2010! there were books! oh by god there were books! it was a fun year to be a bookseller in a children's bookshop, i can tell you. here are some of my favourites from the year (almost) gone by:
the keepers: the museum of thieves, lian tanner
lovely, lively little tale of goldie roth - the bold child of jewel who dared to run away and who finds refuge in the strange, dangerous museum of dunt where she learns a kind of magic and, when her city is threatened, takes on hatred and fear.
first sentence: goldie roth hated the punishment chains.
read my review here.
the last dragonslayer, jasper fforde
the story of jennifer strange, who works for the wizard employment agency kazam at a time where magic is waning throughout the world and the ununited kingdom is awaiting the death of the last dragon - so they can get their hands on the pristine wilderness he has been living in and build shops and houses and roads. jennifer, the wizards, the sisters of the lobster and the cranky orphan boy tiger prawns all come together in this gorgeous fairytale-esque story of classic ffordian hilarity and cleverness.
(i have lent my book out so can't give you the first sentence. it's awesome, i promise you.)
about a girl, joanne horniman
a beautiful love story, sensual and evocative. all the relationships explored in this story - and there are many - are wonderful, as are the descriptions of place within about a girl, tropical lismore and chilly canberra. literary references and beautiful observations round out this glorious book.
first sentence: this morning i woke and remembered her, and went to the window to look out into the leafless garden, leaning my forehead against the cold winter glass.
read my inadequate review here.
monsters of men, patrick ness
final in the chaos walking trilogy, finishing off the story of todd, viola and that surprise third voice which joins in to tell it (shan't spoil it for those who haven't read this yet). this tale of war is so fast-paced that it leaves the reader breathless, but also - curiously - holding that same breath until the beautiful, satisfying conclusion.
first (two) sentence(s): 'war,' says mayor prentiss, his eyes glinting. 'at last.'
read my review here.
big river, little fish, belinda jeffrey
tom was born on the banks of the river, the day his mother died. he grows up good with his hands but slow at school, with his only friend hannah as his only champion. the way tom cared for the lost souls living down at the riverbank near broke my heart. a remarkable novel, poetic and lush. frightening and real. this is an australian novel supremo.
(have lent this one out too, thus no first sentence and no pic)
read my review here.
graffiti moon, cath crowley
over one busy night, one magic night. lucy dervish is looking for the graffiti artist shadow (who she loves and lusts after), but is stuck with ed (but twist! ed, we know, is in fact the very same shadow) and ed has to rob the school's media department later in the night. evocative and funny and just as good on a re-read (that makes three reads for me now).
first paragraph: i pedal fast. down rose drive where houses swim in pools of orange streetlight. where people sit on verandahs, hoping to catch a breeze. let me make it in time. please let me make it in time.
read my review here. and read about the launch here.
six impossible things, fiona wood
i love dan cereill. the poor thing, his dad's just come out as gay - and bankrupt - he's had to move into a stinky old terrace house with his mum, had to start at a new school and is in impossible love with his next door neighbour. this is a great debut by fiona wood - funny, heartwarming and clever.
first two lines: there's this girl i know. / i know her by heart. i know her in every way but one: actuality.
read my review here. and here i'm chatting with fiona wood.
slice, steven herrick
slice is the story of darcy, who says lots of things he should probably leave unsaid, who has a crush on meditating audrey from next door, is a sometimes reluctant (but ultimately steadfast) friend of weird noah and whose dad worries - in a hilarious way. no one writes boys like steven herrick. love it.
first two sentences of the chapter entitled 'the value of poetry' (from uncorrected proof): 'all romantic poets deserve to drown, or die slowly of tuburculosis in a garret.' i'm standing at the front of class, waiting for universal acclaim from my fellow students.
read my review here. and more herrick-love here and here.