Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year in Review, Part Three

And now, here we are - the last of my year in review posts. My final post of 2012 will offer my favorite teen reads of the year.

Librarian of Snark's Best Young Adult Novels of 2012

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman - I had only just read Unwind when I discovered there was a sequel on the horizon and I was thrilled. Coming 5 years after the first, this sequel was a surprise to many. A lot of fans were dubious about the sudden development of this as a trilogy, but Shusterman proved he could pretty much do what he wants and be awesome at it. UnWholly is just as good as the first and will leave readers waiting for book three.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone with so much passion. I was outraged when it didn't receive an awards nod at the Youth Media Awards. This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2012 and it definitely delivered. Taylor is a prose goddess and I'll read anything she writes. I cannot wait to see how she closes out this amazing and imaginative trilogy.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan - I have a huge fangirl crush on Brennan now and this book is the reason why. Brennan has crafted a spooky, magical, mysterious, smart, and hilarious gothic mystery that will leave you dying for the next installment. Kami is one of my favorite heroines to have emerged in young adult literature this year.

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel - another of my anticipated 2012 reads, here is another sequel that lives up to the promise of the first. I think Oppel is creating a magnificent character study in these novels and I can't wait to see what Victor Frankenstein will do next.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga - with one of the best premises in YA lit this year, Lyga delivers another excellent novel. Jazz is a great main character and I loved the mystery and suspense of this book. Another book where I can't wait to find out what's in store.

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan - perhaps one of my most surprising reads of the year, this book has just about everything you could ask for: snark, romance, vampires, zombies, mystery, and heart. Just absolutely loved this one!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - I seriously don't know how she does it. Stiefvater just keeps hitting it out of the park, crafting these unique, completely enthralling reads about any and everything you can think of. This, her latest, combines psychics, prep school boys, and dead (or is it sleeping?) Welsh kings. I'm 100% on board the Stiefvater train now.

Black Heart by Holly Black - I devoured the entire Curse Workers trilogy this year and I think they're grossly under-read. These books are so fantastic - an authentic male teen voice, magic, and crime drama. Please get your hands on these if you haven't read them yet!

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund - another author who I believe is not read as much as she should be, Peterfreund hit 2012 with perhaps one of the most ambitious ideas - a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. And she nailed it. I was completely swept up in this story.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - JOHN GREEN STOP MAKING ME UGLY CRY IN PUBLIC! For the love of Pete, this is my favorite novel of the year (and I know I'm not alone on this one). Even nearly a year later, this book has continued to live in my heart. It's one of the first books besides Harry Potter that I desperately want to re-read. I hope John Green continues to write these amazing, gut-wrenching books for many years to come.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore - also known as "the book that made me break my own blog rule." I couldn't stop myself from reviewing this book, despite not having reviewed the other titles in the series. And it ended up being one of the longest reviews I've written on this here blog. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I'm eager to see what Cashore will do now that she has supposedly finished with the Graceling books.

October Mourning by Leslea Newman - beautiful, haunting, and heartbreaking, this is the story of Matthew Shepard's death, told in verse. Newman has created a stunning tribute to a life cut far too short. This is an important and wonderful book.

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors - suitable for tweens and teens, this is a very charming fairy tale that surprised me in the best way. Irresistible and sweet, I will definitely be picking up more by Selfors in the future.

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama - despite mermaids not really being my thing, this book completely won me over (confession: I nominated it for the Cybils this year; that's how much I loved it). Weaving together a historical narrative with a paranormal twist, Fama has given us a lyrical read. I'm delighted to have her on my radar.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - though I was hesitant to read this one, I'm so glad I picked it up. An absorbing start to a new fantasy series, with captivating magic and a Russian twist. I loved the complexity of the world and the characters.

Honorable mentions go to some amazing reads not published this year that I also adored:
- The Chaos Walking trilogy
- Finnikin of the Rock
- The Scorpio Races
- Between Shades of Gray
- Anna and the French Kiss
- Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

It was an excellent year for YA lit and I read quite a bit, but I'm disappointed that there are a few I still haven't gotten to yet. I'm hoping to tackle a couple over the holidays (The Diviners, Seraphina, and Ask the Passengers are at the top of my stack), but we'll see what I have time for. As far as award predictions go, you'll notice probably one major absence on my list above. While I enjoyed Code Name Verity and I think it's a very well-done novel that deserves its praise, I didn't love it as much as the other books I read this year. It's the fan favorite for the Printz, but I'm hoping to see John Green nab it for The Fault in Our Stars. We'll just have to wait and see!

My stats for the year (according to my Goodreads account which, as I've mentioned, lags a little behind my actual reading):
- 521 books read (245 picture books, 144 middle-grade tween, 131 teen books - including some overlap between the categories)
- 86, 335 pages
- 52 5-star reads, 260 4-star reads, 148 3-star reads, 50 2-star reads, and 11 1-star or did-not-finish reads

And thus concludes my best of 2012 posts. What made your list? What 2012 titles am I a fool for missing?

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