Here come the early birds of the 2012 children's/YA publishing year! January and February tend to be a bit slow for children's/YA publishing, so I won't feature as many books. March and April are different stories. That doesn't mean that awesome books aren't coming out already. Just take a look:
Bad Kitty For President
Just in time for Presidents Day and the presidential campaign season: Bad Kitty runs for president (of the Neighborhood Cat Association). Will the kitty on the right side of the street win, or will it be the kitty on the left (side of the street)? What happens if Bad Kitty forgets to register for vote? What if it comes down to one absentee vote ballot? This is a series that both boys and girls, especially those just getting into chapter books, LOVE. One parent told me that she read a Bad Kitty out loud during a car trip and had to reread it again because everyone (including the parents) enjoyed it so much.
The Cabinet of Earths
When 13 year old Maya's family moves to Paris, they certainly didn't expect Maya to be chosen as the next Keeper of The Cabinet of Earths, in their quest to achieve immortality. This is getting solid reviews; fantasy fans will definitely want to pick it up.
Cinderella in a futuristic setting. Our lovely fairy tale heroine is now a cyborg mechanic. Well, naturally. The cool cover and action-packed series opener will likely draw fans.
Earwig and the Witch
No cover yet. Too bad. Diana Wynne Jones's posthumous fantasy novel involves a cheerful orphan taken in by creepy foster parents. Terrific reviews, as you can expect, with the notoriously grumpy Kirkus Reviews calling it "utterly charming," with Publishers Weekly noting its "delightfully odd characters and eccentric magic."
The Fault in Our Stars
Printz Medalist John Green's latest YA offering is receiving a lot of buzz. Based on young cancer patients (one 16 year old in particular), The Fault in Our Stars is the story of a terminally ill teen who meets an extraordinary boy at a support group meeting.
The Lions of Little Rock
I'm a fan of Kristin Levine's debut novel, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had (despite some quibbles with the ending, but that's minor), so I'm impatiently anticipating The Lions of Little Rock. The integration of Little Rock schools is the focus, but what's intriguing is that the story takes place one year after the schools were integrated, when the media and federal officials had retreated. According to Publishers Weekly, "Levine's characters fall on both sides of the integration issue, but she avoids painting them too broadly..." Really, really excited about this one. Plus, Levine is an Alexandria-based author, which is quite cool. Reviews have been outstanding: "stunning" and "remarkable," remarks from School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, respectively.
Verse novels just rarely work for me. Nine times out of ten, I usually wish that the author had told the story in prose. It's just tricky to pull off, and only a handful of authors have been really successful at it. I'm hoping May B will be one of those exceptions; its reviews certainly make me think it does (The Horn Book in particular). Twelve year old May B (Mavis Elizabeth Betterly) is sent to work as a live-in helper for a farmer and his new wife, who is barely older than May B. 19th century life on the Kansas prairies was harsh, and May B's story is no exception. I enjoy this particular time period, so despite my general dislike of verse novels, I'm putting it on my list.
The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir
Gaby Rodriguez was told that she would end up just like her mother and older sisters-an unwed teenage mother. Gaby's life plans didn't include teenage motherhood, yet pretty much everyone assumed that she would be no different. Wondering how her family, friends, classmates, and community would react if she did get pregnant, Gaby decided to fake a pregnancy during her senior year of high school (her mother, boyfriend, and one older sister knew about the project). What she learned and her reveal of her project made headline news, and is now the subject of a well-reviewed memoir and soon-to-be Lifetime television movie.
All right; what a cool bunch of books! One of my New Year's "readalutions" is to keep up with my 2012 to be read list. I really fell behind last year! I ended up returning too many books (for my comfort) because I hadn't even started them or weren't finished with them by the time the due date rolled around, with several patrons waiting for them. Trying to not let that happen this year!