1. Caddy's World, by Hilary McKay. OK, this one is obvious, since I just wrote a blog post raving about exactly how much I loved it! I was trying to decide whether it was my very top favorite book read this year (in any genre), but in the end, I couldn't decide between this one and:
2. Binny in Secret, also by Hilary McKay. You can read my full review here, but basically it's funny and heartbreaking, both at once, and oh, I adored it. It's Book 2 in a series, but it would also work just fine as a standalone, so I would feel totally comfortable giving it as a gift to someone who hadn't read Book 1 (although Book 1, Binny For Short, is also very good).
As you can probably guess from the fact that she wrote both of the two books that I loved most this year, I love Hilary McKay's writing SO much, and I happily give her books as gifts to both kids and adults.
3. The Friendship Riddle, by Megan Frazer Blakemore. This is a fabulous, quirky, incredibly fun book about a fantasy-geek heroine whom I adored, and you can read my full review here.
4. The Secrets of Sam and Sam, by Susie Day, is about a pair of very different twins - one girl and one boy - who've been given the same name by their psychologist mums, and it's funny, wacky, and full of heart. Here's my full review!
5. All About Pumpkin, by Natasha Farrant, is the only book on this list that really couldn't stand alone, but it's so lovely that I had to include it anyway - and I love the whole trilogy, which started with After Iris. Here's my full review of All About Pumpkin.
6. Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon, is a wickedly funny fantasy novel with a fabulous heroine, and it turned me into a huge Ursula Vernon fan. You can read my full review here.
And that's my list! What about you guys? What were your favorites? I'd love to hear about them.
PS: Some of these books have been published in both the UK and US; some only in one of those countries; but all of the links that I've included above go to Wordery.com, which ships books from both countries internationally, for free. (And unlike The Book Depository, it's not owned by Amazon.)