- Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
I only managed a mere 65.
This same blogger did a 50 YA books challenge. Totaling my books, I still come up short because I have too many nonfictions and middle-grades on my list. And two are repeats – I read them on my own and then with my children. It counts, right?
Still, I see meeting this challenge a success. On July 20th I’d only read 20 books since January. But after my push to read more, I added another 45 to the list.
As a teacher, I like to be able to talk about some of the books my students are reading. As a children’s book writer, I’d better be familiar with what’s out there. And reading makes me a better writer.
So as 2010 comes to a close, here are my 10 favorite books of the year:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (middle grade fantasy)
This novel had me hooked in its first pages. He has such a lovely voice both on the page and as the reader of his own audio book. It’s about a boy struggling to figure out where he came from and longing to be free of the graveyard that protects him. I’m impatient for Gaiman to write something new.
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell (nonfiction)
I recommend all his books. Gladwell makes any topic interesting and I always feel smarter for reading them. I’ve referenced him several times on my blog.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (middle grade to YA fantasy)
I know, I’ve mentioned my adoration of HP before, but rereading the books in a row this summer crystallized what’s so fantastic about them. The stakes get higher in each one. The author strikes a good balance of whimsy, humor, and dark issues. And it has the best ending to a series. Ever. So I can forgive her overuse of dialogue tags and adverbs. (She said, cheekily.)
Girl Coming in for a Landing by April Halprin (middle grade novel in verse)
This was my first novel in poems. Through the main character, the author captured the hopes, fears, and awkwardness of middle school adolescence poetically. Lovely.
On Writing by Stephen King (nonfiction how-to/memoir)
Evermore by Alyson Noel (YA Paranormal)
This book had a good balance of mystery, chemistry, and teen believability. It deals with grief and moving on. There’s a “Is he or is he not bad?” boy in it. Sometimes those characters annoy me but this one wasn’t too bad because it wasn’t the only plot device. I finished the book in a day. I don’t know why I haven’t read the rest of the series.
Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins (middle grade fantasy)
I loved The Hunger Games, but Mockingjay did not live up to my expectations (Problems: MC didn’t grow, believability, and hastily written hollow ending). After finishing it, I became curious about her other series. I enjoyed these five books from beginning to end. What an interesting world. Collins tackles many of the same issues; who’s good and bad, right and wrong is often complex and murky. She should’ve kept this last book in mind when writing Mockingjay.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (YA Paranormal)
This was a fun twist on the vampires and other creatures. The protagonist is a great mixture of toughness and vulnerability, and it actually has a nice guy/love interest for a change. The clever book held my interest the whole way through. Where is that sequel?
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (middle grade contemporary)
If you like books with a strong voice, the protagonist in this has a wonderful one. After her mother dies, her MIA father sends his Parisian ex-wife to care for her in a western town of 42, but Lucky doesn’t believe the woman will stay. The ten-year-old girl and the characters touched me. I highly recommend this one.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (middle grade fantasy)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (I’m not reviewing it because I already gave the author BLOG LOVE).
The Hating Game by Talli Roland (I’m not reviewing it because Talli received plenty of BLOG LOVE too. Hope it’s still selling well, Talli. When it comes out in paperback, I’m buying one for my mom!)
What were your favorite books of 2010?
Please share in the comments section.
I wish you all a Happy New Year! xo