Best of the year list

Magic Lessons just made a best book of the year list. The insideadog (inky) favourites of 2006. Woo hoo! I’m particularly gratified because poor wee little Magic Lessons has not been getting the critical love that Magic or Madness did. Despite it being the better book. At least I think it is. And I wrote so I should know, right? (Oh, hush!)

What’s more the insideadog list is fabulous! (Not surprising given what a fabbie site it is.) Of the fourteen books on it I’ve read and adored eight* (obviously not counting Magic Lessons). I can’t remember the last time I saw a list I was so simpatico with. I am now going to run out and get the books on it I’ve not already read. You should too.

What young adult books do you think have been overlooked this year? Or not just YA—what were your favourite critically and/or popularly unappreciated books of 2006? Is there a book you’ve been going on and on about that seems to be flying under everyone’s radar? Speak up!

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Looking for Alaska by John Green
We Are the Weather Makers by Tim Flannery
Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld


  1. robin on #

    exciting *and* well-deserved — congratulations!

  2. jennifer, aka literaticat on #

    see, ok, wait, i can totally explain.

    magic lessons might be a better book – if only because you’d had more practice – but it isn’t a standalone. it isn’t that you can’t read it without reading MorM, but the experience certainly isn’t complete, and then there’s a freaking cliffhanger!

    SO, the entire trilogy can go on lists, when the entire trilogy is out.

    Also, I’ve read 7 to your 8, and I totally agree.

    Bindy isn’t selling nearly as well as I’d like, though I know it will be huge in paper. And I loved Queen of Cool, too, which – while not exactly “under the radar” – hasn’t gotten all the critical acclaim that boy proof did. Other than that, I am list free so far. I will have to scan the old memorybank to even remember what came out at the beginning of this year, since i’m already buying for next summer.

  3. jennifer, aka literaticat on #

    (oh, i hope that “it’s not a stand-alone” didn’t make it sound like i didn’t love it — just so you know, Magic Lessons is on my list — just with a little asterisk next to it for *read the others too!!)

  4. holly on #


    Shug by Jenny Han

  5. Jillian on #


    Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Ann Stolarz

    Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

  6. Justine on #

    Jennifer: Queen of Cool! Of course! While I liked Boy Proof i thought Queen of Cool was a vast step up. A huge improvement in all ways. And yet the reviews weren’t neary as good as they were for Boy Proof. Very very very annoying!

    Holly: Can you tell me more about Shug?

    Jillian: Do you really think Blue is for Nightmares and Just Listen are under the radar? I saw them everywhere and got the impression they were selling like crazy.

  7. Seth Christenfeld on #

    Two recent (non-YA) favorites that have flown under the radar: Even Kuhlman’s terrific wolf boy and, to a lesser degree, Carolyn Parkhurst’s Lost and Found.

    And although it’s nearly two years old at this point, I firmly believe that, Stephen King’s backup notwithstanding, Ron McLarty’s extraordinary The Memory of Running hasn’t gotten the praise it deserves.

  8. Penni on #

    Seth, I’m reading the memory of running now and I agree. It’s a beautiful book about masculinity and manhood (among other things) and the voice is surprising and memorable.

  9. Penni on #

    Oh and congratulations Justine!!!

  10. sjh on #

    Yay Justine!! And yes, what jen said – always harder to get reviews for sequels, particularly ones that are so closely interwoven.

    I adore Will, a coming-of-age debut novel by Maria Boyd with a cracker teenage-boy voice. And Blaze of Glory by Michael Pryor, which I think is the best thing he’s ever written. Huzzah!

    (The problem is I’ve read so few dud books this year that it’s hard to single out a couple . . .)

  11. Diana on #

    I’m with sjh. This has been a year for books to love.

    And I feel so happy that most of my faves this year are getting loving whereever they go (also, some of them are older but i just read them): Feed, I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d have to kill you, Keturah and lord death, how i live now, speak, the golden compass, slave to sensation

    one that I adored but I don’t think got enough loving by the populace was major crush, by Jennifer echolls. It’s a band geek romance. So swoonworthy. total adolescent angst indulgence.

    Also, I think the last days was one of scott’s best books yet, combining the wonderful ensemble voices skill of the earlier midnighters books with the amazing worldbuilding premise of peeps, and I don’t think it was appreciated for the masterwork it is.

  12. Justine on #

    Thanks for all the extra recs, everyone.

    SJH: It has been an ace year for books, hasn’t it?

    Diana: I totally agree about The Last Days it really is his best book to date. I’m glad someone else noticed!

    And I’ll be looking out for Major Crush sounds like fun.

  13. Maggie on #

    Congratulations! I assure you it’s well-deserved, as I just finished ‘Magic Lessons’ and loved, loved, loved it!!!! 😀

  14. marrije on #

    justine, thanks for introducing me to john green. i just finished ‘looking for alaska’, and it’s absolutely brilliant and amazing and i’m really envious of the guy for being such a brilliant writer at the tender age of whatever he is. bugger almost made me cry. and he certainly made me laugh.

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