January 2018 Starred Reviews

TW: miscarriage

2018 has been quite the year so far. Both of my in-laws have had some health issues (mother-in-law battling multiple myeloma, currently quite successfully; father-in-law with a broken leg from a slip while shoveling snow), but are recovering. My husband started a new job for the first time in over 10 years in mid-January. I was scheduled to have minor knee surgery in early January when I learned I was pregnant and had to delay the surgery. Two weeks later at eight weeks along, I miscarried.  I’m sad, but physically fine. People don’t talk about miscarriages a lot and they are unbelievably common so if this is something you have struggled with, know that you are not alone. I had my knee surgery this past Tuesday and am recovering well. All these things have taken time from what would be my normal blogging routine, but I’m back working on it during my recovery!

So enough about me, let’s talk about some books! Some 2017 titles have gained a few more stars that are noted in the spreadsheet. Keep in mind I don’t have the February information in yet, so this is still behind.

January 2018 stars tally:

  • 249 books published in 2018 have been awarded 357 starred reviews as of the end of January.  2 books have 5 starred reviews, 6 books have 4 starred reviews, 18 books have 3 starred reviews, 46 books have 2 starred reviews, 177 books have 1 starred review.

5 starred reviews: 2 books – The Girl Who Drew Butterflies and The Hazel Wood both move up from 4 stars

the girl who drew butterflies book coverthe hazel wood book cover

4 starred reviews: 6 books – 3 moved up from three stars: Baby Monkey, Private Eye; Martin Rising; Thunderhead; 3 are brand new to the three star plus list: Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art GalleryChasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin and The Journey of Little Charlie

baby monkey private eye book covermartin rising book coverthunderhead book cover

3 starred reviews:  18 books –  8 new titles: After the Shot DropsThe Apocalypse of Elena MendozaGrace for GusIvy Aberdeen’s Letter to the WorldLoveThe Night DiaryPetra; and The Prince and the Dressmaker

betty before x book coverthe cruel prince book coverfacing frederick book coverthe great dictionary caper book coverI walk with Vanessa book covera lady has the floor book covera land of permanent goodbyes book coverlibba: the magnificent life of elizabeth cotten book coverlove hate and other filters book coverthe truth as told by mason buttle book cover

5 starred reviews (2 titles):
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science. Joyce Sidman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544717138. B, K, PW, SLJ.
The Hazel Wood. Melissa Albert, illus. Jim Tierney. Macmillan/Flatiron. 9781250147905. B, K, PW, SLJ.

4 starred reviews (6 titles):
Baby Monkey, Private Eye. Brian Selznick and David Serlin, illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338180619. B, K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery. Sandra Neil Wallace, illus. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781481443876. B, K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin. James L. Swanson. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545723336. B, K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* The Journey of Little Charlie. Christopher Paul Curtis. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545156660. BCCB, K, PW, SLJ.
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King. Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545702539. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Thunderhead. Neal Shusterman. Simon & Schuster. 9781442472457. B, K, PW, SLJ.

3 starred reviews (18 titles):
*NEW* After the Shot Drops. Randy Ribay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9781328702272. K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza. Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. 9781481498548. B, PW, SLJ.
Betty Before X. Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374306106. K, PW, SLJ.
The Cruel Prince. Holly Black. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316310277. B, PW, SLJ.
Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man. Tonya Bolden. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419725463. B, K, SLJ.
*NEW* Grace for Gus. Harry Bliss. Harpercollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062644107. HB, K, PW.
The Great Dictionary Caper. Judy Sierra, illus. by Eric Comstock. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781481480048. B, K, PW.
I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness. Kerascoët. Penguin Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9781524769550. K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World. Ashley Herring Blake. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316515467. K, PW, SLJ.
A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights. Kate Hannigan, illus. by Alison Jay. Boyds Mill/Calkins Creek. 9781629794532. B, K, PW.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes. Atia Abawi. Penguin Random House/Philomel. 9780399546839. K, PW, SLJ.
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten. Laura Veirs, illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Chronicle. 9781452148571. K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Love. Matt de la Peña, illus. by Loren Long. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 9781524740917. K, PW, SLJ.
Love, Hate, and Other Filters. Samira Ahmed. Soho/Soho Teen. 9781616958473. B, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* The Night Diary. Veera Hiranandani. Penguin Random House/Dial. 9780735228511. K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Petra. Marianna Coppo. Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra. 9780735262676. B, K, PW.
*NEW* The Prince and the Dressmaker. Jen Wang. Macmillan/First Second. 9781626723634. B, PW, SLJ.
The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle. Leslie Connor. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062491435. K, PW, SLJ.

For information on titles with one or two starred reviews, please see the spreadsheet.

Since my last post, I’ve read Truly Devious which was a lot of fun, but I don’t know that I see literary awards in its future. Right now, I’ve had to take a break from reading 2018 titles because I’m a judge for the Illinois Library Association’s Young Adult Services Forum’s Tournament of Books (that’s a heck of a mouthful, isn’t it?).  I just finished Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and whoa was that intense – an excellent psychological puzzle of a book. I will be choosing between it and Spinning by Tillie Walden in the next few days.

Now, I’m typically not a big fan of reading challenges – my TBR list is so long to begin with that I don’t really want to have to try and shoehorn my books into certain artificial categories. However – YALSA’s the Hub is doing their Reading Challenge again this year and a bunch of the books listed were already on my TBR list, so I think I’m going to give it a shot. I don’t know that I’ll manage 25 books by the end of June, but I’ll do what I can. I’ll be tracking on my Goodreads account (which I FINALLY have up to date – woot woot!) and on Litsy (Bkwrm7) using the challenge hashtag: #hubchallenge.

Finally, as a treat for having surgery, I splurged on Barnes and Noble’s 3 for $30 YA sale, so I am pretty excited that I have the following titles to read (hopefully in the near future): American Panda; Down and Across; Thunderhead (after having to return both the physical copy and the ecopy to my library for holds, buying my own seemed like the way to go!); Tempests and Slaughter; We Are Okay; and The Belles.

So all in all that’s a heck of a to-read list to occupy me for quite awhile! Hopefully while I’m home continuing to recover from my knee surgery, I’ll have time to get a few more posts up as well. Coming up soon, I hope: February starred reviews, Newbery and Printz roundups of things to look for in the coming year, and a post on the YMAs.

What are you all reading (or excited to read once it comes out) of the 2018 books?

Happy reading!


3 thoughts on “January 2018 Starred Reviews

  1. I am so sorry about your miscarriage. Hugs. Hugs. My daughter miscarried and then got pregnant the following month. And now she has a baby. Good things are in store for you.

    I retired from teaching/library in June and now am furiously reading all those adult books that i never felt free to read when I should have been reading YA…I still want to stay in touch with the winning YA titles but suspect I will read less of them than in the past. In fact, I plan on using your list to inform me as to the best of the best and will choose from those which I want to read. I just placed a bunch of books on hold at the library. I read for the Cybils Award this past year in the nonfiction category and found that to be very rewarding. I think I will volunteer to do that again next year. How many titles did you have to read for the Illinois List?

    Take care. Pamper yourself.


    1. Thank you for the kind words, Anne! I will say, I have heard the same over and over from people – that they have gone on to have children so I have hope the same will be true for me. Only time will tell.

      I hope you are enjoying all the adult books and the free time retirement brings and completely understand taking a break from your past rigorous reading of YA. I’ve heard nothing but good things about being involved int he Cybils reading – maybe some year I will see if I can fit that in my schedule!

      For the Tournament of Books, I just had to read two books to determine which advances to the next round and then write a brief essay about why.

      For the Lincoln Award, I serve on the nominations committee that reads reviews of all the nominated books and then ranks them – so technically I don’t have to read any full books which is good because we have about two weeks to get a list to the reader committee at that point!

      Thank you again – my knee recovery is going so well that I will back at work Monday so that’s really good news!


      1. Well, Allegedly and Spinning are such different books. So different. I don’t envy you having to decide between them. I think I like Allegedly a smidgen better, just because it caught me by surprise.


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