This post is late.
But seeing as I only blog once a year, I didn’t want to miss my yearly commitment.
Here are my favorite books from 2015. These are books that I personally read in 2015. Often they didn’t come out in 2015. There are dozens more books that I truly loved this year, but these are the ones that I can’t get out of my head. I try to keep the list balanced with YA and MG and Adult Lit.
2015 was a big year for me– two books out, my first tour, getting engaged, selling a new YA project, and re-discovering how obsessed I am with Ethiopian takeout. So, you know, big stuff.
And it was a great reading year. I tried to read what excited me, not what I felt like I had to read. The result was satisfying and inspiring.
And now, in no particular order…
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN: No surprises here. This Newbery Award winning book about imprisoned animals blew me away, made me cry, made me excited about all the different ways we as writers can choose to tackle stories. It’s original, moving, and simply beautiful.
THE AGE OF MIRACLES: I was looking for books that represented the kind of books I’m wanting to write these days. Life, reimagined by small variations, but ultimately still recognizable as the Modern World. THE AGE OF MIRACLES is exactly this. It’s our life, if one simple change took place, in this case, the change being the reimagining of the concept of time. This book, over any others, helped me finally, finally write a successful draft of my next YA novel.
THIS ONE SUMMER: We read this graphic novel in book club and it was a crowd favorite. It captured two things I care deeply about– female friendship and troubled mother-daughter relationships. I think it’s a book almost any reader could love. It’s accessible and nostalgic and sweet and harsh all at once.
INVINCIBLE: Amy Reed has been a favorite YA author of mine since I first got into YA and INVINCIBLE rivals my long time favorite of hers, BEAUTIFUL. It’s a rare straightforward, unblinking look at addiction and anger. It was more than a great read for me. It helped me negotiate some of my own past. So worthwhile and strong.
INFANDOUS: I tweeted about this book a lot because it is one of the most unique YA novels I’ve ever read. Not only does it have a truly stunning writing style, it’s also bold and sensual in a way that felt brand new to me. I love how swift and fearless it is. Like so many of my favorite books, it’s a mother-daughter book. It also has a fairy-tale quality, an unspeakably intense twist, and a thick atmosphere. Read it.
DEPT OF SPECULATION: This is a short, unsettling look at relationships. An adult novel that has a stream-of-consciousness feel and dives into feelings I rarely see addressed in novels. It has a quiet, philosophical feeling, an arresting structure, and a lot to say about intimacy and life, in general.
A LITTLE LIFE: This is on so many lists, but it’s for a reason. It took me months to read the first 200 pages, and days to read the last 500 pages. It is the single most brutal text I’ve ever read. Hopeless, despairing, and engrossing. I couldn’t stop reading it. It is also about love– the powers it does and does not have. Four friends in NYC confront the very worst that life has to offer. It’s also about trauma and the ways it can and cannot be overcome. Harrowing.
GOODBYE STRANGER: Rebecca Stead wins again, with a book about a tricky age– young teenagerdom. I loved the way she handled young sexual coming of age and shifting friendships and the way the world can feel mysterious and out of control at this age. She’s a master of MG and YA literature, and this book captures that age better than any book I’ve ever read.
HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL: Not enough children’s lit interests itself with issues around financial struggles, and this book does it with grace, lightness, and depth. I loved the main character’s optimism and off beat personality, I loved her love of poetry, and I loved how this book balanced light and dark. Theres also some lovely structural components, and excellent writing.
SINGLE CAREFREE MELLOW: I often forget to fall in love with short stories, and I made an effort to pick up this collection of stories that focus on love and sex and womanhood. There’s a lightness to these stories that I appreciated, a frank way of talking about the world, and they’re about my favorite type of women– imperfect, complicated, flawed, feeling. A really good collection of short stories to get you back into what it is short stories have to offer.