Graphic Novel: "Incognegro" by Mat Johnson (DC Comics). This might be a graphic novel, but it got literary acclaim for its story about racism and identity in the early 20th century as a light-skinned African-American man goes undercover to cover lynchings going on in the South for his newspaper.
Kids - Preschool: "The Pigeon Wants a Puppy" by Mo Willems (Hyperion). Somehow this got left out of a column, and I still don't know why as my kids loved it and I've had to read it over and over. The famous Pigeon who wants to drive the bus now wants a puppy. But the puppy is a bit larger than he expected... It's funny and cute and I haven't gone crazy reading it multiple times, which is always a good sign.
Kids - Middle Grade: "Babymouse: Puppy Love" by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House). The irrepressible mouse is back, and this time wants a pet. But pets aren't working out so well for her, they tend to disappear. So when she finds a lost dog, she decides to take care of it. This series is always a hit at my house.
Kids - Teen: "Stealing Heaven" by Elizabeth Scott (HarperTeen). A young professional thief who works with her mother finds a summer romance the possibility of life on the straight and narrow after befriending a "mark" and a cop. This book sucks you in with its story of becoming your own person and is good for both teens and adults.
Literary: "Home School" by Charles Webb (St. Martin's Press). The author of "The Graduate" delivers the sequel more than 30 years later in a sharp, firecracker of a book that tells what happened to Ben, Elaine, and the infamous Mrs. Robinson.
Wow--really? Were people looking for a sequel to The Graduate?
Paranormal: "Souless" by Christopher Golden (MTV Books). This book, in which teens and college students struggle to survive after a group of mediums try to contact ghosts and end up bringing zombies instead, wins for me because it has to do with zombies, terrified me, and I still loved it and am forcing friends to read it. It sucks you in and will keep you up all night reading and probably give you some nightmares after.
Paranormal Romance: "Eternal Pleasure" by Nina Bangs (Dorchester). A woman falls in love with an immortal who is charged with making sure an evil race doesn't break into our world to destroy it. Sure, there are the usual vampires, werewolves and warlocks that make an appearance, but what wins me over is the dual-souled main characters, whose last bodies they inhabited were...dinosaurs. It is unusual and it works brilliantly. My only question is when does the next book come out?
Romance: "Queen of Babble Gets Hitched" by Meg Cabot (William Morrow). A New York dressmaker is set to marry the man of her dreams but is torn between two guys and tries to figure out who her heart belongs to with the help of her crazy friends and family members. This wins hands down for me, because Cabot took a plotline that I usually dislike and turned it into gold.
Science-Fiction: "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown). Sure, she's getting all of the attention because of that OTHER series, but this book combines science-fiction with a tense thriller setting and a bit of romance in a story about what happens after an alien invasion has almost completely taken over the world by inhabiting the humans' bodies.
Another Stephenie Meyer book in the world? Oy.