Monday, December 27, 2010

Best of 2010: Top 5 Contemporary and Best Friends

Now that 2010 is winding down, it's that time when the Best Of lists hit the blogosphere. Those of you that follow me regularly know how much I love lists, so this is pretty much happiness for me.

Characters are the biggest thing for me in a book, but since I also wanted to include book categories, I'll be posting two lists a day, all week, to feature both subjects. Unless obviously indicated otherwise, these lists are based on 2010 releases that I've read.

Up first, in the characters category, is Best Friends. They're there in a lot of books, some better than others, but how much recognition do they really get?

And following up the best friends is, no surprise here, contemporary fiction. Of all the lists, this one is definitely the hardest. Contemp is what I read the most of, and there have been some seriously STUNNING contemp titles that have come out. But here are the

The Best Friend:

1. Link (Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl): He's there with Ethan through most everything, and even if he falters sometimes, he still comes through. This is only strengthened in Beautiful Darkness, and everyone will be a whole lot better off if they have a Shrinky Dink in their life.

2. Lish (Paranormalcy by Kiersten White): She's a mermaid, which gives her some automatic awesome points. But she's loyal, and definitely there for Evie, at least as much as she can be considering she lives in a tank. She's got a great sense of humor, and is just a downright awesome character all around, but a great best friend.

3. Graves (Jealousy by Lili St. Crow): He can make the quips, and he even might get mad at Dru, but at the end of the day, he's there for her. He's softly intense and fiercely loyal, and there is such an interesting connection between the two.

4. Milo (Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers): He understands, best he can, about how hurt Eddie is after her father's suicide. He tries to be there for her, even if he isn't sure how. But if she needs someone to pick her up out of nowhere, he'll do it. Maybe he's made some mistakes, but there is most definitely something great about Milo.

5. Wade (Take Me There by Carolee Dean): Maybe he isn't really the best friend for Dylan, and some of the problems in Dylan's life might be because of Wade, but there is still something stunning about their friendship. Through thick and thin, they're there for each other. Wade gives Dylan the drive to push himself, even if he doesn't realize it.

Contemporary Fiction:

1. Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe: This book is unlike any other I've read. It's raw and gritty and so emotional I actually cried, which is huge. It made me rethink so many things, especially about homeless teens on the street. How many of them are really runaways, and how many had little other choice? With a very well developed central character, and some stellar side characters, Compromised is honestly just... amazing. Words cannot do justice to how I really feel about this book. This is one book that I will never forget, no matter how many more books I read.

2. Take Me There by Carolee Dean: An unexpected, jaw dropping ending with a very intense story make this one my kind of read. Add in the male POV, and it's easy to see why I recommend this one to everyone. Dylan is a very well rounded character, and there are some potent messages in this one that just can't be described here. Go out and pick this one up. It's not a romance, like the cover might suggest, even though there is some romance in it. Don't let that fool or deter you- just read it, and by prepared for a gutting, emotional, but so worth it journey.

3. Freefall by Mindi Scott: Male POV with a side of sassy girl and a likable love interest. Yep. This one is another perfect Kari read. Seth is flawed, but not so much it's a turn off. He's just real. He has no reason to finish school, with a drop out older brother and friend, and a mom that doesn't totally care, but he still wants to. This book is such a gorgeous coming of age mixed with a romance. Maybe the triggering point for it was something sad, but it isn't a sad book overall. It's got some poignant and intense scenes, but a stellar ending and is just... fantastic.

4. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger: First off, Kody has made a jerk of a manwhore completely likable and swoonworthy. Then she used a brash, caustic main character to break him. Add in the seriously well done romance mixed with the major issues this book hits on, and The DUFF is one that will mesh with a range of readers, no matter their body type because it's just that good to be relatable for basically everyone. Not to mention, it's seriously sexy. One of the hottest scenes I've read in YA is in this book, and one of the best lines I've read is also in this book. But sex appeal aside, this book throws body image into the light, and does it fantastically.

5. John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles: There is something almost grotesque about this book. Kathy really throws her characters at you from the start, giving you the full scope of them. There are some things about Benji that practically smack you in the face when you read them, but since Hilda is best friends with him, it barely faces her. It creates such a great dissonance, and add in the very vivid setting and the phenomenal character development in Hilda, and this is a book that is memorable in message and content, and too hard to explain in a short paragraph the reasons why.

That's today's Best of 2010. Check back tomorrow for more, and let me know in the comments what some of your favorite best friends and contemporary fiction titles are!

Oh! And the awesome, sparkly banner at the top? Made by the seriously talented Jessica at A Fanatic's Book Blog. You should check her out. She does great work, at a reasonable cost.


  1. I love your list and the reasons you've mentioned alongside.
    Totally dig the cover and content of John Belushi Is Dead.

  2. I loved the DUFF too, although I'll have to say that my favorites lean towards the sweeter romances- two favorites include Amy & Roger's epic detour and Anna and the French Kiss (which I didn't include in my 'best of' list because I read it after I'd written that!)

  3. WOW, you really do like list don’t you. I love these 2 list you've made. I hate to say that I haven't read any of these. You've read so many great books this year.
    I can not believe that I didn't know Paranormalcy is about a mermaid! I've seen the cover so much but I have to confess I haven't read the synopsis. I think I really want to read Take Me There, Fall for Anything, Freefall after reading your 2010 contemporary list. Thanks for adding more to my TBR list =)

  4. Like you, characters are what make or break the book for me. I haven't read all of the ones you picked out for that category, but I'm definitely adding them to my TBR list ASAP!

  5. LINK, he is an awesome best friend!!

    Love your list.

  6. Have only read Beautiful Darkness of those books but definitely, absolutely, totally agree with Link - such an amazing character!

  7. i must read these soon!!!

    THe only one i really dont want to read is the DUFF...i havent really liked the premise since i heard of it but compromised and take me there are so definites on my list!!! i feel like I should buy them right now!! so excited to read those

    ive had my eye on freefall for a while now too...but must so have the other two soon!