Lynn's 2008 Baker's Dozen

Why 13 titles? Everyone makes a top ten, and besides, Cindy and I can’t possibly narrow our favorites down that far, so we’re giving you a Baker’s Dozen of 2008 favorites. Mine are here and Cindy’s are in a separate post. Our first ten are selected on literary merit alone and are in alphabetic order by author. The extra three titles are some of our other favorites of the year, thrown in for free. Let us know what YOUR favorites are!

This was SO hard! Stay tuned for our Top Five Nonfiction and Top Five Picture Books coming soon.

Lynn’s 2008 Baker’s Dozen

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: Kingdom on the Waves, by M. T. Anderson  (Candlewick)

Brilliant sequel to an equally brilliant first book. Challenging, thought provoking, emotional, memorable, searing – there just aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much I admire this book. (archived Bookends post)

Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd  (Random/David Fickling)

Dowd weaves multiple plot threads effortlessly in this beautifully crafted book. (archived Bookends post)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart  (Hyperion)

Smart, funny and an oh-so-subtle exploration of gender/power struggles. Frankie is a terrific character!

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman  (HarperCollins)

Sweet despite real scariness, Gaiman’s story telling skills shine in this highly original tale. (archived Bookends post)

Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, by Candace Fleming  (Random)

The inviting scrapbook format is perfect for either browsing or immersion in the staggering amount of fascinating information about the time, the Civil War, the important issues as well as presenting admirably complete biographies of both the Lincolns.

My One Hundred Adventures, by Polly Horvath. (Random House/Schwartz & Wade)

Horvath’s luminous writing perfectly captures those first itchy feelings of adolescence.

Nation, by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins)

I think this is Pratchett’s best ever. The humor and word play is still joyously present but this amazing book also features a remarkable setting, richly developed characters and beautifully explored themes.

The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp  (Random House)

Probably one of the best character studies I have ever read! Sutter will stay with me forever

Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan  (Random House/Knopf)

Lanagan is one of the most original stylists writing today but this book also shines in other categories: extraordinary world-building, thematic depth and vibrant characters as well as fascinating play with fairy tale elements.

Little Audrey, by Ruth White  (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Keeping the Night Watch, by Hope Anita Smith  (Henry Holt) (archived Bookends post)

I know this is cheating but I simply cannot chose between these two gorgeously written little gems. (It certainly IS cheating, but I’ll let you get away with it since I loved them both too!–Cindy)

Lynn’s three extras:

This was the year of fabulous page-turners and these three were pure pleasure for me to read!

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, by Alison Goodman  (Penguin) (archived Bookends post)

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore  (Harcourt) (archived Bookends post)

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins  (Scholastic) (archived Bookends post)



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "Lynn's 2008 Baker's Dozen"

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  1. Lissy S. says:

    I read a couple of these books that I really liked. I must agree that the Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is an excellent book! One of my favorites, with a strong female character that totally dominates all the guys in the book. Its more like real life really! 😀

  2. Amanda S says:

    Graceling is probably my favorite out of all the books on this list. It was a really good, new fantasy book and we haven’t had one of those in a while. I really can’t wait to read the prequel!

  3. Rosemary Pearce says:

    While I enjoyed The Spectacular Now, the main character drinks and drives throughout the story. It is not until the climactic event, the prom, that there are consequences to this behavior, and in fact, the consequences do not force Sutter to change significantly.

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