I like to think of 2012 as the year of the young adult novel. I read more YA this year than I can ever remember reading in the past. And it was GLORIOUS.
2012 started off with YA novels as I finished the His Dark Materials trilogy and was left wondering why everyone goes nuts over this series. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t really like the third book as well as I had the first two. It is probably a series I will never want to read again.
The next couple of months were a complete divergence from what I normally read. I rekindled my love for Stephen King with Under the Dome, then read some books of my mother’s, The Help, Girl in Translation, 1000 White Women and The Kitchen House, all surprisingly enjoyable. I usually stick to my normal genres of sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia, so these books were a welcome respite.
I also caught up on some of my series with A Perfect Blood (The Hollows), Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood), Hit List and Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake), Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse) and Redoubt (Valdemar Chronicles). Many of these series are starting to overstay their welcome. However, I was saddened to learn 2013’s Sookie Stackhouse book will be the last.
I made copious use of Amazon’s “recommended for you” tool this year and tried Kiera Cass’ The Selection, which I adored. That sent me tumbling down the young adult rabbit hole with other YA series such as The Goddess Test, Divergent, Birthmarked, Razorland and Fire and Thorns. Most brilliant, some OK. But I’m eager to continue with these series in the future and cannot wait for the next books in the series to come out.
I’m ending the year in the middle of two books, Reached by Ally Condy and Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling. I normally try to avoid beginning two books at once, but Reached didn’t grab my attention right away and I’d been putting off Casket of Souls all year.
In all I read 40 books this year. Short of my goal, but more than last year. I also picked up a few manga as well, after being away from it for over a year. I shall strive to best this goal in 2013… if I can ever finish the two books I’ve started.
And now for my top five books of the year. In no particular order:
1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
This is the only book I gave a five-star rating to on Good Reads this year. Jenny is also known as The Bloggess. The book is a memoir of some of her most memorable blog posts about her life. I laughed. I cried from laughing. I may have even peed a little. She suffers from severe anxiety disorder and depression, like me, so I could completely relate to almost everything in the book. (Except the taxidermy.)
2. Under the Dome by Stephen King
At over 1000 pages, I thought this one would be hard to get through. It wasn’t. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in less than a week. I didn’t really want it to end. Completely engaging with characters to both love and loathe. Bravo on this one, Mr. King.
3. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
The story of a young girl and her mother who immigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn and the conditions they are forced to live and work in… heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.
4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
A young adult dystopian future where society is divided into five factions. On their 16th birthday, children must decide which faction to declare allegiance to by undergoing a series of tests. Tris is divergent, meaning she tested for not one, but three factions. But seemingly perfect societies never really are…
5. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Elisa is chosen by God and on her 16th birthday becomes the secret wife of a neighboring King. But there are others who wish to use Elisa’s power for themselves and she finds herself on an adventure that will show her who she truly is.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
The Help by Kathryn Stockett