Books Read in 2014

Here they are, the books I read in 2014! My typical goal is 50, but with a new baby this year and writing/editing books of my own, that proved to be…difficult. Still, I think I conquered a lot.
(* = book not yet released)

  1. DRAMA HIGH by Michael Sokolove
  2. PAGE BY PAIGE by Laura Lee Gulledge
  3. THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK by Matthew Quick
  4. MAN MADE BOY by Jon Skovron
  5. BOXERS by Gene Luen Yang
  6. SAINTS by Gene Luen Yang
  7. THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU AND ME by Amanda Grace
  8. ROOMIES by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr
  9. THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp
  10. SEPTEMBER GIRLS by Bennett Madison
  11. THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson
  12. DUDE, YOU’RE GONNA BE A DAD by John Pfeiffer (I know, I know…)
  13. THE ACCIDENTAL LIFE OF JESSIE JEFFERSON by Paige Toon
  14. A USER’S GUIDE TO NEGLECTFUL PARENTING by Guy Delisle
  15. THE PROMISE OF AMAZING by Pamela Druckerman
  16. BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman
  17. BEBE BY DAY by Pamela Druckerman
  18. WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  19. HIDDEN: A CHILD’S STORY OF THE HOLOCAUST by Loic Dauvillier
  20. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING by Charles J Lockwood
  21. SEX CRIMINALS, VOL 1: ONE WEIRD TRICK by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
  22. THE HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK by Harvey Karp
  23. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
  24. THIRTEEN WEDDINGS by Paige Toon
  25. BABY LAUGHS by Jenny McCarthy
  26. EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour
  27. FORGET HOW YOU FOUND US edited by Nathan Holic (with a chapter by ME!)
  28. THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko Tamaki
  29. OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord
  30. CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert*
  31. MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga*
  32. DENTON LITTLE’S DEATHDATE by Lance Rubin*
  33. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli*
  34. STARBREAK by Phoebe North
  35. LOST AT SEA by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  36. SECONDS by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  37. IN REAL LIFE by Cory Doctorow
  38. PAPER AEROPLANES by Dawn O’Porter
  39. HAWKEYE, VOL 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON by Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja, Javier Pulido, Alan Davis
  40. ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins
  41. HAWKEYE, VOL 2: LITTLE HITS by Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, Francesco Francavilla, Matt Hollingsworth
  42. THIN SPACE by Jody Casella
  43. BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg
  44. THE RISE OF AURORA WEST by Paul Pope
  45. MS. MARVEL: #1: META MORPHOSIS by G. Willow Wilson
  46. ON THE FENCE by Kasie West
  47. BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
  48. YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler
  49. SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by Marcus Sedgwick
  50. MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME, edited by Stephanie Perkins
  51. A manuscript by my friend Joe
  52. A manuscript by my friend Jennifer

In all, YA beat out any other category (obviously), followed by graphic novels (some really great ones this year). Non-fiction primarily revolved around being a mom, which is not surprising. I also read a ton of picture books, which I didn’t list. (SO many beautiful ones! I must point out, specifically, THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND, which both L and I adored.) So what are my reading goals for this year? More plays I think and more adult fiction. I don’t see either happening, though, because have you seen the amazing YA books coming out in 2015? Specifically by debut authors?

Exactly.

Happy reading!

Graphic Novels

A few months back, a mom came to the library with her young son (about fifth grade) in tow. She told me he hated reading. She wanted to fix that, but nothing seemed to grab his interest. So I asked him what he liked (cars? sports? ninjas?) and what some of his favorite movies were. He liked action and adventure, but just couldn’t get into reading. So I brought him to the kid-friendly graphic novels and gave him Stormbreakerthe Alex Rider adaptation.

His mom was a bit tentative at first – a graphic novel? really? – but was fine with it in the end. I explained how graphic novels are fantastic books to get kids into reading because they contain pictures, but aren’t picture books. The kids still read the text, but they don’t have to imagine what’s going on – it’s right there. And while the imagining part is (in my opinion) the best part of reading, this can get a kid into reading until they’re ready to lose the artwork. (Or, continue reading with the artwork – but I’ll get to that later.)

To my surprise (and complete delight) his mom came back a few weeks later and told me how much he’s enjoying the Alex Rider graphic novels, and how he wants more. I recommended a few other series, and was so happy with the update. I also gave her the non-graphic Alex Rider books, as well as Percy Jackson, in case he wanted to jump onboard there. And if he wasn’t ready? Well there are bunch more graphic novels to delve into. 

This has worked a few times since (other popular graphic novels): SmileBabymouseBig Nate, and, for a little older, BONEArtemis Fowl, The Lightening Thief, and even the re-done Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew stories), and encouraged me to not only read those books, but look into YA/adult graphic novels, too. I was raised with Catwoman and X-Men comics, I delved into Sin CityHushand Sandman in college, and later Scott Pilgrim when the movie came out, but since then it’s been strictly books.

But you know what? There are some fantastic graphic novels out there! Much like my fiction, I stuck to contemporary (no superheroes, that is), and checked out the following books that I HIGHLY enjoyed:

  • Blankets by Craig Thompson (very long, very beautiful story about family, faith, and first love)
  • War at Ellsmere / Friends with Boys / Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong all by Faith Erin Hicks, with the later written by Prudence Shen. (Three awesome stories that taught me to love Hicks’ drawings. The first is about a girl’s first year at boarding school, and the chaos that ensues. The second follows a girl’s first year in high school as she makes friends and is haunted by a ghost. The third is about a gaggle of kids trying to win a robot battle, and the bonds formed when forced to work together.)
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgaol (Another story of a girl being haunted by a ghost, and growing up.)
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Drama happens both on and off-stage.)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (I’m pretty sure everyone knows this powerful story by now, but I’m happy I finally read it.)
  • Cardboard by Doug Tennapel (Cardboard monsters come alive!)

And you guys? I think i’m hooked. Many of these stories boiled down the high school/college experience with few words and beautiful drawings. The simplicity of the text is brought to life by beautiful drawings. And most of the time, the text is just as beautiful. I can’t wait to read more.

Graphic novels – great for kids and adults.