Today's mini assignment for the Clear Away the Clutter Read-A-Thon is to choose the top six books that I've read so far in 2010. The books don't need to have been published in 2010; I just need to have read them in 2010. This mini challenge is being sponsored by the La Femme Readers blog. There is a chance to win two ARCs: Possessed by Kate Cann and Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison if you complete this mini assignment and link back to the La Femme Readers blog page.
Here goes (in no particular order):
After by Amy Efaw. This book astounded me in its ability to take such a difficult subject (a baby abandoned in a trash can by a teen mother) and turn it into a lesson for us all. I took away a greater understanding of what it means to hide from the truth and to avoid reality. I also think that this book developed one of the most realistic characters I've ever read in any book. I can't wait to read more from this new author.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray. I'm not a fan of humorous novels, but this one is fantastic. There is a wonderful absurdity to this novel that I've not read in any other. It's like this giant road trip adventure read, but nothing about this plot it trite or predictable. It's laugh-out-loud funny (it's not easy to make me laugh out loud while reading) and well-crafted. A must-read.
The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Like After by Amy Efaw, The Hate List tackles a hugely disturbing topic in a realistic, respectful manner. In this case, the topic being explored is a deadly school shooting and the aftermath of the shooting. I felt like the teens I met in this book could exist in my school. There are no stock characters in this book and the plot is suspenseful but not overdone. I think that all educators and teens should have access to this book.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. More and more, I have begun to open my mind to reading titles like The Graveyard Book. Normally, I might have passed this title by because I tend to go for heavier fare. But, I have found that I actually enjoy a more fantastical, whimsical plot line. The Graveyard Book is nothing if not fantastical. Despite the element of fantasy, I feel in love with little "Nobody", or "Bod" as he's nicknamed. I was rooting for him and I read certain chapters in an absolute panic. A great read!
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the Twilight series. It was okay and I found myself turning pages rather quickly to find out what happened, but all the while I was reading I knew that the quality of the writing did not warrant the obsessive sort of attention that the series was getting. Not true with Shiver. Shiver was an engrossing, well written, thoughtful book. I am not a huge fan of werewolf stories, but I loved this book. Loved. And, I can't wait to read the sequel!
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. This book solidified the fact that John Green is the J.D. Salinger of this generation. (For me anyway.) Salinger was a linguist genius. Green is too. The plot, the characters, the humor, the double entendres all work. Like Bray's Going Bovine, this is a road trip story. And, also like Going Bovine, there is nothing predictable about this road trip. I knew that Green was brilliant after reading both Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, but this book being awesome turned my love for him into a sort of groupie obsession. While reading it, I found myself looking at his picture. The more I read, the handsomer he got. And I'm happily married! I will read anything this man writes. He's a brilliant man.