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 since I was out on tour at the end of September and couldn’t post then, this is a giant, double-month, mega edition of the Sharkys – so here is a picture of Megashark, in the Oscar-winning film Megashark vs. Giant Octopus:
“I couldn’t possibly eat another bridge…okay, maybe just one.”
Click on the book cover to be taken to the author’s website. Authors with a * are fellow Apocalypsies. Now, on to the awards!
Best Pet Name
The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
This is tricky, because really this book should get a whole heap of prestigious awards like Best Prose (no surprises there), or Coolest Magic (involving wonky time, color-changing fish, and–yikes, skinning), or Best Description of a Main Character’s Hair (Blue, I want to trade heads with you), or Best Place to Live (an old factory!) but man, I just cannot pass up the opportunity to recognize the fact that there exists, in this book, a baby raven named Chainsaw. I simply cannot.
Worst Curse…Or Maybe Best
Endlessly, by Kiersten White
In this satisfying end to the Paranormalcy trilogy, Evie’s boyfriend is cursed by a faerie to fall asleep whenever she’s in his presence. Which, given the hotness of Lend, is a total bummer…but wait a minute. If everyone I knew fell asleep in my presence, I’d get so much more work done! Does this curse apply to pets too? I want that curse and I want it now!
Best Reason to Repeatedly Slam Your Head Against the Wall
What’s Left of Me, by Kat Zhang*
Over here in Very-Cool-Concept-Land, two souls are born into one body, one never gets a moment’s peace, and can’t say a word or do a thing without their counterpart knowing about it. Sheesh. Listen – I love my sister dearly, but if she lived inside my head and there was nothing I could do about it, you’d better believe I’d be constantly trying to knock myself unconscious. Her Teen Mom recaps alone would push me to insanity.
The Diviners, by Libba Bray
The kids in this one all have some sort of weird, magicky thing that they can do — one can heal, one can tell the future, one can see people’s secrets when holding an object of theirs — but if I had to pick one for myself, it’d have to be Sam Lloyd’s: the ability to make people not notice me. Not only would it come in handy at social events where I definitely don’t want to bump into that kid I hated in college, but think of all the shenanigans I could pursue! I could walk naked down the street! I could barge into a Dunkin’ Donuts and take as many delicious treats as I want! I could STEAL AN ALPACA AND NO ONE WOULD REALIZE IT! (Though, does the same power apply to the alpaca? People wouldn’t notice me, perhaps, but they’d notice an alpaca just wandering around by itself. I’m starting to think I haven’t thought this plan through.)
Best Reason to Eat Sand
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, by Nikki Loftin*
Not that sand isn’t a perfectly normal thing to eat, but it’s the only thing that can snap kids out of Splendid Academy’s sinister trance, one that convinces them that they need to eat, nonstop, until they are fattened up enough for the teachers to eat. So yeah, I guess I could choke down a few grains of sand if it meant I wouldn’t be devoured. I can’t promise I wouldn’t sprinkle said sand on a donut or something, though. Man, I guess I really want some donuts.
Best Fine Dining:
Through To You by Emily Hainsworth*
I don’t know about you, but I love kitschy restaurant decor. If there’s a talking moose head above my table, I am delighted. Pirate theme? Hells yes. And there are some Friendly’ses (what is the plural of that?) that have these awesome photos of landscapes with GIANT ICE CREAM CONES LOOMING OVER THE HORIZON, which brings such joy into my life I can’t even tell you. So naturally I loved Dina’s Diner in this book, which is stuffed to the brim with chicken stuff. And even a (possibly) stuffed rooster. Win.
Best Birthday System
Send Me a Sign, by Tiffany Schmidt*
You know what’s better than a single day devoted to the celebration of your birth? Three whole diggity damn months. The group of four friends in this book all have birthdays in different parts of the year–one is the Summer Girl, one is the Fall Girl, etc.–so each one gets a whole season where everyone has to do whatever she wants. Hence the nickname: Calendar Girls (which I wouldn’t recommend they put on college applications).
Best Reason Not To Become A Prostitute In Venice During The Renaissance
Venom, by Fiona Paul*
Because you might get strangled. I mean, judging by this book, Venice is otherwise a lovely place to live – fancy masquerade balls, gorgeous palazzi, the canals, the islands, the gondolas. Lots of food and drink and daring trysts with snarky artists, plus magicians and music and romps in the hay. But also, you know. Strangling.
Valkyrie Rising, by Ingrid Paulson*
I personally haven’t ever learned that I was secretly part of a group of mythological warriors and then fully realized my power and fight an angry god all in the space of a week or so, but if I did, I’d want to do it against the setting of lovely Norway. It has sod roofs! And mountains! And fjords, which are always fjun to say.
Best Game Involving Breaking and Entering
What Happens Next, by Colleen Clayton*
Well, maybe not breaking, but definitely entering. Sid’s mom is a real estate agent, and every once in a while she grabs the kids, hauls them over to an empty house that needs showing, and they all sit down on the floor and eat take-out and pretend that they just moved in. Hide and seek seems to be an integral part as well, which really seals the deal. As if I needed another excuse to hang out with Sid some more. Funny AND curly hair AND abysmal at skiing? Young lady, I am sold.
The ‘How Do I Make This A Real Thing?’ Award
Zip, by Ellie Rollins*
In Zip, Lyssa carries around packets of tomato seeds. Soon, she meets a girl named Circe who shows her a special field where whatever you plant grows super-quick and humongous, which leads to an instant crop of MEGATOMATOES. Now, I eat tomatoes like there are only a finite number left on earth. I’m eating a tomato right at this very instant. So if there is in fact a way to immediately grow a tomato that’s the size of my head, I need to make this a real thing.
Or I could just be a giant tomato for Halloween. Both are good options.