Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Book Lists, Pt. 3: Mood Reads

Best Debuts of 2010
I'm telling you, these YA debuts just keep getting better and better every year!

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Fast-paced dystopian that blew my mind. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010)

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Jeri's writing experience shows in her first YA, which is a wonderfully imagined paranormal on ghosts. (also on: Paranormal, Love Triangles, Wonderful Worlds, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
There are really no words to describe Steph's first novel. It's charming and will make you swoon, then make you reread it over and over every time you want a pick-me-up romance, along the lines of my favorite romantic movies. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Night-In Reads, Winter Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Nice Guys, Boarding School Settings, Books with Athletes, Diverse Reads, Escapism for Smart Teens)

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
A high-tech dystopian novel featuring smart characters and interesting extrapolations of social networking to consider. I loved it! (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Diverse ReadsImportant Themes, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
An incredible achievement, an engrossing depiction of high school with mean girls and heartbreaking character growth. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads)

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
This one's right up there alongside Kristin Cashore and Robin McKinley in terms of high fantasy worlds. I can't wait for more books by Leah Cypess! (also on: Fantasy)

The Iron Fey, Book 1: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Fun faerie drama that sucks you in with its vivid writing and endearing characters. It seems like it would be just a shallow faerie romp, but it's actually so much more than that. (also on: Fantasy, Summer Reads, Love Triangles, Nice Guys, Wonderful Worlds)

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
This is one twisted story... and I mean that in the best way. There is just something about the way Dia's characters make light of the shocking bizarreness of their town that makes this book successfully straddle the fence between the excitingly weird and the too weird. (also on: Paranormal, Families, POC, Different Reads)

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Beautiful writing frames a wondrous fairy tale-esque story, full of magic, myths, and one adorable talking cat. (also on: Fantasy, Beautiful Writing)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
This teen author sure can write one sharp and sexy story! Bianca's self-image issues are entirely relatable, even though we may not all be blessed with her tough skin and sharp tongue for self-defense. And, yes, Wesley is reminiscent of those rakes that we love so much in historical romances. (also on: Summer Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Bad Boys)

The Agency series by Y. S. Lee - A Spy in the House and The Body at the Tower
This mystery series is Victorian lit pitch-perfect, exciting, and contains an Austenian romance. I love what Ying has done with this time period and don't think I can wait until 2012 for the final book in the series! (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Winter Reads, Mysteries, Historical Fiction, POC, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Hush by Eishes Chayil
A powerful read about sexual assault in the Jewish Hassidic community that succeeds in being both hilarious and heartbreaking. Don't dismiss this one so quickly: it's up for the William C. Morris Award. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads, Important Themes, One for the Awards, Canonicity)

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
A fun fun fun paranormal romance, with an unabashedly girly (but not necessarily annoying) protagonist! Now those are rarities in the paranormal genre. (also on: Paranormal, Guilty Pleasures, Bad Boys, Wonderful Worlds, Beautiful Covers, Humor)

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
A beautifully written and emotionally wrenching read about art, schizophrenia, and the tenuous nature of mother-daughter relationships. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, Families, Exceptionalities, Books with Artists)

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Historical fiction with a twist, as this is the first book I've heard of that deals with the impact of the Cuban Revolution on children. (also on: Historical Fiction, POC)

I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get enough of this genre. Whenever I find a great dystopian or sci-fi read, I want to jump for joy and shout it from rooftops! Or, um, I'll just stick to raving about it on my blog.

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
This sci-fi tale has been out for a few years, and I'm so glad I discovered it. Alison Goodman is an incredible writer, able to build wholly mesmerizing worlds without seeming to break a sweat. An interesting way to approach human-alien relationships and the paradoxes of time travel. (also on: Night-In Reads, Wonderful Worlds, Canonicity)

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
Man, writing a fourth annotation for this book without being annoyingly repetitive is hard. Suffice it to say that fans of thought-provoking dystopian lit need to put this on their radar, like, yesterday. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Diverse Reads, Important Themes, Escapim for Smart Teens)

The Hunger Games, Book 3: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I commend Suzanne Collins for the brave way in which she ended arguably one of the best YA series of all time. The whole series is worth reading, obviouslyyy, but this one is worth giving a second chance to if you blew through it the first time and were disappointed. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Memorable Protagonists, Canonicity)

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Ditto my above "annotation" for The Unidentified in this one. There is little I haven't already said in praise of this series. Oh, maybe I'll mention that there is one hot sergeant if you have a weak spot for men in uniform... (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010)

Nothing by Janne Teller
Creepy in a Lord of the Flies-esque way, and totally worth the read if you are not of the faint of heart and appreciate a more philosophical read. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Different Reads, YA for Adults, One for the Awards)

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Not out yet, but will be in less than a month! Beth Revis' debut ought to inspire legions of aspiring writers to try their hand at sci-fi as well. As a sci-fi lover, I appreciated this murder mystery/political conspiracy set aboard a spaceship. (also on: 2011 Books to Anticipate)

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
What would happen, in the near future, an avian flu pandemic wiped out half of the world population? This apocalyptic read will remind you of tense suspense movies, and the emotional elements will hit close to home. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Adult Reads for YA)

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
In the future, the new frontier is...Mars. Durango is a kind of soldier-for-hire on free-for-all Mars society, and his latest assignments gets him in some deep danger involving cannibals and flesh-eating alien creatures. Also? The AI implanted in his mind is hilarious. How can you resist that premise? (also on: Memorable Protagonists, Diverse Reads, Humor, Different Reads)

The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen
An ecotechnology thriller featuring a nice-guy protagonist and chases across the landscape. A fast and furious read.

Matched by Ally Condie
In Cassia's perfect world, people are matched with their ideal partners. But Cassia begins to see the cracks in her society when she begins to fall for someone with whom she was not matched. The writing is gorgeous and may excuse even the underdeveloped characters. (also on: Love Triangles, Wonderful Worlds)

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude
In the future, women are greater in population and power. Another quick dystopian read that will fill up your evening in an action-packed way.

The Line by Teri Hall
What if an invisible barrier enclosed what remains of the United States? There would obviously be something mysterious lying beyond the barrier. The Line sets us up for what should be a very intriguing sequel.

Night-In Reads
These books will make you want to cancel all your evening plans, change into your favorite pajamas, and shut out the world for a few hours in your comfirst couch, with a glass of water nearby.

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
As I said above, this is rollicking sci-fi, with a smartass protagonist and an amazing world. Why don't more people know about this book?? (also on: Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Wonderful Worlds, Diverse Reads, Canonicity)

WVMP series by Jeri Smith-Ready - Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone, Bring on the Night
Any of Jeri's books will tempt you to cancel your evening plans, really, but her adult vampire series in particular is just so well written, with a wonderful cast of characters and a romance that will rock your world. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Nice Guys, Mass Market Paperback Love)

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
A tale of a girl and a dragon befriending one another when the rest of their respective species is on the brink of war with one another... I just love the worlds Carrie Vaughn creates! (also on: Fantasy, Wonderful Worlds, Different Reads)

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce
It's an easy and not-too-long read, and I devoured it in one sitting because I fell head over heels in love with Alanna and her attempts to be "one of the boys." (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Fantasy, Memorable Protagonists, Girl Power)

Millennium Trilogy, Book 1: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Despite all its hype, this book requires dedication to get through, particularly the first 300 pages. For some reason, though, past that point, I just couldn't put this 600-page book down. Action-packed, horrifying, and thought-provoking. You should be done with it before you know it. (also on: Mysteries, Horror/Suspense/Thriller, Girl Power)

The Infernal Devices, Book 1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Any Cassandra Clare book warrants a snuggle in your favorite reading chair. Devour Tessa, Will, and Jem's story just as fast as you did The Mortal Instruments. (also on: Paranormal, Love Triangles, Guilty Pleasures, Beautiful Covers, Diverse Reads)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Everything amazing about this book has been said already, but it really will suck you in, leaving you gasping for air, and make the time fly, dream-like. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Quiet Gems, Nice Guys, Messy Relationships, Wonderful Worlds, Beautiful Writing, Diverse Reads, YA for Adults, Canonicity)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Why go out when you can spend the night with one very adorable British/French/American young man, roaming the sights of Paris? (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Winter Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Nice Guys, Boarding School Settings, Books with Athletes, Diverse Reads, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Any Courtney Summers book will require your utter attention for a few hours, and her latest is no exception. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Messy Relationships)

Winter Reads
Books that will likely feel that much better read by a warm fire (or heater, you know how these things go) while the rest of the world is frozen.

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
A sweeping paranormal romance that covers small Southern towns, New York City, connections that span historical eras, and a dangerous mystery. A lot more engrossing than the book's summary makes it sound, actually. (also on: Paranormal, Eternal Romances)

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Bronwen is the too-smart-for-her-own-good teen who gets in over head when her serious boyfriend. Utterly enjoyable and reminiscent of the best kinds of snarky, light-hearted contemporary romances for those of us with brains. (also on: Feel-Good Reads, Nice Guys)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Ditto what I said above about reading this book. The chocolat chaud, dude. Not to mention both Anna and St. Clair's horrible holiday experiences, lol. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Night-In Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Nice Guys, Boarding School Settings, Books with Athletes, Diverse Reads, Escapism for Smart Teens)

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
Truly nothing seems to scream "wintry!" than a cute story about lattes and matchmaking.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
This gorgeous changeling tale needs to be read as you sit by a window overlooking the bleak winter landscape. Because then your reading setting matches Mackie's mood, man. (also on: Paranormal, Beautiful Writing)

Caster Chronicles, Book 2: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Ethan and Lena's characteristic Southern gothic romance and their journey deeper into the Caster world feels like late-night fireside reading to me. (also on: ParanormalEternal Romances)

The Agency series by Y. S. Lee
For some reason, I always think of Victorian London as this cold, dreary, and tough place to live. Sort of like winter, y'know. Why not indulge yourself with this resourceful female spy's story? (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Mysteries, Horror/Suspense/Thriller, POC, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Jane by April Lindner
Jane Eyre always felt rather gothic to me, perfect for a dreary-day read when the weather doesn't inspire you to go anywhere. (also on: Retellings)

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Oh, this is a holiday read, for sure. Set in New York City over Christmas break, this he-said/she-said romance will make you laugh and your heart flutter. (also on: Feel-Good Reads, Humor)

Summer Reads
Books to pair with your happy sunny days outside!

The Iron Fey, Book 1: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
This wondrous faerie adventure tale is chock-full of fantastic characters and vivid descriptions of other worlds. (also on: Fantasy, Best Debuts of 2010, Love Triangles, Nice Guys, Wonderful Worlds)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
A fast and furious contemporary romance, with bite. Good for a day when your mind is on high-alert, not feeling sluggish. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Feel-Good Reads, Bad Boys)

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Well, of course you have to read the books with "Summer" in their titles during the summer. This is a sweet tale of first love that will break your heart. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, Nice Guys)

And Then I Found Out the Truth by Jennifer Sturman
This is the sequel to And Then Everything Unraveled. Delia's mother was apparently lost on a trip to Antarctica, but the rest of the book--the dealing with high school issues, wandering around New York City, traveling to unravel mysteries--feels very summery-action-y to me. (also on: Mysteries, Supporting Characters)

Jump by Elisa Carbone
This is a seriously underappreciated contemporary story of rock-climbing, romance, and family dilemmas. A lovely and engrossing read that crosses the US. (also on: Quiet Gems, Books with Athletes)

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Jessie is utterly relatable with her feelings of being lost after her old friends abandon her. Luckily, she has the support of her adorable family and her new, albeit nerdy, friends! Vive le nerd! (Also, she loves to read YA. Can I be friends with her please? I'm a nerd too!) (also on: Feel-Good Reads, Supporting Characters)

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The ultimate summer read, as this book contains--what else?--a road trip romance. And the plus side is that it's wonderfully well written, charming, and contains pictures and playlists as well. (also on: Eternal Romances, Feel-Good Reads)

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Set in the lonely but wondrous Australian desert, this tale of Stockholm syndrome and humanity is heart-breaking and eye-opening. You will not want to put it down. (also on: Quiet Gems, Best Villains, Beautiful Covers, Different Reads, One for the Awards)

So what are your favorite debuts? Sci-fi/dystopian novels? What books can't you put down? Let us know in the comments!

Back to: Master List | Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Guest List #1 | Pt. 3 | Guest List #2 | Pt. 4 | Guest List #3 | Pt. 5 | Guest List #4 | Pt. 6 | Pt. 7 | Guest List #5 | Pt. 8 | Guest List #6 | Pt. 9 | Guest List #7 | Pt. 10

Linked titles go to my book reviews; annotations as inspired.


  1. I have been adding so many books to my TBR list because of your "Best Of" lists. Thanks!

  2. Steph! I'm going to boycott these lists before my TBR just topples over. :P

  3. Your 2010 lists are definitely my favorites; I especially love all the different categories. And I keep adding books to my "to read" list!

  4. Well your list has kept me busy for a long while. I've been backwards and forwards between here, Goodreads and Amazon adding books to my wishlist and I even purchased The Things That Keep Us Here for my Kindle. I hadn't heard of some of those before. Thanks :)

  5. I agree with so many of these! The others, I just haven't read. Thanks for the to-read list.

  6. Very extensive and comprehensive list!

  7. I love the Winter Reads section... I'll have to pick up a couple of these books to read by the fire over my holiday break! I'm super excited!


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