Friday, December 20, 2013


One of our favorite things to do at the end of every year is reflect upon the books we've read and highlight a few that really stuck with us. But it's also one of the hardest things to do every year! There are just so many good books, so many stories that hit us in different ways.

SARAH

In a year with some thrilling and satisfying fantasy reads (see Kristan and Steph's picks below), I have to admit -- authors of contemporary fiction, you slayed me!

Eleanor & Park 17 & Gone Winger

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell -- It's everything: sad, funny, cringeworthy, joyous passionate, creative, young and wise. If there was one book I wish I'd written, it would be this one.

17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma -- Okay E&P wasn't everything. It wasn't this: haunting, moody, obsessive, cracked up. I love a good psychological story, especially as told by this author. 

WINGER by Andrew Smith -- How do we (collectively) not talk about this book every day? I loved every beat of this story, laughed out loud and teared up. Can't remember the last book that did that. It was like hanging out with that friend you only communicate with through shrugs and grunts. You get me?

The Lucy Variations The Last Kings of Sark: A Novel

Honorable mentions: THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr and THE LAST KINGS OF SARK Rosa Rankin-Gee.

INGRID

WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith -- Wild Awake is everything I want in a contemporary novel -- an endearing protagonist who has family issues, friend issues, a journey of self discovery, and a steamy yet interesting romantic entanglement. And it's all wrapped up in pretty writing.

FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers -- This was one of the first books I read in 2013, way back in January. It's the kind of book that just digs its way into your heart and stays there for a long time. Courtney Summers' writing style is spot-on and her storytelling is stellar. This book tackles some heavy topics with authentic characters and solid prose.

Wild Awake Fall for Anything If You Find Me Chime

Honorable Mentions: IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch and CHIME by Franny Billingsley.

KRISTAN

Since Sarah and Ingrid are cheating with these "honorable mentions," I'm going to go over our limit of 2-3 books too. My favorites were all over the place year. Contemporary, light fantasy, historical, epic fantasy... I love that YA covers such a wide terrain!

Fangirl The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) Code Name Verity Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell -- In E&P, Rainbow took me back to those first love feelings; in FANGIRL, she took me back to my college days, which were some of the best years of my life. (Sorry, cliché, but true.)

THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater -- This sequel is one of those rare beasts that's even better than its predecessor. I had mixed feelings about Ronan in book 1, but after book 2? All the feels. (And you guys, I kind of hate that phrase, but it's too perfect not to use here.)

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein -- Speaking of feels... Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me quick!

(Aaaannd now I'm crying...)

SHADOW & BONE and SIEGE & STORM by Leigh Bardugo -- Last but not least, the Grisha Trilogy. The world of Ravka is so utterly unique, and the Darkling such a standout character/villain.

STEPHANIE

DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor -- This came out last year, but I didn't get to it until early this year. There were so many twists and turns I didn't expect. It had me on the edge of my seat from page one. The mounting tension driving everything toward book three was perfect, and I felt every bit of the nostalgia and homesickness that Karou was feeling.

THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson -- This was my favorite book of the trilogy. I loved all the adventuring through the woods and the mines, loved reuniting with these characters who I've become so invested in, and I loved the way it ended. It was much more complicated than good verses evil, as life always is.

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2) The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)

There you have it, folks! That's what's on our Best of 2013 list.

And what, pray tell, is on yours?

4 comments:

P.E. Mari said...

I seem to have really similar tastes with Kristan! I've read 4 of her top books (except Fangirl, I need to work on that) and I pretty much agree with all her choices!

There's a lot of contemporary here that I'll keep in mind for later on this year! My TBR should be full for 2014 :p

Great picks!

-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

Bookworm1858 said...

I agree with so many of these but the Rowell books definitely stand out the most for me. In July, I called her a revelation because I had loved E&P and Attachments so much and Fangirl did not stop that love.

Leslie Santiago said...

I didn't get to read all of those contemporaries you all read, though they are definitely on my TBR list and now I can't wait to get to read them. And Rainbow Rowell!!!! I absolutely LOVED Eleanor and Park and am starting to read Fangirl--it's just as awesome!

Great post, girls. Happy reading : )
-Leslie

Emma said...

I think the only recent releases I read this year were Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Eleanor and Park, but I definitely have to agree with the inclusion of the latter and the former's sequel. Such great novels! Thanks for reminding me to check out Rae Carson's series, as well. Great list, and thank you for sharing!

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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