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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 in 2010: Best Reads of the Year

Here, in no particular order, are my top ten favorite reads from 2010.  These weren't all published in 2010, I just happened to read them then.  They span genres and styles, and even age groups, but they all had one thing in common: I fell into them and didn't want to leave when I was done.  
Each book cover is a link to my review of the book, with the exception of Sorcery and Cecelia, which didn't get reviewed. :(
I'd love to hear your top 10 list, too!

Before I Fall
I said: "...the fact of the matter is that this book is a gem.  It's not perfect, no, and it will frustrate some people, but it will make you think, and it will make you uncomfortable in the best way, and it will leave it's mark for awhile to come, and that is the sign of a talent and a classic."

A Little Wanting Song
I said: "I enjoyed Crowley's writing.  Her prose was simply beautiful: it was smooth and flowed well in that way that makes it hard to put a book down -- you know you should because it's 2:00am and you have to work in the morning, and as soon as you find a good stopping point, you will put it down, but first, how about one more chapter to see how Charlie reacts to what Rose just did; oh, that's how?  Well, we better see how Rose reacts now...Hmm...maybe one more...  It's that kind of writing.  It just seems effortless, which means there was probably a good deal of effort behind it."

How I Live Now
I said: " It's more challenging than the general YA, which will appeal to adults, but it's got a great relatable voice for teens; there are things going on that are going to keep people thinking about it, that are going to worm their way into reader's brains in the best way.  Pick it up, and when you're done, give it to your mother and/or your daughter, and then discuss it when you're all done.  It could be a really rewarding experience."

The Replacement
I said: "I do want to talk a little bit about the Yovanoff's writing and the choices she made.  On the former, the writing is lovely.  It flows beautifully, and I always had a clear image of the characters, the town and the emotions behind it all.  Which leads me to the latter -- Yovanoff did some really wonderful things with a straightforward story.  It's a typical outsider tale, very appropriate for YA with its discovery and near-coming of age quality.  But it's enriched with so much emotion and understanding that it's sort of transformative. "

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
I said: "[Jessica Day George] crafts a story that is layered and has depth beyond what is generally seen in a fairy tale or retelling.  The traditional elements are there: the downtrodden heroine who, it turns out, has some pluck; the rags to riches; the fantastic element; the danger and tension; the family dynamics, good and bad, and the sort of "karmic" balance -- everything works together to create one of the strongest retellings I've ever read.  George's love of Norway and fairy tales help her create a rich and believable base for a story that shines and flows beautifully.  Things are well developed and rich.  It is very visual and alive, and thoroughly enjoyable."

The Unidentified
I said: "Mariz is great at that gray area that exists in dystopias -- those questions and impressions you get that make 1/2 of you say "Well, this totally makes sense.  Kinda cool, actually" and the other 1/2 say "This is wrong; this is bad."  I think it's great for discussion, about and beyond the book, but even if you're not going to run out and discuss this with someone, it's still completely unputdownable.  So pick it up."

The Year of the Flood
I said: "There's a great amount of tension and "what next"ness.  It's one of those books that you sometimes want to put down and think about what you just read, while at the same time, you don't want to let it out of your hands.  [Atwood] has an uncanny ability to write about the worst in humanity in the most grimly believable way, and yet show you glimpses of what's best about humanity..."

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)
I said: " It's like some weird love-child of We Have Always Lived in the Castle + nostalgic/atmospheric/eccentric/British coming of age lit (think I Capture the Castle) + a cozy mystery. That's some parentage, and it makes for interesting offspring."

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1)
I said: "I was going back and forth between rating this a 4 or 5, but something finally settled it.  You see, I had been reading this on my lunch breaks at work, and then again when I got home at night.  One day, I was at work and it was almost time to leave, and I had the thought "Ooh, I can go home and snuggle up and read some Boneshaker," and then felt crushing disappointment when I realized that I couldn't -- I had stayed up late and finished it the night before.  I felt like I had lost something, or like a friend had moved away.  That settled it, and 5-stars it was."  [side note, I used a lot of big words in this review, and they amused me, so if you want to feel smart for the day, go read the rest of it. ;p]

Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)
I said: Nothing, because I suck at life. But I am going to try to review this in the soonish, and for now will just say that this reads like a YA version of Soulless.  And we all know how much I love me some soulless.
And while we're on the subject of Soulless...

Honorable Mention goes to Soulless, which I didn't include because I didn't technically read it this year -- though I did review it this year.
I said:

"Soulless is exactly what I wanted and didn’t get from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s a pithy, funny, tongue-firmly-in-cheek mesh of Victorian manners and morĂ©s, and absurd occult occurrences. Alexia Tarabotti is an intriguing and amusing MC, completely un-Victorian and yet somehow not out of place. Carriger’s take on Victorian London high society shows a real knowledge of it, while not taking it too seriously. And, man, talk about cover appeal! Love it!
Highly recommended if you like historical, paranormal, satirical, and/or sexy-silly fiction."

What were your faves from this year?


  1. I've read a few of these, and really liked a lot of them! how i live now and Before I Fall were also favorite reads of mine this year. I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow a while ago and loved it too!

  2. I loved Before I Fall and The Replacement as well! I have A Little Wanting Song which I bought because of your review, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Hopefully soon!

  3. Beyond pumped to see A LITTLE WANTING SONG on your list! It made mine too. I only included 2010 releases on my list, but, if I hadn't, I definitely would've included GRAFFITI MOON too. Just as good as ALWS!

  4. I am just finishing The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie right now and LOVE it! I can't wait to read the next book. And, I loved The Unidentified. Several of my students have read it since I brought it into the classroom, and they're loving it too. They're a good barometer for me, being actual YAs.

    Thanks for the list.

  5. Before I Fall is one of my favorites this year too. The Replacement is still waiting on the shelf, I better pick it up some time soon :)

  6. Before I Fall is making my list of top ten this year. I also loved Sorcery and Cecelia, The Boneshaker, Soulless. Sweetness was fun but not my fave of the year. And I added the other two I didn't know about on to my TBR list. Great books!

  7. Aaahh!! I haven't read any of these except for Before I Fall and Soulless. Looks like I need to rearrange my TBR list...again.

  8. I also loved How I Live Now, and you know I loved Before I Fall. I've had A Little Wanting Song on my TBR list for awhile because of your review, and I love the title. And I am obsessed with The Replacement cover, it's awesome. I'll have to check out The Unidentified since I can't seem to get enough of the dystopias lately.


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