Thursday, December 30, 2010
Best of 2010: Female Character and Previous Releases
Today's features are Best Female Character, and Best Previous Releases. I read several books this year that were released prior to 2010. Most of them I loved and recommend whenever I can, and didn't want to just completely ignore them in my year end posts simply because I was behind in reading them.
1. Ridley (Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl): Ridley is sexy and able to banter with the best of them. She doles out nicknames and creates havoc with every lick of her lollipop, but there is so clearly something else going on and something deeper. I have loved her since the first book and loved her more in this book. From hottest chick in YA to just best all around chick, Ridley takes it.
2. Kendra (Scars by Cheryl Rainfield): Strong, and whatever other similar word, is all I know to say for Kendra. The things she faces... the way she deals with it... the unfolding story. If only it were fiction, but it's real. It happens, and if you need any more proof then simply look at the author. Kendra has such amazing inner strength that I completely respect and so many people can learn so much from her. Does she handle everything perfectly? No. But that doesn't matter.
3. Chastity (Kiss It by Erin Downing): Chastity is different than a lot of other YA girls out there. For one, she wears her sex drive on her sleeve. She wants to lose her virginity. But. She doesn't want it to be to just anyone. She handles so many coming of age type issues, and makes such incredible strides in development, all while being entertaining and humorous.
4. Hanna (Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves): Hanna is crazy and something else entirely, but she fits quite nicely into Portero. Some of the most out there, wtf lines I've read come from Hanna, and she will always stay in my mind because of it. She's flagrant and frankly, she doesn't really care what you think of her.
5. Kendall (Freefall by Mindi Scott): Kendall struck me in a way I can't really describe. She's a mess of her making, but has such a beautiful inner strength that just makes a fantastic blend. She doesn't take Seth's crap, and she's manipulative but not so much so that it's a turn off. She is intense and passionate and will not be held back, and came off as so completely raw and real. While she was a side character in this book, this story could have just as easily been hers and she was developed so fully she played as a big, at least for me, as Seth. Now if Mindi would just write a book focused on Kendall...
1. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: I fell in love with this story from the start. It opens easily enough but gets right into the accident that forces Mia into a coma- and a choice. The rest of the book builds her life. Her parents. Her boyfriend, Adam. It truly makes the reader wonder not only what she'll choose, but what would be best. I couldn't stop thinking about this one when I finished, questioning so many things.
2. Hate List by Jennifer Brown: Holy anger batman. I don't think I have ever been so infuriated, so emotional and so completely wrenched by a book as this one. Hate List tackles so many issues, completely unflinchingly, and doesn't for a moment let the reader relax. Every side of Valerie's pain comes through so strongly, from her mixed feelings about Nick to how she views everyone and herself, to even the problems with her family. And I don't think I will ever hate a parent in YA as much as I did her father. Reading about the changes in Nick through Valerie's eyes that led to his shooting the school... it puts bullying in such a raw light. I truly believe everyone, teen or adult, needs to read this book.
3. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams: 13 year old girl in a polygamist community is being forced to marry her 60 year old uncle. Grotesque in premise, and even more so in playout. But so. Incredibly. Good. I read it in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from it, despite the near physical pain I felt from this one. It does such an amazing job spotlighting something we don't want to think about, and handles it so tenderly. This is a complete must read.
4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: These girls make the Mean Girls look like newborn puppies. If you want to feel a range of emotions, see some astounding character development, and get right into the nit and grit of people, read this book. This one takes bullying to a new level, pitches it in a new light, and makes the reader fall for a character they would otherwise hate. The writing is amazing, the story heartrending, and the outcome so fitting and beautiful.
5. Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde: This is another bullying book, but completely different than the two before it. This is another must read across the ages, because oh man is there a story to tell in this one. It's male POV, but it's relatable even for female readers. Ernie is bullied, and stressed, and scared. But he has such incredible strength that comes through at just the right moments, and this book is truly a study of human nature and breaking points.
Posted by Kari Olson at 12:45 PM