A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty (Scholastic, April 1 2013, upper Middle Grade/YA) lept with conviction onto my list of top ten books for the year--it was sweet, smart, fun, thought-provoking, gripping, and eminently readable.
I must admit that I did not instantly rush to get this when I heard that it involves a fantasy land full of swarming colors that drift around killing people (if they are bad colors). This sounded somewhat suspectly whimsical and twee (despite the killing part). I should have trusted Moriarty more (after all, she wrote The Murder of Bindy McKenzie--an excellent book, not at all twee), and indeed, the colors were a perfectly fine, fresh, un-cute magical phenomenon. So that was good.
The story concerns a girl in our world, Madeleine, who gets gets drawn into a correspondence with Elliott, a boy who lives in the fantasy world of color drifts, and their epistolary friendship changes both their lives. And the lives of a number of others. For in the fantasy realm, not only is Elliott determined to charge to the rescue of his vanished father, there are intrigues and machinations at play of a socio/political sort that complicate life and need resolving. In Madeline's world, there are the mundane issues of her particular reality as a teenager, and these are so beautifully particular, yet also universal (in Moriarty's trademark way) that I enjoyed the reality as much as I did the fantasy. It added lots to my enjoyment that the characters are smart (though sometimes naive, not seeing what's right in front of them, etc.)
Even though I sincerely loved this one, I'm not going to say any more--it is full of details of plot, and character, and backstory, and world-building that don't deserve to be described in a cursory way by me. However, you can read more about it at The Book Smugglers (Ana loved it too).
Who would I give it to (besides "people who like the same books as me"):
--Middle Grade readers (10-12) who want something from the YA section that isn't fully of sexy and distrubingly violent stuff but has some Dawning Teen Romance, which, though mild, is more than you get in the children's room.
--YA readers of fantasy who aren't totally absorbed by paranormal romance and dystopia, and willing to take a chance on something quirky that has the added bonus of not involving a quest or a Chosen One.