According to the calendar, it’s May and the books on my shelves are NOT socially distancing themselves so I think that means it’s time for…
…the 5th Annual Miss Bookshelf USA.
Yes, the prestigious (hehe) event when I pull all the books I read and reviewed the previous year off my bookshelves, dust ’em off, dress ’em up, fall back under their papery story spells, and crown a tiara on top.
According to what I reviewed in Goodreads, I read 39 books in total: 2 nonfiction, 2 anthologies, 8 adult, only 2 YA (wow! I’m surprised at this too!), 11 middle grade, 11 picture books, and 3 chapter books. It seems like while 2018 was the year of YA, 2019 was the year of middle grade.
And of those 39 contestants, my Top Ten Delegates are…
… drumroll please.
Michael McDowell’s BLACKWATER saga
Eoin Colfer’s HIGHFIRE
Erin Morgenstern’s THE STARLESS SEA
Delia Owens’ WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
Paul Rosolie’s THE GIRL AND THE TIGER
Watt Key’s BEAST: FACE-TO-FACE WITH THE FLORIDA BIGFOOT
Ursula Vernon’s CASTLE HANGNAIL
Erin Entrada Kelly’s LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA
Gillian McDunn’s CATERPILLAR SUMMER
Natalie Lloyd’s OVER THE MOON
Whew, this is tough. I enjoyed reading all these books. Have you read any of these?
Without further ado, Miss Amity is…
… a tie! (Already? Yes, remember from last year I can do this)
CASTLE HANGNAIL and CATERPILLAR SUMMER! Both Molly and Cat hold the heart of their books by their kindness to the Castle Hangnail denizens and her shark-loving little brother, Chicken, respectively.
Miss Photogenic is LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA! I adored reading this lyrical Filipino folktale-inspired story, and the map and illustrations by Lian Cho really made it come alive. It was a perfect compliment to Kelly’s tale of inner strength and belief.
Style goes to the BLACKWATER saga! While much of this was a reread for me, it’s been since high school (so twenty-ish years ago) and the swamp monster matriarch Elinor Caskey hasn’t lost her style one bit.
Second Runner-Up is THE GIRL AND THE TIGER! Isha and Kala’s story had me in the feels most of the read. It’s such a beautiful book with so much growing pains between appreciating nature and economical progress, hopeful and helpless all at the same time.
First Runner-Up is THE STARLESS SEA! I loved how the deeper you sank into the honeyed pages, the more connection you found. Stories wove into stories, keys opened painted doors, it was a dream of a book, much like THE NIGHT CIRCUS.
And Miss Bookshelf 2020 is… WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING! I mean, there’s a reason it’s sold 6 million copies and is on the NYT Bestseller list for over 21 months. Kya’s lyrical story of loneliness and appreciation of nature resounds with people more that ever in this time of social distancing.
Thanks for playing along! Do you have a favorite book you read last year?