Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where book bloggers are invited to share their top ten lists centered on a certain theme.
I was so bummed that I missed out on ALA Midwinter this past weekend, especially after seeing all the amazing ARCs that people were showing off on Twitter & Instagram! But I did get to go to YA NovCon, a convention hosted by a local library system, and had SO MUCH fun! I got to meet several of my favorite authors, like Akemi Dawn Bowman and Brandy Colbert, and also got to hear from lots of new-to-me authors! I added so many new books to my TBR, some that I’d heard of, some that weren’t really on my radar, and some that were recommended by the authors at the convention.
Here’s the top ten books that attending YA NovCon made me want to read:
1. So Glad to Meet You by Lisa Super
I hadn’t heard of this one, but I’m so glad Lisa Super was there to talk about it, because I love books about grief!
Goodreads summary: “Seventeen-year-old Daphne Bowman, a bookish drama nerd in public school, might never have crossed paths with Oliver, the popular, outgoing mascot for his private school’s football team, but one event has bound them inextricably. Daphne’s older sister, Emily, and Oliver’s older brother, Jason, who were high school sweethearts, died by suicide together seven years earlier.
When Daphne uncovers Emily and Jason’s bucket list—a list comprised of their “Top Ten” places to visit before they die—she knows she has to tell someone. The one person who might actually get what she’s going through and who might not think it’s silly that she wants to complete the list, is also someone she’s never spoken to—Oliver Pagano. Throwing caution to the wind, Daphne sends Oliver a Facebook message that will come to change the course of both of their senior years—and maybe their entire lives.
Tackling grief with a wry voice and an unflinching eye, So Glad to Meet You tells the story of two people who, in searching for what they’ve lost, end up finding what they never knew they needed—each other.”
2. Tiny Infinities by J.H. Diehl
This middle grade novel about family, friends, and a swimmer has such a gorgeous cover! I was a swimmer in high school and love books about swimmers, so as soon as I heard J.H. Diehl talking about this one, I immediately added it to my TBR!
Goodreads summary: “When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.”
3. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
Randy Ribay’s upcoming book, Patron Saints of Nothing, is one of my most anticipated 2019 releases, but for some reason, I hadn’t heard much about his previous books. After chatting with him, I definitely want to read more from him!
Goodreads summary: “As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie’s trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents’ divorce, Mari’s considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante’s working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam’s clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve–or to avoid–their problems.
Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.”
4. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
I enjoyed Far From the Tree last year and when I saw Robin Benway at YA NovCon, I realized that I haven’t read anything else from her yet! I’m hoping to fix that soon.
Goodreads summary: “Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?”
5. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Meg Medina has been on my radar for a while, and this is one I’m hoping to pick up from her!
Goodreads summary: “After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random.
Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays.
And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples who stay out too late?
Award-winning author Meg Medina transports readers to a time when New York seemed about to explode, with temperatures and tempers running high, to discover how one young woman faces her fears as everything self-destructs around her.”
6. The Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
You Bring the Distant Near was beautiful, and I’d love to read more from Mitali. This was my second time meeting Mitali (she did an author visit at my library last year) and she was just as wonderful!
Goodreads summary: “When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary—just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha’s promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior. What follows is a firestorm of rebuke—and secrets revealed! Asha’s only solace is her rooftop hideaway, where she pours her heart out in her diary, and where she begins a clandestine friendship with Jay Sen, the boy next door. Asha can hardly believe that she, and not Reet, is the object of Jay’s attention. Then news arrives about Baba . . . and Asha must make a choice that will change their lives forever.”
7. A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Ramee
I added this one to my TBR a while back and had forgotten about it until I saw Lisa at the convention. Now I’m excited for this middle grade novel all over again!
Goodreads summary: “Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)
But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?
Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.
Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.”
8. Pointe by Brandy Colbert
This is the only Brandy Colbert book I haven’t read yet, and it’s been on my TBR forever! I got Finding Yvonne signed by her this past weekend, and she was an absolute SWEETHEART, which made me want to read Pointe immediately so I can talk this one up at my library!
Goodreads summary: “Theo is better now.
She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.”
9. After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
Yes, I know I’ve got two of Randy’s books on this list, but I don’t care! Randy also told me about this amazing resource on his website, which is a list of Filipino American books!
Goodreads summary: “Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny tries to fit in with his new, privileged peers, Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can’t help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble.
When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision—maybe a dangerous one.
Told from alternating perspectives, After the Shot Drops is a heart-pounding story about the responsibilities of great talent and the importance of compassion.”
10. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
This book isn’t YA, but one of the authors at YA NovCon mentioned that they were reading it and that it was amazing, and now I’m super curious about it, even though it’s not something I’d normally read!
Goodreads summary: “Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy’s scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying? “
Do you ever go to book festivals or conventions?