The Best Books of 2015


I hope everyone’s 2015 ended with some great reading, family, friends, and fantastic food.

Of those I read in the year 2015 — those published in 2015 and before — these are the best in these categories:

Best Series:

Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue)

Best Children’s Book: (TIE)

Best Memoir:

Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Best Nonfiction:

LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart

Best Short Story Collection:

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War 

Best Young Adult Fiction:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Best Reference:

How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids by Matthew Jervis

Best Women’s Fiction:

French Coast by Anita Hughes

Best Historical Fiction: (TIE)

Best Fiction:

Best Poetry: (TIE)

Here is the list of BEST BOOKS PUBLISHED in 2015:

  1. Wet Silence by Sweta Vikram
  2. The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
  3. Vessel by Parneshia Jones
  4. LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart
  5. The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck
  6. The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
  7. Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor
  8. One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
  9. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
  10. The Sound of Glass by Karen White
  11. Mistaking Her Character by Maria Grace
  12. Earth Joy Writing by Cassie Premo Steele, PhD

What were your favorites in 2015?

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (audio)

Source: Public library
Audiobook, 6 CDs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, narrated by Jeannie Stith, is an extremely disturbing look at the mindset of a teenager caught in the grips of anorexia.  Cassie calls Lia a wintergirl, a girl living between life and death with a beating heart but not really living.  Lia and Cassie are no longer friends by the time we meet Lia, who is trapped in a world of counting and restraint.  Like her mother, Lia wants to be in control and she keeps her feelings bottled up inside.  Her parents are frustrated, and Lia’s frustrated with herself because she cannot be thin enough, she cannot escape Cassie’s taunting, and she cannot change.  Her parents are as trapped as she is, but Anderson has crafted a narrative that forces the reader to be trapped with them.

Lia’s plight will make readers uncomfortable, especially if they have ever thought they were too fat or unpopular.  Most teens have been bullied for one reason or another, but Lia’s problems go deeper than what her peers call her — the biggest problem is what she calls herself and how she hates herself when she eats, when she doesn’t act “normal,” and when she fails those around her and herself.  This is a harrowing tale and a nightmarish narrative that will shake readers from their complacent ideas about anorexia.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, narrated by Jeannie Stith, is disturbing and world-shaking.  Anderson is a powerful writer who understands teens very well, and her stories are relevant and worth reading for adults and teens.  While the subject matter may hit too close to home and concern parents that teens will take the narrative to heart and begin their own anorexia journeys, these are the books that are here to challenge our way of thinking, to make us reassess our perceptions of these disorders, and incite us into action.

I read this for Banned Books Week.

About the Author:

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and on her tumblr.