RUSA’S Top Pop Fiction | ALA Midwinter 2015

In spite of a record-breaking blizzard that shut down most of Chicago on Sunday, February 1, RUSA’s Book and Media Awards Ceremony went on as scheduled at the Hilton Chicago, where the Reading List Council announced the 2015 selections of the Reading List, an annual best-of list comprised of eight different fiction genres for adult readers. Also named were the short list finalists and the read-alike suggestions for the winners.

Check out Library Journal’s full reviews of the winning titles in BookVerdict.


Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland: Little, Brown)  LAURENBEUKES
VERDICT Detroit could easily be called the city of broken dreams, but in this highly atmospheric novel, Beukes sketches a metropolis full of hope and vigor, in spite of a monster roaming its streets. A powerful look at our fascination with social media and the transformative power of art and imagination round out this genre-defying chiller’s captivating and terrifying narrative  (LJ 9/15/14)


The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Tor)
VERDICT Court intrigue and politics are popular fodder for fantasy novels, but rarely have they been done better than in this fantastic new novel from Sarah Monette (writing as Addison). The writing is lovely, with characters who live and breathe. [Half-goblin] Maia, especially, will tug on the heartstrings of even the most hardened reader as he struggles to find kindness and allies in the imperial court. (LJ 3/15/14)



Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (Thomas Dunne) bitter
VERDICT Forsyth, a PhD candidate in fairy tale retellings, reflects her depth of knowledge in this captivating novel that enchants with its gorgeous narrative and memorable characters who discover how the choices we make define and bind us. Full of palace intrigue, dark magic, romance, and lush, evocative descriptions, this is historical fiction at its finest. (LJ 6/15/14)


The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman (Berkley)
“Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn’t all fun and games. Gritty, clever and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.”  (LJ 9/15/14)


Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur)  murderatbrightwell
VERDICT A pleasant debut novel, nicely evoking the 1930s with strong atmosphere and the beginnings of some intriguing characters. Readers who enjoy this period will not want to miss what is likely the first in a new series. (LJ 9/15/14)


A Bollywood Affair  by Sonali Dev (Kensington)
VERDICT This tasty Indian American confection will satisfy female readers of any age who would enjoy a contemporary, transcontinental romance told with a light touch and lots of sizzle. (LJ 9/15/14)


The Martian by Andy Weir (Crown)  martian
VERDICT By placing a nail-biting life-and-death situation on Mars and adding a snarky and wise-cracking nerdy hero, Weir has created the perfect mix of action and space adventure. Mark is hilarious, which makes the terror of marooned death on Mars not just bearable but downright fun. (LJ 12/1/13)

My Real Children by Jo Walton (Tor)
“Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.”  (LJ 4/15/14)

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

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.


  1. I’ve only read two of these books but I loved them both and I’m definitely going to read some of the others from this list. I think it’s pretty cool that they were able to go on with the event in Chicago despite the snow storm. With a good fan base, almost anything is possible! This is especially when we consider the devoted fans of fiction novels.