Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Counting Down til 2015: Kady's Top Ten of 2014

Kady's got an ecclectic mix of titles on her top ten, including short stories, sci fi and two graphic novels among her selections:

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer
The third in Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, this story follows the basic structure of Rapunzel, with some swash buckling space pirates, cyborgs, genetically modified wolves and villainous slave traders thrown in for good measure.

9. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins (see all our posts)
Stephanie Perkins et al gave us a beautiful anthology this year of 12 charming holiday stories that range from light and fluffy to darkly despairing and everywhere in between. Standouts (for me) included stories by Kelly Link, Gayle Foreman, Kiersten White and Holly Black.

I feel like this book flew under a lot of people's radar this year, which is a shame because it raises an interesting theory for exactly how the inevitable fall of civilization will happen. With so many books these days taking place in a firmly dystopic world, it's nice to see some that tackle how we got there.

Another book that tackles the approaching end of the world, Grasshopper Jungle in what ahppens when you combine a sincere interest in history, a very horny teenage boy and gigantic man-eating grasshoppers.

6. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
A lot of series I love came to an end this year, but none finished as strongly as Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin. This last book focuses on Annith, a side character from the first two novels and her journey as she leaves the convent and strikes out on her own as a kick-butt assassin nun in 15th century France.

5. Noggin by John Corey Whaley (see our full interview and our interview with the author)
A friend described this book as "science-fiction without a whole lot of science" and I couldn't agree more. Instead of spending time explaining the "how" of this new technology that allows doctors to Frankenstein bodies together, to create life out of death, this beautiful story focuses on the "what now?"

Fine, this book technically came out in the last quarter of 2013, but I didn't read it until 2014, so that totally counts, right? Even if you're giving me a side-eye right now about timing, do yourself a favor and read this book. It's creepy and unsettling and ultimately heroic with a truly stand-up-and-cheer moment towards the end. And that's really all you should know going in.

3. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I don't know about y'all, but I've been waiting for a new Bryan lee O'Malley comic book since the last Scott Pilgrim came out 4 years ago. And this graphic novel, about a girl who finds a magic elf and some special mushrooms that allows her to take back mistakes and relive her life the right way, does not disappoint. Hardcore Scott Pilgrim fans will love the familiar Toronto setting and in-jokes and everyone will wonder about what mistakes in their own life they'd like to take back.

2. Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White
In 1919, the 369th Infantry regiment, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters, came home from World War I. They were the first all black regiment in the U.S. Army and fought under French command, seeing more action than almost any other American unit. But when they came back from war, their fight for justice, democracy and equal rights really began.

Man, I love this book so much I don't even know how to talk about it. Like Bryan Lee O'Malley, I've been waiting, waiting, waiting for Jandy Nelson to write another book ever since I fell in love with The Sky is Everywhere. Jude and Noah are twins and best friends against the world. At least they are when they're 13. By the time they're 16 the twins are barely speaking. Follow along with alternating POV chapters, Noah's from age 13 and Jude's from age 16 as they figure out what went wrong and how to come back together.

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