Books I wish had made the shortlist

Being a Cybils judge is a lot of work and a lot of fun, but it’s also heartbreaking when books you love don’t get enough support from your fellow panelists to make it on the shortlist. Cybils overlord Anne Levy invited panelists to share their favorite books that didn’t make the shortlist, and here are a few of mine:

*Daughter of Smoke and Bone *was one of my favorite books this year. I loved the beautiful writing, interesting characters, and the gradual reveal. Unfortunately, not all of my fellow panelists loved it, and this was one of the more heavily debated books in our discussions. Read my review for more about this book.

The Monstrumologist series is a favorite of mine. Although I’m not generally a horror fan, and these books are pretty horrifying in places, they are also extremely well written, exciting, character-driven books. I think they have a lot of teen appeal and literary merit. Later books in a series can sometimes have trouble living up to their predecessors, but that’s not the case here. The series just keeps getting better, and The Isle of Blood is the best one yet, by far. I plan to write a more detailed review of it soon.

Traditional fantasy fans will love The Floating Islands. Incredibly detailed and creative world building; well-developed magic system; great characters; beautiful writing with lots of sensory imagery; dragons! The two protagonists, a boy and a girl, are each outsiders in different ways, and each longs for a different life: Trei yearns to fly, which may not be allowed to someone from another land, and Araene wants to be a chef, an occupation forbidden to girls. As these two children struggle to make their way in the world, the book deals with themes of loss, loyalty, and being true to one’s self.Check out some other panelists’ favorites.