I read a few of the ALA award winners. KIRA-KIRA was a wonderful read even though I think readers know early on that Katie's sister's death will figure prominently in the novel. I did enjoy the book immensely. It is obviously a great Newbery pick. I also read CHANDA'S SECRETS by Stratton and thought it was a good read. I do not know how much kid appeal it will have, though.
For Quick Picks, I read BAD CAT and loved it almost as much as THE BOOK OF BUNNY SUICIDES from 2004. THE DATING GAME will be nominated as a QP as soon as I can fill out the form. It is chick lit--light and fluffy and easy to read.
Joyce Carol Oates' SEXY was a stunner from beginning to end. Darren Flynn's life takes a turn for the worse on a fateful evening in November when he accepts a ride home from swim practice with one of his teachers. The story veers all over the place, rather like the car on the icy road that November night. I was puzzled by the ending, however, and felt as if somehow so much was left unresolved (but that is a GOOD thing, right?). It is a book I could not put down at all.
I listened to several audiobooks as well. I listened to HERE TODAY and BECOMING NAOMI LEON and even though I had already read these books I enjoyed the "re-reading" as I drove to and from the Valley. I also thought WALKING THE CHOCTAW ROAD by Native American storyteller Tom Tingle was one of the finest listening experiences I have had in a long time.
Now, I have saved the best for last. BEST FOOT FORWARD is the sequel to RULES OF THE ROAD by Joan Bauer. I honestly did not see the first book as needing a sequel, but I was totally wrong. Jenna is back, still selling shoes, still dealing with her alcoholic father, still growing and learning and making mistakes and becoming a more interesting "person." This sequel works because Jenna is a flesh and blood girl who lives off the pages of the book. There is more trouble at Gladstone's Shoe Store; Jenna finds a new interest in a doughnut making guy whom she meets when he scratches her new car in a parking lot accident. There are more twists and turns and Jenna manages to stay on her feet throughout it all. WOW.