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City of Saints & Thieves Blog Tour

Ten of the Best Books and Why You Should Read Them

The Children’s Book Review | January 17, 2016

Natalie C. Anderson is an American writer and international development professional living in Geneva, Switzerland. She has spent the last decade working with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014–2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints & Thieves. Here are her top 10 favorite middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction books …

Top 10 Favorite Reads & Why


When You Reach Me by Rebecca SteadWhen You Reach Me

Written by Rebecca Stead

This is such a perfect MG book. Stead’s writing is so clear but captivating, and I love that it’s a complex, time-traveling mystery, but is still accessible to young readers. It has such heart, too, without being sappy. It’s really one of those books that all ages can appreciate on different levels.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Yearling | 2010 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0375850868

One Crazy Summer by Rita WIlliams-GarciaOne Crazy Summer

Written by Rita Williams-Garcia

Rita Williams Garcia manages to look at a tumultuous time in American history through a child’s eyes without it seeming gimmicky or overly sentimental. I love Delphine’s voice, and how she tries to understand her less-than-motherly (but still sympathetic) mother. So well-written, such a layered story of family and politics. Essential reading!

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Amistad | 2011 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0060760908

Harry Potter Book SetThe Harry Potter Series

Written by J.K. Rowling

Yes, I’m one of those unapologetic fans. I love this series so much because it’s just got everything – great characters, a major conflict between good and evil, fantastic humor, a setting you want to live in. But I think the main thing about the series that gets overlooked sometimes is that it’s just plotted so perfectly! Each book is a compelling mystery. Each builds surprisingly but inevitably on what’s come before. This series is one I read over and over and never get tired of. On a personal level, these books really saved me – helped restore my faith in humanity – when I was doing refugee work and hearing horrible, unimaginable stories every day. So thanks, JK.

Ages 10 and up | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

The Chaos Walking TrilogyThe Chaos Walking Trilogy

Written by Patrick Ness

I loved this series from the very first line: “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything. “Need a Poo, Todd.” “Shut up, Manchee.” “Poo. Poo, Todd.” ” And beyond being devilishly clever, it’s such a fascinating premise: what if everyone could hear your thoughts, all the time. And all the women are mysteriously gone from your settler planet in deep space? Add to that phenomenal writing, nuanced characters and a great conflict.

Ages 14 and up | Publisher: Candlewick

The Grisha TrilogyThe Grisha Trilogy

Written by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is such a master storyteller. She builds incredible worlds, populates them with characters you really care about, and makes their battles seem so much larger than life. Her other books are just as good, but this series is the one I will always think of as the one that made me fall in love with her writing.

Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Square Fish

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Written by Junot Diaz

Stop what you’re doing and read this book right now. NOW. Nerdy, love-sick American-born kid in a very Dominican family who references both real-life brutal dictatorships and Lord of the Rings in one breath? It’s like everything I love in one book. It’s epic, charging through secrets, generations, comic-book and fantasy references, banana republic histories – making it all into a breathtaking, life-soaked mish-mash. And the writing is stunning.

Adult Fiction* | Publisher: Riverhead Books | 2008 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-1594483295

The English Patient book coverThe English Patient

Written by Michael Ondaatje

Every single line in this book is pure poetry. I read it as a teenager and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. And the movie is actually just as good. I love both in equal measure. While the plot doesn’t wrap up as nicely as I usually like,it’s so tragic and real, and reading it still leaves me breathless.

Adult Fiction* | Publisher: Vintage Books | 1993 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-1594483295

Beloved by Toni MorrisonBeloved

Written by Toni Morrison

I feel like this is required reading for Americans. Toni Morrison is obviously a genius at writing, but I think this book is her heart being split wide open. It’s so vulnerable, so richly nuanced, such an intimate but respectful portrayal of the effects of someone being forced to withstand the impossible (slavery, sexual violence). It isn’t judgy or preachy. It’s just devastating and life-altering.

Adult Fiction* | Publisher: Vintage Books | 2004 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-1400033416

the-road-cormac-mccarthyThe Road

Written by Cormac McCarthy

I’m starting to realize I don’t have a lot of lighthearted comedies on this list… hmm… here comes another one to make you fall into a pit of devastation. McCarthy’s a word-smithing whiz – I’m pretty sure he keeps a thesaurus of archaic and maybe-only-used-once-ever words beside his computer. Sometimes that’s a pain, but it’s always poetry. (The Crossing is an amazing book too.) This Road is a little more accessible, and that coupled with my fascination with post-apocalyptic worlds, it hits my sweet spot. It also has one of the most heartbreakingly touching parent-child relationship stories I know of.

Adult Fiction* | Publisher: Vintage Books | 2006 | ISBN-13: 978-0307387899

Middlesex by Jeffrey EugenidesMiddlesex

Written by Jeffrey Eugenides

Oh this book, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: epic multigenerational immigrant story: check. Narrator you fall helplessly in love with who is grappling with being intersex: check. Multi-layered coming of age, sex-positive relationships: check. Hilarity and dramatic gut punches in equal measure: check. Amazing writing: check. Need I say more?

Adult Fiction* | Publisher: Picador | 2002 | ISBN-13: 978-0312427733

*all adult fiction above can and should be read by teens!


City of Saints & ThievesCity of Saints & Thieves

Written by Natalie C. Anderson

Publisher’s Synopsis: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

Ages 14+| Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | January 24, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399547584

Available Here: 

Book Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one of five (5) finished copies of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson (ARV: $18.99).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 16, 2017 and 11:59 PM on February 3, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 8, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Follow Along on the Blog Tour

Week One:

1/16 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review

1/17 – Children’s Book Review – Guest Post

1/18 – YA Wednesdays – Favorite Quotes

1/19 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Interview

1/20 – The Moral of our Stories – Review

Week Two:

1/23 – Oh the Book Feels – Review

1/24 – Bibliophile Gathering –Guest Post

1/25 – A Page with a View – Interview

1/26 – Icey Books – Quote Candy

1/27 – Reading Nook Reviews – Review

Week Three:

1/30 – Twinning for Books – Review and Pinterest Board

1/31 – Dark Faerie Tales – Interview

2/1 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – Review

2/2 – ButterMyBooks – Guest Post

2/3 – Folded Pages Distillery – Review

Discover more books like “City of Saints & Thieves,” by Natalie C. Anderson, and article like “Ten of the Best Books and Why You Should Read Them” by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Middle Grade Books, and .

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The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by a guest author.

  • It does sound like an excellent story, I’m sure we’d both enjoy it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    January 17, 2017
  • I love a good mystery and City of Saints and Thieves sounds like it is

    January 17, 2017
  • I am definitely looking forward to this book, and it was fine to see about other classic books!

    January 17, 2017
  • I am here to win books for my friend and myself. In it to WIN it! Thank You!!!!

    January 18, 2017
  • City Of Saints & Thieves is an excellent book! I highly recommend it!

    January 18, 2017
  • As a nail-biter, I found the synopsis intriguing and I am anxious to learn more!

    January 20, 2017
  • I am excited about the release of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson! I am always looking for good YA books for the tweens and teens on my gift lists.

    January 21, 2017
  • I would love to win this book love to read .

    January 22, 2017
  • This sounds like an action packed mystery and I definitely want to check it out !

    January 22, 2017
  • I can’t wait to read it. My daughter and I read books one after another passing them down the line to the next. This is definitely a book that is now on our list and I can’t wait to uncover what lies in wait between the pages of this book

    January 23, 2017
  • A wonderful feature and giveaway. I look forward to enjoying the books.

    January 23, 2017
  • this book looks like one I’d love to share with my students thanks

    January 23, 2017
  • This looks like a great book that would be difficult to put down.

    January 28, 2017
  • This is a great list of books. I’ve read & enjoyed a number of them. I need to get busy reading the rest.

    January 28, 2017
  • This sounds like a great book & would be difficult to put down.

    January 29, 2017
  • I enjoyed the blog post and I’m excited to read this book.

    January 30, 2017
  • City of Saints & Thieves sounds like a great story! I think it will have a lot of mystery and intrigue!

    February 2, 2017
  • Sounds like a great story line. This would be a great win! Thanks for the chance!

    February 3, 2017
  • Yes a and the blog post heightened my suspense about reading the book!

    February 3, 2017

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