27 July 2009

Best Reads of 2009 (So Far) Part II

Again, thank goodness for Goodreads, without which I would never be able to keep track of what I've read. Sometimes I pick up a book that sounds interesting and, about halfway through it, I think, "Wow, the story is so familiar!" And it is familiar, because I've read it before.

Anyway, on to #s 6-10 in my favorite reads of 2009:

6. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (NF)
My brother gave me this book for Christmas, and I devoured it immediately. Gladwell explores success and where it comes from, and it truly makes you think about luck versus hard work versus innate talent. The chapters on Korean pilots and Japenese school culture were especially fascinating, and whether you agree with Gladwell's hypothesis -- that success is a lot about luck (where geographically, in what month, in what family, in what year you were born) -- or not, Outliers offers food for thought.

7. Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead (YA)
I read the first Vampire Academy book (titled, appropriately enough, Vampire Academy) a year ago February, and though I liked it, I wasn't wowed by it. I gobbled up the second in the series, Frostbite, but Shadow Kiss topped both. This is a series that (unlike some -- *cough* Twlight *cough*) only improves as it continues; I love Mead's characters, her world-building, and most importantly, her fearlessness -- she doesn't hesitate to force her characters, especially the protagonist, Rose, to face tragedy. The end of Shadow Kiss, for example, was heartbreaking, but necessary, and it offers intriguing possibilities for book four, Blood Promise, which comes out at the end of August. Huzzah!

8. Fade by Lisa McMann (YA)
I loved Wake, the first book in the Dream Catchers series, but while I feel Wake was mostly about character and concept development, Fade (book #2) adds real danger, both in Janie's work with the police department and in her dream-education, where she discovers that her power comes with a life-altering price. The scene at the end of the book, when Janie goes "undercover" at a party to discover whether a teacher has been inappropriately involved with his students, is a nail-biter, and I just adore Janie's relationship with Cabe. I just discovered that this is actually a trilogy (yay!) and that the last book (boo!) will be out in February 2010 (yay!).

9. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (YA)
I already expounded on The Chosen One in my beach reading post, but again -- this was an affecting, beautifully developed story that pulled no punches and had me speeding through to the conclusion, anxious about Kyra's fate. Seriously, this is a must-read.

10. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (YA)
Can I take a moment to mention my deep and abiding love for E. Lockhart? I just adore her. I've read nearly all of her books, and I've never been disappointed by a single one. In fact, if I were making my list of top 10 YA books I've ever read, Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks would be in my top 5. Anyway, what I love about The Boyfriend List is Ruby Oliver, the protagonist and first-person narrator. Her voice is just so engaging that I would totally want to be friends with her (if she existed).

Oh, books are so awesome. Way awesomer than the work I'm currently avoiding...

1 comment:

Jess said...

I'm reading Treasure Map of Boys now & you can borrow it on Wednesday! It's awesomesauce!

Also, the first chapter of Blood Promise is up here and it is goooood: http://www.richellemead.com/excerpt/excerpt10.htm