Welcome to Smugglivus – Day 27!
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2009, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2010.
Today’s Guest: Lenore, the force behind the excellent YA/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction blog Presenting Lenore. Lenore is a goldmine for great reads and upcoming titles, so we were thrilled when she agreed to write a piece for us for Smugglivus!
Please give a hand to Lenore!
Picking favorites is hard to do, especially in a year which produced such stellar YA reads. I would estimate that at least 30 of the 130+ novels I devoured this year were solid 5 star winners. But for Smugglivus I am going to share 5 of the YA novels that went above and beyond for me.
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor. The first short story in this collection, Goblin Fruit, was hands down the best piece of writing I read this year. It is intoxicating perfection, so amazing that I read several times in a row, once even out loud to savor the language. I talked about it so much that my husband had to read it too, and now he also cannot stop raving about it to everyone we meet. The other two stories are engaging and imaginative as well. So glad I picked this up at BEA (and met Laini). PS – It’s a National Book Award nominee too!
Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King. Reviewer X turned me on to this late last year, and it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2009. This is high concept at its finest with an execution that really delivers. As an extra special cherry on top, I did an interview with the main character of the novel in which AS just blew me away with her creativity. I am also incredibly blessed to have gotten to hang out with her at BEA in May. You rock AS!
If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This one probably touched me most emotionally, and I was surprised at how life affirming a book about death could be. Like I said in my review, 99% of it was pitch perfect, with only one scene I “complained” about. Oddly enough, I met Gayle in Books of Wonder while I was in NYC for BEA and we talked about that scene. She remembered my blog review practically word for word. Now that was humbling!
The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson. After reading this and her The Adoration of Jenna Fox this year, Mary is my go-to author for intelligent and inventive YA with huge adult crossover appeal. I loved it not only for all of its’ quirk and experimental elements, but also for its’ heart.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games was absolutely my favorite book of 2008 and I wanted to get my hands on the sequel so badly, I flew from Germany to New York City to attend BEA, woke up early to stand in line (in the rain) to get tickets just to stand in Suzanne Collins’ signing line, and begged Sharon (loves books and cats) to let me cut when the time came. I didn’t get to read it immediately, but I spent an afternoon on a rooftop hotel in Barcelona a month later utterly enthralled and completely immersed in Panem. WOW!
There you go. Five wonderful books I loved this year. I’ll have a list of ten more of my 2009 faves up on my blog today if you want more.
So what is in store for 2010? I’ve got my eye on these 4 more than any other…
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Ok, kinda cheating because I already read this incredible mind-bending debut back in September, but I can’t wait for it to release in March because I want everyone else to read it. I adored this so much it just may be in my all time top ten list… Yes, you heard me right. YOU WANT THIS!
Book 3 in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Of course! Don’t make me wait until August Scholastic! Don’t make me go through Suzanne Collins’ trash!
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein. Yep, this is the picture book illustration debut of my husband Daniel and I’ve been there during the entire 2 year publication process, so obviously I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my hands when it finally comes out in June. I hope you all find it as fun as I do!
The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart. I read Undercover and Nothing But Ghosts this year and loved both of them. Beth can do no wrong by me, so naturally I am VERY excited about this one which is due in March.
Thanks for inviting me to share Ana and Thea!
Next on Smugglivus: Liz and Mark of My Favorite Books