My top picks (so far) of 2006.

Finally responding to MotherReader's call:

Middle Grade:

The King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner -- Yes, it's the third in a trilogy.  Yes, you kind of have to read them all to really Get It.  But it's my favorite of the three, which is really, really, really saying something.  Fantastic.  (This really could be categorized as either Middle Grade or Young Adult -- the series starts firmly in Middle Grade, but like the HP books, gets more complex and mature.)

Firegirl, Tony Abbott -- I was so impressed -- nuanced, quiet, sensitive and special.

Kiki Strike, Kirsten Miller -- Um, yeah.  This book is just awesome.  Everything about it rules.

Fly by Night, Frances Hardinge -- People are raving for a reason.  Read it if you love words.

Larklight, Philip Reeve -- Just plain FUN.  (Well-written, witty and entertaining fun.)

Young Adult:

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, M. T. Anderson -- Yeah.  M. T. Anderson = Genius.  As I said in my review, the book is outstanding in every way.  (And I do mean EVERY way -- the typeface, everything.)

An Abundance of Katherines, John Green -- I just LOVED this book.  It was funny and light (without being fluffy) and smart and wonderful.

Dairy Queen, Catherine Gilbert Murdock -- Slap a new cover on it and it'd be perfect.  Totally original voice.  Beats the pants off of all the other girls books I've read this year.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan -- Music and romance and HEAT and witty banter.  Yum.

King Dork, Frank Portman -- Future classic, right here. 

Darn you, MR, and your 5-book-per-age-group limit!  You just WAIT until my end-of-year list!  MU HAH Ha aa!