by Naomi Novik
Easily the best Novik book I've read, and that's coming from someone who generally dislikes both YA and romance and has some serious issues with Beauty and the Beast, one of the book's fairy tale motifs.*
In Uprooted, I think Novik has really come into her own. Her style fits nicely into the Russian-inspired high fantasy tone, and she deftly weaves fairy tales into her plot in a way that enriches the story without coming across as heavy-handed.
The threat of the woods, too, is extremely effective. I've never noticed it in the Temeraire books--I'm generally rather meh about them, and dropped out after three or so-- but Novik is a masterful writer of suspense. She's less strong with characters and characterization, but with the fairytale backdrop, this feels less important. Uprooted has an interesting world, a thoroughly creepy threat, and a satisfying ending.
If you want to read a Novik book, this should be the one.
*that hostile abusive guy is really a handsome prince deep down, I promise! ↩