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Smugglivus 2011 Guest Blogger & Giveaway: Doret of The Happy Nappy Bookseller

Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.

Who: Doret,editor of The Happy Nappy Bookseller a blog with strong focus on MG and YA titles by and about PoC. Recently she compiled a list of MG & YA Authors of Color Published in 2011 that is well worth a read.

Give it up for Doret, folks!

In the invite Ana and Thea explained what Smugglivus is in case I didn’t know, like that was even possible. I love me some Smugglivus and it’s my pleasure to take part in these festivities. This is first time in ten years that I am not working at a bookstore during the holidays. I must admit I miss the rush of it. So getting the chance to share some of my favorites from this year and some 2012 titles I am looking forward to is irresistible.

2011 Favorites

Huntress by Malinda Lo

This was my first favorite of 2011 There’s so much to love about Lo’s sophomore YA novel, from the action to the romance. The main characters Kaede and Taisin’s are very well crafted. Their first kiss wasn’t until about midway into the story but it was well worth the wait.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright illus. by Barry Moser

When I started reading this I couldn’t put it down. I am not usually a fan of stories with talking animals but Deedy and Wright made this one hard not to love.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Is Stupid Good and an excellent debut. A must read for fans of Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford.

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

The author created a very realistic and likable main character in Marisa. I’ve already had a chance to read Perez next novel, The Knife and the Butterfly (via netgalley) which comes out in February and it’s very good. I heart netgalley but what I don’t love is being placed on a publishers netgalley naughty list. Three of my recent request to one house were rejected. Someone really misses the NBA. Well Mr or Ms Basketball fan the season begins on Dec. 25 so stop being such a galley scrooge.

(Serenity Now) Ahhhhhh much better.

I do mysteries the way The Book Smugglers do Sci fi/Fantasy and I am always on the look out for new authors to love.

Vanished by Sheela Chari

It had the right amount of creepy and unexplained darkness. Neela has the right amount of personal introspective qualities needed in a sleuth. She reminded me a little of Glida Joyce.

There are a lot of great 2012 titles that have caught my eye. It was very difficult to narrow it down, as you can see I didn’t such a great job.

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (Feb)

If anyone has the skill to pull a little beauty out of a novel that has to do with Hurricane Katrina and meth addiction it’s Woodson.

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott (Feb.)

I am always moved by Elliott’s writing and I am looking forward to getting this book in my hands. Even more so because there are ghosts involved.

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (March)

Froi the bad boy turned good is center stage in this follow up to the amazing Finnikin of the Rock.

Into The Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger (March)

“Pammi has a secret – she is an Able. At night, she travels through time to an ancient city called Zanum. She’s been visiting Zanum since she was seven and she’s kept it a secret from everyone-including her own mother. Especially her mother.

Everything’s been fine . until now.

On the night of an important Zanum ceremony, Pammi follows her gut instinct and defies an elder’s orders, inadvertently leading evil directly to the door of the city she loves. Now the evil that plans to wipe out the ancient city is coming after her. Can she save herself, and Zanum, before it’s too late? Or will she seal the doom of all Ables and witness the annihilation of everyone she loves?”

Whenever an artist I am a fan of admits to being pushed to the brink emotionally at the time they were creating their most recent work, I can’t help but to want it that much more.

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis (May)

Teenage twins Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are lucky. Ysabel’s jewelry designs have already caught the eyes of the art world and Justin’s intelligence and drive are sure to gain him entrance into the most prestigious of colleges. They even like their parents. But their father has a secret—one that threatens to destroy the twins’ happy family and life as they know it. Over the course of spring break, Ysabel and Justin will be forced to come to terms with their dad’s new life, but can they overcome their fears to piece together their happy family again?

I love the name Ysabel but more importantly I am always impressed by Davis and after reading her first two novels, I know she has a way with family dynamics.

The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (May)

The author published the Big Splash way back in 2008, (I called it a cross between Dick Tracy meets Half Moon Investigations meets Codename KND) so I had pretty much given up on a sequel. So I am very excited about this release.

37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon (May)

Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed. Her father has been in a coma for years, the result of a construction accident, and her already-fragile relationship with her mother is strained over whether or not to remove him from life support. Her best friend fails even to notice that anything is wrong and Ellis feels like her world is falling apart. But when all seems bleak, Ellis finds comfort in the most unexpected places. Life goes on, but in those four fleeting days friends are lost and found, promises are made, and Ellis realizes that nothing will ever quite be the same.

Magoon actually has two books (a very nice surprise for my reader’s heart) coming out, Fire in the Streets (Aug), the follow up to awarding winning and excellent The Rock and the River.

Speed of Light by Amber Kizer

This is the third book in Kizer’s Fenestra series, I love how well the characters and storyline are developing together. I think it’s one of the best YA series out right now that deals with angels. The second one was released just this year, so this one coming out so soon after is a pleasant surprise.

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani (Jan)

This is a wonderful debut with a main character that’s hard not to love.

GirlChild by Tupelo Hassman (Feb)

This novel has some serious YA cross over appeal and should not be missed.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick (March)

A must read for Chris Crutcher fans. This excellent debut was the first 2012 novel I read. If the rest of my reading year continues as is, I may have to send the author a note of thanks.

For now I’ll say thanks so much to The Book Smugglers. May everyone find a lot great books to love in 2012 Happy Smugglivus.


Two people can win one copy of one of Doret’s favorite books of their choice. To enter, just answer two questions in the comments:

1. One novel you loved by an author of color this year
2. A novel you’re looking forward to reading in 2012 by an author of color.

The contest is open to residents in U.S., Canada and Mexico only and will run till December 24 11:59PM (PST). Good luck!


  • Jodie
    December 20, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I didn’t know Happy families had a cover – so excited. And can’t quite believe Neesha Meminger is going to write a fantasy novel. So many exciting 2012 books on this list.

  • Charlotte
    December 20, 2011 at 4:22 am

    I like it when Doret recommends books–I’ve never been disappointed in reading one I heard of from her, so thanks for this list, Doret!

    My favorite author of color book for this past year is Huntress, by Malinda Lo, with Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor, and The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout runners up.

    And I’ll join Jodie in looking forward to Neesha Meminger’s fantasy!

  • SandyG265
    December 20, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I enjoyed Huntress. I don’t have any idea what I’m going to read in 2012.

  • rhapsodyinbooks
    December 20, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I loved Substitute Me by Lori Tharps and am disappointed it didn’t get more play. I can’t wait to read the new book by Zetta Elliott and the Meminger and Magoon and well, how can one narrow it down? :–)

  • JenP
    December 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I really loved Malinda Lo’s Huntress and am looking forward to Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days!

  • jude
    December 20, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was a huge favorite. Love her books and fingers crossed for a sequel. N.K. Jemisin’s The Kingdom of Gods also great as was Tananarive Due’s My Soul To Take. I am going to check out Huntress right now.

    I don’t know who is releasing another book in 2012, but would look forward to something from any of these authors as well as new ones I learn about along the way.

  • Kaethe
    December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

    1. I’m going to list two for this year’s reads, because they’re so very different: “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang was an awesome mix of the traditional and the comtemporary; whereas “Lilith’s Brood” by Octavia Butler was just awesome old-school science fiction.

    2. Well, since I’m behind on my reading, I’m looking forward to catching up with all of Doret’s great recommendations, but I think “Huntress” and “Happy Families” are the two I’m most eager about.

  • Shannon H
    December 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I really enjoyed reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin, and I cant wait to get the rest of her stuff for Christmas.

    And next year I am looking forward to reading Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh

  • Na S.
    December 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I like these recommendations. It turns out most listed are new to me. I’m looking forward to trying Nalini Singh’s books next year. I have heard so much about them.

  • jenmitch
    December 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    well i think i might cheat a bit and just talk about two authors. i loooved the inheritance trilogy by nk jemisin and can’t wait for her new books coming out! i’ve also really enjoyed reading her blog — its helped me to see a lot of issues regarding race and racism, especially in speculative fiction, that i might not have been aware of otherwise. she’s fab.

    another fave author i discovered this year is david anthony durham. i ate up the first two books of the acacia trilogy, and i’m eagerly awaiting reading the last one, which came out in october, but i’m waiting for my dad to finish it first (grr).

    thanks for the great post!

  • Sara
    December 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I am loving this list. All of these books look great, but I’m saddened to realize that I don’t think I’ve read even one book by a person of color this year (which doesn’t mean much, since I’ve not read a lot at all this year)… but I am hereby vowing to read more by authors of color next year. Thanks for this post!

  • Jenn B-H
    December 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I very much enjoyed Tayari Jones’ latest novel “Silver Sparrow.” I was a big fan of her debut “Leaving Atlanta” and was glad to see her in good form for the latest and all the media attention it’s gotten. It’s nice to see artists of color get good press and lots of it!

    I also read Percival Everett’s “Erasure” which was re-released by a new publisher, Graywolf Press and was utterly surprised and enamored with his writing.

    I’m looking forward to sitting down and finally getting to “American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar. The book was well hyped at Book Expo about a young man from Pakistan who grows up in the US. Sounds interesting and I’m always eager to hear more about other cultures and assimilation.

  • scribe kira
    December 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    huntress and i have so many books i’m looking forward to in 2012, i have no idea!=o)

  • Rachel
    December 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I loved N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, which I finally read this year, as well as Dia Reeves’s “Bleeding Violet” and “A Slice of Cherry,” which were fabulous. As for books I’m looking forward to next year, N. K. Jemisin’s new duology will be released, and I cannot wait!

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  • Em (Love YA Lit)
    December 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Lots of exciting titles for 2012! I’m most excited for Zetta Elliott and Jacqueline Woodson’s releases, but there are plenty of others in the list above that I’m also dying to check out (Boy 21 is way up on my list too!).

    My favorite book that I read this year by an author of color was definitely Zahrah the Windseeker (though it is far from a new release). My favorite 2011 release by an author of color is Level Up by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham – such a great graphic novel.

  • Rachael L
    December 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    What Can’t Wait was a book I enjoyed reading this year. I am looking forward to Beneath a Meth Moon for 2012. Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Stephanie
    December 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    1.I really loved reading Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.

    2.I’m looking forward to reading The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa in 2012.

  • de Pizan
    December 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    1. There were several, but probably the latest two books in Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series.
    2. Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

  • Justine
    December 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Legend by Marie Lu was a fast and fun read. I haven’t looked ahead to 2012 releases, but I plan to read Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai because it won the 2011 NBA for YPL.

  • Ari
    December 20, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger

    I’m looking forward to all the books on this list…and also The Ash Mistry Chroncles: Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda and The 3rd book in The Agency series by Y.S. Lee 🙂

    I love how you find all these amazing-sounding books

  • Evelyn N. Alfred
    December 21, 2011 at 8:32 am

    1. I loved Akata Witch and currently enjoying Slice of Cherry.

    2. Anytime Jacqueline Woodson has a book coming out, I’m looking forward to it. Zetta’s book sounds good too.

  • erin
    December 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve only managed to read the first few pages of How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen, but those first few pages are so hilarious that I keep booktalking it to people on that basis, which means it’s always checked out, which means I haven’t gotten to read it yet!

  • draconismoi
    December 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Zoo City was a lot of fun (when did that even come out I know I read it this last year) ….and does Nnedi Okarafor have anything in the pipeline? I can’t wait for her next book.

    My problem is that I was unemployed for 2011. I’ve got a VERY long list of books I need to buy with my new paycheck, and am not sure which are already released and which are forthcoming. Let’s Play White by Chesya Burke is right at the top of my must-buy list. Oh yay! It’s already out. No waiting! Hmm, maybe this won’t be a problem after all. An epic book-buying binge to make up for a year of deprivation. Mwhahahaha!

  • Mia
    December 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I read both of Dia Reeves books, Bleeding Violet and Slice of Cherry, twice this year. Any book that get’s a re-read less then a year after I first read it has to be at the top of my list. Her characters are so awesome, strong, proactive, confident, and crazy as hell. Love it!

    Everyone has been talking about N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy so that’s been pushed to the top of my TBR list. I can’t wait to see what everyone’s been talking about!

    I’m also going to catch up on Michelle Sagara’s Elantra Chronicles. I think I’m three books behind at this point.

  • Ashley Hope Pérez
    December 24, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the love for WHAT CAN’T WAIT and THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY! I love being in such awesome company. 🙂

  • Lucy
    December 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I’m so bad at knowing much about the authors I read beyond their names (I only start looking them up when I read multiple stories) but I did read Huntress by Malinda Lo and I’ve earmarked several of these for the new year.

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  • Sarah B.
    December 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Can’t say I read any of these books but Huntress looks really good!

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