Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Book Lists Pt. 6: Gossipy; Romance; POC; Sobbing; Fluff

*Back to Introductory Post; Pt. 1; Pt. 2; Pt 3; Pt 4; Pt 5; Pt 7
*Books are linked to my reviews, if available. Otherwise, they're linked to Amazon. I have read all of these books and written reviews for most, but haven't posted many of them yet. As I do, I will update this page.


If you devour People and InStyle Magazines and tune into Gossip Girl every week...
-There's something about shallow girls with great clothes and lots of money. And it's even better if they somehow manage not to be shallow.


Hollywood Is Like High School With Money - Zoey Dean
Fun, breezy chick lit. Naive, midwestern girl hits LA, discovers that big city girls are really mean and tough, tries to beat them at their own game, eventually triumphs while staying true to her kind, somewhat innocent self. Fun name-dropping and fashion tidbits. Lots of interesting information about the inner workings of a movie studio (whether realistic or not). Nothing revolutionary, but still lots of fun. (Amazon)

Secrets Of My Hollywood Life 5: Broadway Princess - Jen Calonita
The penultimate installment of Secrets of My Hollywood Life is set in New York City. Kaitlyn spends the summer performing on Broadway, but without her boyfriend Austin. The SOMHL series is loads of fun - name-dropping, fashion galore - but best of all featuring a really sweet, genuine girl. Gossip Girl this is not. (Amazon)

Airhead, Being Nikki, and Runaway - Meg Cabot
Emerson Watts: Smart, ultra-feminist girl trapped in gorgeous super-model's body after a brain transplant. Someone wants to kill Emerson/Nikki. Can Em use her smarts to catch the killer and her beautiful bod to make a living? Fabulous side characters in Lulu, Freida, Christopher, and Gabriel. Typical Meg Cabot, in ways both good and bad.(Amazon 1, Amazon 2, Amazon 3)

The Daughters and The Daughter Break The Rules - Joanna Philbin
It’s actually possible to be fabulously wealthy, famous, and well-dressed and to also be a nice, intelligent person. These books follow three 9th graders through the ups and downs in life. Fun, light, uplifting stories. (Amazon 1 and Amazon 2)

Pretty On The Outside - Kate Kingsley
Gossip Girl meets British boarding school. A group of kids with too much money and time on their hands and too little supervision. Not too many morals, but they do wear great clothes and have interesting adventures. (Amazon)

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen
Turn of the century Gossip Girl. At the height of the robber baron era, the rich are truly rich and the poor are truly poor. Follow three "rich" girls, who have everything they want except for love and a very bitter "poor" maid who wants independence and revenge. Godbersen's writing is heavy on atmospherics and descriptions. While initially bogging down the story, the descriptions make the book rich - you feel as if you are walking through Victorian New York City. (Amazon)

Reality Check - Jen Calonita
Four best friends in a Long Island coastal beach town have a pretty boring life until a reality show swoops in and gets them to star in a new show about "real teenagers." But reality TV isn't all it's cracked up to be. The producers want to see more conflict - even if they have to force it on the girls. Four best friends seem to be friends no more. Can the girls get out of the reality show and manage to keep their friendship? All of Jen's books are fun, light reads that keep a smile on my face.
(Amazon)

The Aristobrats - Jennifer Solow
A group of popular girls take their position seriously and try to be examples for the rest of the school. But when they're stuck doing the nerdy school webcast, their popularity plummets. They discover what's really important and that they are not, perhaps, the good examples that they think themselves to be. (Amazon)

Bright Young Things - Anna Godberson
In Summer 1929, life is at the very top of a roller-coaster - the balance point before you plummet to the ground. Letty and Cordelia come to NYC to create a glamorous life for themselves. Cordelia finds her father, a wealthy bootlegger, and befriends Astrid, a wealthy girl. The book is told in the alternating voices of Astrid, Letty, and Cordelia - who are all wonderfully likeable, yet three-dimensional characters. A great, realistic historical fiction. (Amazon)

Best Go-Weak-In-The-Knees Romance

Anna And The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Don't let the awful title keep you away. One of the best contemporary fiction reads in years. Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. Mired at first by culture shock and loneliness, she quickly finds a good group of friends and a really cool guy. St. Clair is one of the most genuine, nice, funny guys in YA literature. Their friendship/relationship goes through as many ups and downs as a roller coaster, but it still manages to feel real and enticing. (Amazon)

North Of Beautiful - Justina Chen Headley
Terra has beautiful hair, a slim, toned body, and a gorgeous face...only it's marred by a huge purple birthmark. She has a horrible, emotionally abusive father, a broken mother, and two brothers who never come home. A chance meeting of Jacob, a goth Chinese-American boy, and his mother changes Terra's life forever. Jacob is funny, confident, happy, and encouraging. He and his mom bring Terra and her mom out of their shells and on the road to self-discovery. Beautiful, lyrical writing that is sometimes painfully real. (Amazon)

Swim the Fly - Don Calame
Hilarious. Laugh until you cry. Call all your friends and read aloud excerpts because "they must hear this." Three boys have a summertime goal of seeing a girl naked for the first time. Meanwhile, Matt (the narrator) also set a goal to swim the 100-m fly to impress a girl (Kelly). The boys are anything buy studly. Three awkward, kind loser kids. The lengths to which they go in pursuit of their goal will have you in stitches. The book is also oddly poignant and ultimately has one of the best portrayals of a strong, sweet burgeoning relationship that I've read in awhile. I love how it shows both the wrong kind of relationship and the right kind. (Amazon)

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Katniss just can’t get a break. In Catching Fire, Katniss is once again a victim/fighter in a Hunger Games. She makes new friends and new enemies. I love how the triangle between Peeta and Gale deepens. I am only listing Catching Fire for Best Romance, because it's where I love the Katniss-Peeta relationship best. (Amazon )

The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
Beautiful tale of grief. You will spend much of the book laughing and crying at the same time. Reeling from her sister’s death, grief threatens to overtake Lenny. She seeks comfort in her sister’s boyfriend Toby in ways she probably shouldn’t. She is also attracted to a new kid, Joe, who can take her away from her grief, if only for a short time. Joe is an incredible guy: sweet, a talented musician, cute...just perfect. Wonderful use of poetry throughout the book. You really feel Lennie’s grief, confusion, and love.
(Amazon)

Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Beautiful, complex, haunting, romantic, heart-breaking, uplifting. No single word can describe a book this wonderful. It’s extremely confusing at first, but if you stick with it, you will be in love with Taylor Markham and her world. The tension and passion between Jonah Griggs and Taylor is one of the best YA depictions of romance I've read. They have a troubled history together, but are drawn to each other more and more as the book continues. It feels both magical and real. (Amazon)

Paranormalcy - Kiersten White
If the thought of another angst-ridden paranormal romance makes you gag, check out Paranormalcy. Evie: Kick-butt vamp/wereworlf/hag fighter who also loves anything pink and longs to go to high school to have her own locker. Lend: Handsome, smart, intriguing, genuinely nice love interest. I love the build-up of Evie and Lend's relationship. They get to know one another as sort-of friends, but with mutual attraction. Then she saves him and he saves her. Fun, sweet romance. (Amazon)

People Of Color (POC)
-Interesting that most of these are adult literature. I don't know if that says more about my reading or about YA literature.


Finding My Voice - Maria G. Lee
Ellen is torn between being a straight-A student, Harvard bound senior as her parents expect her to be and being a gymnast, partier, girlfriend, and normal kid. As the only Asian student in her tiny northern Minnesota school, Ellen also has to deal with racist comments from students and teachers. Live through Ellen's senior year as she lives, love, and chooses a future. (Amazon)

Cutting For Stone - Abraham Verghese
An Indian nun surprisingly gives birth to twins in an Ethiopian hospital, fathered by a British doctor. When she dies and the father disappears, two Indian doctors raise the twins Marion and Shiva. Told from Marion's point of view, follow his life from turbulent childhood in politically unstable Ethiopia to his young adulthood as a resident in the U.S. Fascinating mixture of Ethiopian and Indian cultures. Three-dimensional characters you'll grow to love - from Ghosh and Hema (the adoptive parents), to eccentric Shiva, to kind, damaged, everyman Marion. (Amazon)

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Skeeter is a wealthy, young white college grad in 1960s Mississippi. She wants to make a difference in the world. She colludes with a group of local African-American maids to write stories of just how difficult and wonderful their lives as "the help" are. A dangerous task at the height of the civil rights movement. Told in alternating perspectives of Skeeter, Minny, Miss Celia, and Abileen. The reader really gets to know and understand a variety of different people in the civil rights era South. (Amazon)

Hotel On the Corner Of Bitter And Sweet - Jamie Ford
A 12-year-old Chinese-American boy befriends a Japanese-American girl at the beginning of WWII, when the hatred of the Japanese is at its peak. The book alternates between the 1940s and 1980s, all from Henry's perspective. The 1940s portions are much better than the 1980s. A sweet story of a blossoming friendship in a time of turmoil and bigotry. (Amazon)

Girl In Translation - Jean Kwok
Beautiful, thought-provoking tale of an 11-year-old immigrant from Hong Kong. She starts school in New York City knowing no English but through sheer brilliance soon receives a scholarship to a private school. Meanwhile, her mother toils away in the sweatshop owned by her cruel aunt and uncle. Kimberly has to balance a life of poverty with the very normal life of her wealthy, innocent school friends. Kimberly longs to have a better life, but will her childhood love keep her in the sweatshop world? (Amazon)

Operation Redwood - S. Terrell French
Julian Carter-Li has been abandoned by his mother and is stuck with his awful aunt and uncle. But Julian is a quiet, obedient boy...until he finds an email to his uncle from Robin, an irate girl protesting a plan to cut down some ancient redwood trees. Inspired by Robin and his friend Danny, Julian sneaks off to spend the summer with Robin and her family in rural northern California. Operation Redwood manages to entertain and teach the reader a whole lot about trees. (Amazon)

North Of Beautiful - Justina Chen Headley
Terra has beautiful hair, a slim, toned body, and a gorgeous face...only it's marred by a huge purple birthmark. She has a horrible, emotionally abusive father, a broken mother, and two brothers who never come home. A chance meeting of Jacob, a goth Chinese-American boy, and his mother changes Terra's life forever. Jacob is funny, confident, happy, and encouraging. He and his mom bring Terra and her mom out of their shells and on the road to self-discovery. Beautiful, lyrical writing that is sometimes painfully real. (Amazon)

I'd recommend you buy stock in Kleenex before reading...
-Interesting that all my 2010 tearjerkers are contemporary fiction. I guess paranormal and fantasy just doesn't pull that sort of emotion, or at least not the books I read.


Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
Samantha is a stereotypical popular mean girl with a perfect life...until it ends. Now, she has to relive her last day over and over until she gets it right. If only she knew what "right" was supposed to be. See Samantha go through the stages of grief - anger, sadness, acceptance. Read as she finds the boy she should have been with all along and try to make amends for the cruel treatment of her and her friends. (Amazon)

In A Heartbeat - Loretta Ellsworth
Two girls: Quiet, obedient, loving Amelia has been ill for years with a bad heart. Fast, sassy, Eagan lives to skate but also rebels against her mother's pressure and wants the most out of life. When Eagan dies in a freak skating accident, Amelia gets her heart. Suddenly Amelia takes on some of Eagan's sassy, bold personality and even her interests, like purple lollipops and skating. Told in alternating points of view between Eagan and Amelia, see Eagan adjust to an unexpected loss and Amelia adjust to being a new person, both literally and figuratively. (Amazon)

The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
Beautiful tale of grief. You will spend much of the book laughing and crying at the same time. Reeling from her sister’s death, grief threatens to overtake Lenny. She seeks comfort in her sister’s boyfriend Toby in ways she probably shouldn’t. She is also attracted to a new kid, Joe, who can take her away from her grief, if only for a short time. Joe is an incredible guy: sweet, a talented musician, cute...just perfect. Wonderful use of poetry throughout the book. You really feel Lennie’s grief, confusion, and love. (Amazon)

Out Of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper
11-year-old Melody is a genius, but trapped in a body crippled by cerebral palsey, no one knows it. She can’t walk or talk or do anything by herself. When she gets a machine that speaks for her, people are shocked at the things she can do...but do they believe it’s really her? Heartfelt, inspiring book. Really makes you think more about disabled children. (Amazon)

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
Heart-breaking depiction of the effects of date rape on a 14-year-old girl. Melinda goes through life with a black veil over her face - she wants to live, but the memories and the depression separate her from the world. Deeply cynical, yet realistic portrayal of high school. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the last quarter of the book. (Amazon)

The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
17-year-old Ronnie is still furious over her parents' divorce three years ago and is miserable that she's stuck spending the summer with her dad in North Carolina. She longs to hate everybody and everything, but finds a new friend, a handsome boy, a passion for aquatic life, and an opportunity to heal her relationship with her dad. The book equally explores the father/daughter relationship and the boy/girl relationship. Even though it's predictably melodramatic, you'll still cry at the end. (Amazon)

Fun, Fluffy Bunnies
-When tears and fears just won't do...


Forgive My Fins - Tera Lynn Childs
Lily is a normal high schooler who is secretly a mermaid princess. By an accidental kiss, she eternally mates herself to her worst enemy Quince. They have to travel to Thalasinnia, the mermaid kingdom, to undo the mating. I loved the well-developed mermaid world and cute sea cliches. Complete fun fluff. (Amazon)

The Daughters and The Daughter Break The Rules - Joanna Philbin
It’s actually possible to be fabulously wealthy, famous, and well-dressed and to also be a nice, intelligent person. These books follow three 9th graders through the ups and downs in life. Fun, light, uplifting stories. (Amazon 1 and Amazon 2)

Hollywood Is Like High School With Money - Zoey Dean
Fun, breezy chick lit. Naive, midwestern girl hits LA, discovers that big city girls are really mean and tough, tries to beat them at their own game, eventually triumphs while staying true to her kind, somewhat innocent self. Fun name-dropping and fashion tidbits. Lots of interesting information about the inner workings of a movie studio (whether realistic or not). Nothing revolutionary, but still lots of fun. (Amazon)

Suite Scarlett and Scarlett Fever - Maureeen Johnson
Scarlett’s family owns an old, run-down hotel. She balances caring for the hotel with managing her crazy brother and two sisters. Add being the assistant to a drama-queen formerly famous actress and dealing with “interesting” boys. All that totals up to one fun, adventurous, crazy life. (Amazon 1 and Amazon 2)

Reality Check - Jen Calonita
Four best friends in a Long Island coastal beach town have a pretty boring life until a reality show swoops in and gets them to star in a new show about "real teenagers." But reality TV isn't all it's cracked up to be. The producers want to see more conflict - even if they have to force it on the girls. Four best friends seem to be friends no more. Can the girls get out of the reality show and manage to keep their friendship? All of Jen's books are fun, light reads that keep a smile on my face.
(Amazon)

Viola In Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani
New Yorker Viola is sent to a rural boarding school when her parents go on a long film trip. Viola fancies herself a budding filmmaker and you learn lots about films in the book. All the good qualities of a boarding school book - interesting new friends, adventure, budding romance. (Amazon)

The Lonely Hearts Club - Elizabeth Eulberg
Penny Lane thinks boys are more trouble than they’re worth. She starts a club celebrating and pledging singledom. This leads to fury around the school (even the administration), but loads of fun for her girlfriends. The problem is that Penny may have found a boy worth liking. (Amazon)

Sucks To Be Me and Still Sucks To Be Me - Kimberly Pauley
Mina grows up with two vampire parents. She now has to choose whether to become a vampire after the Vampire Council finds out about her. Mina attends vampire classes with other teenage vamp wannabes. Mina’s complaining, sarcastic humor is hilarious. Great guy characters in both books. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Secrets Of My Hollywood Life 5: Broadway Princess - Jen Calonita
The penultimate installment of Secrets of My Hollywood Life is set in New York City. Kaitlyn spends the summer performing on Broadway, but without her boyfriend Austin. The SOMHL series is loads of fun - name-dropping, fashion galore - but best of all featuring a really sweet, genuine girl. Gossip Girl this is not. (Amazon)

The Espressologist - Kristina Springer
Jane loves to predict people’s personalities based on their favorite coffee drink. She turns this into a matchmaking adventure on a lark, and it turns into a huge success. Suddenly Jane is matching people left and right, including her best friend and Cam, a guy in her college class. But the more Jane gets to know Cam, the more she’s wishing she was matched to him instead. Jane is a bit annoying, but Cam is great, and the story is light and fun. (Amazon)

The Sweetheart of Prosper County - Jill S. Alexander
Fun, comfortable book about growing up in rural Texas. Boring Austin Gray wants to be someone special: The Sweetheart of Prosper County. So she joins FFA and raises a rooster named Charles Dickens for the fair. In the process she makes new friends, gets to know a great guy, and discovers what it truly means to "be someone special." (Amazon)

The Mother Daughter Book Club, Much Ado About Anne, Dear Pen Pal, and Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick
Four very different girls and their mothers start a book club. The girls, reluctantly at first, become best friends. Each book covers a year of their lives, starting in 6th grade. They read a different book each year (e.g. Little Women, Anne of Green Gables) and the girls’ personal lives loosely follow the plots of the books. A wholesome read that still manages to showcase three-dimensional characters. The girls and their parents all make mistakes yet all learn something. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2, Amazon 3, Amazon 4)

5 comments :

  1. Good list. I've read a few on there - Paranormalcy, Speak, Anna and the French Kiss. I have The Sky is Everywhere and Before I Fall - just haven't gotten to them yet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing List!

    Read: Airhead, The Luxe, Catching Fire, Secrets of My Hollywood Life.

    Wow, I've not read alot...more reading needed to be done!

    Rabiah @ Confessions of a Readaholic
    http://iliveforreading.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yay for Jen Calonita! All of your posts about The Daughters is making me excited to read those books. I love reading those rich girl books, but it's so much nicer when the main character is actually a good person.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think this is my favourite list yet! If I'm looking for contemps...I know where to look now...this list! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great list. I love learning about books I haven't heard of yet!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila