That said, let's move to number Nine (out of 111 books read this year):
Spell Bound, by Rachel Hawkins
Why did this stay with me? First, it's the final book in a great trilogy. All three had me completely engaged -- so the finale was not only anxiously awaited but well worth the wait. Second, I loved the romance. There's a hint of a triangle, but Sophie never really turns from the one she's loved since the beginning -- and I adore seeing that type of loyalty and emotional steadfastness in YA books. Not only that, but romantic tension wasn't sacrificed to do this -- in fact, it even increased the tension, in some ways. Third, it's very poignant. There are a couple of major sacrifices by characters, and they not only fit the story well, but they show true heroism and grace -- just wonderful examples of love. Fourth, the plot is complex and intriguing. I thought the over-arcing story was thoughtful and layered, which is just what I love to see in books. Each book revealed a little bit more, and the world building was solid. I think she could continue in this universe and still have dedicated fans. :) So yes, like all of my top eleven, this comes highly recommended (though you would be best off reading the other two books first: Hex Hall and Demonglass).