New YA: January 24.
There is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff:
It wasn't just the tone that reminded me of Douglas Adams. It was the warmth—it was how Meg Rosoff was able to poke fun at (and sometimes skewer) humankind (and our mythology), while also conveying a sense of never-ending affection, wonder, and empathy. There's a sense of hope, too, but it's a realist's sort of hope—one that takes the past into account—so while there are brief, perfect moments of beauty, everything is tempered with a cheerful sort of pessimism.
My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan, by Seth Rudetsky:
Despite Justin's voice—and he really did make me laugh quite a few times—I found him a difficult character to like. Part of that was certainly due to his desperation to be popular, as there were moments when he took Trying Too Hard—which is never an attractive quality, though it's certainly not an uncommon one—to an excruciatingly new level. He was so self-absorbed that he treated people poorly, and despite his brains and his wit, I never felt like I connected with him. I can deal with an unlikable character that I understand/connect with, and I can deal with a likable character who I have to work to understand, but if I strike out in both arenas... eh.
Diabolical: Tantalize #4, by Cynthia Leitich Smith:
Fun stuff, as always. If you like the rest of the series, Diabolical shouldn't disappoint. The strongest aspect, as in previous installments, is in the worldbuilding. That isn't to say that any of the other aspects are weak—the characters are likable and believable, the dialogue rings true, the different voices are all distinct, and the action is fabulously entertaining—but it's the worldbuilding that really shines.
I loved this one. It dealt with domestic violence, spousal and child abuse in a realistic, believable way. While there were some utterly gut-wrenching, horrifying moments, I never felt that it was exploitative, and I never felt that Avasthi was working from a list of statistics about domestic abuse. (A lot of books that deal with Serious Issues do feel like that, so I think it's worth noting that Split didn't.)