Saturday, 12 December 2009

My Top 12 Reads of 2009

What the title says really, I saw this on Maggie Stiefvaters blog and decided I'd make my own list, so these are my 12 favourite books that I've read in 2009. They won't be in order of preferences, because I'm one of those people that fails with flying colours at doing that and end up with like 5-way-ties for the number one spot.

Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Summary: Naomi and Ely are best friends. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again?

My comments: I am a big fan of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by the same authors and this book, while I still prefer Nick and Norah, is really awesome too. I love the music aspect of it, I love the characters and I love the alternating character view points. Also, I adore the setting of it, it made me want to drop everything and jump on a plane to New York - it doesn't make it seem more glamourous than it is or anything, it just gives an awesome city feel to it while reading (maybe that's just a me-thing).

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My comments: I'm actually not finished this one yet (nearly), but so far it definitely deserves to make the list, it's the first book I've read in quite a while because I've been busy with other things - I really like the characters and it's one of those fantasy novels that manages to have that realistic charm to them, the fantasy aspect of it doesn't seem so far fetched. I'll leave it at that and I'll post up a full review of it once I've finished and have time.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Summary: All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

My comments: I've loved all of Jennifer's books that I've read so far but this one had a more serious feel to it and I loved it - the plot, the characters... just all of it. The characters had their flaws and issues and you really feel for them and relate to them, I just really liked it.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Summary: "What do you want from me?" he asks.

What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.

More.


Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.

But Taylor has other things on her mind: a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road.


My comments: This is one of my all time favourite books and it has put Melina straight onto my favourite authors list. Anything I try to say about the story or the characters will not do it justice, if you want to see me try then go find the review of it I posted earlier in the year. I'll just say it's awesome and leave it at that.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Summary: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

My comments: This book - it's hard to explain just what it is I like about it, but I adore it. If you're into romance novels then you should check this one out, it has a slight Romeo and Juliet aspect to it... the rich good girl and the poor bad boy from the other side of the tracks and you're totally rooting for them the whole time, neither character is perfect but they're perfect for each other and it's just fun to read about them.

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
Summary: High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out — doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T — and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest — and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize — Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

My comments: Being a mega-shy person, I could relate to the main character so much - some of the things she has to deal with are things I've had to as well and it was just great reading about a character that realistically portrays that... often an author will say a character is shy or will have the character say it but they don't really show it, they don't explain it well but it's explained perfectly in this. Also, aside from that, I loved the plot, I loved that music was a big part of it and it did make me really want to be a DJ on the radio.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
Summary: When a huge blizzard (that doesn't show signs of stopping) hits, Gracetown is completely snowed in. But even though it's cold outside, things are heating up inside, proving that the holiday season is magical when it comes to love. In three wonderfully (and hilariously!) interconnected tales, YA stars John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson create a must-have collection that captures all the spirit of the holiday season.

My comments: All three of the stories in the book are amazing, they're sweet, they're funny and absolutely perfect to read if you want to get that Christmassy feeling (which for me is really all year round, I'm an Autumn/Winter girl at heart).

A Season of Eden by JM Warwick
Summary: He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible. I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us.
"I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him.
He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed.
"Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them.
"Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please."
"You're going to get me in trouble," he said.

My comments: Okay, I admit, one of my guilty pleasures is forbidden romances and teacher/student ones are really forbidden... but the thing I liked about this book is that it manages to tell the story of it without it going too far - it isn't one of the ones that has a really old teacher with a barely legal teen, the romance in it is more realistic and healthy and I like that it's not all smooth sailing in their relationship and the problems they have don't come across as something the author just threw in to add drama. It's hard to explain, so I'll stop trying, bottom line is that I like the book and it makes my list.

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Summary: I'm not going to post a summary of this one because it's the fourth book in a series so the summary of it will be full of spoilers. The first in the series is called Vampire Academy and you should check it out.

My comments: I just adore these books. The main character is awesome, funny, realistically flawed and all of the minor characters are great too and there's just something about these books... like, sometimes when reading a book series the author will write something that disappoints the readers (good example: Breaking Dawn), but with this series even if something happens in the books that we don't want to, it's still impossible to hate the book as a whole because the characters are so good, the plot is well thought out and it's just written well and it's just overall brilliant really.

The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare
Summary: [Note: This is the summary for the first book in the trilogy, City of Bones]
When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother?And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

My comments: I'm including the trilogy as a whole because they would all make the list of the best books I've read this year and if I included all three instead of just making the trilogy count for one then there'd be little room for anything else. But, to why it makes the list - I love the whole world that Cassandra Clare created, it had the same kind of feel that Harry Potter did and the characters in this one are really brilliant, they can make you laugh out loud or make you cry. Plus, Cassandra gets major kudos for dealing with issues that a lot of people might have a problem with (you'll know what I mean if you've read the series).

The Hunger Games (& the sequel, Catching Fire) by Suzanne Collins
Summary: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

My comments: These books are just fantastic, there's not much else I could say about them without going into full on gushing mode - but seriously, it's one of the best book series' I've ever read, right up there with Harry Potter (the Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy books make that list too).

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
Summary: [Note: again, this is just the first book summary]
Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind ... and Suze happens to be in the way.

My comments: I owned this series for quite a while but only got round to reading it at the beginning of this year - the books aren't really long so it doesn't take long to get through them all but they're just really cute and funny and I loved the supernatural aspect of it and the way the whole series ended as well as the story arcs of the individual books.

I guess that's it, you should tell me your 12 favourite books you read this year (in the comments or in a post).

Later.

3 comments:

  1. The crazy thing is that the only one that I have read is "Winters Gift!!" I did love it though :) Great idea to put your favorite books together in a tile!

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  2. I've actually only read ONE of those books (Let It Snow, which I liked b but didn't love). I feel like I've got some MEGA reading to be doing this holiday break, as I SO want to read all the rest of them!

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  3. Your taste in books is crazily similar to mine! I've already the Mediator series, Perfect Chemistry, Vampire Academy, and the Hunger Games. The way you described those books seemed really succinct, and I think I'll check out the others you suggested. Awesome job. :)

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