Top Five Fiction Books I Read This Year

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It’s the end of 2009, and journalists, critics, and news reporters are making lists. Here’s my own list of favorite books I read for the first time this year. Apparently this was my year to read dystopian fiction.

Top Five Fiction Books I Read This Year

5. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Very good young adult science fiction that discusses the ethical boundaries of science. I especially loved the experimental forms of prose and poetry Pearson used to illustrate Jenna’s state of mind. I reviewed it here.

4. The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
Yes, I’m cheating, but these four books, Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, are absolutely captivating. The first three explore what could happen if society’s obsession with beauty was taken to the extreme. The fourth novel in the series, Extras, describes a society built on social networking, blogging, and the paparazzi. I stole the series from a young friend of mine and had a hard time giving them back. I didn’t write a review because the series has been around for awhile, but I do recommend it with no reservations.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
It was difficult to rank this one third.  The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games rank equally in my head, but I chose to put it in third because I prefer third-person narration style over first-person. Yes, it actually came down to narrative style. I reviewed this book this morning, so it made the list just under the wire. You can read my full review here.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I loved this book! The Maze Runner grabs onto you with the mystery of the maze and keeps you reading with the deeper mysteries of the characters and their histories. Dashner makes you hate the Maze creators, and by the end, you’ll demand an explanation for their crimes against the Gladers. You can read my full review here.

1. World War Z: An Oral History of  the Zombie War by Max Brooks
One of the few novels that makes me wax eloquent about its virtues. Brooks made me love the zombie genre, a feat I previously thought impossible. I reviewed it here.

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What I’m Reading: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

I just finished this novel, and I’m impressed. You’ll find it in the young adult section at Half-Price Books, B&N, or wherever you prefer to procure your fiction, but this is a good read for adults too.

Jenna Fox wakes up after a mysterious accident with no memories. She is seventeen years old, but she doesn’t remember a single day of her life. She finds herself living with her mother and grandmother in a house in California while her father works in Boston. As she becomes reacquainted with the world and slowly remembers pieces of her life, she suspects that her parents are not telling her everything.

The story is written in first-person, and the author makes use of free verse, dictionary definitions, and excerpts from Thoreau’s Walden to illustrate Jenna’s state of mind. Normally I don’t like it when an author uses experimental forms, but it was perfect for the tone of the story.

If you pay attention, you’ll figure out the end much sooner than Jenna does, but you probably won’t mind. I kept reading, curious what Jenna would learn and remember next. There are discussions of ethics, the nature of the soul, and the definitions of life and death woven throughout the story, and if you are a debate junkie like me, you’ll be hooked.

I highly recommend The Adoration of Jenna Fox for a Saturday afternoon. It’s a fun, easy read that will still make you think.