Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Nine of 2009

Here are the directions for Holiday Break Reading Challenge Assignment #14:

Today's challenge is to think about all the books you've read that came out in 2009. You have two choices. You can either post your Top 9 of 2009 or choose 1 favorite book of 2009.

Of course, I have too many favorites to ever choose one book, so I'm going to post my top nine favorites of 2009. I have to admit that I haven't read some of the hottest 2009 titles, but I do plan to read them in 2010.

Here goes:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I loved reading this book because I was super scared that the sequel to the Hunger Games would be a tremendous disappointment. I was thrilled to find this well-crafted, interesting follow-up to one of my favorite books ever. Nice job, Suzanne Collins. Can't wait to read the last book in the series in September 2010.

2. Paper Towns by John Green. I love John Green. I think that he's one of the most brilliant writers of our time. He's kinda like a modern J.D. Salinger but with a more friendly, positive vibe. I will read anything he writes because I've loved everything he's written. Paper Towns is no exception.

2. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halse Anderson is a master of young adult lit. I've not absolutely loved everything that she's written, but I do love this title. It deals with eating disorders in a fresh, intimate, realistic manner. It's well-crafted and engaging. I can't wait for the chicks in the Chick Lit Book Club to read it!

3. Love is Higher Law by David Leviathan. I was a little nervous to read this book, but I should have trusted and known that Leviathan would not have written poorly about such a sensitive subject. I loved that Leviathan chose to tell this story with three protagonists rather than just one. We see the events of 9/11 through a variety of perspectives, and not all of them are "perfect". He doesn't provide solutions or answers, just tells it like it probably was for a lot of the confused, scared teens who experienced 9/11 firsthand.

4. Tricks Ellen Hopkins. I love Ellen Hopkins' books. She does a decent job with poetry, and a great job with the development of meaningful, dynamic characters in a short space. I love that her books look so daunting in their four or five inches of thickness, but are quick reads in reality. This one, though, came together better than any of the others that I've read by Hopkins. It tells the story of five teens who end up selling themselves in some way. They all make compromises and lose part of all of themselves in this process. It is emotional without being whiny and informative without being preachy. I can't wait to see what topic she tackles next!

5. Gone by Michael Grant. I loved Gone because it was entertaining and I never knew what would happen next. It was a bit like the television series Heroes mixed with the Lord of the Flies. I have the sequel to this book sitting on my To Be Read shelf, and hope to read it soon.

6. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. I loved this mystery/ coming of age novel because it did not wrap itself all up in a pretty bow and end perfectly. I loved the real-seeming struggles of the main characters and the voice of the main character. Zarr is an excellent writer and I look forward to reading her latest book, Once Was Lost.

7. In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey. I find that YA Lit novels that deal with drug use tend to sugarcoat the realities of drugs and often leave off with the main characters in rehab or fixing their problems on their own. I have had some friends who've struggled with drug addiction, and life doesn't always turn out well afterward. I've also seen lots of teens who need help, but cannot afford a fancy rehab program. This novel doesn't gloss over the effects of drug use. In fact, it does a great job of showing two very different outcomes of using drugs like ecstasy.

8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I wanted to love this book a little more than I actually did, but I did like it well enough to put it on this list. I have not always been a fan of science fiction, but I am growing more and more fond of it as well-written titles are published. The premise of this novel is interesting, though pretty implausible. I look forward to the sequel to see where Dashner is going with this story.

9. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Like The Maze Runner, I wanted to love this title more than I actually did. I loved the idea of the novel and the cover is beautiful. I think that the writing was just okay, but the ideas behind the story and the questions that it raises makes it a worthwhile read.

In addition to posting this list, I'm going to list nine of the books that I SHOULD have read in 2009. I know that this list is more extensive than what I've written here, but HOPEFULLY my 2010 list will include all kinds of exciting titles!

So, here's what I know I need to read ASAP:

1. Shiver by Maggie Shiefvater. (Already on the To Be Read shelf and TBR list!)

2. Marcello in the Real World by Fransisco Stork. (Not yet purchased, but I hear it's mandatory reading for anyone who works with children who have autism, which I do!)

3. Hate List by Jennifer Brown. (In transit from amazon.)

4. Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles. (Need to get; great cover.)

5. Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia. (Girls are not always nonviolent. Sometimes they bully with their fists as well as their words. Good for discussion, I think.)

6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. (Great title and an awesome series from what I hear! In transit from amazon.)

7. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. (Another great title and cover. Sounds like a great read!)

8. The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin. (Beautiful cover; awesome reviews.)

9. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Derek Kirk Kim. (Sounds like an adventure!)

So there it is! I hope to read all of these titles and the best upcoming ones of 2010. Phew. I better go and get started. I've got a lot of reading to do!


Anonymous said...

I loved THE MAZE RUNNER too. You really put together a good reading list to start with in 2010.

scott said...

Paper Towns is THE best John Green book (period.) Although, Looking For Alaska was really built up for me before I read it :( So, of course, it disappointed! Gone is also stellar. I haven't read Hunger, but I think I may work on my serieses next year.