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The Best of 2010

I've only been blogging since the very end of June, so this doesn't include books I've read in the first half of the year. However, here's a list of all the books that I've given 5 stars (in my old rating system) and anything between A- and A+ (in my new rating system). I've included an excerpt of each review.

The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint. "Despite my less-than-high expectations, this was an incredible book... Imogene is a spunky, strong female protagonist, and I am such a sucker for those. She's tough and rebellious, and when she moves to Newford, she decides to bury her less-than-pristine past (it involves knives) and, without changing her punk image, wants to be a little tamer. I admired her strength countless times throughout the book; she was fearless in the face of both the bullies and the faeries, yet still flawed."

Hate List  by Jennifer Brown. "But Hate List made me tear up a total of five times throughout those 405 pages. It was such a wrenching book. I can't even imagine what it has to be like when everyone thinks you're guilty, including yourself. I love that Valerie is so real. At times she can border on whiny, and I did find her pre-shooting morbidness a little disconcerting, but in the end, she's just a flawed person.... [T]his harrowing and raw book is something I really would recommend to everyone."

City of Bones  by Cassandra Clare. "...Jace is a little bit obnoxious here and there, but it's all part of his uber-hot charm. Oh, yes, he's uber-uber-uber-hot. He's the embodiment of hotness. Squared. I love his clever comments (especially that cuckoo thing - I can't get over the awesomeness of that) and his witty remarks. They make great comic relief without getting in the way of the story... I'm probably the last person in the world who hadn't read it, but if you haven't, you must. It's not an option."

Mockingbird  by Kathryn Erskine. "Mockingbird was powerful and honest. No matter how old you are, it's still a moving read, and definitely worth being picked up. It's really eye-opening to see the world through Caitlin's eyes, how she doesn't always understand idioms or why when people smile they're not always happy. Some people found her affinity for art to be cliché, but I thought it added a nice touch to the story even if it is used a lot."

North of Beautiful  by Justina Chen-Headley. "As soon as I finished the book, that brilliant, eloquent thought popped up: "Oh man." This book is definitely worth of an "oh man". Also the five awards it won, but the "oh man", too. The narrator, Terra Rose Cooper, has one of those voices that are so nice and easy and entertaining to read, but at the same time is somehow real and raw and emotional. From the hooking first sentence (because, oh yes, that is how you start a novel), the voice drags you in and in and in, and the next thing you know, you're crying for Terra and laughing for Terra, and after a while, you're pretty darn sure you are Terra."

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. "The characters weren't the only amazing thing about this book - the writing was wonderful. As Samantha learns and matures and grows, there are these passages that are written so heartbreakingly, so truthfully and honestly and realistically, that I had to read them a few times to ingrain them in memory. Before I Fall had the kind of writing that makes your chest hurt a little bit, and you can bet my brain was going in overdrive as I was simultaneously reading and analyzing analyzing analyzing the structure, the words, the sentences, the emotion, so perfectly captured." 

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. "One thing I have to say is this book isn't for the faint of heart. It's disturbing, intense, and heartbreaking all at once. If you don't think you can handle it, you probably shouldn't read it. But if you can, I highly, highly recommend it... This book doesn't open your eyes - it tears them open. Read it, if you can."

Liar  by Justine Larbalestier. "So when I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't this. I didn't anticipate being completely swept in to the point where I had to struggle to put it down. I never thought there would be passages that were so honest and heartbreaking and confusing that I would read them over and over again until the words were ingrained in my skull. And it definitely never occurred to me that this would became my favorite book, ever... That was the most amazing facet of the story, simply that you can't tell what part of the narration is true... The ending blew my mind. I would honestly count this ending as the best ending I have ever read in a book. It's been two months since I read this, and I still think about that ending. The last line echoes in my mind over and over again."

The DUFF  by Kody Keplinger. "Bianca is absolutely amazing. She's sarcastic, cynical, drenched with wit, and one hundred percent honest... Bianca doesn't just have a voice, the pages leak voice. Every word is sopped with it, each one unmistakably hers. She's smart and even funny at times, while still maintaining the seriousness of the story... This is an edgy book. It has sex scenes that the author was clearly not afraid to write, and so it's more for a mature teen audience - not something you'd want to hand to a tween."

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel. "This is definitely the best-written character I've read in such a long time - she was well-developed, honest, and so imperfect. I loved that the author didn't shy away from all the evil things she did before, all the murders and tortures and cruelties, and yet made her a sympathetic character without making everything seem sugar-coated and false. She was sorrowful and intelligent and mature... So many parts were practically like poetry, because they were so beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking."

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. "This book is the very definition of different, and its characters are no exception. Mackie was quite possibly the most real and surreal character I've ever read about... The Replacement was definitely creepy and ominous, and it brought "dark" to entirely new levels. This wasn't dark like forbidden-love or sexually-abused-child - this was dark like pitch black, middle of the night, what the hell is happening dark." 

Definitely some common themes here!

So what are some of your favorite 2010 books? What did you think of the books on my list? 


Katie said...

So many, many wonderful books. Before I Fall almost made my Top 10 (narrowly edged out by If I Stay). I'm so thankful I finally started the TMI series so that I can mentally chime in "Yay!!" when I see City of ___ references. And I'm dying to read Mockingbird!

Cheers to another great year of blogging and reading in 2011 :)

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