Saturday, December 31, 2011

The lists begin........

So, I cannot let the end of the year come and go without making a few lists of my own!  I'll be posting various ones over the next couple of days!  Hope you enjoy!

First, I must say that at one point in time, I only read paranormal/supernatural stuff.  Then I had to take Young Adult lit this past summer.  And Dr. Truett (bless her!) made it her personal mission to move me away from the sci fi/fantasy genre.  And surprise!  I found a lot of contemporary realistic books that I liked.  So in honor of that, here's my first list:

The Books That Made Me Love Contemporary Realistic This Year (in no particular order)

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

Oh how I loved this book!  I still think about this book!  I made the playlist for this book on my ipod.  Yes, I have been purchasing every song that Roger had on those playlists in the book.  This books owns me.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

This was a great contemporary that I read for class this summer.  I had to find a sports related book and I remembered seeing this one on someone's blog.  Boy, am I ever glad I remembered it!  This book was amazing!  The way the author captured the awkwardness of a teenaged boy was unbelievable and right on target. 

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Oh, Ms. Eulberg!  You did what I imagined to be impossible!  You made a contemporary version of Pride and Prejudice that was believable, clever and didn't rely on time travel!  As a huge fan of Jane Austen, I am extremely picky when it comes to "updated retellings" of her story.  This one was beautiful!

Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

Ok, I must admit that I dreaded reading this book.  The cover is terrible and it sounded depressing.  I was FORCED to read it for my YA lit class (Thanks, Dr. Truett! ::waves::)  Thank goodness or I never would have picked this one up!  I loved this story.  It was a sad story, but it's narrated with such a funny voice, that I never felt overwhelmed with the sadness.  Brian Katcher is a teacher and he catches the male adolescent voice splendidly.  This is one of the books that also converted me to a male-author-narrating-a-male-voice fan.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I have to admit it.  I thought Sarah Dessen was the bad romance writer of the teen lit world.  I assumed that her books were trite and fluffy little teen girl fantasy romances.  Boy was I wrong!  This book was awesome!  I loved it.  It felt real and it dealt with issues that the teens sitting in my classes deal with and it dealt with them in a superb fashion.  I've been recommending this one over and over.  And I plan to read more Sarah Dessen!

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Obviously a class about teen literature must include at least one book by Laurie Halse Anderson, right?  I wanted to read Speak, but the copyright date was too old for the requirements of my class.  I went to browse in our library at school and found this one.  The tagline in the front is what sold me on choosing it:  "Everyone told me to be a man but no one told me how."  However, that tagline in no way prepared me for the powerful story that this book contained.  I laughed, I cried, I got mad -- this book made me feel ALIVE while reading it. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

There's a reason that this book was won a gazillion awards.  This book is so wonderful I don't even know where to begin.  The pictures were a fabulous addition to the story.  The voice of the narrator is so funny that I found myself laughing and then catching myself because it should have been sad.  If you don't read this book, you are depriving yourself of one of the best literary experiences of your life.  For reals.  I have recommended this book to more people than any other book I've read.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

First off, I am a French teacher.  So not only did I just have to read this book, but as a person who has visited Paris numerous times and lived in the south of France, I have a very critical eye for books set in France.  Swoon!  Ms. Perkins, you made me feel like I was in Paris!  This book not only captured Paris as a setting, but it captured the feelings of first love so beautifully.  Those awkward moments of having a crush on someone and those heart-racing moments of being with that person for the first time.  This book was light and fluffy, but for an adult, it was also oh-so-bittersweet!  To be young and in love and in Paris!

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Libba Bray, you are my new favorite person!  I want to be your BFF and hang out every day drinking coffee and talking snarky crap about the world.

I loved this book.  The satire is amazing.  The snarkiness is incredible.  I thought it was clever and well-written and managed to satirize all the ills of American popular culture.  The story is ridiculous and purposefully so.  This is not a book for everyone, but it you are tired of people raving about the geniusness of American Idol and reality TV and you think current politics are a joke, you will love this book.

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

I thought this book was going to be just a fluffy read.  And I was wrong.  This book captures a teen girl's difficulty dealing with a serious diagnosis for her father.  There are also a lot of good, fluffy moments mixed in, but the book does a great job of balancing the serious with the fluff.  I think it captures the teen voice really well also, and it realistically portrays an adolescent reaction to this news.  Most teens are so self-focused that they don't always react the way an adult would and this book portrayed that.  I pulled an all-nighter reading this one because I just couldn't stop.

So, here they are.  The books that converted me!  And now I have a big pile of contemporary realistic books next to all my paranormal books!  Which totally makes the tagline on my blog incorrect, but who cares?  Expect to see more contemporary realistic reviews here on my paranormal book blog! : )

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