"The Magic Thief" by Sarah Prineas was on the Cybils 2008 . I was on a waitlist for ages at the library, but it was worth the wait. The first hundred pages took me a while to read, but then I totally got into it and read the rest of the book in basically one sitting. The beset scene for me was when Conn was at school memorizing spells, and he noticed an error in the spell. He called the teacher on it, and the teacher said that was on purpose, so students wouldn't accidentally turn themselves into animals. Conn accepted this, and began memorizing the next spell, wondering what the mistake in this one was. Fabulous character-building.
Tastes like chicken: Skulduggery Pleasant.
"Horsemen of the Esophagus" by Jason Fagone was listed in a top-10 underrated books list linked to by Jeff Vandermeer. I loved the title, so I requested it from the library. Sadly, there was virtually no wait.
This book brought together so much fascinating stuff -- social media/connecting with fans, the american dream (which apparently is more about fame and community and less about money), the pursuit of happiness, the motivations and interactions of a community, journalistic ethics (distance from sources or lack thereof, etc.). There were aspects this book that were distressing -- and not for the reason you'd think. I didn't find the eating gross, or even the discussions of vomit ("reversal of fortune"). Maybe that was because the writing was so matter-of-fact and personal. The book follows three eaters in different stages of their careers, with different contests as their targets. What was distressing was some of their motivations, and the author's soul-searching, and the way the sport was progressing towards professionalism and organization. There were really interesting character studies. I felt like I knew some of these people better than I know my closer coworkers. Also, the acknowledgements section in the epilogue was a thing of beauty.
Tastes like chicken: "State of Play". Irrational, I know.