Ready? Here we go.
MIDDLE GRADE (MG)
The Hero's Guide to/League of Princes Series (Christopher Healy)
Not your average fairy tale, this series follows the exploits of Prince Charming --- all four of them and their princesses. The Prince Charmings are all upset because, well, Charming isn't really their name, but it's what all the bards remember. Now they're joining up for adventures and trying to make names for themselves, mainly Frederic, Duncan, Liam and Gustav.
Hilarious and lots of fun, I recommend this series, especially if you have boys who don't want to read 'Princess Books' and girls who do.
The Year We Were Famous (Carole Estby Dagg)
Fictionalized account of a Mother-Daughter team walking from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City with the hopes of saving their family's farm. Centering more on their relationship than the hardships they must overcome, this is one of the best historical fiction I've read for this age group.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
(Catherynne M. Valente)
Yes, this is the second book in the series. Yes, I recommended the first last year.
If you like ALICE IN WONDERLAND, you'll love these. A little darker than Alice's adventures, September's travels are no less wonderful.
YOUNG ADULT (YA)
Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell)
A love story that makes those involved take a look at themselves. In the end, it's less about falling in love and more about finding yourself. It's about standing up for what you believe in and those you care about.
While I'm at it, I'd also recommend Ms. Rowell's FANGIRL.
Ms. Blundell has a knack for historical mysteries set in the early 20th century. This one is no different. I highly recommend her books for the young detective in your life.
Marcelo in the Real World (Francisco X. Stork)
Heartbreaking and heartwarming, this one takes a look at life and corporate law through the eyes of an autistic 17-year-old Marcelo. He spends a summer in the 'Real World', working at his father's law firm. While he's there, he discovers life isn't all black and white, and sometimes a person has more strength and courage to make things right than he realized.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children (Kirstin Cronn-Mills)
This one makes it on my list because Mika's Grace Kelly is mentioned on the first page. Ok, that's not the only reason, but it's a good enough one.
This was the first book I've come across and read that deals with transgender and what those who identify with the opposite sex deal with in their daily life. The author also includes resources at the end for anyone looking for more information or support.
The Ghost Bride (Yangsze Choo)
Marriage to a deceased bride-groom brings more than anything young Li Lan imagined, including the unraveling of a mystery started before she was born.
Historical fantasy, this book is beautifully written. Think along the lines of Spirited Away for adults. Choo mixes the spirit world and 19th century Malacca to bring life to her take on this Chinese tradition.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple)
I know I'm late to the game with this one, but it's as good as everyone says. Told through a series of letters, e-mails and the odd interjection by Bernadette's daughter, Bee, we follow the unraveling of a once brilliant architect who's lost her drive and confidence. With a push from nosy and ridiculous neighbors and the intervention of her well-meaning, if often absent husband, she sets off on an adventure of a lifetime to reclaim some of her former glory.
The Woman Who Died A Lot (Jasper Fforde)
Because I'm a Fforde junkie, I needed to add at least one of his to this list. I also read the first two books to his YA series, which I also recommend, but had too many others for that category.
We're back and following the fabulous Thursday Next and her crazy mixed-up world full of dodos, neanderthals, and the odd clone getting into the works. She also has Chronoguards and the ability to read herself into books. Nothing in Thursday's life is ever simple.
There you go! This year's book recommendations. If you'd like more, you can always check out my Goodreads page and my Recommendation Shelf.