Here are four of Emily's favorite books of 2013 so far:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – I will admit I picked up this book because of the cover. It’s set in 1986 and it’s about two teenagers who wind up falling in love. They’re both outcasts at school and they become friends over comic books and music. Eleanor’s home life is a mess and through her relationship with Park, she winds up finding her own voice. I loved the author’s writing style so much that I immediately picked up her previous book, The Attachments, and can’t wait for her next book, Fangirl. Eleanor and Park is shelved in the young adult/teen sections in bookstores but don’t let that deter you – it’s a great read, especially for anyone who wasn’t part of the cool kid group in high school (and nicely pairs with Stargirl, one of my all-time favorite books).
Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen – I read everything Carl Hiaasen writes – adult books, kids books – anything. Gianna might say I like him so much because he is good lookin’ (he is) but I also like him because his books are hilarious. His characters are colorful and his books perfectly capture the nuttiness that is the state of Florida – and bonus: the good guys always win in the end. I could tell you about the plot of this book – a cop with a human arm in his freezer, a wacko voodoo witch, real estate hijinks and of course, an incredibly bad monkey - but really, if you want a wickedly funny read, Bad Monkey is the book for you…and then go check out his kids books (Hoot, Flush, Scat and Chomp) where the kids always outsmart the adults.
Wonder – So technically, I didn’t read Wonder this year but I think it’s a book everyone should read (and if you’re making a list, please add Stargirl and All Over But the Shoutin’ to that must-read list). It’s a hard book to describe but I read it almost two years ago and I think about it almost every day – and I’ve been known to tear up when talking about it (awkward). Auggie, the main character, is born with a facial deformity and until now, he’s been home schooled. The book begins as he’s starting 5th grade in a new school – you’ll hold your breath, hoping for the best, watching him navigate friendships and bullies. It’s simply a beautiful story that will make you feel better about the world – and will remind you how a little kindness can go a long way.