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):
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!).
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.
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.
Great contemporary realistic about a likable girl making some unlikable decisions during her last year of high school.
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.
Compelling “whodunit” about a girl suffering from total amnesia following a traumatic indecent that left her damaged and her best friend missing, presumed dead.
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.
A riveting and fun exploration of reality, delusion, and high school relationships with a killer twist.
Beautiful magical realism set in a world where a spell can be bought to cure just about anything, but sometimes the cost is unbearable.
More beautiful magical realism exploring innocence, guilt, dance, juvie, and a final gesture toward redemption or revenge.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.