Which of the following shiny new books should I read first?
Evil Genius (Catherine Jenks)
How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)
The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
The New Policeman (Kate Thompson)
Instead of Three Wishes (Megan Whalen Turner)
The Scarab (Catherine Fisher)
A Drowned Maiden's Hair (Laura Amy Schlitz)
A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Endorsements for a book on the list that you particularly loved are welcomed in comments, but if you particularly hated any of these, please refrain. I like to make up my own mind about books, without being prejudiced by somebody else's dislike (even if it turns out they are right).
And speaking of shiny new books I have just read wot are fabulous -- if you have any interest in contemporary YA fantasy and particularly if you're into vampires (which I myself am not, so take that as evidence that this book is a great read), you need to check out claudiagray's Evernight (HarperTeen, May 2008).
I already knew that Claudia was an excellent writer from reading some of her short stories, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed her rich and vivid but never overblown narrative style; I also expected the plot would be complex yet readily comprehensible and her main characters believable and sympathetic with flashes of wry humor, which proved true on all counts. But I thought myself very clever for anticipating where the plot was going and what was "really" up with some of the characters -- and I was wrong, wrong, WRONG. There's a twist about halfway through the story that made me literally drop the book and scream right out loud with the delicious shock of it -- and yet it didn't come out of left field, it was perfectly set up. I love books that play (or prey) on my expectations like that, so I have to give Claudia Gray big kudos for this one.
Evernight is the first in a series of four, and I can't wait to see how the next part of the story develops!
I also need to burble excitedly about Elizabeth E. Wein's Telemakos books sometime, but I want to read The Empty Kingdom (which is on back order at my local bookstore, WOE IS ME) first.