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Books that made my year

I've read a lot of books this year. Way more than I thought I would, given that I had a full-time job most of the year, I had/have full-time kids, and met two big writing deadlines. But even in a busy year, I find that I go in spurts, sometimes reading nothing for months (usually while I'm in the midst of writing a first draft) and sometimes reading four books in a week (when I finish a first draft). This year was that kind of year. I read some real duds (in fact, for the first time in my life, I closed up a few books after only a few chapters), but I also read a few superstars. These were the most notable highlights of my year - I may be forgetting some great ones, but these are the books that really stand out:

Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
This was recommended to me by readers of my own books, and I'm so glad I took the advice to read it. Perfect Chemistry is one of my favorite books of all time. I wrote a blog post about it here.

The DUFF - Kody Keplinger
With the abundance of paranormal teen fiction, I haven't been reading as much contemporary realistic fiction and this book arrived on my night stand just when I needed it the most. I'd been reading too much un-funny paranormal whining, and this book about a smart, sassy girl and her perfectly ordinary (no superpowers) romance saved me from dying a humorless paranormal death.

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
This book was gorgeous. I loved the real characters, beautiful imagery, and exceptional plotting. Books never live up to the hype for me, but this one did and then some.

Dirty Little Secrets - CJ Omololu
This book had me hooked like no other book has in a long, long time. The story was so touching and shocking and riveting that I stayed up way too late to finish it.

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins
Hilarious, silly, and flirty.
Rachel Hawkins is "amazeballs."

On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
This is the kind of book that really intimidates you as an author. It's such a well-written, intricate story with amazing emotional depth - there was sometimes a little too much angst, but the romance was so touching that I overlooked it.

I also read the first-draft of Robin Wasserman's Book of Blood and Shadow, which will make the 2012 best-of list. And sometime before the year is out I will buy and read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and suspect it will make this list as well, but for now, these are my 2010 highlights. What am I missing??

Later,
E.