But I digress... We're talking about 2015 here. Although, speaking of Rebecca Stead, she has another major Newbery contender in this list with The Goodbye Stranger, one of my personal 2015 favorites. But as long as this list is, there are still wonderful, buzz-worthy titles we've chosen not to include. For example, those who have followed other Best of the Year lists might be expecting to see Ryan's Echo or Selznick's The Marvels. Sorry, not on this list. I haven't yet read Echo, but two of our committee members were bored, so off it went (I'll let you know later if I agree!). And we really liked The Marvels, but... we just didn't love it, maybe because in comparison we loved Selznick's previous novels so, so much more and with The Marvels his work is beginning to seem just a bit too formulaic (if still quite impressive). So instead of regurgitating all the same titles everyone else has named, we've also chosen several off-the-radar titles, including awesome graphic novels, hard-to-place niche titles like Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, and a hilarious history of the Vikings!
|The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville|
Featuring talking animals, mystery, family, and more in a delightful fairy-tale mashup, a quick summary of this suspenseful fantasy might read "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" meets Jane Eyre.
|Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton|
In 1969 twelve-year-old Mimi and her family move to an all-white town in Vermont, where Mimi's mixed-race background and interest in "boyish" topics like astronomy make her feel like an outsider.
|Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt|
"Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read"--.
|George by Alex Gino|
At first glance, this might seem like a do-over of Gracefully Grayson, one of my favorite 2014 selections. But George, the story of a 4th grade transgender girl finding the courage to speak her truth is a gentler story better suited to the younger end of the MG age range. Also, despite the similarities of story and situation, George has a distinctive voice and viewpoint all its own, making it clear that no matter how similar situations are superficially, each child's journey—transgender, cisgender, or whatever—is personal and never quite the same as another's. BCPL copies are on order.
|Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia|
In this third and final installment of the Gaither Sisters saga, the three city girls spend the summer with their grandmother in the rural South.
|Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai|
Assisting her grandmother's investigation of her grandfather's fate during the Vietnam War, Mai struggles to adapt to an unfamiliar culture while redefining her sense of family. BCPL copies are on order.
|The Nest by Kenneth Oppel|
"When wasps come to Steve in a dream offering to fix his sick baby brother, he thinks all he has to do is say yes. But yes may not mean what Steve thinks it means"--Publisher description
|Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper|
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.
|The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin|
Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.
|The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley|
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
|Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes|
In this imaginative biographical story, Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sit down over a cup of tea in 1904 to reminisce about their struggles and triumphs in the service of freedom and women's rights.
|Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess|
Presents the life and work of the twentieth-century American writer, focusing on his fascination with words from a young age and highlighting his poetry's inspirational properties.
|Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow|
Chronicles the story of the early 1900s typhoid fever epidemic in New York, providing details as to how its infamous carrier was ultimately tracked down and stopped.
|Guts & Glory: The Vikings by Ben Thompson|
Presents the history and myths of the Vikings, from their rise in the eighth century, raids throughout Europe, conversion to Christianity, and eventual decline following the Norman Conquest in 1066.