Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 YA Books I've Read

In keeping with last year's tradition, I've put together some of my "Top 5" lists from this year. Here they are:

Top 5 Books to Make You Think:
5. How Not to Be Popular (Jennifer Ziegler) 
4. Hunger (Jackie Morse Kessler)
3. Hate List (Jennifer Brown)
2. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
1. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

Top 5 Books for Hard-to-Please Boys:
5. Across the Universe (Beth Revis)
4. Incarceron (Catherine Fisher)
3. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)
2. Pathfinder (Orson Scott Card)
1. Ship Breaker (Paolo Bacigalupi)

Top 5 Fantasy:
5. The False Princess (Eilis O'Neal)
4. Magic Study (Maria V. Snyder)
3. The Iron Queen (Julie Kagawa)
2. Pegasus (Robin McKinley)
1. The Shifter (Janice Hardy)

Top 5 Science Fiction:
5. Divergent (Veronica Roth)
4. Across the Universe (Beth Revis)
3. Ship Breaker (Paolo Bacigalupi)
2. Pathfinder (Orson Scott Card)
1. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

Top 5 Favorite Books:
5. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
4. Pegasus (Robin McKinley)
3. The Shifter (Janice Hardy)
2. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

And the best book I read this year...

1. Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Full list of all the books I read (with links to recommendations):

Ann Aguirre

Paolo Bacigalupi
--Ship Breaker

Holly Black
--White Cat

Jennifer Brown
--Hate List [rec]

Meg Cabot
--Being Nikki
--How to Be Popular

Orson Scott Card

Aimee Carter
--The Goddess Test [rec]

Cassandra Clare
--City of Glass
--Clockwork Angel

Rosemary Clement-Moore
--Texas Gothic [rec]

Ally Condie

Lauren DeStefano

Sarah Beth Durst
--Enchanted Ivy [rec]

Catherine Fisher
--Incarceron [rec]

Gayle Forman
--If I Stay

Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
--Beautiful Creatures

Janice Hardy
--The Shifter [rec]
--Blue Fire

Diana Wynne Jones
--Cart and Cwidder

Julie Kagawa
--The Iron Daughter [The Iron King rec]
--The Iron Queen

Jackie Morse Kessler
--Hunger [rec]

Karen Mahoney
--The Iron Witch

Melissa Marr
--Darkest Mercy [Wicked Lovely rec]

Robin McKinley

Lisa McMann
--Cryer's Cross

Patrick Ness
--The Knife of Never Letting Go [rec]
--The Ask and the Answer
--Monsters of Men

Lauren Oliver

Eilis O'Neal
--The False Princess [rec]

Erica O'Rourke

Dia Reeves
--Bleeding Violet [rec]

Beth Revis
--Across the Universe

Rick Riordan
--The Red Pyramid

Veronica Roth
--Divergent [rec]

Inara Scott
--The Candidates

Maria V. Snyder
--Magic Study [Poison Study rec]

Jennifer Ziegler
--How Not to Be Popular [rec]

Markus Zusak
--The Book Thief [rec]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where I've Been

So it's been a while. Over two months in fact. My blogging hiatus was partly intentional—to give me more time to edit my book—but only partly, and I never meant the cutoff to be so sudden.

But sometimes a lot of “life” happens, and this fall has been one of those seasons.

I won't go into all the details (unless you're a vet and you happen to be interested in the specifics of cat UTIs, or you're an oral surgeon who wants to know all about my reaction to epinephrin in Novocaine). Soon enough the past few months will be little more than a blurry memory.

That being the case, I do want to hold on to a few good things that have happened this fall:

1. I've gotten to know some pretty incredible teens. Underneath all the “totes magotes” and finger hearts and “cool story, bro,” they have a lot of energy and character. I'm even more sure now than I've ever been that this is the age group I want to write for.

2. I've been editing Olympus Gate, which has gone more slowly than I hoped for the same reasons that the blog has been out of use lately, but I'm pleased with the results so far. My new critique partner is making me work hard! You think you know your character pretty well the first dozen times you get the comment “and what is she feeling in this moment?” Then you get to the thirteenth and all you can think is, “She's... um... sad? ...again? I DON'T KNOW!” So thank you, Jamie, for making me struggle through all the hard parts too.

3. I've made some more delectable edibles. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing several people's eyes bug out (in a good way) at the taste of my peppermint bonbons. And my husband got me a book of dessert recipes I've been wanting to try. (I'd have made the Boston Cream cupcakes already if last week hadn't turned out to be an insane mess of hectic days.)

So I'll leave you with a picture of the latest bonbons, a wish for the happiest of holidays to all of you, and my sincerest hopes to post more regularly in the coming months.