Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Books of 2013

It seriously does not feel like that much time has passed since I did my Best Books of 2012 post.
I also cannot believe how many posts I have made on this blog since I started it…I number all the posts I write and save them by their numbers, and today marks my 450th blog post! This is crazy. I had no idea that I would be blogging this long or that I’d fall in love with this whole book blog world.
Any way, there were a lot of great books this year. My rules for this list is how they have always been:
1) Each book listed has come out this past year
2) Each book is either YA or middle grade (though normally middle grade books don’t make the cut for me for this list…this year there’s one!)
3) I have read the book in 2013 (not later or earlier). And it doesn’t matter if other books in the series have come out earlier.
I am going to start at the top with number 1, and make my way down to my number 10 book of the year. And of course because I’m me and have so much trouble making up my mind, there will also be three honorable mentions at the bottom. Happy New year! I hope 2014 brings just as many, if not more, wonderful books to talk about.
1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Review / Rating: 10/10)

So, I definitely think 2013 has been the year for outstanding YA contemporaries. There have been a few books this year that I have not been able to stop raving and talking about. And at the top of the list is of course this book. I have not read any other YA book that has delved so deep into the world of fan fiction. I feel like there is an enormous base of fans that Rowell was the first to directly write a book for. This book spoke to my introverted book nerd self. And it spoke to my inner Potter love. And I can’t stop talking about this book. I’ve already given it as a gift to multiple people. It’s unique and the main character is not like every other YA main character. If you have not read this book yet, what’s the hold up?
2) These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This book was so awesome that I’m shocked to not have read more reviews for it. Side note: it’s my favorite book cover of the year too. This book had everything, literally: sci-fi setting, slow-building yet sizzling romance, survivalist plot, Titanic-type ship crash, a dark almost supernatural twist, and some of the best world-building I’ve seen this year. On top of that were the crazy, suspenseful interviews woven between the chapters. This was one of those books that I prolonged reading because I didn’t want to be finished with it. In fact, I’m still kind of sad that it’s over.
3) Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This is my first middle grade book to make the cut (and it’s number 3!) I do mix in middle grade with YA because I kind of consider them on the younger spectrum of the YA audience (and I consider New Adult on the older spectrum of the YA audience). This is another one of those books that I have just not been able to shut up about it. I have recommended it over and over again, and I’ve only just finished it. Thinking about the story now is making me laugh out loud. How many books do you know that can make you laugh just thinking about them? It was a great story, with fantastic characters, and some pure amazing humor.
4) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I have never had two different books written by the same author on my top 10 list before. This was my first Rainbow Rowell book. I remember finishing this book, and going “Wow. I hope this author keeps writing.” Thankfully, I did not have long to wait for her next book. I got Fangirl at BEA, where I remember the publishers speaking at an event and saying, “You think you love Rainbow Rowell now, after Eleanor and Park. You don’t even know. Wait till you read Fangirl.” The publishers were right, of course. This book is number four, whereas the other is number one. However, this book is so fantastic too and I absolutely cannot think of one bad thing to say about it. It’s hands down my favorite YA romance of the year. And it had to be on my list too.
5) Poison by Bridget Zinn (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This was my favorite fantasy book of the year. I was craving a great fantasy read after my contemporary binge, and I got one. This is another book that had me laughing out loud right away. It had over-the-top humor, an amazing, kick-butt main character, magic, a tracking pig, princesses, poison masters, and non-stop adventures. What more can you ask for? 
6) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This book gave me goose bumps. It was such a strong, powerful story that seriously took on the topic of bullying. It was loaded with great music. There was also some romance, some family drama, and plenty of growing up. It’s the coming of age story of someone who above all else needs to fit in somewhere. And this is definitely a book that you will have a hard time leaving. It sticks with you. Every now and then something happens that keeps me thinking about it. I have recommended this one all over the place too.
7) The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (Review / Rating: 10/10)

There were a lot of series endings this year too. This was my favorite ending. I rarely feel this happy at the end of a series. And I particularly have loved this prequel series. I liked it even more than I liked Clare’s original series. There was just something magical about this underworld/Victorian/steam punk/supernatural London setting. The characters, the triangles, the mystery, and the suspense in these books didn’t hurt either. And for once I remember being extremely happy with the epilogue at the end too. Here’s hoping her other series has a great ending too…
8) The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I remember thinking this book was so much more intense than the summary made it seem. Sometimes book summaries come off as super cheesy and if it weren’t for the increasing supply of good reviews, I don’t think I would have read it. But, I’m so glad I did. I loved this main character. She was strong like all dystopian main characters, but she was also so real –she had memories and realistic problems and I remember just relating to her completely. This may have also been the scariest book for me this year. Some of it was legit terrifying, and I’m dying for the next installment.
9) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (Review / Rating: 10/10)

Maggie Stiefvater has magical writing super powers. She has the ability to get you lost in her words like almost no other YA writer today. She got me to like characters I thought I’d never like. And more than that she got me to care for characters like I would close friends. I literally felt like I was catching up with old friends when reading this sequel. Her characters are beyond real; they’re people you’re close to. And this book had everything in it: magic, family drama, humor, love, supernatural elements, adventure, mystery, and friendship. And behind everything is this overwhelming dark background where you know things won’t end well, but you can’t stop reading because it’s just too good to ever stop.
10) The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books so far. I’ve been reading Sarah Dessen since before I went to high school. Her books are kind of the quintessential summer books for me. Summer isn’t really summer without the beach and a Dessen novel. And while I’m extremely different from most of Dessen’s main characters, I always manage to relate to them on some level, particularly this main character. I love that she was willing to give her dad a chance after such disappointment from him. And I love that there was finally a romance that wasn’t about finding your soul mate in high school. It was more about realizing that life is full of many roads, boys, decisions, and changes and it’s okay to not have everything go exactly as you thought they would.
Honorable Mention 1: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terril (Review / Rating: 9/10)

This was a book that totally took me by surprise. I was not expecting this level of violence and suspense. I remember being the edge of my seat for my entire reading of this one. Between the humungous twists, the time travel, the saving the world, and the crazy characters, this was definitely a book that needed to be mentioned on my list. I hope to see more by this author.
Honorable mention 2: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This was my favorite sequel of the year. The first one was my number one favorite book of 2012. Brennan has the character writing skills of Stiefvater. But add in some humor and a bit of ridiculousness and you get my friends from these books. The sizzling romance doesn’t hurt either. This book was loaded with drama and supernatural plot devices. But more than that is the overall amazing gothic writing style of a writer that sometimes just puts me in awe. Some of the best YA dialog and certainly some of the best YA dark humor I have read are in here too.
Honorable Mention 3: Requiem by Lauren Oliver (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This was another fantastic series ending. People seemed to have mixed reactions to how things ended, but I absolutely loved this series end. One of my favorite things about Lauren Oliver was that I never knew what she would write next. I couldn’t call everything a head of time in these books, and this was just so refreshingly amazing. On the other hand, you had no idea who would survive (kind of like watching The Walking Dead). This last book was just so spot-on for how I think dystopias should end. Oliver is another writer to inspire goose bumps.

1 comment:

  1. Darn it, Nori. I've got billions of things to do, yet whenever I visit your blog, none of them matter anymore. All i can think about now is getting my hands on all these books. Thanks for making me an even greater procrastinator than i already was ;p xoxo