A friend recently asked me what my favorite books from 2013 were. After drawing a blank and staring at her stupidly, I blurted out a couple of titles so I wouldn’t seem like a total idiot. Since then, I have had time to better reflect upon my answer to that question, so here are my 3 favorite teen novels from 2013:
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is about a boy named Joel who wants to be a Rithmatist so he can help defend humanity against the threat of the Wild Chalklings (trust me, they turn out to be much more ominous than they sound). Joel lives at the Rithmatist academy because his mother works there, and his father used to be the chalkmaker for the academy. Even though Joel has studied all the circles and marks that the Rithmatists make, he has been told that he himself cannot join the students to learn the craft. But then students start disappearing, and Joel, along with a girl named Melody, must help the professor who is assigned to investigate the disappearances to figure out what happened to them.
In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters takes place during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Mary Shelley Black is sixteen and staying with her aunt in San Diego. Many people have died from the flu, which leads many of their loved ones to attend séances and seek out “spirit photographers” to try to make contact with their dead one last time. Mary herself doesn’t believe in ghosts, until the death and return of the boy she loves makes her reconsider that position.
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner takes place in a very bleak alternate reality, and it is about Standish Treadwell, who sees things a little differently from most people. One day, his friend Hector sees something that the Motherland has been keeping secret and then disappears soon afterwards, leading Hector on a quest to save his only friend.
I am also very excited about some books that are coming out in 2014: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, which is the 3rd in the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series, due out in April; The Unbound by Victoria Schwab, the second in The Archived series (the first of which made me realize something I had never thought about before: I would not want to be a librarian of dead people – not FOR dead people, OF dead people), due out the end of January; and Raging Star by Moira Young, the third in the Dust Lands Trilogy, due out in May.
Happy 2014 reading!
-Emily Mauldin, Youth Services, Main Branch