Favorite Fiction of 2009

Here are the books that I read in 2009 that stick out in my memory:

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg: “Told in verse, the words are short and the sentences terse but packed with meaning. The descriptions are tied to nature and lovely in a straightforward way that reminded me of Hemingway.”

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Michael Cochrane: “It blended many of the themes present in several of this year’s best children’s books: death and abandonment, grief and alienation, discrimination and friendship. Yet none of these drowned the story and baseball tied it all together. Beautiful.”

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly: “Kelly takes a timeless subject and excels. From vivid description to the subtle accompaniment of literary tools like alliteration that allows sentences to roll of the tongue, the writing is captivating and beautiful.”

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: “…layered with stories chalk full of cultural history.” One of the best children’s books of the year.

Neil Armstrong is my Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino: “It is a beautifully told story about the loss of one’s best friend, neighborhood kids, pride, and growing up. Tamara carries the story with such authenticity and artlessness.”

The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria McKernan: “The whole story was fascinating and multifaceted.”

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork: “It is a well structured, intricate story that I hope is a front runner for the Printz!”

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor: The writing is captivating. The stories are captivating.”

Series (or books whose sequels or companion books I am impatiently awaiting)

Chains by Laurie Halse Handerson: “Great writing, riveting perspective, heart-wrenching scenes.”

Fire by Kristen Cashore: “I had high hopes for this book and I wasn’t disappointed. Cashore writes some really excellent dialogue – witty and poignant. I found myself laughing out loud or squealing at points.”

Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle: “It is a dense novel that hits the ground running. I enjoyed every moment of Toby’s fascinating world, the world of a Tree.”

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull: “The story is engaging and evenly paced. The interactions between the siblings (Seth, the young risk-taker, and Kendra, the sagacious elder) are often humorous and always believable.”

Books of Umber by P.T. Cantanese: “A solid fantasy read.  This book seems to be the tip of an iceberg. We learn just enough about Happenstance to understand where he might be headed and to care that he gets there intact. Umber is a fascinating man, charismatic and mysterious. There is a sprinkling of political intrigue, the hint of another like Happenstance, and an overlap between two very different worlds. I can’t wait for more!”

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