Books I’m most looking forward to this year
A slightly belated list of books for the first half of the year, anyway.
Young Adult Books (or, forget mermaids, it’s the Year of Assassins and Mobsters)
Beads, Boys, and Bangles by Sophia Bennett (3/28/12). Because Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings was one of my favorite books last year and I can’t wait to spend more time with Nonie and co.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (6/19/12). A book “about a young Marine’s return home from Afghanistan and the new life and love he finds while fending off the ghosts of war.” A timely, topical subject, and the buzz (however much credence you put into that) has been very positive. Not a fan of the cover, though.
Cold Fury by T. M. Goeglein (7/24/12). The first assassin/mobster book on my list, in which a girl discovers her family play an important role in the Chicago mob. Looks like it could be an exciting action/thriller.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (4/3/12). According to Nicki, “The publisher gave it some hefty advance praise saying, ‘I believe this is the best book we’ve published since Graceling.'” A historical fantasy about a seventeen-year-old girl in 15th century France, bringing the assassin/mobster book count to 2.
The Traiter and the Tunnel (The Agency) by Y. S. Lee (2/28/12). I really enjoyed the first two books in the series (first one reviewed here), with their blend of feminism, class and racial issues, and solid mysteries in a vividly depicted Victorian London. Okay, and I want to know what happens next between Mary and James.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (4/3/12). The son of a serial killer (did you think I was going to say assassin?) tries to solve a series of murders. Is it anything like Dan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver books? Anyway, I am totally intrigued. And also want to read Wells’ Partials (2/28/12), since I just mentioned him.
Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley. (6/19/12). Partly because I now just expect World War II-era YA books to be good. But I think most of the YA books from this time period that I’ve read have been set in the U.S., so I’m looking forward to something actually set in the war, and in Europe, even if the main character is American. Along the same lines, except for the American main character part, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (U.S. publication: 5/15/12).
A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan (6/5/12). If I’m being honest, I never liked math. Yet I don’t mind reading about math geniuses. Plus the book sounds fun. Hmm, should I count being on the run from terrorists as an assassin/mobster book?
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn (6/14/12). Art theft + the yakuza + Japan. Just one of these elements would guarantee that I’d take a closer look at this book. With all three? Have to read it. Assassin/mobster book count: 3.
Dark Eyes by William Richter (3/15/12). Is the Russian mafia involved? Between the Russian orphan, stolen fortune, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comparison, I’m thinking yes, but we shall see.
The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl) by Eoin Colfer (7/10/12). The last book in the series. I like the books in print but love them in audio. I have a few quibbles, but overall, Nathaniel Parker does an awesome job narrating the series.
Georgia in Hawaii by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (2/28/12). If you ever visit Oahu, take the time visit the Honolulu Academy of Arts, especially if you’re interested in Asian art. They also have a couple of Georgia O’Keefe paintings (like this and this) from her “Hawaiian tour,” as Georgia in Hawaii’s description puts it.
Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester (1/3/12). Back in 2010, Early Word mentioned this series after Sylvester was on NPR. I thought it looked like a lot of fun—a fourteen-year-old superchef who helps the police solve murders and, c’mon, look at that cover—but I never got around to buying the books. Originally published in Canada, Simon & Schuster is now publishing the series in the U.S. and I will finally read them this time around.
The Chalk Girl by Carol O’Connell (1/17/12). At one point, I swear Putnam included the line “Before Lisbeth Salander, there was Kathy Mallory” in the book’s description, but it doesn’t seem to appear anymore. Which is a pity, because it’s totally how I’d try to sell this series. Okay, the last Mallory book came out pre-Dragon Tattoo, and I do think you should read the books in order to appreciate the gradual revelations about Mallory’s past, and I think O’Connell is a better writer than Larsson, and there are a lot of differences between the series. But if other books (*cough* like Dark Eyes *cough*) use a Dragon Tattoo comparison, then why not the series about a female computer genius with no social skills and a tragic childhood who now solves crimes, that was published first?
Looking ahead to 2013
Did anyone else know Soho Press is launching a teen imprint in January 2013? I didn’t until I visited the Soho website last month. Anyway, I tweeted that I was rather disappointed that the launch list doesn’t look as international as I’d hope a Soho list would be (and the only book I want to read at this point is Who Done It?), but I am curious to see what else they’ll publish.