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FYA’s Best of 2010 Picks

FYA picks their favorite books of 2010, plus some of the books they can't believe they waited so long to read.

FYA’s Best of 2010 Picks

I know, I know, we're a teensy bit late with our Best Of post. BUT, we didn't want to be premature about this, y'all. We decided to wait until 2010 was actually done before we started heralding the best things about it! And then we had to take a few days to recover from New Year's Eve...

PLUS!!!!!! We came up with a new way to gold-star our favorite-favorites! How, You may ask? Well, each of us have picked our top two favorite books from 2010, and when any of the rest of us were like, "Ooh! Ooh! I love that one too!" we added a Champ Can to that book!!! (Genius! Thanks, we know.) But we haven't stopped there! We've also listed each of our answers to the question "What the hell took me so long to read this book?" AND, because we love this site (and are totes unafraid of shameless self-promotion) we've each listed our fave non-book report posts of the year!

Meghan's Picks:

FAVE BOOKS

1.  Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Honestly, I avoided this book at first because i thought it was a fairy tale retelling (not that there's anything wrong with that), and I just wasn't in the mood. But when I finally started reading it, DIZZAM. Regina Georges, attempted murder, swoon all OVER the place -- what's not to love? Also, Michele Jaffe is just about the coolest author I know*

*By know, I mean online, until we can coordinate the FYA cocktail panel

2.  Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Forget Katniss and Peeta and Gale -- no REALLY, forget 'em. You'll have no room in yr brain for anyone but Todd and Viola and Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle and 1017 and Bradley and it goes on and ON. Finally, an amazing conclusion to an absolutely incredible series about life, pain, information, trust, exploitation and really REALLY bad people. We give Patrick Ness a hard time around here for being ruthless, but his ruthlessness all serves a greater purpose and doesn't seem calculated for a Nicky-Sparks-esque emotional effect (even THAT CERTAIN EVENT in Book One).

WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG

The Kim and Mairelon books by Patricia Wrede

I don't hate fantasy, but i also have to be in just the right mood for it, and it has to be non-fantasy fantasy, know what I mean (Harry Potter excepted, of course)? So even though this book has been recommended by you guys in comments forever and a day, I stayed away mainly because one of the main character's names is "Mairelon" and I have a personal rule against reading books with goofy names I can't pronounce (legit names from other countries/cultures don't count). But you guys! It's great! It's like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, only not as long! And kind of like all those Georgette Heyer Regency romance novels, too! I learned everything I know about the Napoleonic Wars and the Battle of Waterloo from Georgette Heyer!

BOOKS SHMOOKS: FAVE NON-REPORT POSTS

Choose Your Own Adventure

It's adventure! With choices! And it's yours! What's better than that? My favorite thing about CYOA is its unpredictability -- I love not knowing what's going to happen after I write my chapter, because not only do I not know what you'll choose, I have no idea where the other FYA ladies will take the story. I just know it will always take the awesome train to Awesomeville!

Erin's Picks:

FAVE BOOKS

1.  Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon

What can I say about Gloria and Charlie that Posh hasn't already said? Only that Auseon managed to make me laugh while I cried, and cry while I laughed, and clutch this book to me in the frenzied way that usually only James Baldwin can manage, and say, "Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes."

2.  A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

A book that deals with first love, heartbreak, death, unexpected friendships, cross-country bicycle trips and ninjas can't go wrong. A book that crafts all of those elements together in order to make you sob even while you swoon has to top my "Best Of" list.

WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I know, I know! It's a great book! You love it! Your mother loves it!

The cute guy at Starbucks loves it! I just . . . I didn't know! I didn't know until my friend Courtney sat me down and was like, "Read this now," and even then I was all, "Is this going to be like that time you told me you loved Moulin Rouge and I was unsure whether we could still be friends?" and she was like "No" and I STILL didn't believe, until I sat down and entered the magical moving castle of the Wizard Howl and fell under his love spell. And, if it weren't for my respect - and tiny bit of fear - of the kickass Sophie, I'd totally fight her for him.

BOOKS SHMOOKS: FAVE NON-REPORT POSTS

Our Smarty Pants series!

Not only does it provide us with a service (i.e. getting to take the day off from blogging in order to consume more champagne [it's hard to drink as much as we'd like whilst typing]), it also gives us a chance to be awed, inspired and thrilled with the big, funny brains housed in our commentors' heads. To you guys! You're awesome!

Megan No H's Picks:

FAVE BOOKS

I didn't review any books published in 2010! So I have to steal my two favorites of the year both of which were reviewed by PoshDeluxe (wait, why does Posh get all best books?! And why am I scamming on all of her leftovers! Major breach of the girl code.)

1.  Plain Kate by Erin Bow

This book was an awesome unlike-anything-you're-read-in-a-long-time stand-alone fantasy. Real magic with very real consequences, fascinating characters, an ambiguous view of good versus evil AND A TALKING CAT. What are you waiting for??

2.  Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

A must read for anyone who was a smart, overachieving judgment-aholic in high school (and let's be real, the majority of the readership here probably falls into that category, I know I do!) A very smart look at the virgin/whore complex we buy into as highschoolers and a strong feminist read without being preachy.

WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG

The Sally Lockhart Books by Philip Pullman

Since I mostly read backlist books in 2010, I have read a lot of what the hell took me so long books. But in particular, I'd like to point out this series, the first two of which I had to read after seeing Meghan's tempting reviews.

BOOKS SHMOOKS: FAVE NON-REPORT POSTS

My favorite post(s) have to be every single one of Erin's SVH reviews. I know I should chose a favorite for you all from the batch, but why chose one when you can have them all?!? Is that a Jessica attitude I'm rocking or am I channeling perpetual outercourse cheater Liz? You decide!

Jenny's Picks:

FAVE BOOKS

1.  Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Norrie, Jane and Sassy have to be my favorite girls from 2010. I loved discovering who they were during their testimonials to Almighty (their gran, and holder of the family's purse strings). Standiford managed to write in three distinct styles, and all in an epistolary narrative that kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what the girls-- and Almighty-- might do next.

2.  The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

In a year overrun by the fantasy genre (and I actually like fantasy-- if it's good) this book felt fresh and original, all while feeling like a throwback to the olden days of good Tim Burton movies. Yovanoff wrote Mackie with depth and just enough swoon to make him completely adorbs while still being believable, and I was thrilled and chilled throughout.

WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

I was told by so many of you that I HAD to read this book, but that was all anyone would say. So when I finally picked it up, I had no idea that Zarr's prose would affect me in such a way, or that I would keep going back to reread passages because they were just so beautiful, or that I would fall so in love with Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick. I am proud to have joined the ranks of Sweethearts pushers, and have just one more thing to say: Come back, Cameron Quick!!!

BOOKS SHMOOKS: FAVE NON-REPORT POSTS

Our Between Two Lockers series! I mean, we get to ask the authors of the books we all love so much ridiculous and drunken thought-provoking questions! And they answer us! Like we're not swimfans! And their answers are AWESOME! Where else can you learn the deep dark secrets of famous authors at a virtual slumber party, and then go on to predict their futures with a game of MASH?!!!

Posh's Picks:

FAVE BOOKS

1.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

We've been raving about this book for so long, I'm almost tired of talking about it, but then I remember two magical words: TINY COOPER. In less than a year's time, he's taken on legendary status in our community, and for good reason. He's gayer than gay, larger than life and absolutely and completely wonderful. It's easy to forget that the parts of the book he's not in are actually really great, too! Alone, Green and Levithan are literary forces to be reckoned with, and together, they're like the YA, non-racist version of the Dukes of Hazard, pulling crazy awesome shizz and making us laugh our pants off (with Tiny as Daisy, of course!).

2.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

HOLEE SHIZZ this book destroyed me. When we chose it for FYABC, I thought, "Ok, it's like Groundhog Day. I love Bill Murray!" Then I got to know Sam, and hated her, then I got to know Kent, and thought he was weird, THEN I realized I understood Sam and was in love with Kent, and then I cried a whole effing ton of tears. Gorgeously-written, this novel is everything YA should be-- intense, authentic, relevant and 100% amazing. Also, Lauren Oliver, you owe me $1.49 for a box of tissues and $3000 for the therapy required to talk out all of my questions about the ending.

 

WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

So, when this book initially came out in 1999, I thought it was just MTV trying to stay relevant by doing anything but what everyone wants them to do (play music videos). It wasn't until I heard that Emma Watson was going to be in the movie* that I thought, you know, I should review this novel for Banned Books Week. And then I met Charlie and wondered how I'd gone on so long without his wonderfully childlike (ok, autistic?) perspective and whimsicality. Rather than banned, this book should be REQUIRED by high schools around the country, because it addresses so many universal sources of teenage angst, and it does so through Charlie's magical, beautifully earnest voice.

*Sadly, Emma is no longer in the movie and has been replaced with someone who, based on her head shots, does NOT deserve to play Sam.

BOOKS SHMOOKS: FAVE NON-REPORT POSTS

Henri & Erin Debate Mockingjay

What better way to deal with the stress, pain and disappointment of Mockingjay than through Henri and Erin slinging insults at each other? Seriously, their debate is the only reason I'm glad Suzanne Collins wrote the book. Through this YA battle of the sexes, I think many of us found what we needed, whether it was a cure for TEABS or an outlet for our anger LIKE SERIOUSLY THE EPILOGUE? REALLY SUZANNE? Ahem, apparently some of us need to read these posts again. Anyhoo, I loved the fact that this debate was divided into several rounds, so I felt like I was reading the book and shedding some tears and waving my fist along with Erin and Henri. Moreover, these posts led to one the most lively and popular discussions we've ever had, and I get a kick out of the fact that comments are still rolling in (mostly because they sound like they're from real live teenagers, but also because HOW DID IT TAKE YOU THIS LONG?).

Bonus: And Katniss Lived Happily Ever After

Speaking of Mockingjay therapy, this Smarty Pants post proved what I knew when I read the last page of the book-- that any of us could've written a better ending. Cos we did!

Okay, so there you have it, you highly intellectual and classy readers! Now it's your turn! Would you add any champ cans to our lists? Any of your favorites from 2010, books you finally got round to reading, or posts in general that we left out?

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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