So, last year I read 74 books, several of which were rereads. Here’s a list of my favorite new reads of 2009, in neat little categories.
1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Pelan & Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child by Robert J. MacKenzie, Ed.D. – I have a kid. Sometimes she is difficult. Both of these books helped me in different ways. Setting Limits totally saved my relationship with my daughter because it helped me successfully set limits with her. 1-2-3 Magic reminded me how effective counting could be. I had forgotten.
I’ll Pass for Your Comrade by Anita Silvey – This middle grade book about women soldiers in the Civil War really delves into the motivations and experiences of the women who chose to serve.
Middle grade fiction
The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes – This quiet little novel about a girl in foster care and her desire for a family is both sad and hopeful all at once.
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex – This book did drag a little in the middle, but, all in all, the adventure of Tip and J. Lo as they search for Tip’s mom after an alien invasion is a load of fun while providing commentary on the state of the US. Bonus: the main character is a little black girl.
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson – The only way I can describe this book is as being deeper than me. When a boy who looks like Jesus enrolls in their elementary school, a girl and her classmates struggle with questions of faith.
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott – This book is so creepy, but I also couldn’t stop reading it. About a girl who is kidnapped by a pedophile and her desire to escape.
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison – This book was a surprise read for me. With three strong female characters, two well-developed themes (“be careful what you wish for” and “don’t underestimate yourself”), and a great premise (the main character gets trapped in a fairy tale), I really enjoyed it a lot. The book also has my absolute favorite quote I collected from a book this year:
Fairy’s side note: Guys can smell desperation. It triggers an instinct in them to run far and fast so they aren’t around when a woman starts peeling apart her heart. They know she’ll ask for help in putting it back together the right way–intact and beating correctly–and they dread the thought of puzzling over layers that they can’t understand, let alone rebuild. They’d rather just not get blood on their hands.
But sharks are different. They smell the blood of desperation and circle in. They whisper into a girl’s ear, “I’ll make it better. I’ll make you forget all about your pain.”
Sharks do this by eating your heart, but they never mention this beforehand. That is the thing about sharks.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman – About a girl in coma, deciding whether to live or die, I didn’t want this book to end.
Kendra by Coe Booth – At times this book was hard to read because I was so worried about Kendra, and her emotions are so raw and close to the surface. That said, it’s an excellent book about the choices a girl who is desperate for love and attention–from the person she feels should care for her the most–makes.
Pure by Terra Elan McVoy – About a group of friends who all have purity rings and what happens when one of them decides to have sex. I liked this for its emphasis on female friendship, but also because it doesn’t condemn religion as the main character tries to make sense of her world and her faith.
I Know It’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin – A painful book about a relationship and its demise from the boy’s point of view.
YA series fiction
A Likely Story Book 1: Likely Story by David van Etten – It’s about a girl who WRITES A SOAP OPERA. It has my eternal love for that alone.
Princess Diaries 10: Forever Princess by Meg Cabot – A fitting end to the series.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – The final part of the trilogy comes out this year, and I can’t wait to read it.
The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart – The penultimate book in the Ruby Oliver series. I also can’t wait to see how this wonderful series ends.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Far superior to the movie, and the author wrote that screenplay.
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – This book was honestly like a little slice of perfection. About a woman who realizes that she’s deeply dissatisfied with her life.