Shelfie: 2015 in review, 2016 up ahead

Shelfie_10.20.15 Happy 2016! I don’t have any big reading resolutions for the new year aside from diving into a bunch of great books. Here a little year-end round-up of a few faves from 2015 and a preview of the titles that are lighting up my TBR pile in 2016.

2015 in YA (in reading order):

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

This suspenseful murder mystery, presented nonlinearly, has a great, unexpected love triangle and a compelling voice. The first best thing I read in 2015 (and re-read a few months later!).

Winger by Andrew Smith

He may have had a rough year on social media, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this moving boarding school contemp. Smith takes the story to a really powerful, unexpected place.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

This was my introduction to the inimitable Courtney Summers, and I want more! Now! This book was a dirty, vicious, and spot-on take on bullying. But it’s not like an issue book, OK? It’s just really well-done.

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

Great contemporary realistic about a likable girl making some unlikable decisions during her last year of high school.

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Voice, voice, voice! Really engaging, character-driven look at a girl facing the beginnings of mental illness during a summer spent housesitting for her parents.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Compelling “whodunit” about a girl suffering from total amnesia following a traumatic indecent that left her damaged and her best friend missing, presumed dead.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby 

With one foot in the real world and the other firmly lodged in the realm of the fantastical, Ruby’s novel is mysterious, literary, and unlike anything I’ve read before.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

A riveting and fun exploration of reality, delusion, and high school relationships with a killer twist.

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Beautiful magical realism set in a world where a spell can be bought to cure just about anything, but sometimes the cost is unbearable.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

More beautiful magical realism exploring innocence, guilt, dance, juvie, and a final gesture toward redemption or revenge.

George by Alex Gino

This is middle grade, but I’m squeezing it in with the YA crowd because it’s the only MG I read all year. Equal parts sweet and provoking story of transgender George’s quest to play Charlotte in the school production of Charlotte’s Web and show everyone what she knows to be true–that she’s a girl.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Raw and suspenseful story of what happens to Minnow after an extremist religious cult takes her childhood–and her hands.

2015 in Adult (in reading order):

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

I loved this novel, which follows a creative group of teenagers that meet at a summer art camp through the successes, jealousies, and struggles of their adult lives.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

This could easily fall under YA (it’s a classic coming-of-age story), but I’m pretty sure DiSclafani’s literary debut has been shelved under adult. Either way, it’s a suspenseful and taughtly-written drama about a girl sent away to a special private school after disgracing her family in the 1930s.

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchia Dunlop

I’ve been pretty YA-centric so far this year, but I did squeeze in this great food memoir. Mouth-watering and thoughtful writing on an English student’s experiences eating, traveling, and cooking in Sichuan provence and elsewhere in China.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I finally read Fun Home in anticipation of seeing the musical on Broadway this summer. (High marks to both!) Bechdel moves seamlessly between family drama, coming of age discovery, and literary criticism in this artful graphic memoir.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

Memoir of Jessop’s escape with her eight children from her oppressive and abusive life in the FLDS cult.


The 2016 TBR Pile — here’s a sneak peak!

Non-Fiction (mostly creepy cult stuff)

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill (currently reading)

Off the Grid by Nick Rosen (currently reading)

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall

Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor’s Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple by Deborah Layton

Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted by Kristina Jones

A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thibodeau

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Fiction (mostly all YA)

Life By Committee + OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Tease by Amanda Maciel

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

The List by Siobhan Vivian

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

I Was Here + Where She Went by Gayle Forman

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

I COULD GO ON! But I’ll stop there and see where the year takes me. 2016 is shaping up to be a year of change, some uncertainty, and some exciting new starts, but one thing’s for sure–I’m really looking forward to all the hours ahead with a cat in my lap and my nose in a book.