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The best novels of 2010
GO, MUTANTS! by Larry Doyle (Ecco, $23.99). Not even interstellar intervention can change the cruel social dynamics of high school, not when the resident fat boy is the Blob, your sex-ed teacher is the Deadly Mantis, and the star of the football team is an 800-pound gorilla. -E.H.
HOUSE RULES , by Jodi Picoult (Atria, $28). Jacob has Asperger's syndrome, and when his tutor is found dead, the police suspect that his obsession with crime scenes may have led him to stage one of his own. -M.C.
HUMAN CHAIN , by Seamus Heaney (Farrar Straus Giroux, $24). The Nobel laureate's new collection of poetry is pervaded by an awareness of mortality and encroaching darkness, and yet it is a joy on every level. -Troy Jollimore
I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE , by Laura Lippman (Morrow, $25.99). This mystery transcends the thriller genre, thanks to Lippman's ability to take us into the lives and hearts of women who have been wronged and of the families that suffer with them. -P.A.
I HOTE L , by Karen Tei Yamashita (Coffee House; paperback, $19.95). Ten linked novellas about Asian American activists and workers living in the same hotel in San Francisco. National Book Award finalist. -Marcela Valdes
THE IMPERFECTIONISTS , by Tom Rachman (Dial, $25). Every individual, from the cuckolded news editor to the frozen-in-amber baroness, is treated with discretion and humanity in this witty portrait of a dying Italian newspaper. -Louis Bayard
THE INFINITIES , by John Banville (Knopf, $25.95). The real subject of this unforgettable, beautifully written book is nothing less than the enigma of mortal existence. And who better than a cast of lusty, bemused and mischievous immortals to cast a new light on that? -Troy Jollimore
THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE , by Julie Orringer (Knopf, $26.95). This account of the way Hungary's Jewish population was decimated by the Holocaust makes brilliant use of deliberately old-fashioned realism to define individual fates engulfed by history's deadly onrush. -Donna Rifkind
KINGS OF THE EARTH , by Jon Clinch (Random House, $26). Based on the true tale of the death of one of four reclusive brothers, this novel explores the complex and yearning American character. -Robert Goolrick
THE LONG SONG , by Andrea Levy (Farrar Straus Giroux, $26). Set in Jamaica during the 19th-century revolt, this is a book for those who understand that a slave woman's history is History. -Tayari Jones