I picked up these lovely ARCs at BEA and was lucky enough to have them signed. I took them both with me on my vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina next weekend. Okay, okay, I finished The Diviners on my way down there. But Liar & Spy made for some excellent, light, middle grade beach reading.
I'd never read anything by Libba Bray before, which is a little hard to believe since I work in the YA world. I definitely plan to read more of her work, especially since I've been told The Diviners is a much different type of story from her usual. However, I loved this. It was a little long and drawn out in parts, but for the most part incredibly intriguing and very unique. I was very impressed with her ability to write convincingly about life for young adults in 1920's New York City, and even more impressed that she seamlessly combined that with a powerful supernatural tale. Did I mention this book was scary? It was creepy as all hell. And trust me, Hell there was--a convincing depiction of the closest I can imagine to Hell on earth.
Admittedly, a little part of me wishes that this wasn't a series. It's not that I didn't love it, or that I won't read the next book--it's that I will. And this is no small novel, folks, it's a BIG book. Almost 600 pages. I read fast, I read a lot, but if each book in the series is this large, that's a big chunk of my life to devote to one series. Not a bad gripe, though, right?
Can't wait to see this as a hardcover when it comes out. In case you didn't know, eyes really freak me out. But I still found this cover fascinating.
Then there was this touching, light-hearted little book by Newbery winner Rebecca Stead. I don't read a ton of middle grade--it's just not my preference, but when I do, this is what I want: the sorts of books that are reminiscent of Ramona Quimby: Age 8. This book was cute, funny, and realistic. At times, it was so real that it was even slightly sad, but at the end, the book was overwhelmingly...well, heartwarming.
Plus, the biggest bonus of this book, is that it actually hit the age it's aimed for right on the mark. I'd definitely hand this book to a nine year old (or a ten or eleven year old), and despite it being less than 200 pages, I wouldn't feel as if I were handing them anything dumbed down.
Oh yeah, and the vacation rocked, too. I only got a litttttle sunburned in my distraction with these wonderful books. ;)