Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book roundup: Favorite Books of 2009

The end of another year means a million and one lists extolling the best of anything and everything in 2009. On top of that, this year we have best of lists for the last decade. I have a terrible memory, and spent a significant portion of the decade in college where my leisure reading was sadly limited, so I'm going to restrain myself and simply list what are, in my opinion, the best books of 2009 in alphabetical order (because asking me to rank them would be impossible - they're all so different it's hard to compare).

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher. Issues of class kept coming up in my blogging thoughts this year, so I loved how this book sensitively and realistically portrayed a struggling working class family and how his class had obviously shaped Logan's life. I also loved how the relationship between Sage, a young transgendered woman, and Logan was developed - painfully realistic.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. This book is the reason I got my bosses to pull some strings to I could attend the Book Expo in New York this spring, since that's where the galley was first released. Getting up super early on a Saturday morning and waiting in a massive line at the Scholastic booth was totally worth it. I started to read it in the then-new beach chairs in Times Square, but eventually had to go home to read it because my gasps and giggles were making me feel conspicuous. And when you feel conspicuous in Times Square, you know something's up!

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. Justine Larbalestier wants to write fan fiction for this book. Can anything I say top a recommendation like that?

Geektastic ed. by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. I was giggling hysterically through many of the stories in this collection, either from the inherent absurdity of the situations or recognizing myself in the characters (because I'm nothing if not a geek myself).

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga. Sequel to the fun and poignant Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl, Kyra reminded me so much of myself in high school that it was kind of eerie. Lyga's teen girl consultant obviously did her job well.

Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore. This one was an interesting pair of books - Fire not being a direct sequel, or even really a prequel, but more of a companion to Graceling, since it takes its premise from something of a throwaway line in Graceling. Cashore created two very different yet complimentary heroines in Katsa and Fire - I still think I like Fire more!

The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. The good thing about reading the first in a trilogy several months after its publication date: the sequel is that much closer. But then I read the sequel shortly after publication, and now all I want to know is when I get the third one!!!

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. If for nothing else, this book deserves a place on the list just from how physically beautiful it is. The cover is awesome and shiny, it's slightly larger and on heavier paper than most novels, and then there's the endpapers. I love it. Justine Larbalestier has an interesting post here about the audience for Leviathan - it's picking up lots of new fans (especially boys) who haven't looked at Scott's other stuff. Interesting!

Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Speaking of's her book this year. I still don't think I've wrapped my head around it. I borrowed this from the library, but I think I'm going to have to buy it soon so that I can re-read it whenever I want, trying to read with a different interpretation every time and figure out what the hell really happened. A friend and I IMed back and forth after she'd read the book...and I don't think we actually came to any conclusions.

Rage: A Love Story by Julie Ann Peters. I just finished reading enduring Twilight, and Edward's behavior reminded me so much of Reeve it freaked me out, considering one character was written to be the poster child of teenage domestic violence and the other is supposed to be a romantic hero. I can't believe I haven't seen this on more awards lists - I've only seen it nominated for the Amelia Bloomer list.


Kara said...

Thanks for the great list! I've been working on a 2010 reading list for myself and want to branch out a bit.

I just finished The Hunger Games today, so I'm thinking of picking up Catching Fire tomorrow. Suzanne Collins' writing is so rich, I almost feel like I saw the story in a movie!

Best book I've read in a while.

Angela Craft said...

Glad you enjoyed the list, Kara. Definitely get Catching Fire - though be prepared for a long wait for the conclusion. I heard yesterday that the release date is supposed to be 8/24/10, though no word on a title yet.

And you might get to see the story in a movie sooner rather than later - Lionsgate had optioned the books and Suzanne Collins herself is writing the first pass of the screenplay!

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