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The Best Books of 2003

Welcome to's first annual Best Books of the Year. Our editors and reviewers have kept their lists throughout the year, and these are the books that all had that special quality that made them outstanding. The books are listed in alphabetical order, by genre. Click here for a printer friendly version. Click here to return to the Best Books homepage.

Children's and Young Adult | Fantasy/SF/Horror | General Fiction
Mystery/Thriller | Nonfiction | Romance

Best Children's and Young Adult
Books of 2003

  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix (HarperCollins)

  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Random House)

  • First to Fly: How Orville and Wilbur Wright Invented the Airplane by Peter Busby, Paintings by David Craig (Crown Books)

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (Delacorte Press)

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling, Illustrated by Mary Grandpre (Scholastic)

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (The Chicken House/Scholastic)

  • The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones (HarperCollins)

  • Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom) by Garth Nix (Scholastic)

  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins)

  • The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Dave McKean (HarperCollins)

    Best Fantasy/SF/Horror Books of 2003

  • The Battle of Evernight by Cecilia Dart-Thornton (Warner Aspect)

  • The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King (Donald M. Grant/Scribner)

  • The Devil's Armor by John Marco (DAW)

  • Endless Nights (The Sandman, Book 11) by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Barron Story et al. (Vertigo/D.C. Comics)

  • First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain (DAW)

  • A Forest of Stars (Saga of the Seven Suns, Book 2) by Kevin J. Anderson (Warner Books)

  • Grail Prince by Nancy McKenzie (Del Ray)

  • Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass (Tor)

  • Ilium by Dan Simmons (Eos)

  • Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (Viking)

  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese)

    Best General Fiction Novels of 2003

  • Any Human Heart by William Boyd (Knopf)

  • Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Scribner)

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Translation by Edith Grossman (Ecco)

  • The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (Doubleday)

  • The German Money by Lev Raphael (Leapfrog Press)

  • I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark by Brian Hall (Viking)

  • Old School by Tobias Wolff (Knopf)

  • Love by Toni Morrison (Knopf)

  • The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin (Hyperion)

  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (MacAdam/Cage)

    Best Mystery/Thrillers of 2003

  • Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (Knopf)

  • The Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

  • Cold Pursuit by T. Jefferson Parker (Hyperion)

  • The Confessor by Daniel Silva (Putnam)

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (Doubleday)

  • Dante's Equation by Jane Jensen (Del Ray)

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Doubleday)

  • The Dragon King's Palace by Laura Joh Rowland (St. Martin's Minotaur)

  • The Orion Protocol by Gary Tigerman (William Morrow)

  • Persuader by Lee Child (Delacorte)

  • The Protector by David Morrell (Warner Books)

  • The Samurai's Daughter by Sujata Massey (HarperCollins)

  • Sensei by John Donohue (St. Martin's Minotaur)

  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (William Morrow)

  • The Thai Amulet by Lyn Hamilton (Berkley)

    Best Nonfiction Books of 2003

  • 1000 Years for Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI--the Untold Story by Peter Lance (ReganBooks)

  • An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek (Little, Brown)

  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)

  • The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty by Caroline Alexander (Viking)

  • Everest: Summit of Achievement by The Royal Geographic Society (Simon and Schuster)

  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/HarperCollins)

  • Madam Secretary by Madeleine K. Albright (Miramax Books)

  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi (Random House)

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Broadway)

    The Best Romance Novels of 2003

  • A Clean Slate by Laura Caldwell (Red Dress Ink)

  • The Conqueror by Judith French (Love Spell)

  • Dark Melody by Christine Feehan (Leisure Books)

  • Die in Plain Sight by Elizabeth Lowell (William Morrow)

  • Flirting With Pete by Barbara Delinsky (Scribner)

  • Hot Pursuit by Christina Skye (Dell)

  • Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam)

  • The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens (Avon)

  • One Kiss From You by Christina Dodd (Avon)

  • Material Girl by Julia London (Berkley)

  • The Perfect Lover by Stephanie Laurens (William Morrow)

  • Remember When by Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb (Putnam)

  • To Sir Phillip, with Love by Julia Quinn (Avon)

  • Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh (Dell)

  • Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas (Avon)

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