Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 Book Lists, Pt. 2

Best Books Published in 2009
The following books were all published in 2009; therefore, there may be some overlap with books on my Best Books I Read in 2009 list, but there may also be new and well-deserving ones as well!

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Courtney's debut novel is just so, so powerful that you'll probably see it appear often on my lists. The characters may not be the most likable, but Courtney's straightforward prose will definitely be appreciated by any kind of reader. And Amazon says it was apparently published in Dec. 2008, but Courtney is a Deb, and Jan. 2009 was her original release month, so I'm calling it legit. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Thought-Provoking Reads)

Fire by Kristin Cashore
Not just your average fantasy novel, but one that perhaps equals Robin McKinley's in power and complexity. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Sequels of 2009For Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Use in Classrooms, Smart Reads)

Ash by Malinda Lo
Lush writing transforms Cinderella back to its roots of magic, mystery, and true love. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorFor Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Retellings, Beautiful Books, POC, Night-In Reads, GLBTQ/Gender, Beautiful Writing, Best Covers)

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
A flawed but still lovable male protagonist, an unexpected but incredible ending. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire Academy, Great Protagonists)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
(also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best CoversTearjerkers)

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
(also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, For Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Retellings, Romance, Night-In Reads, Beautiful Writing, Great ProtagonistsSmart ReadsMost Crush-Worthy Love InterestsSo You Want to Start Reading YA)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
(also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For Boys, Horror/Creepy)

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
This book definitely deserves more publicity. An in-your-face look at the dark side of suburban teenage life. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Thought-Provoking Reads)

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R. J. Anderson
(also on: Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorFor Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Middle Grade)

Fat Cat by Robin Brande
(also on: Feel-Good Contemporary Realism, If You Like Sarah DessenSmart ReadsMost Crush-Worthy Love InterestsMost Overlooked)

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
(also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Bids for CanonicitySmart ReadsMost Crush-Worthy Love InterestsGive This To Your Parents TooSo You Want to Start Reading YA)

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
(also on: Feel-Good Contemporary Realism, If You Like Sarah Dessen, Summery Friendship Reads)

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Enough with silly love/lust-at-first-sight romances! The development of Viola and Jinn's relationship is gradual, and thus rare in YA lit, and well-appreciated. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorFeel-Good Contemporary Realism, Summery Friendship ReadsTearjerkers)

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
This might be the first YA book I've read that deals so well with the emotional aftereffects of Sept. 11th. The writing is beautiful: you'll want to underline every other line. (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads, Beautiful Writing, GLBTQ/Gender)

For Paranormal Lovers
Paranormal lit seems to be the big thing this year in YA, and for good reason. It's often a great blend of the romantic and dangerous, and reading these books will send shivers of delight down your spine, like something like this just might exist out there, and you would never know...

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Definitely the best YA vampire series out there. Richelle is the J. K. Rowling of vampire lit. The complexity of her world and the development of her characters are the marks of an extremely talented author. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Romance, If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire Academy, Great Protagonists, Use in ClassroomsSmart ReadsTearjerkers)

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
A rural Pennsylvanian high school senior gets told by the mysterious new European guy in class that she's to be his intended vampire bride--and things only get better from there? The middle is a little slow and confusing, but the ending, and the way in which Jessica proves her worth, is one to remember. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, Romance, If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire Academy, Best Covers)

Once a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
I don't read that many stories about witches, and this one is surprisingly well written, very readable.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Who has NOT heard of Hush, Hush by now? If you want a book about a bad-boy fallen angel, this is what you want. The romance between Nora and Patch is reminiscent of Twilight, but darker, and thus more delicious. (also on: Romance, For Twilight Lovers, Best Covers)

Ghost Huntress, Book 1: The Awakening by Marley Gibson
The author really knows her ghost-hunting info. This easy-to-read series will appeal to younger teenagers who are on the brink of wanting something darker.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
The series that inspired the hit HBO TV show True Blood is a bit different from its screen adaptation, but proves worthy of its many fans, with an intriguing world, a steady voice, and lots of romantic appeal. (also on: Romance, If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire Academy)

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
This is an adult vampire book, and the protagonist has all the charm, snark, and overexcessive thinking as Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling. If you're ready to take your vampire love to the next level, consider this one. (also on: If You Can't Get Enough of Vampire AcademyFor Older Teens)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I love big, fat YA books. The world that Kami and Margie have created is atmospheric and intriguing. You'll want to sink right into this magical South. (also on: Beautiful Books, For Twilight Lovers, Best Covers)

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
It starts out a little slow, but debut author Bree Despain has woven an attention-grabbing story that builds to a terrific finish. (also on: For Twilight Lovers)

Historical Fiction
The best historical fiction novels transport you to another time and yet allow you to relate to the characters on a contemporary level.

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley
Elizabethan England with a bit of magic, a lot of political intrigue, and a dash of romance, narrated by a great protagonist.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
This book is SO GOOD. You will fall in love with Callie Vee's voice, as well as her interactions with the world and people around her. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorMiddle GradeGive This To Your Parents TooSo You Want to Start Reading YA)

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Atmospheric historical fantasy with a darker tone. It sets up great possibilities for the next books in the trilogy. (also on: For Twilight Lovers)

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans
The "adult" content of this Edwardian tale may not be suitable for all readers, but the world in which the innocent Anne must navigate under the possessive gaze of the king is really rather addicting.

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
A set of vignettes revolving around a boy's coming of age in West Virginia as steam engines are gradually becoming outdated. The writing is vivid and lots of fun, yet also poignant, as it is also the story of a boy's relationship with his father. (also on: Give This To Your Parents TooMost Overlooked)

The Season by Sarah MacLean
For those who like their historical fiction gossip-y and replete with secrets and society balls.

Ophelia by Lisa Klein
An original look at the woman who supposedly committed suicide in the Shakespearean play. This book has some great feminist overtones.

Beautiful Books
Illustrations, color, and size are sexy. Scholastic takes the trophy with their marvelous use of color within the pages. Other publishing companies, take note!

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Jim Di Bartolo's accompanying red, black, and white pictures are simply stunning and add to the whimsical, magical, and dangerous mood of Laini's stories. (also on: For Fantasy/Magic Lovers, POC, Beautiful WritingShort Stories)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue text throughout! (also on: For Twilight LoversTearjerkers)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator Keith Thompson proves that books can indeed become a more fulfilling experience when pictures are included. Perhaps this book will start a new trend among YA fiction? (also on: Best Bids for Canonicity, Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For BoysGive This To Your Parents TooSo You Want to Start Reading YA)

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Definitely one of the most unique covers out there. I love illustrated covers, and this one is absolutely perfect for the story! (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorFor Fantasy/Magic Lovers, Beautiful Writing, Best Covers)

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
The amount of pink in this book may be slightly off-putting to non-girly-girl readers, but what's really beautiful about this book is the use of pink for the chapter titles and bolded font in the story. What a great idea, Scholastic. (also on: Something Different)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
It's big and proud. Plus, the cover is shiny with foil. (also on: For Paranormal Lovers, For Twilight Lovers, Best Covers)

Ash by Malinda Lo
Another one with an incredible cover and beautiful section divides. (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books Published in 2009, Best Books By a Debut YA AuthorFor Fantasy/Magic LoversRetellings, POC, Night-In Reads, GLBTQ/Gender, Beautiful Writing, Best Covers)

Thought-Provoking Reads
These books may not be the easiest ones to read, but they'll definitely make you flinch and think. Hard.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Again. Brilliant. Moving. Astonishing. A real work of literary art. What more can I say? (also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books Published in 2009, Use in Classrooms, Best Covers)

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
(also on: Best Books I Read in 2009, Best Books Published in 2009, Best Books By a Debut YA Author)

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
A kidnapping within her community causes Samara to question her faith, and what it really means to believe. I like this book because it's set in a strong church community but does not preach to readers. Oh, and it's also exceedingly well-written. (also on: So You Want to Start Reading YA)

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
A no-holds-bar examination of suicide and its impact on those who are left in the aftermath. I can hardly believe this is written by a debut author. (also on: Best Books By a Debut YA Author, If You Like Sarah Dessen, Best Covers)

Willow by Julia Hoban
You may call Willow the character a serial cutter, but you may call Willow the book, written in an ambitious but ultimately successful 3rd-person present-tense POV, an astonishing book about learning to love yourself--even if you're not as extreme as Willow is. (also on: Best Covers)

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Courtney's sophomore novel deals, in some ways, with more difficult material than her first book. This is a book about bullying, from the point of view of one who bullied and is now being bullied. (also on: Night-In Reads, Best CoversFor Older Teens)

Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Probably the first book to deal so openly with Sept. 11th. The subject in itself is enough to show the emotional impact of this book. (Also on: Best Books Published in 2009, Beautiful Writing, GLBTQ/Gender)

Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
There is no novel quite like this, which deals with religious challenges against the teaching of evolution in schools. It's uncomfortable, but it's GOOD because it makes you uncomfortable, makes you suffer and grow along with the flawed characters. (also on: Most Crush-Worthy Love InterestsSomething Different)

Stitches by David Small
This "graphic novel memoir" about the author's abusive childhood feels like a horror movie at times.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Valerie is left to rebuild herself and answer questions after her boyfriend opens fire on his schoolmates, injures her, and then kills himself. If you want to read a YA book about the impacts of school shootings, well, this is the one you're looking for.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett
The concept, writing, and ending of this sci-fi/dystopian novel are all wonderfully original and superbly accomplished. Read this if you want a book that makes you go, HUH? and immediately want to reread in order to understand more. (also on: Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Steampunk, For Boys, Use in ClassroomsSmart ReadsFor Older TeensSomething Different)


2009 Book Lists, Pt. 1 // Pt. 3 // Pt. 4 // Pt. 5 // Pt. 6 // Pt. 7 // Pt. 8

Return to the 2009 Master List of Book Lists!


  1. Great list Steph! Thanks for sharing :)
    I've read some, and I will definitely try to read the rest of the books on the list!

  2. This is an incredible list. The ones I read from it, I totally agree -- which means the ones I haven't read are now on my TBR!

  3. Wow, awesome list! There are definitely a lot I agree with up there, especially the beautiful covers section. I'm such a sucker for gorgeous covers, lol. And I usually hate pink, but I have to admit I loved How To Say Goodbye In Robot's format. Great picks. :)

  4. Steph, I'm so thrilled to see CUTB on your lists. THANK YOU for that honour. It really means a lot. Also, I believe any book released after something like December 18th (I could be wrong on the exact date, but I was told this applies for publishing) is a 2009 release, so it's legit!!! Anyway, thank you again. This really made me smile. :)

  5. You picked some great books! The Stolen One (from the historical fiction list) was one of my favorites this year.

  6. Wonderful list! I will have to check out a few of the books I haven't read! :)


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