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My favorite lists…are “favorites” lists.

On 11/24/10, Gayle Forman posted on the NPR web site a short list of what she considers “the year’s best teen reads.”  Her list stayed away from fantasy or popular “dark romance” books and focused on “just real people in real situations with real emotions that we all can relate to.”  Seeing her list, of course, compelled me to think back on my year of reading. What were my favorite discoveries in 2010? What trends did I see in my own choices?  And what have others noted as their recent favorites and/or “best of” picks from 2010?

Just a small sampling of some interesting recommendations/lists you may want to check out in addition to Gayle Forman’s list (as noted above):

  • “YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten (2010)” (Following this link will also lead you to a wealth of other lists recommended by YALSA – just look to the left of the page for the other available menu options/lists…)

What were some of MY favorite reads/discoveries from 2010 (and some not-so favorites)?

  • THUMBS UP:  The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass).  A fantasy series that felt fresh in concept, with characters that I easily latched onto (and had trouble letting go of).
  • THUMBS UP:  The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver, Linger, Forever (coming in 2011!)).  I was really surprised that I would fall in love so easily with a story about werewolves given the massive Twilight hype (and I liked the Twilight series). But I felt like Stiefvater was approaching the werewolf mystique in a unique way, and the teen characters felt so real. Can’t wait for volume 3!
  • THUMBS WAY UP!: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay). Such an original story and characters that I could really invest in. One of those series that I have trouble saying good-bye too because I’ve gotten so attached to the characters…
  • THUMBS WAY UP!:  The Reborn! Series by Akira Amano (ongoing).  The story itself is so absurd that it makes me laugh, but it strangely works and never fails to entertain.  Dare I try and explain any of it myself? One of the central characters (Reborn) is a hitman from an Italian mafia family who is actually in the form of a baby; he wears a suit and hat, carries a lizard (Leon) that transforms into many things (but usually guns), and arrives in Japan to act as tutor to the anticipated up-and-coming 10th generation Vongola family boss (currently a teen boy named Tsuna). SO MUCH FUN I CAN’T STAND IT SOMETIMES! :) It is just something that needs to be personally experienced/read to be appreciated. Trust me – it’s worth it.
  • THUMBS WAY UP!: The Bunny Drop series by Yumi Unita.  I’ve only read volume one thus far, but volume two just arrived and I can’t wait to read it! Again, this is not my normal pick for manga – it actually seems rather average by the description. But it was so unbelievably adorable and charming I fell in love with it instantly and am recommending it to all of my manga-reading (and non-manga reading) friends.  While the protagonist isn’t a teen, the story is written for a teen audience. The heart of the story is about the bonds and love shared in an unconventional family arrangement. A 30 year-old bachelor becomes the guardian for his deceased grandfather’s 6 year-old daughter. It’s a sweet, funny, quirky story about how this man learns to care for this little girl and how they slowly build a life together (aided by their nutty family members).
  • THUMBS DOWN:  The Immortals Series by Alyson Noel (Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, etc.).  I couldn’t go further than Shadowland. I know they’re popular reads, but they just do nothing for me…feels like a re-hashed plot with two-dimensional characters.

So now that you know what I’ve been reading, what are some of your top picks for this year…or your greatest disappointments? What YA books are you recommending to your friends? Be sure to share your picks/links to lists in the comments section below!

–Nicole Dolat

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  1. […] really is a manga out there for every reader, in my opinion. I previously posted about Bunny Drop – a josei manga by Yumi Unita; a really sweet story about a 30-year old man who takes in a little […]

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