I am a Books for Youth reviewer for Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, which means I have the privilege of reading 60 to 70 books a year for early, middle grade, young adult, and new adult readers before they’re published. Whatever the magazine sends me, I read and review. I have the privilege of reading debut novels, works from authors just a few books old, and books from established authors. The fact that I am able to read so many of them before they’re published continues to tickle my literary bones because there’s such excitement in this world of books.
There’s always another book to read, and I’m happy to say that there have been very few that I’ve rejected (yes, I can do that because the magazine recommends books to “librarians, book groups and book lovers” rather than flood them with “don’t-waste-your-time” reviews).
In 2017, I went on hiatus from Booklist for a bit, which cut down the number of books I reviewed. Still, my involvement with Booklist yielded only two rejected books and approximately forty published reviews. I read many good books and gave starred reviews to eight of them. I also reviewed a young adult/new adult novel for my long-time home, India Currents Magazine, that was tearing up the charts.
However, this is not about me; it’s about the books, and I want to share those “Best of 2017” starred reviews with you. I’m not including books I read for pleasure and didn’t review, but believe me, I also read many kidlit books that received deserving stars from other reviewers.
Please note that the order in which I list them is by publication date of the review. Enjoy and happy reading! [Read More]