Best of 2009 (in no particular order)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – You’ve probably heard all the hype by now. I thought it was completely warranted. This book made me cry in public. Yep. Couldn’t stop, and I didn’t care.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – A gripping, rattling, non-stop action read. It ripped me up inside, and I was amazed again by the strength of dystopian YA lit as a genre.
Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh – I love paranormal romance with a strong heroine and unique world-building. This one sucked me in with a dark story and characters I loved/hated/thought were really hot.
Wake by Lisa McMann – Up-front one of the most engaging and mysterious YA novels of the year. Really gripping storyline, and a couple of completely unforgettable teenage protagonists.
The Mysterious Benedict Society – I’m a sucker for clever films. Turns out I’m a sucker for clever children’s books, too. This was so SMART, and fun, and I loved it to pieces. I gobbled it up and was absolutely enthralled by the plotting and pacing of this delightful mystery.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – My first foray into proper ‘steampunk.’ A delightful action adventure that ran across Europe and introduced the reader to characters as inventive and courageous as anyone could wish for. Left me DYING for Behemoth, the sequel.
Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede – Wrede is one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors, and she doesn’t disappoint in this first entry in an alternate American West. Eff and her multitude of brothers and sisters are a joy to hang with, and I’m all set for the next installment.
House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones – A follow-up of sorts to Howl’s Moving Castle, and another quirky, funny, and sometimes bizarre fantasy tale. All sorts of fun. Really.
Peter & Max by Bill Willingham – Bloodthirsty. Fairy. Story. Adventure, murder, mayhem, magic, Happily Ever After. “What?” you say? Just plain awesome. Go read it.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – A rollicking good mash-up of zombies and a fiction classic. Both the writing and the illustrations made me laugh aloud at various points, and I gained a reputation as a zombie-lover by recommending this to friends.
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev – Theater/fairy story with a surplus of charm and energy and verve. Really wonderful writing to boot. What’s not to like?
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – The man can WRITE. Like, whoa. I read an excerpt from his recent War Dances, and that led me to this one. Full of laughter, tears, life lessons and again, ridiculously good writing.
Soulless by Gail Carriger – You know how I mentioned love of paranormal romance and steampunk? This one marries the two with the wittiest and most entertaining dialogue I can remember reading. A jolly good time.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – I read theological books, but don’t often “enjoy” them. This one…it makes you think about heaven and hell and what the divide between the two really is (if there is one). Lewis is a classical scholar and writer who can couch these deep spiritual truths in simple language and metaphors.
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – Take bizarre to outer reaches. Make me laugh at alien abduction stories. Do the dark in a light fantastic sort of way. You end up with this stellar short story anthology. I wasn’t a fan of the form before, but I sure am now.
Troll’s-Eye View by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – A children’s short story anthology, with contributions by the masters of fantasy. Fairy stories told from the villain’s point of view. Another volume that made me re-think my aversion to short stories. Super awesome.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – An absolute classic in sci-fi – the only mystery is why it took me so long to read this one. Because it blew me out of the water. Isolation and genius so well-portrayed. Was beyond impressed.
The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan – Hottest teenage hero of the year award goes to Nick. He’s not good for you, but he’s compelling and you have to love him. I can’t wait for more of Brennan’s writing – and swords kept under the sink.
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund – Space school, mystery, touching romance. Put in pot, stir, add a dash of betrayal, uncertainty and distrust. Produces an amazing book that you’ll want to re-read.
What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – This author guarantees multiple laughs, teary eyes and a happy ending. Truly wonderful romance/women’s fiction. I can’t get enough of Ms. Phillips – some of my favorite standby comfort fiction, and this one will join the stable, no problem.
And that's all for now, barring any intense, amazing reads in the next couple of days. *smile*