The Crazy Life of a Cybils Judge

Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards
Can you pick your favorite book of 2017? You only get one. I'll wait as you open your Goodreads account and scroll through the dozens of books you finished this year. Now imagine picking just one. 

This is my challenge as a first-round Cybils judge for the YA fiction category. My TBR pile was already toppling over, but I knew I wanted to be a part of these long-standing awards that feature books that not only appeal to readers but are well written. Nominations close today, so if you haven't already, 
GO NOMINATE NOW! - and add to my TBR pile. 

Here are a few nominated titles I read this week:

Only days after high school graduation, Jill Cafferty becomes the first female drafted into MLB despite attempts to keep it an all-male sport. 

Told from Jill's perspective, readers experience a rollercoaster of emotions along with her. From embarrassment, when fans scream derogatory names and litter the field with feminine products. And pride, when she thinks of how her late father would feel seeing her on the mound of a Class-A diamond. To confusion as she begins to doubt her decision to by-pass Stanford to pursue her greatest passion.

Even if you don't know the difference between a K and a ꓘ, you'll find yourself rooting for Jill as she navigates through the male-dominated sport. 

I'm tempted to sum this book up in two words: mental illness. But, it's about so much more than that. 

Just as the title suggests, the plot spirals infinitely around Aza, her best friend Daisy, and Davis, the son of a missing billionaire. Just when you believe you've solved the mystery, you haven't. Just when you hope Aza is gaining control over her OCD, she doesn't. Just when you think you understand the struggle that is mental illness, you can't. 

I hope this book resonates with teenagers the way it will with adults. This book is a mirror, a window, and a door all at once. An important novel about love, hope, grief, and mental illness that deserves every bit of attention it's receiving. 

Admittedly, I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been nominated for no reason other than I didn't love the cover. But I'm so glad I did. 

Leo and his brother Caleb have a tumultuous relationship. Caleb, who has been diagnosed with autism, and a host of other issues, begins attacking Leo so ferociously that Leo's only way to escape is to run. Literally. And so begins Leo's love affair with cross-country. Under the tutelage of his new friend Curtis, Leo is able to excel at running and begin to deal with his brother's emotions. 

Please go nominate your favorite book! I have over 40 books to read...what's a couple more?!

1 comment

  1. I nominated Running Full Tilt and am glad you liked it. I do wish that teachers and librarians would read more sports books. They are a great way to get young readers interested in and delving into a variety of problems that they wouldn't read about without the sports!


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