Thursday, 31 December 2009

FIVE Challenge:Ten YA Titles of 2009

My selections for the books that I enjoyed most this year. They had to have been published in 2009, here or in other parts of the world. It's purely subjective but I have seen at least half of the titles pop up on most other lists I think I am thinking correctly.

IF I STAY - Gayle Forman

The tears came in buckets with this gem. Even in the worst situations there is hope, this was an element that was tackled well in this story of tragic circumstances and the pain of loss. A touching, hopeful and affecting story with a lovely voice.

Favourite moment: Gramps sitting by Mia's bedside and telling her it was okay if she wanted to leave. I think my heart shuffled like an accordion during that scene.


FIRE - Kristin Cashore

After reading Graceling I actively avoided Fire for weeks. Why? I didn't think Cashore would be able to wrap me in a story as well as she had for a second time. After finally biting the bullet I realised that it is possible, in fact Cashore surpassed the original. Fantasy elements cloak a story that is ultimately about a woman accepting her specialness, as a monster and as a human, to connect with the world.

Favourite moment: I am partial to Fire's horseback diversionary bolt to save the army.


GOING TOO FAR - Jennifer Echols

My favourite book of the year, Going Too Far is the epitome of YA perfection. It's fast paced without sacrificing authentic character development, the two central characters exchange fantastically quick and smart banter and revelations are sprinkled throughout. Snarky and steamy, the best of both worlds.

Favourite moment: Too hard...any scene that occurs in the front of the police car.



Elizabeth Scott is fantastic at the warm, amusing romantic reads but LYHYMY has bite. Amy is a brittle and hurting young woman who's best friend died tragically. It's in working through her grief, guilt and anger that she is able to grow. One of the most interesting depictions of parents in recent years.



If you've read it you know. Second titles in trilogy's usually act as a lacklustre bridge between establishing characters and a big finale. This is not the case here, political intrigue, guerrilla warfare and the annihilation of a species make this a spectacularly exciting and crafted read.

Favourite moment: Davy's arc and the resolution to that.


EYES LIKE STARS - Lisa Mantchev

Reading this book was like being dunked in a bath of classic literary characters, impish delight and roguish charm - basically it was delicious. The magical Theatre Illuminata is a world where the surprising is always creeping up behind you, the bizarre is whirling around and in its centre is the spunky Bertie. Eyes Like Stars has great heart and humour amidst the distracting glitter and that's what makes this title such a smashing read.

Favourite moment: Anytime Ophelia sloshes into Bertie's sphere.



Gripping, tense and featuring one of the most matter of fact protagonist's of the year. Demonstrated that paranormal YA doesn't have to be limp, predictable and poorly executed - Ryan's debut is a wonderful post-apocalyptic world where hope is a dream.

Favourite moment: It involves a bow and arrow and zombie heads.



Two words...death hags. We are all preoccupied with death in some ways and in Hilda's case it's due in large part to her parent's death, she's just projected that onto celebrity deaths in Hollywood. It's a fascinating world that Charles has crafted, one where the unsettling is quite normal. An unlikely friendship develops while another falls apart. An unique exploration of death, grief, guilt and the healing that takes place when we connect with others.

Favourite moment: Hank and Benji's scene in the beginning.



I enjoyed this title so much in large part to the beautifully realised protagonist, she's strong and capable with an enormous amount of heart. It's the humour that makes this such an enjoyable read, specifically the miscommunication that abounds and the spark between Jessica and Lucius.

Favourite moment: Lucius' letters and a certain kick in the shins.


CATCHING FIRE -Suzanne Collins

A great continuance of the world of Panem and Katniss' needing to deal with the consequences of her actions in the Hunger Games. The political machinations and the building rebellion fascinated me. The events of the games were quickly paced and are building to what it sure to be a spectacular conclusion.

Favourite moment: It involves a dummy and some rope.

This is the conclusion to my FIVE Challenge for 2009. Should you wish for further explanation of the FIVE Challenge, you can follow the link here.


austenfan said...

I just got a copy of Going Too Far. Your fave book of the year - I'm glad I bought it! :)

Dani. said...

What a great way to end the 5 Challenge! Which was an awesome challenge by the way!

Also, i just noticed your sooo close to 300 followers, Congrats! :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great list, and I'm reminded that I need to read GOING TOO FAR and JESSICA'S GUIDE...

Happy new year!!

Daisy Whitney said...

Absolutely loved that same moment in Catching Fire! And I I Stay -- oh my -- it's so gorgeous and heartbreaking. I read it on a plane and cried throughout. It's stayed with me all year.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

LOVED Going Too Far - it also made my list along with If I Stay. I agree the scene with Gramps next to her bed had me bawling my eyes out.

sharigreen said...

Great list! And so my TBR pile grows.... ;)

I only managed a "top four" list (posting it tomorrow), but it included a couple of the same books.

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

AWESOME picks, I loved Catching Fire as well :)

prophecygirl said...

Great picks Adele! If I Stay and Catching Fire are also on my list - loved them!

Rosanne said...

Great post-great blog!