Eva Ibbotson, 1994
Eva Ibbotson has quite an imagination. I've read some of her stories before so I knew I was going to like this one. She writes about ghosts and monsters, but it's all very matter of fact and there are very few bad monsters, most are just misunderstood. It's a cute story about a kidnapped prince and the rescue party that is send to retrieve him, and even though it's very full of characters you never feel lost or confused. It's straight-forward good vs. bad and you root for the underdog the whole time. Very worth the read.
Rick Riordan, 2006, 2007
I really liked the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and was ready to keep reading about the characters, but the 2nd and 3rd books were amazing. The stories were better with scarier monsters and narrower escapes and you keep learning more and more about the world of the "half-bloods" and greek gods. And now there is an overarching story line that you can see running through all the books and you can see Percy and his friends headed towards. It's like when you're reading Harry Potter and you know there that each book is it's own story, but the battle against Voldemort is brewing under the surface in each one. Still... each books is so good and they keep building on each other so you can't put them down. When I finished the Sea of Monsters I immediately went to the library to get the next one and I'm kinda pissed that the 4th one is checked out. Definitely read these!
Pseudonymous Bosch, 2007
This is one of the quirkiest books that I've read in a while. It's told by a narrator who is conflicted because he thinks the story is too secret and dangerous to share, but he just can't help himself. So he changes all the names and only describes things if he's sure you won't be able to track them down and jumps in to the narrative every so often to warn you about impending danger or explain why the characters did what they did. It's very entertaining and creative. The main characters are two 11 years olds so it's definitely written for that audience. It's full of logic and actions that only make sense to the naive and un-worldly 6th graders, but it's still a great story and worth the effort.
Jerry Spinelli, 1997
Jerry Spinelli is a really good author. He's able to tell stories that are real and full of true feeling, not fluffy or fake, but at the same time make them relatable to a younger audience. Maniac Magee is a great example of that and his series of 5 short stories that make up The Library Card are also. Each story follows a different person as their life is affected by a small blue library card. Some use it to learn, others use it to remember, and others use it to connect. There's an element of magic in the stories, but it's not overt or cheesy, it just feels special. Of course I picked this book up because of the title, but I'm glad that I did. It's stories are touching and remind me of one of the reasons that I love sharing books and stories with people.