Here's the first set of picks from independent bookseller, and new my3books contributor, Angela Sherrill. Angela is the children's book buyer at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park, and one of the most discerning readers of YA and teen fiction I've met. The tall bookshelf above her desk looms with a literal wall of soon-to-be-published ARCs. All of the shelves at 57th Street Books are liberally garnished with shelf talkers by Angela and her fellow booksellers, but what leaps to the eye in the YA section are all the reviews written by young customers who've been recruited to read and comment on books new and old.
Join me in welcoming Angela to the chorus of bookseller voices on my3books.
The classic reference: A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeline L’Engle
Square Fish | 9780312367541| $6.99 | 1962
Enough has been written on L’Engle’s beloved, honored, and banned work that I’m sure my contribution to this pulsating dialogue of essays, opinions and debate is neither new nor noteworthy.
I can attest that teens, when not distracted by glitzy book jackets, are still finding L’Engle’s work valuable. 57th Street Books' Teen Critic Jennifer G., upon reviewing the 2008 publication of Joys of Love wrote, “... like all of Ms. L’Engle’s other books, [Joys of Love] is incredible.” Agreed.
The debut novel: First Light
by Rebecca Stead
Yearling Books | 9780440422228 | $6.99 |2008
I read this book after discovering Stead’s upcoming book [see below] and had to go back for more. This book is now my “go to” recommendation for fans of The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau. Solid and engaging in its own right, I can’t stop comparing the two underground worlds and the survival dilemmas they present. The glacial setting and ingenuity of the young female protagonist in First Light also reminds me of the chills and suspense I felt when reading Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. This book as delightfully made it’s way onto the 2010 Caudill nomination list, which means we’ll soon have the opinions of young readers!
The buzz book: When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House | 9780385737425 | $15.99 | July 2009
As a wonderfully intriguing story of the life and times of a 6th grade girl unfolds, mysterious time travel elements unravel in an intricate and beautifully threaded plot. Relationship complexities beyond what is normally expected in children’s literature bring immense wisdom to this most engaging and thoughtful story. To top it off, Stead's superbly careful writing makes this one you'll want to share with every reader you know.
Miranda, our young guide in Stead’s fascinating story, is gently obsessed with A Wrinkle in Time. I expect When You Reach Me to be loved and honored (but hopefully not banned), just as its classic reference, because it is truly an incredible book.
If you’re still not convinced this one’s a winner, check out Elizabeth Bird’s School Library Journal review.
In short, my expectations for this one are high. It’s sure to be one of best books of the year and I can’t wait for it to hit my display table in July. I won’t be holding my breath to see how it does on it’s own, I’ll be sending it out the door in the hands of customers 11 & up. I’ll especially be looking out for mothers musing about fond memories of A Wrinkle In Time, young boys lauding the genius of Louis Sachar’s Holes and all appreciators of Ingrid Law’s Savvy.
Angela K Sherrill
57th Street Books, Chicago