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VB's Best of 2018: Childrens and YA

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It would be impossible to post all our favorite childrens' and young adult (YA) books of 2018, but VB Booksellers were willing to give it a try! Keep this list handy if you're shopping for younger readers this holiday. Many are also available as audiobooks at libro.fm. Next up: our 2018 fiction favorites. 

CHILDRENS' BOOKS

Drawn Together by Minh Lê

A grandfather and grandson duel and bond through the language of drawing. Naturally, the artwork is stunning. ~ Recommended by Diana

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Where the Watermelons Grow follows 12-year-old Della, who is afraid that Mama’s schizophrenia is getting worse again. She desperately wants to fix her before that happens, but soon must realize that Mama is her loving Mama no matter what. This vivid and heartfelt piece of work is Baldwin’s debut! ~ Recommended by Hana

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Creepy, mysterious, and impossible to put down, Neverworld Wake is more than your typical young adult novel. It's also a tense psychological thriller with strong characters and a slightly twisty plot that delivers on substance over archetype. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late to read about Rielle and Eliana, two badass women and two stories set one thousand years apart. How they intersect, you’ll have to read to find out! ~ Recommended by Lauren

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

An epic fantasy series in the making! Based on West-African mythology and folklore, this is the start to a series that I cannot WAIT to keep reading! Did you love The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and the fantasy worlds of Leigh Bardugo? This is the book for you. ~ Recommended by Lauren

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Though I'm not usually the dragon-reading type, the world created by Hartman is one where you fall in and you can't leave it behind. Tess owes much to Jane Eyre and Tess of the D'Urbervilles in the best ways while having its own unique heroine who is only trying to walk her own path. ~ Recommended by Sarah

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara finds a voice in poetry to explore her thoughts about her very religious mother, her newly changing body, her brother's secrets and the harassment suffered every day as a young woman. Written by a National Poetry Slam champion and winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. ~ Recommended by Sarah

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

When 17-year-old Darius’ grandfather falls ill, his family visits their Persian relatives for the first time in Darius’ life. This heartwarming tale of self-discovery and friendship – set between the parallels of Portland, OR, and Yazd, Iran – is a great reminder that no matter where we are, the ones we love are always there for us. ~ Recommended by Rachel

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Vampire slayers, faking being a vampire, and a little misunderstanding lead to an adorable graphic novel on a middle-school love. References (and pokes fun) at other vampire pop culture, while being relatable to all ages. Great artwork, great story. ~ Recommended by Jenni

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Sequel to "Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda". Albertalli brings us back to Creekwood High to let Leah share her story on what it’s like to dive into the unknown. College and girls and prom dresses? Leah never knew senior year (or her feelings) could be so complicated. ~ Recommended by Jenni

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Based on the true story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, this beautiful novel is vivid, heart wrenching, and undeniably gorgeous. Told in stunning verse, Blood Water Paint is the truly magnificent tale of a young woman battling to be heard in a world that does everything it can to silence her. ~ Recommended by Hana

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

It’s present day-ish So Cal and the government has turned off the water, reserving what little there is for “critical services.” Teenager Alyssa watches as her community goes animal in the days following the shut off. The Shusterman father/son duo has created a scenario that feels all too believable and is totally unsettling. ~ Recommended by Claire

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Mystery! Adventure! Romance! Blue-skinned gods! This book has it all. Sarai and Lazlo’s epic story continues in this very satisfying conclusion to Strange the Dreamer. ~ Recommended by Laura