My fave books this year

As you’ll see I’ve added a new poll for fave books. I’m pretty sure that the last option will win, given that there are so many books published every year, getting consensus is harder and harder. It’s tricky enough finding people who’ve read the books you’ve read, let alone finding someone who feels the same way about them you do.

So, the poll to the right is made up of books I loved written by people I don’t know.1 This was so I could reduce my candidates and also because sometimes I feel like all I do is recommend the works of my friends. Now, it’s true, I happen to have some extraordinarily talented writer friends but it does get a bit tired.

I also have picked books that are a little bit under the radar. The Night Watch books are international bestsellers, but everyone I mention them to has not heard of them, or has only heard of the movies based on them. I still haven’t found anyone who’s read all three. Not good enough! And Walter Mosley is not exactly an unknown, but, well, what can I say? I adore his books.

As usual in my descriptions I’ve tried to be as unspoilery as possible.

  • I’ve talked about Skin Hunger here. My opinion has not changed: it’s one of the best novels I’ve read in years.
  • Touching Snow is an astonishing novel. It’s a problem novel about an abused kid in NYC and yet it’s funny and wry and keeps going completely unexpected places. I hate realism and I hate problem novels but I adored this book. I cannot wait for Felin’s next book. I believe I am not alone in this assessment.
  • Shannon Hale’s fairy tale re-imaginings are stunningly beautiful. They’re joyous and gorgeously written and end just how you want them to without you even realising that’s what you want. At the same time they manage to be about class and power and the battle of the sexes, which I think some readers of hers manage to miss. I’m trying to figure out if that’s a good or a bad thing. Book of a Thousand Days may be my favourite of hers.
  • The final volume of the Night Watch series, Twilight Watch, was every bit as good as the first two (Night Watch and Day Watch). I love dense political fantasy. This may be my favourite trilogy of the past decade or so. It has magic, bureaucracies, not to mention tragic love and death. I can’t wait to re-read all three back to back. (Adult novel.)
  • I love Walter Mosley. As far as I’m concerned he can do no wrong. Blonde Ambition is the most recent Easy Rawlins’ mystery and might well be his last, which would be a shame, and yet so many of his other books are genius that I really don’t care just as long as he keeps writing. I’m not much of a reader of crime novels. I have a few favourites like Patricia Highsmith and Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley is up there with them. If you’re going to read the Rawlins books go back to the first one, Devil in a Blue Dress and read them in sequence. Each book gets better and better. If you’re not up for a series then read The Man in the Basement. It’s genius. (Adult novel.)
  • The Secret History of Moscow reminded me a teeny bit of the Night Watch books, not surprising given that they’re both set (largely) in Moscow. Secret History has more of a fairy tale feel to it but the same darkly comic view of the world suffuses everything. This is another book I couldn’t put down. (Adult novel.)

So what were your favourites published this year? And why? I’m especially interested in hearing about books I may have overlooked.

Don’t worry, Mely, I will also post about my fave manga/manhwa/graphic novels of the year.

  1. I met Kathleen Duey and M. Sindy Felin Book Awards after I’d read their books and I’m not sure a brief meeting at a formal event counts as “knowing” them. []


  1. Dess on #

    My favorite book of 2007 would have to be the book thief by markus zusak. it was thought provoking, wonderfully written, and was just one of those book i couldn’t put down.

  2. Shloopy on #

    Ironside by Holly Black. Amazing, inimitable writing style. Suspenseful and a great read. yay!

    Girl at sea by maureen johnson. an incredibly fun read, with perfectly balanced amounts of suspense and silliness.

    magic’s child by justine larbalestier. an amazing end to the trilogy. a great source of inspiration during rainy days. 🙂

    Harry potter and the deathly hallows by j. k. rowling. words without screaming cannot describe how i feel, so i won’t post them here for your ears’ benefit.

    The sweet far thing by libba bray. okay, okay, i haven’t finished it yet, but so far i can tell it’s in my favorite list! no spoilers please!

    the city of dreaming books by walter moers. i know it’s 2006, but it was out of print in the US so I didn’t get to reading it until this year. It’s an english teachers dream and a young writer’s inspiration. I highly recommend reading the whole zamonia series so far. it’s up there with oxygen!

    I’ll post some more later, as there are so many books i like that i have definitely have missed at least 6 more.

  3. dragonfly on #

    I adore shannon hale; unfortunately, i have not read book of 1000 days or austenland yet. *sigh* it’s hard, being in germany, far far away from bookstores full of books in english!

    i’ve been wanting to read skin hunger too.

    sadly, i haven’t read many “new” books this year. magic’s child, extras, eclipse, harry potter and the deathly hallows, confessor (terry goodkind), lady friday (garth nix), brother odd (dean koontz), love is a many trousered thing (louise rennison). i think that’s it! compared to my usual reading habits, this is pathetic! this comes from:

    1. aforementioned living in germany.
    2. the first half of the year i was pregnant.
    3. the second half of the year i had a new baby.

    at any rate, i don’t know which was my favorite. i think it is so hard to compare books! there were things i loved about all of them.

    very much looking forward to getting my hands on new libba bray, holly black, and shannon hale…among many other books! :p

  4. Alys on #

    It’s very possible that my vote is influenced by the fact that I read it last month, thereby giving it undue bias over books that I read, say, last February.

    That being said, my favorite book this year has been A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. It’s a children’s book, rather than YA, but still excellent. It’s also realistic fiction, which I usually don’t enjoy, but make an exception for with this title.

    In YA land, my favorite book was Life as We Knew It, which did not come out in 2007, but *I* didn’t read it until February, so I’m choosing to count it anyway.

  5. tiffany trent on #

    Hi, Justine –

    very glad that you love Shannon’s books so. we were grad school buddies, and it’s lovely to see her getting the recognition she so rightly deserves! hope you’re well and cozy!


    -As to my fave books, I’m right there w/you on skin hunger, despite being completely freaked out by it. definitely not an easy read.

  6. serafina zane on #

    well, i very nearly said skin hunger, which i did love, but i’m not sure that was my favorite book of the was good, but i read quite a few books this year. the ending was HORRIBLE!!!! (in all caps, btw). great book, and all the reviews i’d read warned of a sudden ending, but i expected a little bit of…something. but no. WHERE IS THAT SEQUEL??!?!?! (also in all caps)

    oh this is hard. probably City of bones by cassandra clare, which most likely counts as a “Written by more than an aquaintance” book for you. or ironside by holly black (ditto) which someone mentioned above and i forgot was released this year.
    i read so many books this year. i reaallly can’t choose. especially as a lot of them weren’t published this year, but i read them this year. oooohhhh…why all the hard questions??!!!!
    i guess i’d have to go with City of Bones.

  7. molly on #

    Hmm picking favorites. always rough. i loved then we came to the end by joshua ferris for all its brilliant, compassionate cleverness about the peculiarities of work; i loved vendela vida’s let the northern lights erase your name for her lonely, aching narrator and all her mistakes and flaws; i loved skin hunger more than most things i read this year and am impossibly impatient for the sequel; and i loved china mieville’s un lun dun for its ingenuity and wordplay. and i totally forgot things, i know it. oh! adrian tomine’s shortcomings and danielle wood’s rosie little’s cautionary tales for girls. and i didn’t just throw that last one on ’cause she’s an aussie, either! i swear! it’s really a wonderful little book!

  8. pam on #

    Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher is one of my favs from the year. If I start listing the others I loved, I’ll never stop.

  9. Rebecca on #

    extras and magic’s child.
    also skin hunger and dramarama.

    uninvited by amanda marrone
    twisted by laurie halse anderson
    story of a girl by sara zarr
    memoirs of a teenage amnesiac by gabrielle zevin
    dead girls’ dance by rachel caine

  10. jocelyn on #

    i read so many great books this year! my favorite was hard to choose, but I picked ophelia by lisa klein. this book hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it’s really fantastic.

  11. Kadie-Wa on #

    I adore Magic Or maddness (I have only read that one)

    And of course, I LOVE the uglies series.

    But I don’t know if anyone has read the Chasing Yesterday series by robin Wasserman, but those are awesome too.

    Wow, all the other titles like 13 reasons why, and memoirs of a teenage amnesic are the books that i’ve been dying to read!! Now I know that they are good and I should read them!!

  12. serafina zane on #

    woo! morganville!
    Dead girl’s dance came out last year, i think though. or not, i don’t remember. have some memory of it though.
    midnight alley i think was this october. i remember cuz i finished it in english class. was probably my fav of the three. dead girl’s dance my least fav because it was too single-plotline dependent.
    hey i read Chasing Yesterday. they were okay.

  13. Danica on #

    How could I possibly pick favourites?!?!?
    There’s no way I could list them all, so I’ll just mention one that I particularly enjoyed, and that’s E. Lockhart’s Dramarama. It was fantastic. I’ve already re-read it twice.

    My friend has read the Night Watch series and loves them. But I haven’t read any of the three, so I really can’t comment on them.

  14. capt. cockatiel on #

    Hmmm. A tough pick, really. I’ll have to go with either:
    an abundance of katherines by john green. Because it was hilarious and smart and lovable all rolled into one. and it had footnotes. books with footnotes are always awesome. And it’s written by John Green. (Though that logic could be used for a lot of other books and authors, haha. Magic’s Child for example.)
    (or) Evolution, Me & Other freaks of nature by Robin Brande because, well, that book made me think. And I got really into it, too. Like sometimes I wished the characters were with me so I could yell at them. Or hit them or something. (Obviously I would only do that to the characters I didn’t like, though. Otherwise I’d be a very cruel reader…)
    Or possibly magic’s child since I did get it mailed to me and it made me infinitely happy the week before my birthday. n_n That probably made me year.
    (Argh, it’s really hard to narrow it down. Other contendors for my top picks this year would be Blood beast by darren shan, twisted by laurie halse anderson and naomi and ely’s no kiss list by rachel cohn and david levithan.)

  15. janet on #

    The problem is that I rarely read newly-published books. I’m still stuck in about 2004.

  16. Lissa on #

    as others have written – it’s terribly hard to pick just one. so, my top five books i’ve read this year:

    unwind by neal shusterman

    bloody jack (series) by l.a. meyer

    garden spells by sarah addison allen

    hero by perry moore

    variable star by r.a. heinlein and spider robinson

  17. kelly g on #

    Out of the above list i picked skin hunger, because it definitely was an amazing novel that creeps into my thoughts every now and then… and i think that is the sign of a truly great book, that it just keeps coming back to you.

    others that i have loved this year are extras (by your husband!), magic’s child (by you!) and forever in blue (the last traveling pants book). i would also imagine dreamquake by elizabeth knox and libba bray’s the sweet far thing would be on there, but i haven’t actually read them yet! ah! well, i ordered them online, but they haven’t arrived… so they are on the list because i know myself and know i will love them.

  18. Faith on #

    if you haven’t read in the serpent’s coils yet, by Tiffany Trent, you really should give it a go. I think you’d like it. And the first sequel is just out–I’ve ordered it but it hasn’t arrived yet. Other of my favourites that I first read this year include Erec Rex, the bermudez triangle,harmless, the Magic or Madness books (of course!), and the Uglies series. The list could go on and on, as I’m a voracious reader.

  19. sERAFINA zANE on #

    omg i loved Unwind too.

  20. capt. cockatiel on #

    Okay, so Katherines was actually published in 2006, but I still count it as one of my 2007 books because that’s when I read it! Psh! Haha.

  21. Sandy on #

    I went to reply, and then I couldn’t come up with what books that I had read this year that had also been published this year. “Girl at Sea” by Maureen Johnson is definitly there on my favorites list, as well as “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseinni. That book was amazing! I couldn’t put it down.

    I like to count “I Know this much to be true” by Wally Lamb as one of my favorites of 2007 to, even though it was technically published around 1998. I stumbled across it in a used bookstore and thought it looked interesting. It’s a fantastic read. It’s kind of like a coming to grips story, all about the main characters untimate redemption without seeming preachy or pompous. I highly recommend this novel!

  22. David on #

    My favorites would be David Gunn’s Death’s Head; William Dietrich’s Napoleon’s Pyramids; The Judas Strain by James Rollins; The Wheel of Darkness by Preston and Child; Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick – never heard of any of the books on this list to choose from. Guess my tastes are low brow compared to yours 😛

  23. Liz on #

    I’ve read all three of the night watch trilogy, and enjoyed them a lot. I understand there’s a fourth book, but it’s not out here till late 2008 (sigh). The films are pretty good too, in a crazy Russian way.

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