Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 10 in 2010*: Guest Blogger/Librarian Katie's Superlatives

Katie, Librarian, Harry Potter Fan and Guest Blogger Extraordinaire is back to share her top picks for 2010. We're so happy she's stopped by!

I love making lists. But ranking items in lists? An intimidating task that I usually leave to Google. I was pondering this very problem when I was in Brooklyn earlier this month and one of my oldest friends pulled out our high school yearbooks.


Flipping through the pages, there it was! A way around rankings--Senior Superlatives: Best Smile (is there such thing as a bad smile?), Most Athletic (definitely not me), Most Likely to Get Married (update: they didn’t), and so on. And so with the LHSS Class of 2000 yearbook serving as my inspiration, I give you my YA Fiction Superlatives for the Class of 2010 featuring some of my favorite reads of the year:

Most Likely to Succeed

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan
Nevermind the Will Graysons. Tiny Cooper has my vote for Most Likely to Succeed (and maybe also Most Talented and Most Generally Awesome). Just think! He wrote an entire musical, which he managed to direct and star in as well. I have a hard enough time writing blog posts. Although we can’t really forget the title characters, as their friendship and support is exactly what Tiny needs if he’s going to really succeed. And it is the exploration of the finer points of these friendships and relationships that make this book so memorable.


 Best New Series

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
This is sort of a cheat because The Heroes of Olympus is a new series building off an old series, but when it comes to superlatives anything goes, so there. Anyway, I avoided this book for months. After suffering through the movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief, I wasn’t too keen on returning to the world of Camp Halfblood. Foolish. I had forgotten how clever and action-packed these books are. Riordan picks up where The Last Olympian left off, adding new characters and new twists that make reading this book sort of like getting a hug from an old friend who just happens to simultaneously be introducing you to your new favorite person.


Best Continuation of a Series

A Conspiracy of Kings, by Meghan Whalen Turner
I gushed over this book/series in a previous post. Which means you should already have grabbed your copy from the library. But if not, get on it. The series starts with The Thief,  but this one might be my favorite.




Best Road Trip

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson
I don’t own a car. And most of the time I don’t mind that very much. But reading about Amy and Roger’s adventures from the West Coast to the East Coast made me long for summer days, craggy mountains and open prairies, frozen custard, and long drives with the windows down. And the evolution of Amy and Roger’s relationship is pretty sweet as well. As a bonus, this book also comes complete with hilarious haikus and amazing music playlists. It’s the perfect armchair summer vacation to help you through these cold winter months. 


Most Athletic

The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar
If ESPN can cover the World Series of Poker, I can choose Alton Richards as my Most Athletic, right? The thing is Alton’s game of choice is bridge, which is maybe the most complicated card game on the planet. As Alton explains, “Bingo is just a game of luck. Bridge seems more like a sport, a mental sport, like chess, only with a partner. And my uncle was a superstar of the sport.” His uncle is also blind and needs a cardturner, which is how Alton get pulled into this world. You don’t need to understand the rules of bridge to enjoy this book, because at its heart, this is a book about Alton and his uncle and Alton and Toni and the how playing the game helps bridge the gap between generations as well as righting the wrongs of the past. 


Most Likely to be (In)Famous

Heist Society, by Ally Carter
Katarina Bishop would love to be a normal teenager and in fact has gone to great lengths to try to achieve just that. But Kat is far from normal--she was born into a family of thieves and has quite the knack for the family business. So when her family is in trouble, she finds herself kicked out of school and back in the world of high stakes jobs, traveling around Europe, compiling a team of teenagers that no one would ever expect are about to pull an Oceans 11 on one of the great art museums, and all the while discovering who she truly is. Carter has a unique voice and a knack for keeping things suspenseful. She jumps the reader right into the action and never lets up. This book is escapist fun, literally and figuratively (and allows me to live out my own dream of being a super suave art thief with a billionaire almost boyfriend...).


Most Likely to Make You Wish You Were in Paris


This was a tie for me. In part because I spend my life in a perpetual state of wishing I was in Paris. And in part because both of these books are truly excellent reads.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
I didn’t really get into Jennifer Donnelly’s previous book A Northern Light, which surprised me because I absolutely adore good historical fiction. But the prerelease buzz for this book was impossible to ignore, so I gave her another chance. Let that be a lesson to us all to give more people a second chance. Everything about Revolution is smart and fascinating: the plot is intricately woven between the past and present, there is romance, music, and crypts (!!!), and even when Donnelly attempts to bring the past and present together in a slightly bizarre way, you can’t help but keep reading and cheering for Andi and Alexandrine as they struggle against heartbreaking hardships and the challenges of the times they live in. 


Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
I went to Paris for the first time when I was 17, and while I didn’t meet any French-English-American boys to fall in love with (still a regret), I did meet one of my best friends, forever making me a true believer in the magic that lives in the City of Lights. In other words, I was destined to love this book despite the terrible title. Anna is more skeptical about what Paris holds for her than I was--she’s leaving behind her family, her best friend, and a very cute coworker for an entire school year and not by choice--but her experiences in Paris are also much richer (and more romantic) than mine. Following her as she discovers the city, love (with many false starts along the way), and herself is a journey I plan to take many times as I reread this book. 



Note: I'd like to note that the top 10 in 2010 title refers to the fact that there are ten best of lists that I'm going to be posting! woo!

top image from H.L.I.T

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