Friday, 31 December 2010

TEN Best Reads of 2010

Thanks to everyone who have been reading and taking part in the FIVE challenge.  It has been fantastic seeing how similar and divergent our picks for our reading material throughout the year.  Thanks again and I look forward to seeing which titles are lucky enough to grace your own lists :)

2010 has been a year where I have read less content but reviewed more positively. This has been due to the fact that I have been purchasing more books that interest me and receiving less review copies.  My top ten are from the books that I have written a review of and have been released in 2010.

Anna and The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins


If you respond to quality characterisation, authentic and well built individual conflict and a gradual, evolving romance (based on friendship and attraction, rather than the love pow) then this is the book for you!  What I love most about Perkins' debut is that while the romance is lovely, so is the personal journey of the protagonist.  Should St Clair not have existed this book would still have been a fascinating examination of being a stranger in a foreign land and problems that plague a teen in boarding school.

Review

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

Nelson's debut shows of her exquisite turns of phrase while depicting the push and pull of grief.  It is a story that explores the muddiness of mind and emotions that come with grief and the need to hold onto the familiar, the known.  The poetry that is sprinkled throughout strikes a chord drawing the reader in closer to the heart of the matter.

Review

A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker

This somewhat overlooked title was riotously fun demonstrating how one jaded principal's perspective can turn a senior class upside down.  What is lovely here is that two friendships are born between the protagonist and two diametrically opposed boys as a result of the Marriage Education program.  I love Todd Harding (one of the boys) too much considering how much he would have annoyed me during high school.  His way with dirty jokes and innuendo is a credit to the author.  Worth checking out for the shenanigans and the deeper implications of a hilarious educational implementation.

Review *My favourite opening line of any review I have ever posted.

The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta

Tom Mackee was the larrikan in Marchetta's sophomoric Saving Francesca but in this title we see another side of the jokester.  The audience is reintroduced to several characters we are already familiar and news ones as well as the perspective alternates between Tom and Georgie.  Despite the cloud of grief that shadows TPS there is laughter, love and lots of music.  It is the only title on this list that represents the older years of the young adult category and does a wonderful job of reflecting that aimlessness of change and self doubt.

Review

Grace - Elizabeth Scott


Scott is an author (along with Marchetta) who is always changing it up.  It is such an admirable trait, especially when accomplished to the degree that this title is.  Grace is unlike anything I have read in YA. Detailing a barren dystopian world only slightly removed from our own, we join a girl ready to sacrifice herself for another's cause.  It's sparse, tense and political and also highly personal.  Affecting and thought provoking.

Review

Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley

Sometimes there are books that come along where the characters speak directly to your own experiences and those that populate your own lives and Graffiti Moon is that.  Highly relatable, introspective, funny and a lovely representative of those that chase artistic ideals.  I particularly love that it is a story encapsulated within one Melbourne night with multiple perspectives presented.  Love it.

Review
Six Impossible Things - Fiona Wood

Sadly this is the only title that graces the list told exclusively from a teen male perspective.  And yet, I have a lot in common with this character having shared several of the same situations that he encounters....though I never stalked my cute neighbour.  Wood has shared with us a kid dealing with a world upside down with an enormous reservoir of humour and sensitivity.  There are also heapings of quirk - always a good thing!

Review

Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers

Unflinching in it is portrayal of the heinous nature of high school girls, Summers' sophomoric novel is powerful, nasty and slightly wicked.  But deep down under the underhanded power plays and evil wrongdoings there is a truthful look at redemption, forgiveness and how far is too far.

Kinetic.  Fast.  Charismatic.

Review

A Little Wanting Song - Cath Crowley

Another duel perspective Australian tale for the list, A Little Wanting Song is the lyrical telling of two girls finding friendship despite their differences and one hurtful untruth.  It's gentle and strong like Charlie's song lyrics and while quiet it resonates.

The two girls are diametrically posed in upbringing, interests and geography but their burgeoning relationship is beautifully grown.  Just lovely.

Review


Not That Kind of Girl - Siobhan Vivian


Feminism and femininity aren't themes that are often told hand in hand in YA but I am ecstatic that they are so truthfully told here.  Never have I read a book that seemed to so accurately depict my high school experience (sans hot boy).  Vivian has told a story about a girl striving to be her best version of herself to a degree that is frightening.  The rigidity of Natalie's existence, her pursuit of perfection and the pressure placed upon her are at direct contrast to that of the errant upstart who uses her sexuality to seek her goals.  Fantastic.

Review

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 -
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 was too hard)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

FIVE Great Miracles

(I am changing this one up a little)... that Occurred to Get Me To Continue Reading Paranormal YA. I have become increasingly disenfranchised with this genre as the sheer volume of content being published is 1) resulting in less than impressive writing and 2) making the good paranormal harder to find. I also don't respond to be hit in the face with the paranormal YA wall when entering bookstores.

There were a few titles that restored my faith in the current flavour of the decade.

Hex Hall
This debut paranormal set in a boarding school made me instantly wary. That being said...I kinda fell in love with Rachel Hawkins' protagonist Sophie.  She's sassy and strong but has requisite vulnerability that help to create a relatable and striking entry point into the world of Hex Hall.

What particularly struck me was the simple but very emotive aspects of Sophie's relationship with her father.

Raised by Wolves
Note to Stephenie Meyer's....this is how one would go about structuring a werewolf community complete with hierarchy, history and intricate loyalties and bonds.  Whereas the story of the protagonist kept me invested in the overall journey, the pack life was endlessly interesting to me.

Similarly to the above mentioned title, Jennifer Lynn Barnes has crafted a complex and conflicted relationship between Bryn and her father figure that rings true.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June
Robin Benway has taken the relatability of sibling relationships, the 'ahhh' factor of contemporary romance and the intrigue of paranormal and mixed it all up to create something fresh and fun.  The dialogue between the sisters sets a cracking pace, showing their personalities and the details of their interactions with one another.  The barbed and snappy nature of their interactions plays both entertaining and authentic.

Again, the realness of the protagonist's family and surrounds plays into why the paranormal works.


And this where my FIVE finishes....at three.  That being said, I am currently reading a paranormal title - Paranormalcy - so I am not completely turned off...yet.

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More ______ (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 was too hard)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

FIVE Great YA Bloggers

Who are the five bloggers I think you should give a-whirl?

That Cover Girl
I don't know how it was overlooked but ShabbyGeek. found a niche in the YA bloggerdom and is filling it with decadent aesthetic goodness. A blog focusing purely on the visual aspects of YA - the cover - I am learning about the process of a cover's creation (image, font, foils etc) to a degree that I was formerly blind to. Not only that but I am coming across covers that I would never have seen PLUS it shines a spotlight on those that toil hard to make our YA eye candy ;)

Forever Young Adult
Equal parts brilliance and nutjob-bery, this blog tickles the funny bones, encourages tomfoolery and makes reading fun (or should I say, more fun). More than anything I love their inventiveness whether it be creating a Hunger Games naming formula or qualifying the hotness of each romantic interest, I am totally game for this blog.

The Crooked Shelf
AHhh the lovely Brit Carla who is the randomest of the random and thoroughly delightful.  I don't always agree with her thoughts but usually we find some shared thoughts on any book.  Her discussion posts are thoughtful yet wacky and that is one sure way to capture my interest - making me think and laugh simultaneously.

Steph Su Reads
I rave about this girl and having met her in the flesh in August I can say she's equally as thoughtful in person.  We both have a tendency to read a lot into a book and in that way I feel like I have found my reading soul mate.  Yet she's a science nerd (watching her geek out over planets is awesome) and I am not but we are both total book nerds.  I trust her reviewing implicitly and she deserves every single bit of recognition for her sterling reviewing and discussion posts.

Angieville
She wrote a post about Richard Armitage because I asked her to.  She is an angel.  She's also extremely well versed in so many titles out on the market and a lovely lady taboot!  Her reviews are beautifully crafted and that thought invested in a book is clearly demonstrated.  She's a deep thinker, people.  (And clearly she has great taste in men --->)

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More ______ (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 was too hard)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

FIVE Great Author Moments

Before these past two years I had very rarely been offered the opportunity to meet authors in the flesh. Being from Adelaide, Australia it isn't often a venue for authors to traipse through...let alone the country towns I have lived in.

2010 was a year in which I used my primary break to visit New York. In my sixteen days there I had the opportunity to meet up with ...

Melissa Walker (author of upcoming Small Town Sinners) who had come straight from interviewing Spike Lee.  We meet atop the Atlas building (where the Project Runway contestants live) and listened to Charlotte Sometimes perform live.  Melissa is exactly as she seems in her vlogs - sweet, funny and very down to earth.

Gayle Forman (author of If I Stay and upcoming sequel) took me across Brooklyn on a walking tour.  Brooklyn is such an interesting place and I had the best company possible.  Gayle is a dynamo full of what seems to be endless energy and it was great getting to explore her neighborhood with her as a guide.

Michelle Zink (author of 2010's Guardian of the Gate) kindly invited me on a family visit to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty.  Such an unbelievably friendly bunch!

Beth Fantaskey (author of 2010's Jekel Loves Hyde) showed me around a lovely little Pennsylvanian town where I spotted my first ever squirrel (none in Oz) and tasted creamed corn.

Cassandra Clare signing which also happened to have Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier and graphic artist Nicole Virella.  It was my first ever signing event and what a way to start.  I had a fabulous time pre-event hanging out and discussing books with Mitali and other people waiting.   Cassie was lovely and this event resulted in me finally reading (and loving ) Holly Black's work.  Read and see more of this event here.

More details on my NYC trip here.

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More ______ (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 was too hard)

Monday, 27 December 2010

FIVE Great Movie Deals

It has been a bumper year for film adaptations in the YA sphere.  Not a day went by this year when a deal was announced but one must remember that rights being purchased doesn't guarantee a) the movie being made or b) a GOOD adaptation being made.)

The Hunger Games
There is so much potential for this to go wrong but I have hope.  Suzanne Collins wrote the first draft of the screenplay which makes me happy for two reasons 1) she had a role and 2) someone else went in to make sure it worked afterward.  The director Gary Ross' recent interview with EW.com assuaged my fears that they would cast some pretty model creature to be Katniss.

If I Stay
Brazilian filmmaker Heitor Dhalia is heading up the project but Dakota Fanning has parted ways (you can read Gayle's thoughts on that here).  I am still excited to see how this story will be presented.

City of Bones
I am terribly excited to see what is achieved in bringing the world of Nephilim to reality.  I hope to see Idris in a film adaptation somewhere down the line.  The casting of Lily Collins as Clary is an interesting one but not one that I object to.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
Lena Dunham will be writing and directing the adaptation of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s newest release, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Julie Halpern's title has been purchased for a tleevision development deal.

Authors that need movie/tv deals now - 
Courtney Summers - Some Girls Are needs to be adapted asap
Kristin Walker - A Match Made in High School would make a wonderful television series.

Tomorrow - FIVE Great Author Moments


Sunday, 26 December 2010

FIVE Hopes for YA in 2011

What are the FIVE things I would love to see in YA in the upcoming year?

1.  That more Australian YA authors find their work read on the blogosphere and the outward community.

2.  Paranormal YA become the best version of itself...instead of whatever sells with a pretty cover.

3.  Increased number of male authored YA that authentically represents the teen male experience.

4.  YA romance being represented across the genres in a more realistic light ....aka less emphasis on the love pow.

5.  Deviation from...
  • girls being represented at shy (and being anything but)
  • slutty best friends
  • protagonists who share their authors aged music tastes...when poorly written it comes across as the author pushing their taste as cool...it's not.
  • any thoughts of marriage....very unnecessary
What about you?

Saturday, 25 December 2010

FIVE Most Anticipated Titles for 2011

Happy holidays to everyone...and now onto the titles that are getting me excited for 2011.

Between Now and Forever - Elizabeth Scott
Synopsis - Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

Release Date - May 24, 2011

Where She Went - Gayle Forman

Synopsis - It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future and each other.

Release Date - April 5, 2011

And Then Things Fall Apart - Arlaina Tibensky (Debut)

Synopsis - "The story of a fifteen year-old, whose parents are splitting up, whose boyfriend is trying to wrestle her out of her pants at every opportunity, and who's suffering through late onset chicken pox while languishing in the Chicago suburbs with only an ancient IBM typewriter, her chain-smoking grandmother, and her beloved well-worn copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar to console her." (ArlainaTibenskyBlogspot.com)

Release Date - US Summer/Fall 2011

The Iron Witch - Karen Mahoney (Debut)

Synopsis - FREAK. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

Release Date - January 11, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis - It's a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss (2010)

Release Date - September 19, 2010;

Tomorrow - FIVE Hopes for YA in 2011

Friday, 24 December 2010

FIVE Great Re-Reads

Re-Reads is quantified as books you've LOVED so much you went back for more.  I didn't read as much this year but there were four titles that entinced me to read them again.

The Piper’s Son - Melina Marchetta
Marchetta is an author that seems to pull up better on a reread that the first. While in most author’s cases this would be detrimental, in her case it exemplified her layered approach to storytelling. The smallest detail or emotional beat can be overlooked and discovered five reads later. I find this fascinating and so enjoyable as a book nerd. The Piper’s Son (released in the US in 2011) is a sort-a-kind-a-maybe sequel to Marchetta’s sophomoric title Saving Francesca. Like everything this author does, she changed her approach up again to present a duel perspective novel from an actual young adult (SF’s Tom is 21) and an adult (Tom’s aunt, Georgie). It’s grimmer than you might expect but that makes the laughter, the music and the hope so much better. Definitely worth getting your hands on! (PSnark review)

If I Stay - Gayle Forman
This made my re-read list last year and has again this year. Where She Went comes out in 2011 and presents a different look at the world of Mia and Adam. I reread IIS as I found the US paperback release in Japan (so pretty) and wanted to dive back into that place in between. I was lucky enough to read WSW shortly after and it is such an interesting exploration of contrasts - Adam’s perspective, grief over what is no longer and how to deal with a tumult of emotions where both decisions are risky. (PSnark review)

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey
Another book that has made my list for a second year in a row. I kept mentioning it to a colleague knowing that it would be her kind of read…and she loved it. I had to reread it. I find Lucius’ letters equally amusing on a repeat reading and am more impressed by Fantaskey’s portrayal of Jessica and her family with each read. She subverts the bit-lit (vampire literature) clichés nimbly and presents an assertive, everyday girl who can’t be bothered with the nonsense and becomes involved anyway. (PSnark review)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean
This doesn't fit in the YA bracket but it does find itself in my guilty pleasure - historical romance.  Beautifully written with spark, sass and sensuality it is a fun read.  A fun....very hot read.

What about you?

Tomorrow - FIVE Most Anticipated Titles of 2011

Thursday, 23 December 2010

FIVE Great Series

Richelle Mead's The Vampire Academy.
I started off highly sceptical with this series and with every title fall more in “fun” with it. I have not had the pleasure of reading the final edition of the series but I have high hopes. The steamy scenes, the tightly wound world of politics, social hierarchy and racism are presented through the eyes of a protagonist who constantly deals with the unusual but remains pleasingly pragmatic. (Persnickety Snark review.)

Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty series
This is a series of books that became less and less impressive with each title. The first is particularly strong and managed to emotionally engage me to the point where I was propelled into reading the next two. While most readers will no doubt be captivated by the brothers, I found Belly’s relationship with her mother to be the most compelling. Subtle, nuanced and prickly - this series has a wonderful lilt and sunlight to its story of one girl, two brothers and a changeable summer. (Persnickety Snark review.)


Prophecy of the Sisters series - Michelle Zink
Boy do I want to read the final title after closing Guardian of the Gate. I came into the second title having not read Prophecy of the Sisters for well over and year and I was able to pick up without 1) having the author plunking through Babysitter’s Club-esque character recaps and exposition and 2) being completely lost. That’s hard to do, people. Zink’s series is one of the densest in terms of the building of the world, its inhabitants and the prophecy itself. There is an attention to detail (and logic) that surprisingly works well with the more mystical aspects of the events. Hanging out for title three! (Persnickety Snark review.)

Theatre Illuminata series - Lisa Mantchev
What the heck is going to happen to Bertie, her parents and the fate of the theatre? Plus…how many more fantastically wicked insults can those delightful faeries spout? How many more insults can I steal from fictional faeries to use in everyday life? Mantchev’s novels are so jam packed with frivolity, shenanigans and catastrophe that it is easy to overlook her wonderful use of language (though the faeries and their foul mouths are well known). She has managed to present a world that lends from Shakespeare and modern life that is beautiful and endlessly entertaining. (Persnickety Snark review.)

Endless Summer - Jennifer Echols
The Boys Next Door was a fabulous little read that I stumbled upon in the beginning days of PSnark. It looked like a harmless little thing with its cartoonish cover art and somewhat generic title…and yet I completely loved every moment. Echols has a fantastic ability to bring humour and angst into the same breath and we empathise with all the players that populate this story. I have one brother so I am endlessly fascinated by brother interplay and loved the way it offset the story of the protagonist and her love interest. The sequel wasn’t on par with the first title BUT it definitely presented the idea that working out who you love doesn’t automatically equate to happily ever after. Love takes work…and some craft machinations. (Persnickety Snark review.)

What were your thoughts on the great series revisited this year?

Tomorrow - FIVE Great Re-reads

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

FIVE Challenge: Great Covers

What were the five covers that really struck the right note with me?

Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley
Strikes the right mix of setting the mood, capturing the novel and catching my eye.

Perchance to Dream - Lisa Mantchev
It hints at the wonder and romance of the novel as well as the slightly off kilter adventires.  Plus...there are faeries!

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (OZ cover)
There are so many reasons ...

Matched - Ally Condie
There's just something about the layout, colour and the deliciously wispy 'i' and 'y'.

Grace - Elizabeth Scott
The shading, the colour and those eyes...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

FIVE Great Debuts

It is December 21st which means it is the first day of the FIVE Challenge. What is the FIVE challenge I hear you ask....click here for an explanation. Until the end of the month I will be counting down by top 5 lists in a variety of categories.

Today is Great Debuts. In no particular order here are my selections.


Anna and The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Oooh la la. Take one well rounded teen girl, plonk her in a foreign land and have her meet a guy called St Clair. Together this equates to one of the best developed relationships (not just romance but relationship/friendship) that I have read in the past few years. This is a story about a girl acclimatising to change in a way that accurate depicts how it feels to be in a beautiful place but feel isolated by means of language, geography and courage. Perkins’ debut is smashing and should be read immediately. (Persnickety Snark review.)



Stolen - Lucy Christopher
As I have said over and over and over again, this book is intense. It is visceral. It manages to make its audience feel the heat and grit of the Australian outback, emphasize with a conflicted kidnap victim and sympathise with the vile kidnapper. A captivating (ha, I made a pun) read that will make you eager to read more of Christopher’s work. (Persnickety Snark review.)



A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker
Hear ye, hear ye. Walker’s debut is fun, fun, fun. It is also a debut that people have seemingly forgotten about with the end of year debut rush. There is a friendship that develops (that of the non-romantic kind) between the protagonist and a guy that really rang true for me. The relationships is characterised by pranks and snarky comments but deep down is loyal and warm. Definitely worth tracking down as students in this school are married off for the sake of the principal’s disenchantment with marriage - no, I am not kidding. Get your hands on this book now! (Persnickety Snark review.)



The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
Bliss. It was a fantastic read to start the year off and not many have been able to equal it. Grief, poetry and yearning - it is one beautifully composed tale of sisters, love and those that move on. I just want to sigh every time I think about it. (Persnickety Snark review.)

Six Impossible Things - Fiona Wood
Wood has experience in writing scripts for television and it shows. Her story moves along with humour and angst all through the eyes of a thoroughly normal kid who’s having a particularly bad run of things. What is most remarkable is that she presents the quirkiness and light of teen boys while depicting their sensitivity and heart. Worth a big, fat kiss….and buy it too! (Persnickety Snark review.)

Tomorrow - FIVE Great Covers

If you are taking part in this challenge please link in the Mr Linky widget so others can navigate their way to you better :)

Friday, 10 December 2010

2010 Reading Survey

Having seen this over at Ten Cent Notes, as created by That Girl, I have decided to nominate books for the YA yearbook.

Best Book of 2010:
I am still fine tuning that list and it will be announced on December 31st as part of my FIVE Challenge.

Worst Book of 2010:
This isn't very nice so I'll leave that one alone.  There have been three books that I was unable to finish and I will leave it at that.

Most Disappointing Book of 2010:
The DUFF (Kody Keplinger).  There was a lot of hype built up for this debut and I just didn't see why other than the risque elements.

Most Surprising (In A Good Way!) Book of 2010:
Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins) was a book that I had no interest in prior to receiving it.  I even put off reading it for a couple of weeks after being gifted it.  I think it has something to do with the name, I can't really pinpoint why.  Anyway...a truly impressive and emotionally rich yet entertaining debut.  A shout out for Kristin Walker's A Match Made in High School that got swallowed up by the mass of books being released earlier in the year and kind of forgotten.  A fun read with heart that I would gladly read again.

Most Recommended-to-Others Book of 2010:
Toss up between Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (I've been waving my SV pom poms a bit) and 2009 carry-over for Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta).  JR will always be my beloved.

Oh wait, I did do a major pimp out of Elizabeth Scott's fabulous Love You Hate You Miss You on the blog.   am really happy to say that many people went out and found this overlooked lovely as a response.

Best Series You Discovered in 2010:
I unfortunately didn't fall in love with any new series in 2010.  I was fond of (which then tapered off) Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty Series.

Favorite New Authors Discovered in 2010:
It is a tie between Cath Crowley (A Little Wanting Song & Graffiti Moon) and Siobhan Vivian (Not That Kind of Girl) who both write characters that are fluid and honest.  Both are authors that need to be read more and each has a yen for the arts!

Most Hilarious Read of 2010:
To be honest, I don't believe any of the books I read this year were hilarious.  There was the occasional laugh worthy moment but no hilarity.

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010:
I am afraid nothing I read this year meets the criteria - unputdownable yes, thrilling not so much.

*At this point I realise I am the worst survey participant EVER.

Most Anticipated Book of 2010:
I was very much excited to read Grace by Elizabeth Scott as it sounded completely different from anything she had written.  And boy was it.  Wow.  I was also hanging out for Mockingjay like the rest of the known world.

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2010:
I am rather partial to the simplicity of Graffiti Moon.  Dark yet bright.  Evocative yet simple.

Most Memorable Character in 2010:
There's something about Tom Mackee that revisits me.  He was such an undeniably charismatic character in Saving Francesca in the small role he played but in The Piper's Son he really made an impact.  Natalie Sterling from Siobhan Vivian's Not That Kind of Girl was too familiar to not resonate.  Loved her.

Most Beautifully-Written Book of 2010:
Toss up again - The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson) and Graffiti Moon - both exquisite and visual.  Wordy and sublime.  Just beautifully crafted storytelling.

Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010:
Not That Kind of Girl - a book that addressed feminism and independance and sexuality without being preachy.  That's tough.

Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Read:
Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty.  I think I horrified many when they realised I was an Australian YA book blogger who hadn't read JM's work.  Now I look back on myself in disbelief.  I can't wait to get home to get my hands on more of her work.

New Favorite Book Blog You Discovered in 2010:
I am loving what Capillya is doing with That Cover Girl - a blog devoted purely to the covers of YA.

Favorite Review That You Wrote in 2010:
I never remember anything I write....I am usually more proud of my discussion posts as I don't really consider my reviews to be a strength.  Um - I guess my Grace review really seemed to find itself an audience.  I also heard that it resulted in many, many bloggers requesting undisaplyed copies at BEA.  I think my review of Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are was pretty decent too.

Best Discussion On Your Blog in 2010:
Wow...based purely on comments, the readers decided that my post Love Bites - When Romance Makes Me Want to Howl was the best.  Posts on plagiarism and epilogues came closely behind.

Most Thought-Provoking Review or Discussion On Another Blog in 2010:
To be honest....I am struggling as my memory is shocking.  Steph Su Reads' recent post on love was beautifully written, introspective and made my mind wander (in a good way).

Best Event You Participated In During 2010:
There was only one and that was the Cassandra Clare signing in Union Square's Barnes and Noble.  It doesn't matter - it rocked hard.  I had enormous fun with Mitali and had to pleasure of meeting Cassie, Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld.  Read more here.

Best Moment of Book Blogging in 2010:
announced that I will be the new Program Coordinator for the Centre of Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria.  My job, not just my passion, is now youth literature.  Amazing.

Best Bookish Discovery of 2010:
Book Depository....I knew you but I hadn't used you.  You, BD, saved my life here in Japan.  I love you lots!