Well, I finally did it. Incredibly difficult to pick just 10, and they're not really in order (apart from The Sky Is Everywhere being my absolute favourite, at least.) But here they are, my ten top books of 2010!
(Disclaimer: 8 of the following books were originally reviewed for the fantastic Bookbag website and were provided to me by publishers in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my judgment on them at all. Full reviews for those 8 are linked to on The Bookbag.)
1. The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson - Book of the year and one of the very few books I've ever cried at reading. Breathtakingly beautiful study of grief and romance. Review
2. Dreaming of Amelia - Jaclyn Moriarty - The always imaginative Moriarty has really outdone herself with an incredible novel which moves between blog entries, the contents of a scholarship file, letters, poetry, and exam answers. Most impressively, the plotting is perfect and the rapid changes of view never seem gimmicky. (Note: Published in some countries as The Ghosts of Ashbury High.) Review
3. We, The Drowned - Carsten Jensen - The best adult book I read all year, hands down. Danish seafaring epic tracing a town from the mid 19th century to mid 20th century. Completely enchanting. Review
4. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - I've been lucky enough to read the sequel and review it for the Bookbag as well, but trying to keep a variety in my top 10 so have only picked this one as it's ever so slightly better in my opinion. Undoubtedly my favourite of the many paranormal love stories I've read this year, this is utterly gorgeous, with compelling characters and the town of Gatlin, still living in the shadow of the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression) is a fantastic setting. Review
5. The Rebel Prince - Celine Kiernan - Kiernan's Moorehawke Trilogy was completely unknown to me at the start of the year but ends the year as one of my favourite ever fantasy series. While the Poison Throne was wonderful and The Crowded Shadows was even better, this conclusion somehow ended up improving on both of them. Complex characters, difficult decisions, and brilliant writing make this a fitting climax to a superb sequence. Review
6. What The Day Owes The Night - Yasmina Khadra - Technically the second adult book on my list, this has enough crossover appeal for me to have recommended it to several mature readers aged 15 and 16. A beautiful and exciting coming of age story of a teenage boy in Algeria as the country moves towards independence. Review
7. One Day - David Nicholls - Again, adult fiction with crossover appeal due to being so romantic, funny and moving. I love the concept as we follow Dexter and Emma, who meet one July 15th at university, through EVERY July 15th of the next 20 years, sometimes spending them together and sometimes separately. Am really looking forward to the film as well. (Romola Garai as Sylvie and Jim Sturgess as Dexter, surely this can't go wrong?) This is the only one I haven't currently reviewed but will hopefully remedy that soon!
8. The Long Weekend - Savita Kalhan - Due to its subject matter, this is the least enjoyable read in the top 10 but possibly the most important. A horribly plausible and realistic chiller which should be read by any children old enough to go out by themselves - strongly recommended to parents as a starting point for a discussion that will really bring home the idea of 'stranger danger'. Review
9. The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare - Doug Stewart - My favourite non-fiction title of the year, the true story of an 18th century boy trying to win his father's attention by 'finding' a trunk of lost Shakespeare artifacts. In turns thrilling, funny and surprisingly tender. Review
10. When I Was Joe - Keren David - Again, sequel Almost True would have a great chance of being in here if I wasn't limiting it to one per author. David's debut novel is an unputdownable thriller about a boy stuck in Witness Protection trying to make a new life on the run from criminals, and the girl he meets with her own problems. Fantastic characters and a couple of incredibly intense scenes make this a massive recommendation. Review
I'd love to hear yours!