Hello, jFIC fans,
Here are my favorite jFIC books of 2019:
The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas (Fantasy/Folklore)
Eleven-year-old Buddy goes on a dangerous quest to rescue his dad from a magical crime Lord. His weapons are a knife and his father’s magical Parsnit cards, and his sidekick is a spider-folk girl named Tally. A fantastic setting, page-turning danger and adventure, quirky characters, a creative game of cards, great messages about family and identity, and a fascinating metanarrative all work together to make this novel an outstanding read.
Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (Realistic Fiction)
This is the third book featuring characters from the world of Raymie Nightingale. I loved this tenderhearted, sensitive story about dealing with grief and hardship, and finding unlikely friends in the process. Lyrical, poignant, and simply wonderful.
A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff (Historical Fiction)
A lovely novel, written in verse, about the Irish Land War (1881). Well done, suspenseful, and poignant. Excellent characterization.
Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt (Realistic Fiction / Humor)
Carter Jones is dealing with his first year in middle school, his father’s absence, his brother’s death, his distraught mother, helping to take care of his three younger sisters, and a surprise English butler who wants him to behave like a “proper gentleman” and learn to drink tea and play cricket. Well-written and both funny and heart-wrenching.
The Runaways by Ulf Stark (Realistic Fiction)
A young boy helps his dying grandfather to run away from the hospital for a couple of days, giving him the chance to prepare for his final good-bye. Well-written with delightful characters. An inter-generational adventure full of humor and heart.
“What’s this?” I said.
“Tea with milk and sugar,” said the Butler.
“I don’t drink tea,” I said.
“All civilized people drink tea, young Master Jones.”
“Then I guess I’m not civilized.”
“A claim you share with Vikings, Huns, assorted barbarian hordes, and marauders of all stripes. I have taken the liberty of adding more sugar than one might normally expect.”
I sipped at it. I sipped again. It was pretty good.
“It stinks,” I said.
— from Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt