ALA's 2014 Reading List Winners - Librarians' Top Picks in Genre Fiction

Congratulations to this year's winners in 8 genre fiction categories, just announced at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. It is great to see among them some first novels. An added value of the Reading List (as opposed to the Notable Books) has always been the inclusion of the shortlists which enriches the readers exploration of the genres.

Adrenaline Winner:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

Short List
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad, a FFF (blog)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, a FFF (blog)
Lexicon by Max Barry
Lost by S.J. Bolton

Fantasy Winner
Vicious by V.E.Schwab. A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

Short List
The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
American Elsewhere by Robert Bennett Jackson
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, a FFF (blog)

Historical Fiction Winner
The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent. Love, morality and greed collide in this Reconstruction Era western. A whore without a heart of gold, Lucinda escapes from a Fort Worth brothel to begin a new life -- and a new con. She and her lover are bound to cross paths with Texas Ranger Nate, who is chasing stone-cold killer McGill. Both Nate and Lucinda are unforgettable characters, driven by the need to survive.

Short List
The Abominable by Dan Simmons
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Out of the Black Land by Kerry Greenwood
The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale

Horror Winner
Last Days by Adam L. G. Nevill. Deep in debt, documentary filmmaker Kyle Freeman reluctantly accepts the financial backing of an enigmatic self-help guru to make a movie about infamous cult The Temple of the Last Days. Unique, atmospheric and deeply disturbing, Nevill delivers a visceral horror experience that will haunt readers long after they put the book down.

Short List
Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Mystery Winner
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell. London, 1854: The Artist of Death ritualistically recreates the sensational Ratcliffe murders inspired by the writings of the notorious opium addict Thomas De Quincey. In this fast-paced mystery, filled with colorful characters and authentic period detail, Scotland Yard detectives, along with De Quincey and his daughter must find the Artist of Death before he executes another macabre masterpiece.

Short List
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, a FFF (blog)
The Beggar’s Opera by Peggy J. Blair, a FFF (blog)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye

Romance Winner
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare. Desperate for grandchildren, the Duchess of Halford strikes a bargain with her only son, Griff: pick a woman--any woman. If she can transform her son's choice into duchess material, he must marry the girl. Griff picks the least likely candidate in bluestocking barmaid Pauline, only to quickly realize he has no idea who he is dealing with. A humorous and clever historical romance with engaging characters you won’t soon forget.

Short List
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie
The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, a FFF (blog)

Science Fiction Winner
Love Minus Eighty by Will MacIntosh. Cryogenics adds a darkly humorous twist on dating, love and relationships in the 22nd century. This multi-perspective story provides a thought-provoking and poignant social commentary on power dynamics, gender, class and the ethical issues surrounding life after life-after-death.

Short List
Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
Wool by Hugh Howey

Women’s Fiction Winner
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Unemployed 26-year-old Louisa takes the only job she can find: as a “care assistant” to 35-year-old quadriplegic Will. When Louisa discovers the depth of Will’s unhappiness, she embarks on a mission to convince him that life is worth living and in the process begins to think about her own future. This bittersweet, quirky novel recounts an unlikely friendship while grappling with complex issues in a realistic and sensitive manner.

Short List
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, a FFF (blog)
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult