Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Books I read in 2013

Time for the annual round-up of the best books I read in 2013.  Note, this is not a round-up of the best books published in 2013.  About 50% of the best books I read this year were actually published in 2013 and 50% were books I'd been waiting to read.  Oddly, even though there were some great books this year 2013 doesn't feel like a stand-out year for YA books.  While the genre has been consistently good this year, only a few books crossed the line into greatness.  That's one reason Melina Marchetta needs to publish a book soon, her absences, along with some other favorites, was felt this year. (Note: Books are not in any particular order)

Teeth (Goodreads | Amazon)

The beauty of the prose is not that it's complex or prettied up. Instead it's simple, and just reeks of authenticity. Moskowitz writes what needs saying with as words few possible, never adding unnecessary flair and letting the power of the characters and realism of the words, even on this fantastical magical island, speak for themselves. Read full review here.

Code Name Verity (Goodreads | Amazon)

This audiobook impressed me from the start.  The first narrator had the most lovely Scottish accent, which pulled me into a nearly perfect story.  Code Name Verity follows two best friends, Maddie and Julie, who are attempting to do their part for the Allied Forces in WWII when they are trapped behind enemy lines.  This is a story about friendship and we need more of that in YA. (Review coming soon)

The Hallowed Ones (Goodreads | Amazon)

Talk about a book that will blow your mind.  It's about Amish people and vampires, two types of stories I would've never combined.  But this novel is brilliant, with one of the best main characters I've read in awhile.  You'll have to read it to believe it. (Review coming soon)

Chimes At Midnight (Goodreads | Amazon)

The humor in this book might be the best yet. The story has emotional highs and emotional lows. Even when I was scared shitless for October, the book always had a gag, pun or joke to throw at me. And it never felt out of place. The book manages to balance it's sarcastic sense of humor and ability to laugh in the face of certain death,with it's well-plotted, dire circumstances storyline. Read full review here.

The Sea of Tranquility (Goodreads | Amazon)

The writing is so evocative it almost feels like I need to step away and look at it with fresh eyes. But once I start thinking about the story, the feelings hit me again. If this book does anything it makes you feel. The emotions are so vivid that I can't imagine not emotionally connecting with this story, even if it's not your typical type of story. Read full review here.

The Sin Eater's Confession (Goodreads | Amazon)

The Sin-Eater's Confession does not hold back. It's terrible, descriptive and I had to set the book down on many occasions. But it's a book that shouldn't hold back. It's Ben's coping mechanism, his confession of everything he saw and the details he remembers. He's trying to understand what happened, trying to sort it out. Anything else would feel less truthful. Read full review here.

The Spectacular Now (Goodreads | Amazon)

This story is not a lifetime-original movie, where a teenage alcoholic finds redemption. It's a story where Sutter accidentally learns to love and learns to be loved.  This book is full of imperfect people who are just trying to figure out how to live life, have fun and be happy without bulldozing over everybody around them. Read full review here.

These Broken Stars (Goodreads | Amazon)

More often than not, I don't like books described as "timeless love stories" in the blurb. Usually they're too romantically driven, either ignoring the plot or without a plot to start with. These Broken Stars isn't like that. Yes, it's a timeless love story but it's also a good story. Read full review here.

Ashes of Honor (Goodreads | Amazon)

The characters, major and minor, really shine in this novel. I love when characters who have been hanging around for 5 novels like Etienne finally come forward, get fleshed out and suddenly you understand who they've been all along. McGuire is an expert at building a world full of characters who are complete characters, not placeholders caricatures. Read full review here.

Tiger Lily (Goodreads | Amazon)

Rather than focus on Wendy and the Lost Boys, this book focuses on Tiger Lily--found in the forest, an outcast among her own people and a tomboy in a world where she's expected to become a woman. I enjoyed that this book dealt with, subtly, the sliding scale between femininity and masculinity. Tiger Lily is fully a girl, but has boyish tendencies like hunting, that make her feel like an oddity. Read full review here.


semicolon said...

Thanks for the list. I agree that Code Name Verity is a great story. I also liked the companion novel that came out this year by the same author, Rose Under Fire. I added your list to my growing list of of lists at Semicolon: Feel free to peruse and enjoy the best-of posts linked there.

ash said...

I have tiger lily on my kindle. I think it was one of those I got for a good deal. TBS is on alot of lists I've seen lately and so many awesome reviews of it.

Assistant Village idiot said...

I just finished Finniken of the Rock by Marchetta, the first book of hers I read. Avi's wife