books 2015: Dragonbreath (#1), by Ursula Vernon

A fun adventurous graphic novel for kids involving mythical creatures, talking reptiles, lectures from dad, and disgusting school lunches. F picked this up for our daughter, thinking to put it away for a few years, but she discovered it, and after reading the first 50 pages aloud three or four times, I wanted to (1) hide it so I wouldn't have to read it again until she's big enough for it, and (2) read the end myself.

books 2015: Twin Spica, Vol. 12, by Kou Yaginuma

A lovely and bittersweet ending to this great series. The time these kids had together in school was a special and intense era in their lives and now it's come to an end; Yaginuma's portrayal really resonated with how I felt when I graduated college. And of course we get to see one of the astronaut students achieve their dream of going to space, but Yaginuma makes the decision to portray most of the events leading up to the launch from the perspective of the other characters who weren't chosen to go, making it really poignant as they struggle with the fact that their own dreams haven't come true while supporting their friend. And Yaginuma shows each character finding and following new dreams. He really does a good job of closing this out with meaning. I absolutely loved this series.

books 2015: Twin Spica, Vol. 11, by Kou Yaginuma

This was the strongest book in the entire series. Really brought together and deepened the characters and pushed the plot forward. I just kept turning pages. Excellent.

books 2015: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

I really enjoyed this quick fantasy read. However, reading the prologue/first chapter of Cashore's second book - basically the beginning of King Leck's origin story - at the back of this book upset me really deeply and kind of ruined it for me. Read more...Collapse ) Despite the fact that I really enjoyed the first book, I don't know if I'll go on to read more in this series, first because for personal reasons I don't want to read more about a child who does the things that the child Leck does; more importantly, I don't know that I want to spend time in a series with such a one-dimensional villain, especially since it's clear he remains the villain even into the third book.

books 2015: Twin Spica, Vol. 10, by Kou Yaginuma

Some shocking moments in this volume. I really enjoyed the character development on Fuchiya, though.

books 2015: Twin Spica, Vol. 9, by Kou Yaginuma

This was a solid installment. I found the introduction of the journalists to be a little confusing - it had been a while since I read the previous volume, so I couldn't remember if I was supposed to know this guy or not. The adult male characters all tend to look a little alike to me (similar heights/builds combined with the b/w art style).

Books 2015: Shiva's Fire, by Suzanne Fisher Staples

This wasn't what I was hoping. The main character is a sweet perfect Mary Sue type, which I could deal with if the plot didn't have so many dangling threads. Maybe I'm looking for more complexity than is needed in a YA novel, but the whole Nalini section and the bit with Rama's powers seemed like they were going to go somewhere and didn't. Even her mom, that thread seemed to fall flat after Parvati saw that her family was doing well. Also, why was Rama jumping to a marriage proposal when this is obviously a modern India and they're like 14? Come on, guys, yu don't have to decide anything now. While I did love reading a story in this setting with this mythology, I found it frustrating. Younger readers might enjoy it.
Got this for Christmas and read it on Christmas day. It was fun, and the art was great. I was just a little sad that, in a boy/girl sibling pair, it's the girl who gets lured into danger and has to be rescued. I wanted a page where she's brandishing a sword and fighting off a zombie. But overall, fun.

books 2014: Rules of Summer, by Shaun Tan

Graphic novel. The art was beautiful and evocative of summer as a kid.

books 2014: Cecil the Pet Glacier, by Matthea Harvey

Read in fall 2014: This book tried just a little too hard to be quirky, but overall I loved this. Really sweet children's book, recommended.