Friday, January 1, 2016

Favorite Books Read in 2015


For those who have been following my blog throughout the year, the books on this list won’t come as a surprise. I write long reviews, though, so below you can find much shorter descriptions of my favorite books from 2015. All the books I reviewed or authors I interviewed are linked to the original post.

Note that these are books I read in 2015, not necessarily books published in 2015.

1.     THE BOOK OF TOMORROW by CECELIA AHERN

Rich, spoiled Tamara’s perfect life shatters when her father commits suicide to avoid the fallout from his bankruptcy. Tamara and her grief-induced comatose mother move out to quiet boringville where Tamara stumbles upon a journal that tells her what will happen the next day. The theme of “tomorrow” becomes a character itself, brimming with power but not as much control as we would like.

2.     PURE by JULIANNA BAGGOTT

This post-apocalyptic novel explores a grotesque world wrecked by bombings and divided by class, specifically between the privileged few who made it to a designated shelter before the explosions and the rest who found themselves fused to other objects and creatures when the bombs dropped.

3.     THE ROUND HOUSE by LOUISE ERDRICH

Teenager Joe’s happy family is shattered by a horrific crime committed within their American Indian community. Sadly tribal politics and laws complicate bringing the criminal to justice. Though a gripping story in its own right, I primarily admired this book for the exceptional writing.

4.     THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS and THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE by BRIAN GREENE

In both these nonfiction books, physicist Greene presents several key physics discoveries in a simplified, accessible manner. THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS covers a wide range of concepts including relativity, entropy, and spacetime, while THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE zeros in on Greene’s primary interest, M-theory (otherwise known as string theory). 


Each of these delightful installments in Levine’ Princess Tales series spins a different fairy tale with witty whimsy and charming humor. These slim, middle grade novels are easily read in one sitting, and worth re-reading again and again.

6.     EVERY DAY by DAVID LEVITHAN

Teenager A wakes up in someone else’s body every day. A lives on borrowed time, always borrowing a body, a family, friends, a life, all for a single day. A doesn’t have the luxury of fully defining and crafting a unique identity, because A must hide this strange magic by acting like a different person each day. Until A meets someone who makes A yearn for a genuine, long-term relationship of A’s own.

7.     A FEAST FOR CROWS by GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

The fourth book in Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire medieval fantasy series continues the popular saga about all the lesser battles (both on fields and through politics) that comprise a war. Don’t get too attached to anyone in this world, though; Martin’s a stickler for bloody, brutal realism and that includes refusing to spare characters hardship simply because they’re likable.

8.     DEWEY by VICKI MYRON

After being found deposited in the book return - cold, wet, shivering, and hungry - little kitten Dewey found himself adopted by the local library. This isn’t fiction, folks, but a true story about a cat who affected not one but countless people’s lives simply by strutting around a library and being himself.

9.     DARK SHIMMER by DONNA JO NAPOLI

In this twist on Snow White, Dolce grows up thinking of herself as an ugly monster until she realizes the rest of the world considers her dwarf family and friends the deformities and Dolce a breath-taking beauty. She marries a wealthy man and inherits a sweetheart stepdaughter, but Dolce’s work with mirrors and specifically quicksilver poisons her mind with paranoia.


Kai in Georgia and Leila in Pakistan each discover an empty book. When one of them writes in the book, it appears in the other’s copy as well, with mysterious additions materializing from nowhere to tell a story that relates to them more than they realize.


I re-read these childhood favorites about a sky-scraper school and it’s wacky students and teachers specifically to review on my blog. While at times the books are little juvenile for me now, a lot of the humor still stands strong. With a plethora of convoluted logic, discreet social commentary, bizarre twists, and plain weird characters, there’s plenty for adults and kids alike to love here.


Preteen Rebecca discovers a magical box that will give her anything she wants, as long as it’s small enough to fit in a bread box. This book doesn’t really need the fantasy element, though. At its heart, this is a story about how the things we really want don’t fit in a bread box.

13.  GOODBYE STRANGER by REBECCA STEAD

I read so many speculative fiction novels with epic fantasy twists, but Stead makes the mundane magical with her story of three friends starting middle school. Quiet Bridge is questioning why she survived a car crash, revolutionary Tab learning to define her own opinions instead of repeating others’, and gorgeous Em considering sending an older boy a certain kind of photo he requested.

14.  DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by LAINI TAYLOR

The final book in Taylor’s epic fantasy trilogy about a war between chimera and angels satisfied me more than expected, earning every wisp of resolution through careful plotting and heart-tugging character struggle. The entire book spans only a few days, jumping between perspectives in a frenzy of twists and high stakes decisions.

15.  EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by NICOLA YOON

Due to a rare autoimmune disease, eighteen-year-old Madeline lives a sheltered existence, locked away in her meticulously dust-free house with only her mother and nurse for company. She makes peace with her limited existence until a new boy moves next door and tempts her into wanting more for herself.

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