ALA Euphoria

BookendsLynn and Cindy: We are back from the inspiring ALA Midwinter Meetings in Atlanta and beginning to catch up on sleep and work. During that historical moment, it was perfect to be with so many like-minded people. Suffice it to say, the word “march” turned out to be a major theme that weekend.

The Youth Media Awards were even more exhilarating than usual! Congratulations to all the authors, editors, publishers, illustrators, and committee members for your work, achievements, and dedication to young readers. Thank you also to the many publishers who held fabulous preview events and generously handed us more galleys than we could carry! Thank you to the authors and illustrators in attendance who inspired us with their perfect speeches and to those at home creating wonder and inspiration for our kids.

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner2017 already looks like it will be an outstanding year for youth books. We have to admit we were most excited to learn that the arc of Megan Whalen Turner’s latest stand-alone title in her Queen’s Thief series was available in the HarperCollins booth. We are so grateful to have a copy of Thick as Thieves in our hot little hands. Many of you will have to wait until the book’s May 16th release, and for that we are sorry, but we are happily digging in NOW! We staggered home with 3 suitcases and 2 carry-on bags packed with arcs to zipper-bulging limits. Thanks to a merciful airline baggage clerk our bags were “just” under the weight allowances. To be honest, every arc is jostling for the top of to-read stacks that have reached new heights but here are a few of the truly tempting books we dragged home.



Genevieve’s War, by Patricia Reilly Giff

A companion to the Newbery Honor book, Lily’s Crossing, set in 1939 France. That’s all I need to say! (March)
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
Goodbye Days
by Jeff Zentner

I loved the 2017 Morris winner, The Serpent King, so I’m really excited to read Zentner’s sophomore book. This one promises to be an emotional roller coaster and takes on an issue of great relevance to teens—a fatal crash involving texting while driving. (March)

Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore

This is a brand new stand-alone book by one of my very favorite authors. I can’t wait! (September)

Undefeated by Steve SheinkinLast Day on Mars, by Kevin Emerson

Earth year 2213 finds the human race set to abandon Mars as they have already abandoned Earth as the Sun goes supernova. Then two 13-year-olds make a startling discovery. (February)

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team, by Steve Sheinkin

I would read anything Sheinkin writes—anything. And this story of one of my heroes promises to be fascinating. (January)

The Wizard’s Dog, by Eric Kahn Gale

If a book has a Merlin connection, I’m ready to read it. This one, told from the perspective of Merlin’s dog, Nosewise, looks, um, enchanting. (January)




Amina’s Voice, by Hena Khan

Lynn’s ahead of me on this one, having read it before ALA, but I was delighted to get to hear the Pakistani-American author speak about her writing and finding her voice while writing this book. It’s my current read. (March)

CatStronauts Mission Moon by Drew BrockingtonCatStronauts (Vol. 1: Mission Moon and Vol. 2: Race to Mars), by Drew Brockington

I scored a two-volumes-in-one graphic novel arc featuring a world of cats headed to space to set up a solar power plant on the moon. It looks like purrrrfect fun. (April)

The Disappearances, by Emily Bain Murphy

A debut mystery in which “every seven years, something disappears in the remote town of Sterling.” Teens are going toDisappearances by Emily Bain Murphy love the haunting cover. (July)

Me and Marvin Gardens, by Amy Sarig King

I’m a huge fan of A. S. King’s YA novels, so this first foray into middle-grade territory has me fascinated, especially since it features a new kind of animal, one that only eats plastics. Its book birthday is tomorrow, January 31. If we all sing loudly, maybe Amy will hear us! (Read Sarah Hunter’s interview with her here.)

Night Witches, by Kathryn Lasky

Night Witches by Kathryn LaskyHistorical fiction by a master of the genre featuring a group of Russian female pilots, described here as “daredevil girls who took to the skies to take on the Nazis. . . and won.” (March)

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

I’m starting to sound like a fangirl, but I guess I am. I saw the adorable cover first, but Boyce’s name is what made me grab the galley. A list-making kid and an alien named Sputnik. I’m sold. (June)



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.

1 Comment on "ALA Euphoria"

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  1. Glad to hear that you enjoyed ALA! Looks like a promising batch of books – I’ve heard some good things about The Wizard’s Dog, definitely on my TBR. And The Disappearances looks intriguing. The cover is haunting!

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