Celebrating 20 Years of Sonderbooks: Favorites from 2015

This month I’m celebrating 20 years of writing Sonderbooks!

I decided to borrow from another blog celebrating ten years and do 20 posts, each highlighting stand-outs from a year of reading. Today, I’ll look at books I read in 2015 and still remember fondly. And as I look at the page, I see some really good ones.

For Grown-Ups

Dreamer’s Pool and Tower of Thorns, by Juliet Marillier

The beginning of a wonderful new fantasy series by Juliet Marillier, with some in-depth looks at healing from abuse.

The Martian, by Andy Weir

An amazingly realistic book about an astronaut left behind on Mars and how he survives.

The Coincidence of Chocolate Cake, by Amy E. Reichert

A delightful romance where the couple truly knows and values one another.

The Thrilling Adventures of Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer, by Sydney Padua

A graphic novel about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage actually building the Analytical Engine and programming it.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

A psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns. It’s all about what a girl sees from the train.

Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother’s Life with a Daughter’s Anorexia, by Clare B. Dunkle

An author tells what it’s like to try to help her daughter in a struggle with anorexia.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, has the gift of making you laugh uproariously at indeed horrible things, such as mental illness and medical insurance fiascos.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, by Rachel Held Evans

A lovely book about why people are disillusioned with church, but especially about what the church should look like to truly represent Christ to the world.

Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy, by Ken Page

A lovely book about dating that takes the approach of finding and appreciating your own core strengths and the things that give you joy rather than trying to change yourself. I’m going to enjoy rereading this now that I’m finally dating someone.

Did God Kill Jesus? Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution, by Tony Jones

This is the book that showed me that the way I’ve been taught since childhood to look at Jesus’ death isn’t even the majority view in the church. The book lays out different historical views along with scriptural support for each one.

For Teens

Rook, by Sharon Cameron

Another science fiction retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel! As far as I’m concerned, there can never be enough.

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim and Prairie Fire, by E. K. Johnston

Dragons, dragon slayers, and bards in modern day Canada. Plus a beautiful portrayal of friendship.

For Children

The Hollow Boy, by Jonathan Stroud

The adventures of Lockwood & Co, an ghost-hunting agency run by children, continue in alternate-reality England — with ghosts.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones

A girl’s family inherits a farm and they’re learning to run it — when she discovers they own chickens with magical powers. Good silly fun.

Really Big Numbers, by Richard Evan Schwartz

Mind-bending ideas about the biggest numbers you can possibly imagine — and how to go even bigger.

Madame Martine, by Sarah S. Brannen

A picture book about a woman who lives in Paris and never visits the Eiffel Tower — until a little dog intervenes. This book made me decide to go out and visit tourist sites in Washington, DC, close to where I live. (This was a good plan until the pandemic hit.)

Troll and the Oliver, by Adam Stower

This is one of my favorite books to read for storytime. I try to make them jump when Troll comes out. Don’t worry — it’s got a happy ending.

Meet the Dullards, by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

The parents in the Dullard family try to protect their kids from excitement, but there’s a rebel in their midst. Good silly fun.

Be sure to check out the other 2015 Sonderbooks Stand-outs! If you missed any of these, better late than never!


  1. So many books I also love here – the Martian, the Thrilling Adventures of Babbage and Lovelace, the Story of Owen, the Hollow Boy, and Unusual Chickens! Thank you for the look back and congratulations on 20 years!

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