June Sharky Awards

In my ever-evolving quest to recognize the books that I read and enjoy (but without writing reviews (because I am terrible at that)), I give out awards that highlight some of my favorite things about the books I’ve read over the past month. And since my bookmark is a shark – a bookshark, if you will – I call them the Sharkys. And here is a picture of a shark about to make friends with a school of fish.

“We have chosen poorly.”

Click on the book covers to be taken to the authors’ websites. On to the awards!
*denotes fellow Apocalypsie

Best Best Friend
The Downside of Being Charlie, by Jenny Torres Sanchez
It’s all well and good to have a best friend who offers a place to stay when your home life is falling apart at the seams, and who is always willing to offer questionable advice about the other sex, and who knows the exact right way to cheer you up when you’re feeling like cat piss, but if said best friend also thinks he’s the missing member of the Rat Pack and comes to school wearing a peacock blue suit and wing tips and peppers his speech with such gems as “player” and “cats”? Then you, Charlie, win with your delightful Ahmed.

Best Nicknames
The Mapmaker and the Ghost, by Sarvenaz Tash*
The real names alone in this book are worthy of their own award: Goldenroad Moran, her similarly botany-related brother Birch, and of course, the ghost of Meriwether Lewis, which was not made up by the author but is equally awesome. But the cavalcade of gross yet delightful nicknames is what seals the deal: we’ve got Snotshot, Mrs. Barf, No-Bone, Lint, Toe Jam, Brains, and my personal favorite, Spitbubble. Check back with these kids in a few years and I will bet you a hundred dollars they will have already started a wacky fraternity.

Best Club
Destiny’s Fire, by Trisha Wolfe*
I’m not a “clubber”. The very fact that I even put quotations around it should signal that we’re not dealing with a Lord of the Dance over here. But even I might be persuaded to drop by Cogs, a steampunk dance haven with brass and copper pipes all over the place, chemical lamps, and colored lights that flash in time with the music as if by magic. Well, actually, it is by magic. Did I leave that part out?

Best Hideout
Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen*
Let’s just say I were in Robin Hood’s merry band of outlaws. And by merry, I mean not very merry at all. It’s actually quite dangerous and involves a lot of knives and blood and hangings and tons of other fun deadly stuff–not to mention some wonderfully written characters with unique voices and plenty of that Olde Englishe snarke. BUT! Let’s say that you wanted to get away from the stabbings, the rain of arrows, the prison, the torture. I don’t know about you, but nothing washes my worries away like climbing a tree. A really bigass one, preferably with a military rank…such as Major Oak. It’s a major! Salute it!

Best Gag
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
I read this book on a lark – it’s a kid’s book that’s over thirty years old, but I heard good things about it and that it was all one big puzzle, and anyone who knows me know that I would marry puzzles if I could (though some might say I came close enough with the enigma that is Will). And while I did enjoy the puzzle, the characters, and all the fun twists at the end, my favorite part involved the characters having to sign their names, followed by their position–such as Flora Baumbach, dressmaker, or Alexander McSouthers, doorman–and then here comes dense, literal Jake Wexler, who writes his position as: standing or sitting when not lying down. Ha!

Best Tagline
Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green
When I was thumbing through my publisher’s catalog for this spring, I was pretty excited to see my book in there–until I also came across Teen Boat, at which point I just started yelling TEEN BOAT TEEN BOAT THERE IS A BOOK CALLED TEEN BOAT until my editor kindly sent me a copy to shut me up. Because, um, it’s a comic about a teen that turns into a boat. But what really won me over was the tagline: “The ANGST of being a teen…the THRILL of being a boat!”




  1. Oh, wow! Thank you! I totally want to take you dancing now ha! Let’s strap on our leather harnesses and corsets and go. ;) Don’t forget to bring your scythe.

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