Ok, here are the top 5 from my summer reading (not including the excellent adult books that I read - BROKEN HARBOUR by Tana French, GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell and THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold. See how I'm cheating already? Yeah, that's likely to continue).
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
I also read Annabel Pitcher's first book - MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE which is equally powerful and excellent. If you're a writer who's asked 'but what is voice?' then read these books and you'll know. This one's about a young girl who's done something terrible, gotten away with it and is writing to a death-sentence inmate in a Texas prison. You can't go wrong. (Also, I got in a two for one there, yes?)
Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood
This one starts with a girl at a funeral - there are two possibilities for who's in the box, either best friend/first boyfriend or brother. Either way you know you're crying. I cried my face off. It was nasty. But the book is brilliant and the cover made me buy the hardback and I'm Scrooge McDuck and never spring for hardbacks. Her next book will be on my must-have-right-now list.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The first Meg Rosoff book I've read. I loved it. And while we're on the war theme, MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardner is incredible and I just read ONCE by Morris Gleitzman and I'm counting IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake too because it's still war (and completely different and fascinating). Too far? No. You need them all.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Can we talk about Kristin Cashore? I'll pick up pretty much any genre, but I'm not usually drawn to a huge amount of fantasy. Graceling was recommended to me (I think it was probably by Michelle) and I enjoyed it immensely. I've been thinking about a lot of the books I've read this year in terms of 'do I want my daughter reading this?'. It's a resounding yes to this one. Brilliant characterisation and great world-building. I read FIRE almost straight away and got my sister to buy me BITTERBLUE for my birthday because I need to own them all.
Last but not in a million years least:
Gated by Amy Christine Parker
Fascinating subject matter (cults), fast-paced yet thought-provoking. There's a sequel, but this book still has a satisfying ending and feels like a complete story. I'll definitely be reading the next one!You should get it now.
And I didn't even mention books by Veronica Rossi, or WONDER by RJ Palacio, or THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy by Patrick Ness, or Cat Clarke, CAT CLARKE! or THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater (who I just love anyway) because this post is only about 5 books you need to read.
I might need to not leave it so long before I recommend a book again. Maybe.