[DWJ] Best of 2008

Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Sun Dec 14 16:26:04 EST 2008

Hello Deborah

Thanks very much for posting your list of the best of 2008. Can you tell
us why some of the titles have asterisks beside them?

I'm grateful for some good reading to look out for over the summer (here
in New Zealand). It will make a nice change from reading about the
management of preservation in libraries and archives. (Sigh.)


-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf
Of deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 8:07 AM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: [DWJ] Best of 2008

I posted my best of 2008 on my professional blog at
<http://gnomicutterance.livejournal.com/30120.html>. It's all
children's and young adult; what with reviewing and teaching, I've
almost had time to read nothing else.

I will paste it here so people don't need to go look at a

Fantasy and science fiction:
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
House of Many Ways* by Diana Wynne Jones
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Flora's Dare* by Ysabeay Wilce
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
This Full House* by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The Porcupine Year* by Louise Erdrich
Antsy Does Time* by Neal Shusterman

Books that weren't as good as I wanted them to be but were still
very enjoyable:
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: very enjoyable but the
well-meaning attempts to deal with body image politics backfired
Rex Zero, King of Nothing* by Tim Wynne-Jones: excellent, like
everything he writes. But the Rex Zero books are too nostalgic
for my tastes.
Impossible by Nancy Werlin: this book was beautiful, but one of
the things I like about Nancy Werlin is how grim she is willing
to be. This story tied up all the loose ends more neatly than I
wanted it to.
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin: I really wanted to love this book
with its protagonist who unwillingly gender swaps monthly. I got
hung up on some really icky race politics that are a tiny part of
the book, so it's hard for me to judge the text fairly aside from

Books that were way better than I expected them to be:
Mousetraps by Pat Schmatz: this looked like a really fun, silly
book with a pat message about accepting your gay friends, until
it got unexpectedly dark.
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi: Scalzi decided to write a standalone
young adult novel that takes place in the middle of an existing
adult science fiction series. It sounded like a train wreck to me
-- but the book was great, and worked very well as a standalone.
He didn't give me any interest in reading the adult books in the
same series, but it did make me want to read more about Zoe from
her own point of view.

The main character is a misogynistic, hermaphroditic,
heavy-drinking, ultra-cynical aardvark. It's an acquired taste.
 	-- A member of the DWJ list, on Cerebrus

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