Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 Book Lists, Pt. 1: Genre #1

Best Books Read in 2010
Containing the best books I read this year, limited to a 2010 release date.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Beautifully written and haunting in the best way, this 2009 Printz Winner deserves its gold medal. I'd lament about why I didn't read this until now but it doesn't really matter, as long as I've read it!! (also on: Night-In Reads, Quiet Gems, Nice Guys, Messy Relationships, Wonderful Worlds, Beautiful Writing, Diverse Reads, Different Reads, YA for Adults, Canonicity)

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
A shocking and unputdownable look into the mind of a teen driven to suicide by bullying. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads, Nice Guys, Beautiful Covers, Important Themes, Canonicity)

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
This dystopian YA set in a future where resources are scarce is fast-paced and topical, not to mention clever. I mean, there are codes involved! I was the nerd who back in elementary school borrowed all the books my public library had about spies and codes and tried to make one of my own. I wasn't good at it, but fortunately Caragh O'Brien is much more accomplished in that regard. Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010Night-In Reads)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
A sort of dystopic fantasy, in which one main character lives in a huge anthropomorphized prison, the other in a world that has regressed to a 17th/18th-centuary European-esque attitude and appearance. It's a tough read, but highly rewarding. (also on: Fantasy, Best Books Published in 2010, YA for Adults, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce
Yeah. This one's on here because I wanted until 2010, when I turned 21, to read this. But I can totally see why this is practically, like, required reading for every young girl. (also on: Fantasy, Night-In Reads, Memorable Protagonists, Girl Power)

WVMP Series by Jeri Smith-Ready
The first book, Wicked Game, introduces us to a feisty, wit-happy female protagonist and her posse of vampire friends going undercover as radio DJs...including one very sexy DJ/musician. (also on: Night-In Reads, Nice Guys, Mass Market Paperback Love)

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
Satirizing the infiltration of social network sites such as Facebook into our private lives, this debut novel has got the cool premise down, but it also features a memorable narrator and characters. I blew through this one! (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Important Themes, Escapism for Smart Teens)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book was all the rage in the adult lit world last year, and I can see why. Wonderfully written and voice-driven, this is no doubt an epic piece of historical fiction. (also on: Historical Fiction, Adult Reads for YA)

Hush by Eishes Chayil
This immersive story on sexual abuse in the insular Jewish Hassidic community is not only important, but it's also, shockingly, funny. Remember the marriage episode when you read this. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads, Diverse Reads, Important Themes, One for the Awards, Canonicity)

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published this year in the UK, to be published in the US in 2011, this is a stunning, atypical love story that turns out preconceptions of incest on its head. (also on: Eternal Romance, Angst-Filled Reads, Families, Messy Relationships, Different Reads)

Summer, Book 2: It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
I love all of Jenny Han's contemporary fiction. This trilogy has an unassuming love story plot at its core, but is absolutely worthy of praise. (Best Books Published in 2010, Quiet Gems, Love Triangles, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Nothing by Janne Teller
An underappreciated Danish import that's a bit like a Lord of the Flies that hits closer to home. Plus, it's got John Green's stamp of approval, and obviously he's one of those YA authors whom you cannot go wrong in listening to. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Different Reads, YA for Adults, One for the Awards)

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful writing. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Quiet Gems, Messy Relationships, Beautiful Writing)

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo has Asperger's...and you will love him. (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads, Quiet Gems, Memorable Protagonists, Exceptionalities, POC, YA for Adults, One for the Awards)

Magical Realism
More or less set in our world, but with some key extraordinary differences!

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Blends issue and action by having an anorexic girl be chosen as the next Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Readers of adult urban fantasy may be best able to appreciate the writing style. (Retellings, Bad Boys, Different Reads, Important Themes)

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
This one's just so totally weird--healing plants with minds of their own??--but remarkably makes for a very interesting read. (also on: Eternal Romance, Best Villains, Different Reads)

Siren by Tricia Rayburn
A sister's mysterious death, family secrets regarding the MC's supernatural heritage, a small New England town setting... I enjoyed it a lot! (also on: Families)

Dream Life by Lauren Mechling
This is the sort-of sequel to Dream Girl, both of which follow Claire as she attempts to solve mysteries with some help from her extrasensory perception. There's also a cast of brilliantly realized characters, plus wonderful dialogue. (also on: Mysteries)

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Damien has waited all his life to begin training to be a Villain like his mother. So of course, he has to find out that his biological father is a superhero, and that he, Damien, might inherit his father's heroism instead! Oh, the horrors! Oh, the fun! (also on: Memorable Protagonists, Middle Grade, Humor)

Sleepless by Cyn Balog
A surprisingly sweet take on the Sandman myth. (also on: Eternal Romances)

Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
A girl at a boarding school discovers that she can understand the language of flowers and use it to influence the people around her. (also on: Middle Grade)

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Lily's mermaid princess gets tangled up with her human-life acquaintances in this lighthearted romantic dramedy that will appeal to young Meg Cabot fans. (also on: Guilty Pleasures)

Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn
Published as adult fiction, but its dystopian/urban fantasy/mythological premise is just so outrageous that I had to take note of it--and the best thing is, the premise works. (also on: Wonderful Worlds, Adult Reads for YA)

Airhead, Book 3: Runaway by Meg Cabot
A dramatic case of body-switching and conspiracy... but what else would you expect from the great Meg Cabot?

I almost always gotta love me some awe-inspiring world-building, epic coming-of-age quests, fierce political/social/internal/environmental conflicts, and swoony romance.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The YA queen of contemporary realism proves that she writes high fantasy just as well. This is simply a very engrossing, very well-written, and very satisfying fantasy novel. (also on: Wonderful Worlds)

The Iron Fey, Book 1: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Luscious writing and memorable characters combine for an unforgettable read. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Summer Reads, Love Triangles, Nice Guys, Wonderful Worlds)

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
I love Leah Cypess' debut novel, because 1) Isabel is a shapeshifter whose mental turmoil was relatable and fascinating to read about, and 2) Leah's writing reminds me of fantasy greats like Kristin Cashore. You can't go wrong with that. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
As mentioned above, this is really messed up fantasy. I mean, there's an evil talking prison that is not only a character, but also a key setting. Uh. That was a weird concept to consider. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, YA for Adults, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Theatre Illuminata, Act 2: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
The second Theatre Illuminata book is even more epic, swoony, and word-dessert-y than the first. (also on: Love Triangles, Bad Boys, Beautiful Covers, Beautiful Writing, Supporting Characters)

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
The main character, while not that remarkable, befriends an incredible talking dragon. And they get caught in an impending war between humans and dragons. I loved the concept, and loved that Carrie Vaughn pulls it off--just like she does with all her books. (also on: Night-In Reads, Wonderful Worlds, Different Reads)

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
This Russian-inspired fantasy has gorgeous writing of the "ageless fairy tale" bent. It was a literary treat to read. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Beautiful Writing, Diverse Reads)

Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson
I really enjoyed R. J.'s first novel, Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, and this one continued the same amount of danger and lush fantasy element.

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce
Because it was just so darn good to read a "girl disguises herself as a boy and receives soldierly train alongside her male peers" story. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Memorable Protagonists, Girl Power)

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Set in an alternate-world Princeton University where stone gargoyles are live and the college's famous gates are a door to a magical world. (also on: Love Triangles)

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Set in a world where magic is entwined with power. Oh, and there's an adorable romance too.

Got any other magical realism or fantasy books you'd recommend to others? Share in the comments below!

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 bought Jellicoe road after your review and am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendations.

  2. The Alanna series is the one that introduced me to YA fantasy - just fantastic. And I agree, Nothing is underappreciated but very thought-provoking. And it's helpful to see your 2010 recommendations - thanks!

  3. I have only read one book off your lists and there's even a few you've mentioned that I've not even heard of :-o

    I do have a few on my shelf though :-)

  4. You are killing my TBR list Steph! But I like having all your favorites all right in front of me in list form :)

  5. I am loving the Melina Marchetta love :)
    I have been wanting to read a few of thse for a while.. i think it's time! thanks for the list! :)

  6. Inside Out by Maria Snyder was one of my favorite alternate world/dystopian novels of the year.

  7. Just read the two Summer series books by Jenny Han last week and loved them. I'm waiting in anticiaption for the third to land in 2011. So many great books on this list! Thanks for sharing.

  8. love this list! so many great recs! thanks steph :)

  9. Loved Wayfarer too. You have such great lists here. What a nice post.

  10. What a wonderful list! I just added almost every title on your "fantasy" list to my TBR. I recently finished Kagawa's Iron King and it was absolutely amazing. Great post, thanks so much for sharing this and bringing my attention to some other titles that I may have otherwise missed!


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