The Mountains of Instead

Championing fiction as an escape from pandemics, politics and bad TV.

In Which I Talk A LOT About The Books I've Read in 2010

I love it when questionnaires and surveys appear on blogs. I'm eternally nosy so when this end of year number from The Perpetual Page Turner started circulating I was delighted. I had originally planned to take part in Persnickety Snark's Five challenge, but computer and internet issues have robbed me of time so this will have to suffice. You can find my reviews of all books mentioned via my 2010 In Books page - all highlighted titles link to a review.

Best book of 2010?
Such a hard question so I'm going to have to have a top three: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Matched by Ally Condie and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  I love that two of these books are by debut authors - it's exciting to see new talent emerging on the YA block.  

Worst book of 2010?
I wouldn't normally answer a question about this, but the book in point made me so bloody cross that I'm happy to rant about it. It was, easily (and I read a couple of shockers this year) Marked by PC and Kristen Cast. You can find out why here because if I get started on why I don't like it again then this will easily turn into the longest post ever.

Most disappointing book of 2010?
Without a doubt, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.  I loved the premise of this, the tag line was superb and the cover art fantastic. Sadly, it was more than a little bit rubbish. In fact, rubbish is too strong a word - it was just completely meh. The subsequent brouhaha over James Frey and his dubious Full Fathom Five just added distaste to disappointment.

Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2010?
Revolution by Jennifer Doherty. I'm a not a lover of historical fiction so I almost didn't bother picking it up at all. I'm glad I did, though, as Revolution is an excellent book and easily one of my top reads of the year. An honourable mention should go to Shade by Jeri Smith Ready for reminding me that paranormal YA could be original, refreshing and fabulous.  

Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. It took me until this year to read this book (and subsequently the rest of the series) and I've become somewhat evangelical about it (review here). Ness's writing is quite simply the best that I have come across (adult or young adult) in years. There is nothing else like it out there and The Knife of Never Letting Go is an absolute must read. Coming a close second in the recommendation charts is something completely different in the form of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I found myself passing this on to at least half a dozen friends who have all become converts to Clare's great urban fantasy writing.

Best series you discovered in 2010

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness - these books stand head and shoulders above everything else on the YA shelves and I have no idea why they have not been promoted as adult titles also - they are simply outstanding. I also enjoyed arriving late to both the Percy Jackson and Vampire Academy parties. As far as new additions to ongoing series are concerned I particularly enjoyed Carrie Ryan's The Dead Tossed Waves, Maggie Stiefvater's Linger, The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan and Lies by Michael Grant.

Favourite new authors you discovered in 2010?
Ach, so many! Jandy Nelson, Patrick Ness, Melina Marchetta, Ally Condie, Alyxandra Harvey, John Green - I could go on. Blogging has opened my eyes to so many authors that I just hadn't come across before.

Most hilarious read of 2010?
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. The humour in this book matched my own so completely that I smiled all the way through (well, almost - it's not all fun and games as you can see in my review). Also of note when it comes to cracking the funnies were Hex Hall ("BAD DOG!") by Rachel Hawkins and The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey.

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?
I could rave more about Patrick Ness here but instead am going to go for The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. A genuinely creepy slice of crime thriller - not something you often see in YA.  Michael Grant's Gone was also pretty gripping, as were the other books in his Fayz series.

Book you most anticipated in 2010?
Probably Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver and anticipated Linger with some trepidation - I needn't have worried as I loved it. I was pretty excited about Cassandra Clare's The Clockwork Angel, too.

 Favourite cover of a book you read in 2010?
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. The artwork is fantastic, the red and black colour scheme gorgeous and the model perfect. I actually hate models on covers (I prefer to have a blank slate when it comes to envisioning characters) so major kudos to the artists involved in getting this one just right.

Most memorable character in 2010?
You'd think I'd choose a protagonist or perhaps a villain (Mayor Prentiss from Chaos Walking was a series contender) but the character who has really stuck in my mind all year has been Joe Fontaine from The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. A creation of utter joyfulness, Joe is a pleasure to read. While not perfect, his inherent goodness shines through on every page and he is a character that I look forward to returning to many times in the future. Bat. Bat. Bat.

Most beautifully written book in 2010?
This one is easy, as The Sky Is Everywhere by debut author Jandy Nelson towers above any other contenders in this category.  Nelson's writing is quite simply extraordinarily beautiful, encompassing you in her dreamlike tale of loss, love and eyelashes.  I was also struck by the writing in Matched by Ally Condie - her haunting, sparse yet hugely moving style is truly impressive.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
Again, it's got to be The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, closely followed by The Ask and The Answer and Monsters of Men. I really cannot stress how good these books are and how much you need to go and read them RIGHT NOW.

Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
Looking For Alaska by John Green. I blame the fact that it wasn't particularly well promoted in the UK and I wasn't around the blogosphere to pick up on it. A great story with memorable characters, I actually chose not to review it as I wanted to keep this one title all to myself.

Book blogging in 2010

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2010?
Well, all the blogs I follow I discovered this year but if pushed to pick just one it would have to be I Was A Teenage Book Geek.  This was almost the first blog that I started following and is certainly the one that I feel I identify with the most. Lauren reviews in a way that always makes me want to pick up the books she's read. Also, she's my book twin - I think we've yet to find a book that we disagree on.

Favourite review that you wrote in 2010?
I'm still really pleased with my review for The Sky Is Everywhere. I wasn't sure that I would be able to accurately portray how I felt about the book, but I was happy with the result. I was also contacted by several publishers that had read it and wanted me to review for them, which was hugely flattering and boosted my tentative confidence.

Best discussion you had on your blog?
I haven't written any discussion posts, per se, but my post on hot boys and their instruments got substantially more hits than any other post I've written (absolutely and entirely due to the fact that Cassandra Clare tweeted the link) and is my own personal favourite. I'm pretty sure it doesn't count as a discussion post but it is a subject that I would happily discuss for hours.

Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?
Asamum Booktopia featured a guest post entitled Voiceless and Silent by Tammy from The Book Fairy's Haven. The subject was bullying and I found it incredibly emotive. Beautifully and bravely written it was part of a focussed week during which Emma from Asamum featured several posts on the subject, all of which were excellently done.

Best event that you participated in?
Definitely the 2010 Debut Author Challenge as hosted by The Story Siren. Had I not taken part in this I would not have discovered several of my 2010 top reads. I also love that it promotes debut authors.

Best moment of book blogging in 2010?
Author Jeri Smith Ready asked me to read the manuscript of Shift, the follow up to her YA debut Shade as a kind of Scottish language consultant. Most. Exciting. Thing. Ever. As a special bonus I'm getting a mention in the acknowledgements. I also got to discuss the important things in life with Jeri, such as chocolate hobnobs. And while my beak has to remain shut re. the book itself, I can confirm that it is awesome and well worth the buzz it's generating.

Best bookish discovery?
The Book Depository. I used to hate reading about American releases only to find out that they were either not getting released in the UK or getting released 62 billion years later.  No more! The Book Depository has them as soon as they are out in the US. And the delivery is always free! Woo hoo!

So that's it - my year in books and it was much harder to choose the titles above than I thought it would be. 2011 is shaping up to be another awesome year for reading with some great books coming out just next month! Bring it on!


fab post - I loved the sky is everywhere too. Not sure I agree with you on the Patrick Ness series though
Steph Su said…
Okay, everyone has been saying good things about Hold Me Closer, Necromancer--I suppose I will read it in early 2011!
Lauren said…
That's *so* awesome that you got to read the manuscript of Shift! Very exciting.

I have to agree with you on Patrick Ness being amazing, and I definitely need to read the rest of that series. Oh, and I love the fact that there were similarities in our answers. When I first started blogging I would see other bloggers declare themselves book twins, and I would kind of wish I had one. And now I do. Yay! Thanks for the lovely mention.
Nomes said…
love this post :)

i completely forgot about what a shocker i am number four was.

yay for jellicoe road! also, i should read hold me closer necromancer. i think i'll love it!

Manda said…
I love this post. And thank you for the link to your Hot Boys and their Instruments post- can't believe I missed it before! Amazing.

Also, as an awkward segue, I wanted to give you a blogging award. I feel shy even saying this over the internet. Details at my blog. *Looks down at the ground, clicks 'post comment' and hurries away*
Splendibird said…
@Steph Su - you so should, I think you'd love it!
@Lauren - yes, having a book twin is awesome.
@Manda - thank you! I'm pretty rubbish at getting round to passing on awards but I shall make an extra special effort.
Lovely post. Thank you for the mention :D
I agree with The Sky is Everywhere - it is a truly memorable read and I recommend it to anyone that will listen.
I havent read the Chaos Walking series - I might in 2011
I loved, loved, loved this post of yours. There are so many of the books on your list that I have yet to read, and one of the top to-reads for me is The Sky is Everywhere. Everyone has been raving about it to no end, so I really need to make sure I get hold of it before this year is over. Also, I'm so incredibly touched that you read and loved my post on bullying. It was one of hardest and one of the most cathartic writing experiences ever - and I'm so glad it touched you.
P.S. That Hot boys and their instruments is definitely one of my favourite posts of yours - it was after all, the post that made me finally pick up City of Bones.
Oh I really love this post of yours! And so many great books to talk about! The Sky Is Everywhere DEFINITELY made my list of favourites for 2010, it was absolutely beautiful. I simply ADORE Melina Marchetta and have read two of her books this year that made me WEEP. I still have Jellicoe Road waiting for me and I hear nothing but good things about them. You must know by now that I LOVE John Green and I love that you loved Looking For Alaska :)

Also, the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness are absolutely BRILLIANT and I recommend them to absolutely everybody that I know.
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