Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part I

I’m a pretty critical reader. I guess that’s because I read a lot of things, so inevitably I start to feel a little jaded. But when a special book crosses my path, one that jolts me out of my stupor with its originality or voice or what have you, I get very excited.

For this reason, I love Goodreads. Not only can I keep track of what I’ve read, but I can organize books based on how I rated them. And at the tippy-top of the list is my handful of five star picks, the books that I think are just plain extraordinary.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen; Candlewick Press; 15.99; Ages 3-adult

Opening line: “This hat is not mine. I just stole it.”

For fans of: I Want My Hat BackI’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Also, it’s this year’s Caldecott medalist.

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illus. by Adam RexHyperion (HarperCollins); 16.99; Ages 3-8

Opening line: “This is me, Mac. I’m the author of this book.”

For fans of: The Three PigsOh, No!: or How My Science Project Destroyed the World

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. ValenteSquare Fish (Macmillan); 6.99; Ages 9-adult

Opening line: “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.”

For fans of: The Chronicles of NarniaAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Breadcrumbs by Anne UrsuHarperCollins; 6.99; Ages 9-adult

Opening line: “It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems.”

For fans of: Peter PanLiesl and Po

Okay for Now by Gary SchmidtClarion (Houghton Mifflin); 16.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York Yankees baseball cap. I’m not lying. He gave it to me. To me, Doug Swieteck. To me.”

For fans of: The Wednesday WarsAl Capone Does My Shirts

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy SchlitzCandlewick Press; 17.99; Ages 10-adult

Opening line: “The witch burned. She tossed in a sea of blankets, dizzy with heat. It was fever, not fire, that tormented her, fever and the nightmares that came with it.”

For fans of: Charles DickensCatherine, Called Birdy

And it’s a 2013 Newbery Honor Book!

Want to read more from any of these awesome titles? Call us and we’ll put them on hold! (703) 548-4092.

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Yes, as you might have guessed, this story takes place in Neverland. Yes, we meet Peter Pan and Wendy and Captain Hook. But if you’re expecting the sugary cartoon escapades of the Disney film, or even the dark magic of J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan and Wendy, you’re in the wrong place. This is something else entirely, something new and a little surprising.

Tiger Lily has never quite fit in with her tribe. Adopted by the shaman, Tiger Lily has been raised in the tiny village but never truly accepted. Still, she abides by the rules: never wander off, never oppose the pirates, and avoid the Lost Boys at all costs. Everyone on the island knows their place, and so Neverland stays in a sort of uncomfortable balance. But when Tiger Lily saves a strange Englishman from shipwreck, she finds herself slowly but surely challenging the status quo. And when she meets the mysterious, impish Peter Pan, her entire world is flipped upside down. In the end, a terrible choice must be made: leave and grow up with Peter, or stay in the home she has always known.

Here’s the thing about this book: it doesn’t care about expectations. It’s not restricted by preconceived notions of who Peter Pan is and where he comes from, or even what becomes of him in the end. It’s not a slave to Barrie’s plot or characters. It is not, most certainly, a retelling of the original.

DC-based author Jodi Lynn Anderson  gives a voice to a character that is usually left silent, and it’s the sort of unique, multi-faceted voice that keeps you interested and engaged. This is a great read for teens who have fond memories of their own Neverland games, or who perhaps are swept up in the many current stage/film/TV spinoffs of Pan’s tale.

Also, can we gaze at the cover for a brief moment? It looks like a flower (a tiger lily, even?), but look closer. It’s a leaping girl in a dress! Surprise! I usually dislike the “girl in prom dress” covers so prevalent in the YA section, but this one’s creative. I give it a thumbs up.

Read on, readers!

Megan

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson; HarperTeen; 17.99; Ages 12+