Cybils, Segueing to Australia, la la la

Graceling is a finalist for the Cybils, the children’s and YA bloggers’ literary awards, in the Fantasy/SF category ^_^. Check out all the categories and all the finalists here. I haven’t read most of the other finalists (yet!!), but those I have read happen to be among my favorite reads of the year, and I recommend them highly — see below. Links are to their Amazon descriptions. Oh, and I don’t include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins below, because I’ve only just started reading it, but I will say that at 25 pages in, I have already laughed, cried, AND screamed out in surprise. So, um, it’s safe to say that I have high expectations of enjoying that one :o)

The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski
The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Jellicoe Road reminds me of the disproportionate amount of Australian literature I’ve been reading lately, all of which is FABULOUS, so I’m going to go on and give you a few more recommendations of great books (none from 2008):
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. A favorite of mine and also of Cordelia’s. Marchetta also has a fantasy out called Finnikin of the Rock which I haven’t read yet but which is guaranteed to be wonderful, just like everything else she writes. Really, you can’t go wrong (Looking for Alibrandi is also great!) :o)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Just. Read it.
  • Black Juice by Margo Lanagan. Magical realism; short stories (and I never read short stories, but these ones hooked me. Margo Lanagan has an EXCELLENT BRAIN).
  • Sleeping Dogs by Sonya Hartnett. Gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.
I spent my junior year abroad in Sydney; it was one of the best decisions of my life. What a city; what a beautiful nation. Where else can you see a kangaroo from a hot air balloon, or walk into a forest that smells of eucalyptus (um, because it is eucalyptus), or witness an emu having an identity crisis? (It seemed to think it was a cow. It was grazing with the cows, and allowing itself to be herded with the cows.) La la la. I hope I’ll get back to Australia someday :o)