Review of The Q, by Amy Tintera

The Q

by Amy Tintera

Crown, 2022. 343 pages.
Review written February 9, 2024, from a library book
Starred Review
2023 Cybils Finalist, Young Adult Speculative Fiction

The premise of this book set in the not-too-distant future is that the entire city of Austin, Texas, was quarantined for a deadly virus with a 40 percent mortality rate. Eventually, they built a wall around the Q to keep people from escaping. Twenty years later, there is still no vaccine because the virus mutates too quickly and antibodies don’t help, though people inside have developed artificial organs that are keeping everyone alive. The Q seceded from the United States and is ruled inside by two rival gangs, each with their own territory.

Into this scenario, Lennon Pierce falls from the sky.

It’s election year, and Lennon is the son of one of the candidates for U.S. President. His Dad has been speaking up for the Q, trying to come up with helpful solutions, while the incumbent president is talking about nuking the whole thing, including the people inside. So someone kidnaps Lennon, takes him up in a helicopter, and drops him into the Q with a parachute.

Lennon lands in the south, in Lopez territory, and unfortunately, the only exit from the Q lies in the north, in Spencer territory. Fortunately, folks in the south have developed a temporary vaccine for the virus, and they give Lennon a shot of it right away. The US government knows about the vaccine and tells Lennon he can leave if he gets out within 72 hours.

Unfortunately, Lennon arrives just in time for an attempted takeover and a power vacuum in the south. A much-needed shipment of supplies is being held up by the north, so Maisie Rojas, teen daughter of the former Lopez enforcer, decides to go with Lennon to the north. She’ll get him to the gate, and he’ll help her recover the shipment. Unfortunately, the new would-be-leader of the Lopez clan would rather just fight — and hold Lennon as a hostage. Not to mention that folks in the north aren’t exactly open to letting people walk through their territory.

What follows is a heart-racing adventure. This was a book that was hard to put down. When I almost had it finished while waiting at the doctor’s office, I absolutely had to take the book to work and finish on my lunch break. Yes, there’s plenty of violence, in a place that has a wild West vibe. There’s also a nuanced romance — though of course if all goes according to plan, they’ll never see each other again after Lennon escapes from the Q.

Now, mind you, I don’t actually believe the book’s premise is possible. In the age of jet travel, I find it hard to believe that you could ever confine a virus to one city. Somebody would have left the city long before they figured out the virus existed and exactly who had been exposed. But that’s just background, and once I glossed over my disbelief in that, I was completely invested in the situation Lennon and Maisie faced.

Based on the Acknowledgments at the back, the author started this book before the Covid-19 pandemic and never thought it would get published once that pandemic hit. I think reading it today does make the setting more believable — at least that the government would try such a solution, even if I don’t think it would actually work.

Some favorite moments: Finding out why Lennon got arrested three times in the past. Maisie learning to trust in her own abilities as a leader.

I read this book because it’s a Cybils Finalist for Young Adult Speculative Fiction. And I’m happy to say that the panel did a great job picking this book. Read it for a thrill ride that’s also full of sweet moments.

Buy from

Find this review on Sonderbooks at:

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Nominate These Books!

It’s Cybils Time!

Time to nominate books, that is!

The Cybils Awards are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, and once again I’m serving as a Panelist for Round One, this time for Young Adult Fiction and Speculative Fiction both. I’m going to need to do lots of reading through Christmas!

But now is the time that anyone can nominate books they’ve enjoyed this year. The books must have been published between October 16, 2019 and October 15, 2020. (I always feel sorry for October books. If they’re published before the 15th, nobody’s read them in time to nominate, so they mostly have to get nominated on faith. If they’re published after the 15th, people have forgotten about them by Cybils time next year.)

I’ve read 21 young adult books so far this year, but I’m really frustrated because only TWO of those have gotten nominated so far! (And one was nominated that I read in 2019.) And I only get one nomination in each category — Young Adult Fiction and Young Adult Speculative Fiction. Believe me, more than one of these books deserve consideration!

[I’ll try to update by putting brackets around books that get nominated.]

So let me urge you, dear reader, to nominate one of the following books, if you don’t already have a book you’ve read in each category that you want to nominate.

I’ll start with books I’ve read that definitely deserve consideration but haven’t been nominated yet as of this writing. (Links to my reviews if they’ve been posted.)

In Young Adult Speculative Fiction:
The Toll, by Neal Shusterman
[The Queen of Nothing, by Holly Black]
[Red Hood, by Elana K. Arnold]
Igniting Darkness, by Robin LaFevers
[Kind of a Big Deal, by Shannon Hale]

In Young Adult Fiction:
[Dangerous Alliance, by Jennieke Cohen]
Darius the Great Deserves Better, by Adib Khorram
The Hand on the Wall, by Maureen Johnson
We Used to Be Friends, by Amy Spalding
The Gravity of Us, by Phil Stamper

In Middle Grade Fiction:
Wink, by Rob Harrell
[A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, by Leslie Connor]
[Here in the Real World, by Sara Pennypacker]

In Elementary Nonfiction:
[The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity, by Amy Alznauer and Daniel Miyares]
Hello, Neighbor!, by Matthew Cordell
[Girl on a Motorcycle, by Amy Novesky and Julie Morstad]
Our Subway Baby, by Peter Mercurio and Leo Espinosa
Ruth Objects, by Doreen Rappaport and Eric Velasquez
Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children, by Jonah Winter and Nancy Carpenter

In High School Nonfiction:
In Search of Safety, by Susan Kuklin

In Fiction Picture Books:
Madame Badobedah, by Sophie Dahl and Lauren O’Hara
Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day, by Carmen Agra Deedy and Pete Oswald
In my Garden, by Charlotte Zolotow and Philip C. Stead
Bedtime Bonnet, by Nancy Redd and Nneka Myers
Sunny, by Celia Krampien
A New Green Day, by Antoinette Portis
I Can Be Anything, by Shinsuke Yoshitake
[The Blue House, by Phoebe Wahl]
Sun Flower Lion, by Kevin Henkes
Catch That Chicken!, by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank

In Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, I haven’t read these, but these good authors have eligible books out:
The Time of Green Magic, by Hilary McKay (not sure if it’s Speculative)
Homerooms and Hall Passes: Heroes Level Up, by Tom O’Connell
The Rider’s Reign, by Jessica Day George
Toto, by Michael Morpurgo

In Middle Grade Fiction, more eligible books by good authors:
Fly on the Wall, by Remy Lai
[Starting from Seneca Falls, by Karen Schwabach]

Next, here are some books that look intriguing and I’d love to have the excuse to read, so I hope they get nominated in my category!

In Young Adult Speculative Fiction:
[The Princess Will Save You, by Sarah Henning]
A Heart So Fierce and Broken, by Brigid Kemmerer
The Beast Warrior, by Nahoko Uehashi
Lost and Found, by Orson Scott Card
Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
The Empire of Dreams, by Rae Carson
My Calamity Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

In Young Adult Fiction:
A Cloud of Outrageous Blue, by Vesper Stamper
Illegal, by Francisco X. Stork
Again Again, by E. Lockhart
Suggested Reading, by Dave Connis
[The Bridge, by Bill Konigsberg]
How It All Blew Up, by Arvin Ahmadi
Where We Are, by Alison McGhee

Please do us all a favor and nominate some books! Thank you!

Don’t wait too long — nominations close October 15!

Cybils Finalists 2019!

Every year New Year’s Day is also Cybils Finalists Day, when the Finalists are announced for the various categories of the Cybils Awards, the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards.

This year, I was in California on New Year’s Day to attend my mother’s memorial service, so I’m not getting this posted until now. I served as a first-round panelist in the category of Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, and I’m very proud of our choices.

On Valentine’s Day, one winner in each category will be announced, but I especially like the lists of Finalists in each category. I like being a panelist, because it’s not all riding on one choice. Different people enjoy different books, and I like that we try to compose a strong list, with something for everyone.

In addition, I like the way the Cybils Awards have ten different categories, so this really is a place you can find good possibilities for any young reader.

It turns out I haven’t yet posted reviews for very many of our finalists. I didn’t want to while we were evaluating them, and it turned out only one of these choices I’d read before I joined the panel. But I will try to add links to my reviews once I post them.

These are our Finalists, and you can read more about them on the Cybils page:

We’re Not From Here, by Geoff Rodkey
Cog, by Greg van Eekhout
Homerooms and Hall Passes, by Tom O’Donnell
Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits, by Anna Meriano
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez
The Dark Lord Clementine, by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mballa

Stay tuned on Valentine’s Day to find out which one the second-round judges pick as the big winner!

And I have to add: a book I nominated got chosen by another panel!

A Is For Elizabeth, by Rachel Vail, is a Finalist in the Early Chapter Books category.

It’s Cybils Time!

I’m a Cybils panelist again this year!

The Cybils are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, and I’ve served as a panelist or judge several times before, but took a break when I was on the Newbery committee. Now I’m excited to take up the cause again.

Being on the Newbery committee was a once-in-a-lifetime peak experience. But there are some things I like better about being a Cybils panelist:

  • It only absorbs three months of your life.
  • It is much more targeted, with several different categories. This year I’m serving on the Elementary and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction panel, reading only science fiction and fantasy for children. This is a category I love, so I get to focus on my favorites.
  • The task is more defined, finite, and attainable. We know how many books are nominated and make sure that at least two people read every nominated book, enough to evaluate it. And we keep track. With the Newbery, so much is eligible, you’re always afraid that something wonderful might get missed.
  • It’s less top secret. I can still blog about the books I read. I still won’t tell you what the committee thinks, but I don’t have to stop reviewing books while serving.
  • Best of all, a Cybils first round panel does not have to choose only ONE book! We get to put forward a list of top books in our category. How I wish I could have done that with the Newbery! The hard part of that was all the wonderful books I read that could not receive awards. (Don’t get me wrong — I love our winner. But there were so many good books published last year! It’s so hard to limit the award as much as we need to.) With the Cybils first round, our goal is to make a list — and it makes me happy to get to recognize more books.
  • How will I get the reading done? I don’t know the answer to that yet.

    Last week I took an amazing trip with childhood friends to Prince Edward Island. So for the last several months, I have been rereading my L. M. Montgomery books in publication order. Today I finished up Rilla of Ingleside, so I finished the first thirteen, but have many more to go.

    But now it’s Cybils time! So here’s my plan:

    Cybils books through December.

    After we make our decision, I’m going to try to madly read books from the 10 to 14 reading group for Capitol Choices until it’s time to make that decision in January.

    Then I get to go back to L. M. Montgomery! I’m reading her books with a whole new visualization of the landscape of the stories. I’d never thought much before, for example, about the fact that you can see a sliver of the sea from Rainbow Valley!

    Oh, and the other important thing to note: It’s time to nominate books for the Cybils!

    Anyone can do this! Everyone can nominate one book in each category during October 1-15. If you’ve read any children’s books this year at all, please give me some great books to read and nominate for the Cybils!

    Books to Nominate for the Cybils!

    cybils-logo-2016-web-smNominations are open for the 2016 Cybils Awards until October 15!

    I’m a judge in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category this year, and I’ve already begun reading.

    You’re only allowed to nominate one book in each category, and I’ve already used up my nominations, so let me urge readers to nominate some of these books before time runs out on the 15th:

    First, one I’ve read and enjoyed tremendously is Love, Lies, and Spies, by Cindy Anstey. That would be for the Young Adult Fiction category.

    The rest of my suggestions are books in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category. They look intriguing. I haven’t read them, but I would like to — so please give me an excuse to do so by nominating them in my category!

    First, by two very good authors:
    Railhead, by Philip Reeve
    Lady’s Pursuit, by Hilari Bell

    Some others that look intriguing:
    Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard
    Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan
    Once Upon a Dream, by Liz Braswell
    The End of Fun, by Sean McGinty

    Happy Reading!

    It’s Cybils Time!


    I’m a first round Cybils judge!

    The Cybils are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. This year I’m serving as a first-round panelist in the category of Young Adult Speculative Fiction.

    What this means is that I’m going to need to do a LOT of reading in the next three months.

    More than 100 books will likely get nominated in my category, and we hope to have at least two panelists read each book. All panelists will read books that are serious contenders for the shortlist.

    So I need to read!

    (And I do love it when I get to say that! Instead of feeling guilty for taking time to read, I should feel guilty when I don’t!)

    The bad side is that I’m going to get even further behind on posting reviews. I currently have 66 reviews written that I haven’t posted yet. So I’m going to try to get about one per day posted most days — but that will not catch me up.

    And Sonderling Sunday is going to be a much more rare feature.

    So — if my posts get a little less frequent — It’s because I’m reading!

    And — this coming Thursday and Friday, I’m going to hold my own personal 48-Hour Book Challenge!

    By something of a fluke, I have those days off. So I’m going to brush off the spreadsheets I used for Mother Reader‘s past years’ 48-Hour Book Challenges and use her rules.

    The point is to see how many hours out of a chosen consecutive 48 hours I can spend reading. I’m allowed one audiobook, and can count hours spent reviewing or posting my reviews. And I’m allowed to spend time networking — posting about my challenge. I’m going to see if I can hit a personal best. Can I top 30 hours and 30 minutes? (Do I even want to?) For that matter, can I pass 18 hours spent reading? (I might want to go easier on the non-reading activities.)

    So — I’m going to get behind on posting reviews, but it will be worth it!

    And you can participate! Anyone who has read a good children’s or young adult book published between October 16, 2015 and October 15, 2016 — nominate it for a Cybils Award!

    Give me more great books to read!

    2015 Cybils Finalists!

    Happy New Year!

    It’s January 1st, and that’s the day the Cybils Award Finalists are announced!


    Not everyone’s aware of the Cybils Awards — one of the best awards out there for recommending books to children and teens. Cybils stands for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. The books are judged by book bloggers (such as me!) and the process happens in two phases: On January first, Finalists are announced in eleven categories. On February 14th, one winner will be announced from each category.

    But I persist in thinking that the real power of the Cybils is in the lists!

    Here’s why the Cybils are so fantastic for librarians and other people who recommend children’s books:

    They’re chosen for literary quality and kid appeal. There’s some question in the Children’s Book world whether the most famous literary awards are actually books children like. Cybils judges are charged to take that into account.

    There are eleven categories! Something for everyone, even Book Apps! Besides that, they’ve got Fiction Picture Books, Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books, Poetry, Graphic Novels, and Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Speculative Fiction for both Elementary/Middle Grade and Young Adult.

    Each list is chosen to include variety and diversity. This partly comes simply from having a panel of judges, but those judges do a good job representing their category well. You’ll normally find ethnic diversity represented, but also books with male and female protagonists and simply books that appeal to a wide variety of readers.

    This year, I served on the Fiction Picture Books panel. Later on today, I’ll be posting my Sonderbooks Stand-outs for 2015. You will notice that the two lists don’t completely overlap. Some of the books we chose aren’t my personal favorites. However, I stand by our list, and I’m proud of it! These are high quality books, and I do recommend all the books our panel chose. They are truly wonderful. (For some, I had to have my eyes opened to their wonder by the other panel members.)

    And now to take a look at the other categories!

    My usual category is Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction. I haven’t read any of their choices this year, so I need to get busy reading!

    Yay! A Finalist I read and loved! Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers, is on the Young Adult Speculative Fiction list. It was my #1 Teen Fiction Sonderbooks Stand-out for 2014. (The Cybils run from mid-October to mid-October publication dates.)

    Another book I’ve reviewed, Ling and Ting: Twice as Silly, is an Easy Reader and Early Chapter Books Finalist.

    Two books I’ve reviewed are on the Elementary/Middle-Grade Non-Fiction List: I, Fly and One Plastic Bag.

    On the Graphic Novels list, I have almost all the books checked out, intending to read. This will increase my resolve! I have read and written a review of The Marvels, by Brian Selznick, but it’s not posted yet.

    From the Poetry List, Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold was a Sonderbooks Stand-out last year.

    The other categories don’t have books I’ve read, but definitely have books I’m intending to read: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Young Adult Non-Fiction. (Okay, with that last list I am halfway through Symphony for the City of the Dead. It is excellent.)

    And I don’t usually try these out, but I like that the Cybils makes me aware of good ones: Book Apps.

    Now if you want some great ideas of things to read in the New Year, you know where to look!

    Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

    Review of The Luck Uglies, by Paul Durham

    luck_uglies_largeThe Luck Uglies

    by Paul Durham

    Harper, 2014. 387 pages.
    2014 Cybils Finalist, Speculative Fiction for Elementary/Middle Grade

    We never do find out why the Luck Uglies are called the Luck Uglies. But they are not monsters. They are mask-wearing outlaws who have been banned from Village Drowning by the Earl.

    Rye and her friends Folly and Quinn live in Village Drowning and begin the story by accidentally stealing a book and running over the rooftops to escape pursuit.

    The Earl who oversaw the affairs of Drowning had not only banned women and girls from reading, but went so far as to outlaw certain books altogether. None was more illicit than the book Rye now pressed close to her body, Tam’s Tome of Drowning Mouth Fibs, Volume II — an obscure history textbook that was widely ignored until the Earl described it as a vile collection of scandalous accusations, dangerous untruths, and outright lies. Even an eleven-year-old could figure out that meant there must be some serious truth to it.

    There are, in fact, monsters in this book — the terrifying Bog Noblins who live outside Village Drowning in the forest Beyond the Shale. Rye herself has a close encounter with one. But someone rescues her. When she wakes up in her home, she’s worried about the village.

    “Mama,” Rye said, pushing her mother’s hand away from her face. “We need to tell the soldiers. Before it, it . . .” Rye shuddered. “Comes back.”

    “Darling, quiet now.” Abby eased her back down. Your close call is something best kept to ourselves. Bog Noblin attacks attract attention. The Constable — and the Earl — would be eager to speak with you. That’s not the type of attention we want.”

    Rye didn’t understand.

    “But what about the rest of the village?” she said.

    “Riley,” her mother said. “Listen to me carefully. I’ll make sure the right people know what happened. But at the moment, you need to rest. Your encounter in the bog was not the only trouble that befell you on the Black Moon. You were poisoned.”

    Rye and her friends end up in the thick of danger from monsters, in a village with corrupt leadership. They need the Luck Uglies, but can the Luck Uglies outwit the Earl’s army? It turns out they will need Rye’s help.

    This book does have monsters, but it comes across as a gentle fantasy adventure in the style of Robin Hood. With girls in the thick of the action.

    Buy from

    Find this review on Sonderbooks at:

    Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

    Source: This review is based on a library book from Loudoun County Public Library.

    Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

    Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

    Review of The Swallow, by Charis Cotter

    swallow_largeThe Swallow

    A Ghost Story

    by Charis Cotter

    Tundra Books, 2014. 318 pages.
    Starred Review
    2014 Cybils Finalist, Speculative Fiction for Elementary and Middle Grades
    2014 Sonderbooks Stand-out, #11 Children’s Fiction

    I don’t think of myself as liking ghost stories, but this didn’t feel like a typical ghost story to me. This is a cozy friendship story and a girl-in-a-big-family-finding-a-friend story.

    Sections in this book alternate between the voices of Polly and Rose. Their houses are next door to one another, and it turns out that their attics adjoin. The houses overlook the cemetery.

    Rose has always been able to see ghosts, and she hates it. Polly has always wanted to see a ghost, and she isn’t sure that Rose isn’t one herself. She’s so pale and otherworldly.

    Polly says:

    I’ve always wanted to see a ghost. More than anything. I keep watch at my window for hours, I go for walks in the cemetery almost every day after school and I read all the ghost books I can find at the Parliament Street Library.

    Rose says:

    I never want to see a ghost again. I’m sick of it. Ladies all in white who follow me down the street, sad men in suits who sit at the back of the bus, children in nightgowns floating out hospital windows – I wish they would all disappear.

    Rose hasn’t seen any ghosts, for some reason, since her hospital stay a few months ago. But then, when she hears Polly through the wall of her attic, she thinks they’re back. Polly, after hearing Rose’s voice, thinks she’s finally met a ghost.

    Rose says,

    I felt sick to my stomach. I was not used to invisible ghosts. And I certainly was not used to ghosts that talked so much. Especially out loud.

    My heart sank. I hadn’t seen one ghost since I’d got home from the hospital, and I had really hoped they were gone forever. And now here was a ghost, right in my attic, in my own special nest. Where one came, the rest would follow, and I just knew I’d go stark raving mad if I couldn’t keep them away from me.

    “Tell me,” said the ghost, “did you die a horrible death? Are you doomed to wander the ghostly regions between the land of the living and the life beyond?”

    “Stop playing games,” I said. “You know I’m not a ghost. You’re the ghost, and you’re pretending to think I’m a ghost to drive me crazy. It isn’t going to work. Go away. All I want to do is sit in my attic and read my books and sing my songs in peace. Is that too much to ask?”

    “Do ghosts read?” asked the ghost. “That’s very interesting. Do you have to turn the pages or can you sort of absorb the story by holding the book and pulling the words into your head?”

    “I – am – not – a – ghost!” I said slowly and firmly. “Ghosts don’t read! They’re ethereal. They haunt people. They follow them down the street, they watch them when they’re doing their homework, they lurk behind gravestones, they hide in people’s attics –“

    “For someone who says they’re not a ghost, you seem to know an awful lot about them,” said the ghost.

    I opened my mouth but no words came out. This was the most infuriating ghost I had ever met.

    I love the part – in the next chapter – where they figure out what’s actually going on. Rose had gotten frustrated and shouted out, “MY NAME IS ROSE MCPHERSON AND I LIVE AT 43 CEMETERY LANE AND I AM TWELVE YEARS OLD AND I AM NOT DEAD!”

    She continues:

    It felt good to lose my temper. I made a lot of noise, but the ghost didn’t seem at all put out.

    “Wait. Where did you say you live?” she asked calmly.

    “43 CEMETERY LANE!” I repeated.


    “Hit the wall again,” suggested the ghost.


    “Umm . . . Ghost?” she said.

    “My name is Rose!”

    “Ummm . . . Rose?” she said.


    “I live at 41 Cemetery Lane. Next door.”

    It took me a minute to figure it out. “You mean you’re in your own attic? On the other side of the wall?”

    “Yes,” replied the ghost. “I guess you’re not a ghost after all.” She sounded disappointed.

    “But why is it I can hear you so clearly?” I asked. “As if you were right here beside me?”

    “I am right here beside you,” she said, starting to tap against the wall. “This wall must be really thin, not like the brick wall downstairs.”

    “That must be it,” I said. A great feeling of relief swept over me and I spoke without thinking. “So you’re not a ghost either. You must be one of the dreadful Lacey children who live next door.”

    “Who says we’re dreadful?” asked the girl.

    Oops. “Um – my mother.”

    “Oh,” said the girl. “Well – she’s right. We are.”

    The girls agree to meet in the cemetery – and then find a grave with Rose’s name on it. Rose is convinced she’s not a ghost, but who is Winnifred Rose McPherson, who died at twelve years old, 40 years earlier?

    The girls build a friendship. They research this other ghost. And then they find a way to go secretly into each other’s attics. But Rose’s home does have a ghost – and she’s angry, and doesn’t seem to want Polly to go into her attic.

    This book is indeed a ghost story – but it’s also a friendship story, and a story that warmed my heart, despite the ghostly chill.

    Buy from

    Find this review on Sonderbooks at:

    Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

    Source: This review is based on a book sent to me by the publisher to evaluate for the Cybils Awards.

    Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

    Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

    Happy Cybils Day!

    Yes, February 14 is a very important holiday! It’s Cybils Day! The day the Cybils winners are announced! (That must be why the library was empty tonight, right?)

    I served on a Round One Panel for Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I have to say that I was very happy about the winner the Round Two Judges picked: The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen.

    There were a total of four winners that I’ve read before and loved. (I won’t talk about the ones I read and didn’t love, but most are going on my TBR list.) Those read-and-reviewed books were:

    Seraphina in Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction

    Wonder in Middle Grade Fiction

    Bomb in Nonfiction for Tweens and Teens

    I realized I never did highlight the Cybils Finalists I’ve already reviewed. Of course, the most are in Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction:

    Beswitched, by Kate Saunders
    Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung
    The Cabinet of Earths, by Anne Nesbet
    The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde
    The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

    There weren’t as many in Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction, but, besides Seraphina, I have read these:

    The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi
    Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst

    I had three in Easy Readers:

    Bink and Gollie: Two for One, by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Facile
    Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes
    Penny and Her Doll, by Kevin Henkes

    Two more (besides Wonder) in Middle Grade Fiction:

    Liar and Spy, by Rebecca Stead
    The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine

    Three more (besides Bomb) in Nonfiction for Tweens and Teens:

    Moonbird, by Phillip Hoose
    Temple Grandin, by Sy Montgomery
    Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson

    One in Nonfiction Picture Books:

    Balloons Over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet

    One in Young Adult Graphic Novels:

    Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

    And one in Young Adult Fiction:

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

    There you have it! It was a good year for books for children and young adults! And trust me, the other Finalists and Winners are going straight onto my TBR lists. I have to say about the Cybils, those lists are a wonderful place to look for Readers’ Advisory, since they have quality books with kid appeal in so many different categories.