Thursday, November 25, 2010

Best Books I've Read in 2010 (So Far)

Due to a certain someone (no worries, a few other people asked as well!) inquiring as to when I would be publishing this list. I decided to go ahead and post it today because these are books I am so grateful for, they enriched my 2010 (and who knows some of them will probably have a long lasting impact on me). Plus Borders is having an awesome Black Friday sale so maybe some books on this list will qualify for the bargains. I didn't want to go on and on so I chose 18 titles (my age plus one for good luck, heehee) and tired to stick to 1-sentence gushing. Have a happy thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! And obviously I am especially grateful for my followers both on the blog and on Twitter, for everyone who retweets my links, to everyone who leaves comments even as 'simple' as "Great review!" Those make my day. Thank you to everyone who signs up for the holiday book swap, enters my contests, and emails me to ask for book recommendations/writing advice (not that I'm any good at giving that). And to my inner online circle, those that I can email and vent and celebrate with. You know who you are. THANK YOU.

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My Top 18 Books Read in 2010!

1. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter-Hilarious and heartwarming with unforgettable characters, especially if you're a John Hughes fan.

2. Children of the Waters by Carleen Brice-A genuine novel that covers a wide berth of issues without trying too hard.

3. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves-Eccentric characters, out of this world creatures, and unusual setting make this book "wonderfully bizarre".

4. His Own Where by June Jordan-92 pages of Black English, a touching love story filled with subtle and not-so-subtle metaphors for love and being a teenager and being Black and well it's just stunning, ok?

5. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson-Lyrical writing that tells a heart-wrenching tale of first love (I'm going to take a wild guess that this was one of the first interracial YA love stories) and love between parents and friends.

6. 8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich-8 cheers for middle school students having a conscience and for the author, who tells this story with humor, grace and authentictiy (and I swear if you don't watn to become Ruthie's best friend, you're crazy).

7. The Agency series by Y.S. Lee (A Spy in the House: book 1, The Body in the Tower: book 2)-A mystery series set in Victorian England with an exceptional eye to detail and a jolly good heroine who gets caught in a wardrobe with a man, most unseemly ;)

8. Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins-As I've said before, depending on your personality, you will need a tissue. And/or a stress ball.

9. The Billi Sangreal series by Sarwat Chadda (Book 1: Devil's Kiss, Book 2: The Dark Goddess) Heart-pounding beginnings characterize these two books along with Billi, one of the strongest, stubbornest and most flawed heroines, plus there's some really good side romance (and it's way off to the side, like not important).

10. Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley-A girl athlete who snowboards and happens to be Chinese combined with a Latino male best friend/possible love interest combined with social justice, manga and the Cultural Revolution. It's pulled off brilliantly and Syrah is named after wine and the whole book ties into that concept, brava!

11. Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes-Haven't reviewed yet so I'll hold off on the praise, but I think this book is a solid Coretta Scott King award contender (and a strong contender for any other award too), it's so good! Read an interview with the author

12. Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15, 000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams. This book is 85% the story of my life, the struggle of being an "oreo" or "sellout", my love of hip hop and yet the hypocrisy that love entails. LOVE this memoir.

13. Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson-Don't let the cover fool you, this book is told from the guy's perspective about a girl (one who many of us girls probably wish we were like), he wants to save her, but if he keeps attempting to save her, he will lose her. Not at all preachy and there is no clear answer.

14. When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer-LOVE. The magnificent cover matches the magnificent story in the pages.

15. The Rock & The River by Kekla Magoon-One of a pair of good books about the Black Panthers, I love that it delved into classism and the civil rights movements (who upper class Black people versus working class Black people supported and why). <3>Sammy and Julianna in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Saenz-I first read this book when I was in 5th grade or so and I did not fully appreciate, upon re-reading it, I've fallen in love with it and the author. Exceptional

17. Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin-If you want to get angry or cry, it's a must-read. Believe me, you WANT to cry and/or get angry.

18. We Were Here by Matt De La Pena-Another tearjerker (every time I think about it, I swear tears well up). You figure out the crime early on but that doesn't take away from the book, in fact it makes the characters and sitautions stand out even more.

Want more suggestions from me (I doubt it you do but...)? Some books cross-over on these lists.

My favorite YA romances

Best books with male multicultral characters

So what books would be on your list? Do you (dis)agree with my choices?


  1. I haven't read them all, but I loved 8th Grade Superzero and I'm currently reading Bleeding Violet, which is wonderfully strange.

  2. Great list! I loved 8th Grade Superzero too, and Ninth Ward is next on my TBR list. At the top of my 2010 list is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, which is a middle grade novel but one even grownups can appreciate because it works on so many levels. Others that I liked this year include Mitali Perkins's Bamboo People, Marina Budhos's Tell Us We're Home, Christina Diaz Gonzalez's The Red Umbrella, Allan Stratton's Borderline, Deborah Ellis's No Safe Place, N.H. Senzai's Shooting Kabul, and my two small press picks of the year, Pegi Dietz Shea's Abe in Arms and Rene Saldana Jr.'s brand new A Good Long Way.

  3. @Medeia-I want to give 8th Grade to every child in 7th and 8th grade. We need more Reggies, Ruthies and Joe Cs (or at least we need more kids to realize their immense potential to change the world). I'm ecstatic to hear that you are liking Bleeding Violet!

    @Lyn-A Good Long Way sounds really good. I haven't read anything by Rene Saldana and I might start with that one.

    I haven't had a chance to read Shooting Kabul yet =( I hope to be able to before 2010 ends.

    One Crazy Summer is absolutely wonderful as is Bamboo People. I didn't love Tell Us we're Home as much as I hoped but I still liked it. The Red Umbrella was great. Borderline was a very engrossing read.

    Not familar with No Safe Place. *off to look it up*

  4. Ooh I'm glad to hear you liked The Rock and the River! It's my YA book club selection this month and I'm really looking forward to it!

  5. I'm loving that Borders sale so much more than Barnes and Nobles where you need to have been emailed a coupon and match the coupon code to the email to which it was addressed. I didn't even know I had an account with my work email. So much for that 30% sale!

  6. Today, Saturday, is Small Business Day, and a good opportunity to support your local independent bookstore. That's where I'm headed to do my holiday book shopping.


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