What I Loved #20: Victoria Schwab, Heather Smith, Courtney Summers, a puppy, and … a new job!

It has been over a year since I last did a What I Loved post. Where did the time go!? I have loved so many amazing books and experiences since my last post that I’m kind of overwhelmed! I’ve picked my very most favourite reads of 2018 to highlight.

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Sadie

Sadie is a Canadian YA novel that was on several best of 2018 lists, and definitely has adult appeal. It’s a thriller told partly from the perspective of a fictional true crime podcast, and partly from the perspective of a teenage runaway. It’s a gripping, lightning fast read that will stick with you. And I hear it’s one of the best audiobooks ever made.

A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic is a the first in a fantasy trilogy by my newest author obsession, V. E. Schwab. There are multiple worlds, but the one thing they have in common is a city called London. Each world, including our own, has differing levels of magic. The story follows a magical member of the royal family from Red London, and a young “street rat” girl from our world who is struggling to get by. Are there pirates? Yes. Tournaments? Eventually. Romantic tension? Oh yeah. Enthralling descriptions of magical street markets? No.

Just kidding! Yes. Just read it.

You might notice, this is the only Adult fiction in my post. I did enjoy quite a few other adult titles this year (The Dreamers, Escape Room, Whisper in the Dark, Washington Black, The Woman in the Window, Rat Queens, Big Little Lies) but nothing grabbed me quite like Schwab.

I actually went on a Schwab bender for a week, and devoured This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet, and City of Ghosts. Highly recommend diving head first into these dark fantasies.

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Chicken Girl

This book hooked me for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s by the same author as The Agony of Bun O’Keefe
  2. It’s set in downtown Kitchener, which will always have a soft spot in my tri-city loving heart
  3. It’s about a girl in a chicken suit. A CHICKEN SUIT!

Heather Smith writes reality with compassion and grit, in a way that reminds me of Lisa Moore’s Flannery. Poppy is our lovable teen protagonist. She has a big heart and some deeply rooted self confidence struggles. Through her summer job as a CHICKEN MASCOT she meets Miracle – a six year old girl who is often left to wander the streets alone yet is full of optimism. Miracle connects Poppy with a tiny community of people who live under a bridge and launches an eye-opening whirlwind of romance, heartache, joy, and discovery. This book struck a real life chord with me. Many of the characters remind me of people I know and care about from the library.

I was very excited to meet Heather Smith at the TD Children’s Literature Awards (which I attended as a member of the TD Summer Reading Club National Committee). Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next! Maybe a librarian character? One can hope.

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The Agony of Bun O’Keefe

I can’t even. Just read this right now.

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Other YA Novels I Loved This Year:

  • Eliza and her Monsters
  • Sawkill Girls
  • Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces
  • Three Dark Crowns series
  • MunMun
  • If I Was Your Girl
  • This Darkness Mine
  • One of Us is Lying
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Leah on the Offbeat

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PS4 Video Games

This year we got a PS4! Some of my favourites so far have been: Horizon, Stardew Valley, The Long Dark,  Oxenfree, Spyro, Overcooked, Drawful, and my daily obsession: Beat Saber.

I also enjoyed some PC games: Tropico 5, Two Point Hospital, and Night in the Woods.

You can probably tell, I love games with strong narratives, party games, and he occasional sandbox strategy game. And Skyrim. I really love Skyrim.

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Last month I said goodbye to my favourite sunny spots at the Fort Erie Public Library, and said hello to new, sunnier spots in my home city library. It was hard to say goodbye to the kids who I’d gotten to know so well over the past 3 years, but I’m very excited to move on to new things.

OH! AND I GOT A RESCUE PUPPY! He’s a border collie / golden retriever / very good boy. We’re obsessed.

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What did you love this week?

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