1. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. I don't have a review yet for this one, but it was the best book I've read all summer, and possibly the best I've read this year. Seriously, this one is great.
2. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. Review here.
3. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. This was one of the audios. Great reader, great story. I loved it once I figured out that the author was being intentionally funny but writing his character as unintentionally funny.
5. Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara. This is the YA, and despite the Frost allusion, it's eminently skippable.
6. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. This was the audio, and a LONG one it was. I started it in May! Very good reader, very good writing, but peopled with characters who are mostly insufferable.
7. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. A fun little romp through the world of art forgery, with historical aspects to it.
8. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. NB: The author's first name rhymes with "bidet," not "baddie." Intriguing first novel, and a semi-autobiographical one at that, dealing with a young girl who survives the Khmer Rouge's brutal Killing Fields in Cambodia.
9. The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart. Deeply disappointing. I doubt I'll spend the time reviewing it.
10. Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska. I was surprised how much this book drew me in. I doubt I'll give it a full review, but here's my shelftag for it:
What starts off as a send up of overscheduled, gifted children and the Rambo parents and elite schools who create them, quickly turns into a billion dollar big pharma conspiracy. When Sean reluctantly caves in to the pressure that New York City's (and by extension, America's) most prestigious school exerts on him to start medicating his son, Toby, for nonexistent issues, there are disastrous consequences. He must gather his allies close and his enemies closer if he wants to take on this bedrock of prestige and wealth, whose arms of power extend eerily into every aspect of his life. A fast-paced read covering a topic that everybody should be concerned with, not just parents.
The best fiction reflects not only how the world is, but what its reality could be. Chabon's latest (and greatest) novel, while ostensibly about race in the 21st century, is really a cross-section of America itself and a peek into the real American Dream. Chock full of pop cultural references that will keep the curious reader Googling, and imbued with the creole rhythms of music from the world over, it shows that our differences don't always have to divide us and that the "apartheid of consciousness" that pervades our nation can, in fact, be overcome.