RUSA’s Top Pop Fiction | ALA Midwinter 2014

At RUSA’s Book and Media Awards Ceremony, held Sunday January 26 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, the winners of the 2014 Reading List were announced. Started in 2007 by RUSA’s CODES section, the list highlights genre fiction in eight categories that merit special attention by adult readers and reader’s advisory librarians. Also named were the short list finalists and the read-alike suggestions for the winners.

Check out our full reviews of the winning titles in BookVerdict.

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Scribner) redsparrow
VERDICT An intense descent into a vortex of carnal passion, career brutality, and smart tradecraft, this thriller evokes the great Cold War era of espionage and adds startling touches such as recipes and a main character with synesthesia. Readers of bloodthirsty spy and suspense will welcome this debut from a writer who supersizes his spies. (LJ 3/1/13)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Tor)
“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.”

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent (Little, Brown)
VERDICT Kent has built a well-paced story, filled with twists and turns that will surprise most readers. A solid choice for those interested in a Western, a thriller, a historical novel, or even just something new. (LJ 7/1/13)

Last Days by Adam Neville (Griffin: St. Martin’s)
VERDICT This exceptional macabre tale stuns in its ability to inspire abject, primal terror. Readers will lose all hope of undisturbed, peaceful sleep. (LJ 1/15/13)

Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell (Mulholland)
VERDICT Morrell hooks the reader early and moves the action along swiftly. He also effectively captures a long-gone London and details how the city was changing as it moved into the industrial age. This diverting thriller will please the many readers who enjoy historical crime fiction. (LJ 12/1/12)

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (Avon) tessadare
VERDICT  A duke determined to avoid marriage and a plain-speaking girl whose sights go no higher than owning her own bookstore strike an ill-fated but ultimately perfect bargain. This witty, wickedly funny romantic escapade infuses a Pygmalion plot with a touch of Cinderella magic and spins it into another perfect addition to Dare’s “Spindle Cove” series (A Lady by Midnight). (LJ 6/15/13)

Love Minus Eighty by Will Macintosh (Orbit: Hachette)
VERDICT  Based on his 2010 Hugo-winning short story “Bridesicle,” McIntosh’s (Hitchers; Soft Apocalpyse) latest novel combines sf future tech with horror to craft a story that is both disturbing and hopeful as it questions the value of a life on borrowed time. The dystopic view of the future is both frightening and plausible, while the characters keep the story grounded in the details of human existence. (LJ 5/15/13)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (St. Martin’s)
“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.”

Other awards announced at the event included Notable Books, the Listen List (for audiobooks), the Dartmouth Medal for Reference, the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish Literature. For full details, see the RUSA News blog.


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Wilda Williams About Wilda Williams

Wilda "Willy" Williams ( is LJ's Fiction Editor. She specializes in popular fiction and edits the Mystery, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, and Word on Street Lit columns.