So, I've read about 40 books so far this year. This Friday Five is dedicated to:
The Five Best Things I've Read This Year (more appropriately the five best AUTHORS).
1. HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins. Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Collins fan. I'm essentially in awe of her ability to NEVER rely on backstory/info dumps, and to seamlessly reveal her world as needed. I love her stories, I devoured HUNGER GAMES, and then I devoured this. I won't say more about it, since many people haven't read it yet, BUT I did have a few qualms about how the book functioned on its own. THAT SAID, I still bow before this author.
1. CITY OF BONES, by Cassandra Clare. I'm a latecomer to this series, but I fell in love with the rhythm, the world, the characters. The story was exciting and flowed so smoothly I had devoured half the book without even noticing.
3. LAMENT, and SHIVER, by Maggie Stiefvater. I really, really liked LAMENT. The book passed in the blink of an eye, but I enjoyed it throughout. And I just kind of fell into SHIVER. It wrapped me up, and I loved Sam, and I loved that, like Jace in CITY OF BONES, he was fascinatingly complex. With both of Stiefvater's books, I just found myself constantly engaged. Very strong storytelling marries with interesting characters and worlds in both books.
4. GRACELING, and FIRE, by Kristin Cashore. FIRE is the prequel to GRACELING. I'm a really hard sell when it comes to the world-building kind of fantasy (NW is magical realism), but Cashore is the kind of writer who makes me eat my words. I had high hopes for FIRE after loving GRACELING, and it did not disappoint. This is one of the only books I have actually forced myself to put down regularly, so that it wouldn't end too soon.
5. CRACKED UP TO BE, and now SOME GIRLS ARE, by Courtney Summers. This book doesn't hit stores until January, but OH MY. It's spectacular. I really enjoyed Courtney's first book, CRACKED UP TO BE, but this new one is even better! If that's possible, which Courtney proves it is. It's at once brutal and uncomfortable and captivating and addictive and impeccably written. Summers' characters walk tight ropes as she balances their lives so precariously, and then does everything in her power to shake the ropes beneath their feet.