Part 8 and the last part! It's been fun doing this. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on these lists, and so I'm sure I'll work on them again next year. Hope you enjoyed them!
With hype generally centered around a handful of very similar books, these are some spectacular ones I read this year that definitely deserve your consideration.
A sweeping fantasy epic of evil ambitious sorcerers, dragons, prophecies fulfilled, and a girl disguising as a boy. On top of it all, the protagonist is handicapped. A truly incredible book that will keep you glued to its world. (also on: For Fantasy/Magic Lovers)
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
An extremely odd but oddly touching story about a male and a female that exist inside the same body--and their different desires. (also on: GLBTQ/Gender, Smart Reads, Something Different)
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander
This is an absolutely adorable story of small-town heart in the face of relatable adversity (bullies, dreams of recognition, etc.). Fans of Catherine Gilbert Murdock should definitely read this one! (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Feel-Good Contemporary Realism)
The Sky Always Hears Me, and the Hills Don’t Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
This little-known debut novel is one of my favorite books now. Featuring a snarky protagonist and a huge variety of teen angsty issues, it might not shoot to the top of your favorites list for everyone like it did for me, but nearly everyone will be able to appreciate the little quirks like Morgan making up fortunes. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Great Protagonists, Smart Reads)
Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Meg Cabot blurbed and then blogged about this book back in August or so, and if you like Meg's books, you really can't go wrong with any of her recommendations (she also blurbed and blogged about Malinda Lo's Ash, which completely blew me away, so you can see Meg's range of reading interests). (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Feel-Good Contemporary Realism, Romance, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests, For Older Teens)
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
A fantastic voice, a cut above the usual YA lit. The crassness and irreverence of Sutter may not be for everyone, but I really liked how it was different from anything I've read. (also on: Humor, For Boys, Great Protagonists, Smart Reads, Something Different)
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Smart, funny, and with an utterly good message. Read this and you'll probably start to be put off by the thought of junk food too. (also on: Feel-Good Contemporary Realism, If You Like Sarah Dessen, Smart Reads, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests)
When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
An utterly readable coming-of-age story set in 1940s West Virginia and written from the point of view of a teenage guy. The father-son relationship arc was a little on the light side, but there are plenty of pranks, victories, and tragedies to go around. (also on: Historical Fiction, Give This To Your Parents Too)
Shug by Jenny Han
Jenny Han fully channels Judy Blume in this adorable book about a girl realizing how she just might have to grow up, and that the people she used to trust may be different now. (also on: Middle Grade)
Swim the Fly by Don Calame
Completely hilarious story of three male friends over the course of a summer. There's swimming, bathroom humor (like, literally), a courting grandfather, cross-dressing...and so much more! (also on: Middle Grade, Humor, For Boys)
When you need something quirky or different than the norm, consider these books here.
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
A love story that is not a love story, full of radio talk shows and odd adventures by the most unlikely pairing of characters possible. (also on: Beautiful Books)
Again, something that's not your usual fare. And trusting by the number of times this book has been showing up on my lists, I think it's time to pass the nonstop recommending off onto Courtney Summers. :) (also on: Humor, For Boys, Great Protagonists, Smart Reads, Most Overlooked)
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
This awesome Tenner's book is captivatingly original in its voice but with familiar aspects of the supernatural. (also on: If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire Academy, Great Protagonists, Smart Reads)
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
A cute blend of lighthearted urban fantasy with relatable teenage girl worries. (also on: Humor, POC)
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman
Not your typical coming-out novel. This one's also a blend of theatre geekdom and sisterly tug-of-war. (also on: GLBTQ/Gender)
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King
This is a swashbuckling tale that spans centuries, worlds, and culture.
Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
How often do you read a book about the religious controversy over the scientific theory of evolution? (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests)
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
Along the same lines, when will you get to read a book about a boy and a girl sharing the same body--actually morphing into one or the other depending on the time of the month? (also on: GLBTQ/Gender, Smart Reads, Most Overlooked)
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
It's dystopian with a twist of court drama, sure to baffle and amaze you. (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads, Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For Boys, Use in Classrooms, Smart Reads, For Older Teens)
And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
Supporting characters are a little weak, yes, but again, this is not your average teen-girl read, with a twist that involves ecoadventure, political conspiracy, and missing people. (also on: If You Like Sarah Dessen, Smart Reads)
I enjoy novels a whole lot more than short stories, but these (most of which I had to read for class) I could hardly put down. These are nice choices if you are looking for some short fiction.
No one tops Alexie at what he does, which is to infuse his characters with all the appeal and quirks of their Native American culture and make them supremely easy to empathize with and relate to. (also on: POC, Branching Out: Adult Fiction & Classics)
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
I simply love Flannery O'Connor. She is the queen of irreverence, and her stories would be offensive if they weren't so ironically spot-on true. (also on: Branching Out: Adult Fiction & Classics)
Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis
Only if you're Lydia Davis can you get away with one sentence being a short story.
Haunting prose about Dominicans in and out of the Dominican Republic. (also on: POC, Branching Out: Adult Fiction & Classics)
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
All three stories in this collection are delicious combinations of paranormal, fantasy, romance, and Eastern-flavored culture. (also on: Beautiful Books, For Fantasy/Magic Lovers, POC, Beautiful Writing)
So You Want to Start Reading YA
Well, GOOD FOR YOU! Here are some that probably represent what I feel is the best of this genre and will leave you begging for more.
Join the craze that's sweeping YA and see if you don't get caught up in this top-notch dystopian read. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Bids for Canonicity, Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For Boys, Great Protagonists, Use in Classrooms, Give This To Your Parents Too)
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Another winner from one of the best contemporary YA authors out there. My personal favorite is still This Lullaby, but after AFTR you will surely want to pick up more of Sarah Dessen's books! (also on: If You Like Sarah Dessen, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests)
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Readers of all ages, genders, and genre preferences will not go wrong with this one, a wonderful reimagining of alternate World War I history. (Beautiful Books, Best Bids for Canonicity, Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For Boys, Give This To Your Parents Too)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
A Newbery medal-worthy story of a young, smart, and curious girl living at the turn of the twentieth century. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction)
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
All of Sara Zarr's books are written in direct but effective language and deal with tough issues with no easy answers. (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads)
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
Truly one of a kind with its teen male perspective on the Iraq War, written by one of the most powerful and lyrical YA authors of the decade.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The sci-fi concept of time travel incorporated into this classic coming-of-age tale set in post-Vietnam NYC is absolutely incredible. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books Published in 2009, Best Bids for Canonicity, Smart Reads, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests)
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
A classic fantasy adventure tale with a delightfully modern AND magic feel. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books Published in 2009, For Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Retellings, Romance, Night-In Reads, Beautiful Writing, Great Protagonists, Smart Reads, Most Crush-Worthy Love Interests)
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
An asteroid hits the moon, and, well, bad things start to happen on Earth... written as the diary of a run-of-the-mill teenage girl. (also on: Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, Give This To Your Parents Too)
2009 Book Lists, Pt. 1 // Pt. 2 // Pt. 3 // Pt. 4 // Pt. 5 // Pt. 6 // Pt. 7
Return to the Master List of 2009 Book Lists!