Five Favorite Reads from 2013

I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I didn't read that many books in 2013. According to my "Books I've Read 2013" Pinterest board, I made it through 19. I'm definitely resolving to read more this year - especially now that I'm serving on the All Iowa Reads Committee! In the meantime, here are five reads that I really enjoyed this past year (in no particular order):

1. Reality Boy by A.S. King

I snatched an advanced copy of this book at ALA basically because of the cover. I knew nothing of the story, but I thought the cover art was pretty cool. About an emotionally scarred teenager, who once was a child reality TV star, coming to terms with his past, the story engaged me even more.

I picked up Better Nate than Ever off the return cart at my library and immediately knew that my husband would enjoy it...because his name is Nate! So I checked it out, and after the book sat on the coffee table untouched through two renewals, I read it myself. What a story! Thirteen year old, show tunes obsessed Nate absconds to New York to try out for the musical version of E.T. I was thrilled, too, to see that Tim Federle would be at ALA, and that I would get a chance to pick up an advanced copy of the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! - just as great!

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I actually read all three of Rainbow's books this year, and I've pretty much permanently added her to my list of favorite authors of all time. Eleanor & Park is a touching story about the relationship between an unconventional girl in a bad situation and the boy she sits by on the school bus and with whom she finds an escape.

4. In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Another ALA grab, In the After is a thrilling post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel deserving a position among The Hunger Games and Divergent. The central character, Amy, is left to fend for herself after "They" - blood thirsty hunters - overtake the Earth's population. I actually got to meet Demitria, serving on "Team Twinkie" with her in a young adult trivia game at a new author session at the conference. She's pretty awesome!

5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

A finalist for the 2014 All Iowa Reads selection, The Snow Child was my personal favorite from the list of books the committee read. New to Alaska homesteading, childless Jack and Mabel struggle with the isolation of the wilderness and the work of the farm. After the first snowfall, a mysterious child comes to them from the wilderness, brightens their lives and they come to love her as their own daughter.