster strikes the entire planet. A deadly bacteria renders the rain itself deadly and contaminates every open water source. Even a single tiny drop spells an agonizing death. And there is no treatment or cure. Boiling doesn't kill it and neither does chlorine. People panic, traps are set, there are raids on supermarkets and the homes of those who died early.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Even though this book is not being published until October 6, I got my hands on an advance copy and was so excited. First, if you haven’t read the Chaos Walking series, I strongly encurage you to find time ASAP and get on it. Ness is really good at writing characters that I can engage with.

Top anticipated July reads

Summer time - the perfect moment to compile an impossibly long list of books to read, right? I agreed to help read in a read-a-thon of To Kill A Mockingbird, the day before Harper Lee's new novel (Go Set a Watchman) is released (let me know if you'd like to pariticpate too, or just come to the read-a-thon).

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

In this light-hearted romance, Lucy and Owen meet in an elevator that gets stuck during a city-wide blackout. Over the course of one night they form a bond that both time and distance can't break. Just days after that night, Lucy moves across the ocean to Scotland and Owen sets off on a cross-country journey with his father to recover from his mother's sudden death. Despite their distance, Lucy and Owen try to keep in touch in the form of postcards, but as time goes on they lose touch. However, both Lucy and Owen find that in spite of their separation neither can move on from the other.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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