Book reviews & writing tips from a wannabe YA writer
With Christmakwanzahanukkah well over, I bet all those gift cards are burning a hole in your wallet. So let me help you spend them.
In order of lesser known to most popular*, these are the best 10 books I read in 2009. I got all but one of these books from the library, so I slapped a $$$ icon next to books I’m going to spend my gift cards on this week. These are the titles I foresee rereading one day or lending out to my non-YA-reading friends.
In the mood to drool over a sweet new honey? Try these 2009 releases.
Jack Tumor by Anthony McGowan $$$
When’s the last time you read a book with a talking brain tumor? That’s what I thought. This book has gotten the least attention of my entire top 10 list, and that’s a damn shame. It even has the stamp of approval from my reluctant reader hubby. (Psst, Guys Lit Wire, this one’s for you!)
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine $$$
Another absolute hottie that didn’t get nearly enough play in its first year in the US. Rowan is a girl dealing with grief and a depressed mother, which sounds like a drag but add in the love interest and clever writing, and this one will hit all the right spots.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson $$$
A haunting beauty of a book. Knowing that it was about a girl dealing with an eating disorder, I didn’t want to read it. But I saw it in a bookstore, read the first 15 pages, and was hooked. It took all my self control to put it back on the shelf and wait for it to come in at the library. Which is funny since this Friday, I’m going to my local bookstore to buy a copy to keep anyway.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The second book in The Hunger Games trilogy is bit of a tease. But in a good way. You’ll have to wait til August for the final installment, but in the meantime you can have a taste of the juiciest love triangle in all of YA.
Sure, they’ve been around the block a few times. But trust me, they know what they’re doing. You won’t regret taking them for a spin.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta $$$
This story unfolds a little at a time. Every time you get another glimpse of the full picture, it’s like a finger beckoning you to come hither. A bit of a heartbreaker tempered by humor and hope.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The sexual tension and flirty banter will get you all aflutter, but the depth of the story will hit you where it counts. This one has the added bonus of a geek chic author, so even if the book isn’t your cup of tea, you can flip back to the author photo every now and then to get your fix.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
My review is forthcoming, but in the meantime I can tell you that this dystopia has just the right amount of social and political commentary (i.e. barely any at all) with the perfect dose of heart-stopping mystery and love.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Girls who kick ass get my heart racing (see also: Buffy), and Katsa could kick your ass in the time it would take you to flip to the next page. This is fantasy done right: The world rings true, and the sexy bits will warm you up on a nippy night.
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Parker is a perfectionist who’s made a huge mistake. From the first page, it’s obvious she’s having a hard time coping with that reality. With her biting sarcasm and dark humor, she’s not a fun person to be around. But she sure is a good read.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The cougar of this list has an undercurrent of war that will keep you on your toes, but the 15-year-old narrator makes the book. Don’t be fooled by the name Daisy—she’s no vapid little flower. Her funny, clever storytelling is likely why this book is the most popular* of all the titles on my 2009 list.
For a complete guide to all the “best of” lists out there, browse the “Best of 2009″ Book Lists.
*Popularity determined by Googling the title plus the author’s name, then counting the number of hits.