My top 20 books from 2009, part two

My top 20 books from 2009, part one

mazerunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner
From my review: “James Dashner has created a unique vision of the future, one that is as terrifying as it is mystifying. This world is full of interesting characters: Thomas, our hero who can’t follow the rules when it means leaving someone to die; Alby, the leader of the Gladers, who is more afraid of going back to the real world than staying in the Glade; Chuck, who just wants to go home to a family who loves him; Newt, the one who believes Thomas may be the answer to it all. The Maze Runner is a very visual book – the images of the Maze, the Glade, the Homestead are all well-drawn. The Grievers are disgusting and horrifying. This book would make a fantastic film. I absolutely can’t wait to read the second – and third – installments in this trilogy.”

ageofinnocenceThe Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
From my review: “Wharton explores the themes of family, responsibility, social mores, loyalty, and choices. I wrestled right along with Archer as he struggled to decide between his duty to his suitable wife and his love for the Countess. The author also perfectly captures the hypocrisy of society, the fickleness that has a person in good graces one minute, and the topic of every dinner-table gossip the next. There are authors who can draw rich characters, others who can put you right into a novel’s setting, still others that can craft a compelling plot. Then there are those, like Wharton, who can do all three, and also write beautiful, thoughtful phrases.”

purloinedboyThe Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay
From my review: “Professor Clay has definitely created a world that I will be happy to visit again and again. And I don’t plan to wait until April, when the second book comes out. I plan to revisit very soon, when I read The Purloined Boy aloud to my own kids. I know they will be creeped out by the bogeys and delighted by feisty Maggie. I know that they will shudder at the supremely evil Lucian, that they will want to warn Trevor when we trusts the wrong person, that they will cheer for Trevor as he finds the courage to stand up to the bully, Meno. I know they will be riveted during the final chapters – and then stunned to know that the story doesn’t quite end, and that they will have to wait awhile to find out what happens next. Just like I was.”

catchingfireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
From my review: “Collins has again created a page-turner of a novel. It took me no time at all to be drawn back into Katniss’s world, and by the time I reached the halfway point, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Every time I thought I knew which direction the book was going, there was a turn in the plot that left me reeling. I hated turning the last page, especially knowing that I have to wait a year for the next book in the series.”

fireFire by Kristin Cashore
From my review: “Kristin Cashore has the amazing ability to create a completely real and believable world. The vivid colors of the monsters, the gray rockiness of The Dells, the vibrant exuberance of King’s City – I could see it all. She is also able to write strong female characters. Fire is strong, but vulnerable and full of compassion. She is forced to make so many decisions during the course of the book – decisions about her own future, about her relationships, about her ability.”

giverThe Giver by Lois Lowry
From my review: “The fact that Lowry could layer so much depth and truth and thought into such a short book is amazing. Jonas is a wonderful character, as is The Giver himself. The world of Sameness is described so completely as we experience Jonas’s story, that the world becomes real. I became engrossed in Jonas’s story, so much so that I wept in many different parts of the book. Anyone who reads this can’t help but become wrapped up in Jonas and his journey, and along the way be confronted with so many issues: the value of life; the way that only suffering and hardship can bring true meaning to joy and pleasure; honor and respect for the elderly; how a desire for complete comfort can lead to denying the very things that make us human.”

jennafoxThe Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
From my review: “Jenna Fox wakes up from a coma that lasted over a year. She has lost the majority of her memories. Her family has moved from Boston to California, but her father still lives and works in Boston. Her mother treats her as a fragile flower; her grandmother won’t even look her in the face. Why? The answer to that question is the premise of the book, and you do not want it spoiled for you. If you come across spoilers in other reviews, please avoid them – you’ll want to experience this book with an open mind. I honestly don’t know how to review this book, to tell you what I loved about it, without giving anything away – so I’m simply going to say that this is a must-read.”

edge of darkOn the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
From my review: “We always enjoy read-aloud time at our house, but every once in a while a book comes along that has us wanting to spend more and more time in the world it creates, and On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness was one of those books. Peterson writes with wonderful description, wry humor, and immense imagination. There were times when the kids laughed out loud; other timed they were very, very quiet, hanging on my every word. They loved the creatures that inhabited the world of Skree – and cheered for ex-pirate Podo, strange but lovable Peet the Sockman, and most of all the Igiby children. As a mom, I loved the relationship that the Igiby children shared – their loyalty and intense love for each other was a huge example to my children of how they should feel about and treat each other.”

bogchildBog Child by Siobhan Dowd
From my review: “This is a beautifully told coming-of-age story that deals with some very heavy issues: terrorism and the IRA, falling in love for the first time, tyranny and freedom, betrayal, choosing your own way in life. Dowd is a gifted author, and she made me fall in love with Fergus and his family. I am Irish by blood, and stories of The Troubles always hurt my heart. I wept for Fergus’s Mam, and the pain she was going through while Joe was on his hunger strike. I ached for the conflict between his Mam and his Pap and their different ideas of how they should deal with the strike. And I loved the bits of Mel’s story that started each chapter. But most of all, this is Fergus’s story – everything is seen through his eyes, described with his words, and felt with his heart – and he is a character whose story will be with me for a long, long time.”

deadandgoneThe Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
From my review:The Dead and the Gone is a darker book than Life As We Knew It. The experiences of people living in the city were, in some ways, more horrifying than for people living in more rural areas. Alex is forced to do things he never before would have contemplated in order to provide for his sisters. As a devout Catholic, Alex has to reconcile his ideas of sin and guilt with his need to help his family survive….The Catholic community as portrayed in The Dead and the Gone is a more alive, caring faith community – one who tries to care for their congregants to the best of their ability with their limited resources. I also thought that Pfeffer wonderfully wrote about Alex’s crisis of faith, his wondering about God’s love and provision in the midst of such horror.”

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25 Responses to My top 20 books from 2009, part two

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    What a great list! I have The Purloined Boy on my nightstand. And Catching Fire and Jenna Fox? Both were absolutely amazing. Finally, The Giver is a book that almost can’t be touched in its category. This is the perfect example of how you can read a middle reader (it’s not YA is it?) and still have it be deep, thought-provoking, and a complete masterpiece. Great list!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Flowers in the Attic – V.C. Andrews =-.

  2. Michelle says:

    Ohhh, great books here that I’ve either read of have in my pile to read. I obviously agree with Catching Fire and The Maze Runner. I don’t know that I’d put Jenna Fox on my list but it was quite a thought provoking read to be sure. I’ve got Purloined Boy in my review pile to get to. I’ve got to do so pretty quickly here 🙂
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Pam Bachorz – Candor =-.

  3. JoAnn
    Twitter: lakesidemusing
    says:

    Great lists! I sure hope to get to The Age of Innocence next year… just love Wharton.
    .-= JoAnn´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesdays – Wolf Hall =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      JoAnn – I only discovered Wharton this year – read Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, and Ethan Frome – loved them all!

  4. Anna says:

    The Hunger Games books were great. I wonder if the final installment will make your top 20 of 2010??? I can’t believe we have to wait so long for the end!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday — December 21 =-.

  5. Kathy says:

    Again, I haven’t read any of these books. I do have The Maze Runner though.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Literary Road Trip and Review: Bed and Breakfast =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – I think your husband would really like The Maze Runner – I passed it on to my dad and it became one of his all-time favorites.

  6. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit
    says:

    There are some great books in your list! The Hunger Games books were fantastic as was The Adoration of Jenna Fox!
    .-= Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)´s last blog ..John Amen on Writing, Revision, and Submitting Work =-.

  7. Stephanie says:

    The Age of Innocence and The Giver are both exceptional!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review: The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stephanie – I really don’t know how I went so long without reading those two!

  8. robin of my two blessings
    Twitter: robnmccormack
    says:

    I’ve read the Giver, but none of the rest. Several are now on my wishlist !

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Robin – everyone’s end of the year posts have had me adding to my wish list, too!

  9. heidenkind says:

    Hm, a lot of dystopian fiction on here, strangely enough! 😉
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..My Year in Reading =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tasha – yes, I could rename 2009 The Year of the Dystopian Novel – at least as far as my own personal reading has gone!

  10. More books that I want to read! These lists are always so bad for my wish lists. Of course, many of them I added the first time around. 🙂

    It sounds like you had a great reading year, Carrie–especially since you had to settle for a top 20 list instead of 10. 🙂
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wendy – I know – end of the year lists always have me adding titles to my ever-expanding list of books I must read!

  11. Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books
    Twitter: toofondofbooks
    says:

    A very nice list! I haven’t gone thru the exercise of compiling a “best of” list, but I do think it’s a great way to review what you’ve read, to make recommendations, and to perhaps influence your own reads for the next year.
    .-= Dawn – She is Too Fond of Books´s last blog ..Merry Christmas! =-.

  12. Kailana says:

    These posts do great things for my TBR pile… lol At least I have read most of the ones you have mentioned and I agree they are great! I guess that means I need to look into the other ones you have listed!
    .-= Kailana´s last blog ..Advent Calendar: The Strange Synopsis Christmas Movie Quiz =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kelly – I know – when I see a favorites list that has lots of books I liked on it – I always add the rest to my to-read list! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. 🙂

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