On 11/24/10, Gayle Forman posted on the NPR web site a short list of what she considers â€œthe year’s best teen reads.â€ Her list stayed away from fantasy or popular â€œdark romanceâ€ books and focused on â€œjust real people in real situations with real emotions that we all can relate to.â€ 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 â€œbest ofâ€ 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):
- â€œBest Books to Give Kids…Even Those You Don’t Know Very Wellâ€ (Lisa Von Drasek, EarlyWord.com)
- â€œThe Best and Worst Manga of 2010â€ (Gia Manry, AnimeNewsNetwork.com)
- â€œFavorite Books of the Year (2010)â€ (Teenreads.com reviewers)
- â€œBest YA Books of 2010: A Literary Mixtapeâ€ (Jason Boog, GalleyCat Reviews)
- â€œThe Best Manga of 2010â€ (Katherine Dacey, MangaCritic.com)
- â€œYALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten (2010)â€ (Following this link will also lead you to a wealth of other lists recommended by YALSA â€“ just look to the left of the page for the other available menu options/listsâ€¦)
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 â€“ 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 yearâ€¦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!
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