These are the best books I read in 2015. Links go to my review, if I wrote one. Without further ado:
All the Rage by Courtney Summers: I said in my review that Courtney Summers is a damn treasure, and that remains true. Her writing grows and gets stronger with every novel she publishes, and this is her best one to date. Gritty, raw, furiously angry, and emotionally resonant, this is a heart-stopper of a book that will grab readers and won’t let go until the last page is turned. Put this in the hands of teenagers and adults alike, everywhere. This one tackles rape culture, girl culture, and everything in between.
Infandous by Elana K. Arnold: One of the most striking, disturbing novels I can remember reading in quite some time, Elana K. Arnold’s Infandous is not for the faint of heart. It is, however, a huge success of a novel, full of absolutely gorgeous writing, solid characterization, and the all-too-real pain of growing up. Interspersed in the narrative of Sephora Golden are versions of fractured fairy tales that will have readers clamoring to seek out other versions. All of this works exceedingly well, resulting in a novel that is beautiful, upsetting, memorable, and kind of perfect.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Julie Murphy’s book is notable for many reasons, but perhaps it’s most noteworthy for its enormous heart. Willowdean is a refreshing narrator, full of love for herself and her weird Texas town. Full of heart, humor, and a ton of great romance, this is a fun read with a great message for teens, and it will be gobbled up by readers because it’s so much fun to read. A true delight of a novel, Murphy is an author to keep an eye on.
See You Next Tuesday by Jane Mai: I just
discovered Mai’s work in December, but she’s already made a huge impression on me. Working from her own life, Mai crafts mini-comics about her depression, anxiety, bowel movements, and her dog, Stinky. The result is a hilarious, sad, and brilliant look into a mind full of chaos. Mai is one of my best discoveries of 2015, and I hope she publishes more work soon.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll: This is a graphic novel with teeth and more than a little bit of a bite. Carroll wrote and illustrated all five stories in this collection, and she draws from folk and fairy tale, but provides sharp twists and takes on each of the stories. Creepy, memorable, and wholly engrossing, the illustrations are striking and the sparse prose will keep readers up at night. This is a lot of fun and offers a lot to think about late into the night.