When I was Joe, The Enchanted Glass, Castle of Shadows, Wasted, Dead Boy Talking & Almost True, City of Thieves, The Mourning Emporium.
What a year! And that's with my having to take time out from reviewing YA fiction from May to September because I was a judge for the Booktrust Teenage Book Prize. Then, once I was reading books that fell outside that time period, I could write about novels again.
And there are others, that were part of our longlist or shortlist that I couldn't mention at the time, so I'm now going to rave about a few more! The Prize was given to Gregory Hughes' striking debut, Unhooking the Moon, but that were some other corkers on the shortlist.
I particularly liked Halo by Zizou Corder, an unusual story about an orphaned girl brought up by Centaurs in ancient Greece. I thought it full of unexpected events and plot developments and interesting characters. Sarra Manning's Nobody's Girl was a perhaps more usual teenage girl fare but I so loved the way the heroine got her revenge on the mean girls and their Queen Bee that it stood out for me.
There were several books on our longlist that I really rated too - Keren David's When I was Joe (see above), Tamsyn Murray's quirky black comedy My so-called Afterlife and Marie-Louise Jensen's Daughter of Fire and Ice, to name but three.
And since the judging ended I read, reviewed and drooled over Gillian Philip's Firebrand, which is my Book of the Year in this category. Published by a smallish independent, Strident (who also published Linda Strachan's Dead Boy Talking and her earlier Spider, which just won the Catalyst award) Firebrand has already re-printed and is moving off the bookshop shelves faster than you can say "paranormal romance."
I said in my review for the Guardian that I hadn't enjoy a book in this genre so much since Susan Price's The Sterkarm Handshake, which leads me to two pieces of good news: Firebrand is the first in a trilogy and - pause here for a roll of drums - Susan Price is well stuck in to a third novel about the Sterkarms.
I can't wait for all these and many other great books in the coming years. And I hope to review them all here.