One of my children asked me recently if I’d ever given a book I’d reviewed an A+. I said I hadn’t. He then asked if I thought I ever would. I said yes, that in fact, there was a book I’d reviewed this past year and had given an A- to that I now see as an A+ novel (Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke.) “So what’s an A+ book?” he asked. “Let me think about it,” I said.
Not only did I think about it, I did some research. First, I checked how many A+’s AAR has given over the years. (21, and none since 2007.) I then asked my colleagues at AAR what they would consider an A+ book and if they’d ever read one. The responses were varied, yet many had similar qualities.
Sandy said, “An A+ book is a book that satisfies on every level. It is, in fact, a perfect book. I’ve given just one A+ and that was for Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer, a book first published in 1932 that I loved as a teenager and still love today. In my case, it was a book that stood the test of time. I wish now that I’d given an A+ to Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory. I gave it the typical A- back then and I regret it now.”
Wendy L agreed with Sandy and added, “Yes, and it has to provoke an emotional response, either crying, laughter, or anger to make it an A+ for me.” She listed The Truelove Bride by Shana Abe, Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair, possibly Charming Grace by Deborah Smith, and oddly enough Dooly and the SnortSnoot by Jack Kent as books that would rate an A+ for her.