Call this the year of the sequels!! Many of my favorite books of 2009 had sequels come out this year. Which, of course, I ran to the store and bought the day they came out. But when you read over my list below, you’ll notice that many of these did not make the list. Was anyone else underwhelmed by the plethora of paranormal sequels that came out this year? They all seemed to fall under that second book slump (Cue – couple that gets together in the first book breaks up / falls apart because of lack of communication in the second book…yada, yada, yada). That being said, there were many books that simply kept me enthralled this year. It was hard narrowing down my list, but the books below represent many hours of enjoyable and inspiring reading.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Sure, you might be tired of werewolves. There are quite a few stories focused on these creatures as of late, but Pearce’s novel is one werewolf tale that will devour you. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Little Red Riding Hood. I’ve always loved a strong female protagonist, and Sisters Red offers two. Not to mention a hot, slow-building romance that stands out in a sea of mundane couplings so many YA books feature as of late. Action. Concise and well thought out plot. And great chemistry between the romantic leads. I can’t wait to read the companion novels.
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
One of my biggest complaints as a reader are authors who take a classic and butcher it in an attempt to “remake” it. It’s part of the reason I was never able to get behind the many Jane Austen – Insert Zombie / Sea Creatures / Vampires craze that has taken over the publishing world. Mostly because I feel these remakes are just added paranormal elements to the classic without trying to truly add their own spin on it. This is why I love Jekel Loves Hyde. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has always been a favorite of mine, but I can understand how daunting a read it can be for some. Fantaskey does a great job of reinventing the story for the modern, YA audience without losing many of the original novel’s important themes. Plus, watching Jekel and Hyde come together is pretty toe-curling at times. In a good way :-)
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Zombies? Not really my thing. Zombie book with a great romance, beautiful writing, and a few dystopian elements thrown in for good measure? Totally my thing. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel when reading The Dead-Tossed Waves, which is more of a companion novel than sequel to The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, a book that broke my heart but that I loved all the same. There’s an amusing story about my honeymoon, reading that book, and a giant wave that I’ll save for another day….The Dead-Tossed Waves was the only sequel of 2010 that I felt maybe surpassed the first book, but at least match the awesomeness of the original. I Can’t wait to read the next one. And if you think this series is just for girls, think again. The boys in my classroom are eating them up. Eating them up? Heh. Like Zombies.
Is there a better fictional best friend / boyfriend than Jay from The Body Finder? I’m not sure. Derting’s novel is one of those you just can’t put down. It’s a story that knows how to build tension in a way I feel many YA novel’s don’t have the patience for. Everything from the mystery to Violet and Jay’s relationship is so well paced, the reader simply can’t get enough. And guess what? There’s a sequel! I read the first 70 pages of the sequel on Derting’s blog this morning, and if it’s any indication about the rest of the book, I think this is one sequel we’ll see on next year’s list! I’d seen the whole “I can sense dead people” thing before, but Derting does what good paranormal authors do: makes the realism (i.e relationships, school, relate-able conflicts) the main focus of the novel, and that’s what makes it such a success.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said by every single person who has read it? It’s brilliant! It’s funny! It’s sexy! It’s so darn well-written that authors everywhere are reading with green, green envy. This kind of book isn’t usually my thing. And to be honest, if I saw it on the bookshelf and read the blurb without hearing all the hoopla about it first, I wouldn’t have picked it up. Thank goodness the whole blogging world has been talking about this book for months. So much so, I bought it the first day it came out. And read it in one sitting. Just go get it. Right now. You’ll love it.