January 2, 2014

Cybils: The Finalists (plus some personal honorable mentions)

The Cybils finalists were announced yesterday!  I am very proud of the list developed by the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction panel, which included me, Charlotte, Stephanie, Kristen, Melissa, Cecelia, and Brandy.  The judges will have a hard decision!

Here's the list of our finalists:

  • JINX by Sage Blackwood (my review)
  • Lockwood & Co: THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathon Stroud
  • ROSE by Holly Webb (my review)
  • SIDEKICKED by John David Anderson
  • THE RITHMATIST by Brandon Sanderson
  • THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt (my review)
  • THE WATER CASTLE by Megan Frazer Blackmore

Covers and blurbs by the panel available on the Cybils website.

Kristen wrote some about four books she loved that didn't make it, and I'd like to do the same.

The Vengekeep Prophecies THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES by Brian Farrey (illustrated by Brett Helquist) - This is the story of Jaxter, a clumsy boy born into a long line of accomplished thieves.  But his family out-clevers themselves, leaving Jaxter and his new friend Callie to go on a quest to save Vengekeep.  This is an extremely fun book that will appeal to a variety of young readers.  And I always enjoy stories where bookishness helps save the day!

Sky Jumpers SKY JUMPERS by Peggy Eddleman - Read my full review here.  In my opinion, this book was a real unexpected gem.  I can see it encouraging kids to get deeper into science fiction, environmental issues, and invention.  Hope is the worst inventor in her community, which relies on the population's inventions to return to life before WWIII.  But she has other skills which are important when their community is invaded for their medicine.

The Real Boy THE REAL BOY by Anne Ursu (illustrated by Erin McGuire) - Read my full review here.  This little charmer, about presumably autistic Oscar, had one real obstacle: this was a great year for fantasies about magician's apprentices.  That doesn't mean that this story doesn't hold a large amount of appeal for children and adults.  It's got terrific atmosphere and a thoughtful story.

How I Became a Ghost HOW I BECAME A GHOST by Tim Tingle - Isaac's journey on the Trail of Tears is brutal, but still appropriate for younger readers.  His foreknowledge of his own death helps both him and the reader accept it before the inevitable happens.  It's a hard, healing look at history. The presence of a boy who can turn into a jaguar and a (possibly talking) dog will entice kids who would turn up their noses at less fantastical historical fiction.

A Tangle of Knots A TANGLE OF KNOTS by Lisa Graff - Read my full review here.  I nominated this one; of course I'm fond of it!  Young baker Cady is at the center of this story, but her journey entwines with nearly everyone around her.  I loved how all the little pieces came together to create one neat, satisfying whole.  Plus, recipes.

Be sure to check out the other finalists!  I'm particularly happy that several books I nominated made it to the next round.  And that I now have a great list of other books to read, obviously.


  1. There were so many great books on our list, it was hard not to fall in love with so many of them. I definitely think we have a great shortlist in the end. I will definitely be checking out some of the other categories shortlists to read from, so many great books are featured on them and most I haven't read. It was awesome working with you Liviania!

    1. It was great working with you too! I think our panel ran very smoothly.

  2. What an interesting category!! The Real Boy sounds fun.

  3. Those books could almost be a shortlist in their own right! sigh....would that we had had room for more on the official one.

    1. They really could've been. I do like our actual list.

  4. I loved our list, but you've just reminded me of how much I loved A TANGLE OF KNOTS, and that one didn't make it! I may have to go back and re-read (and test some of the recipes).

    1. It is hard to acknowledge that some books didn't make it on.


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