Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish
2013 proved to be a year full of changes and busy schedules for me. I worked 3 jobs while finishing my senior year of undergraduate studies, graduated with my BS, started a full-time job in marketing, and moved to a new city. I didn’t get to read as much as I would’ve liked to, but I’m going to point out some of my favorite reads of the year anyway.
1. “Just One Year,” by Gayle Forman. I am so happy that April suggested “If I Stay” a couple of years ago. Gayle quickly rose to the top of my favorite authors list. I’ve been lucky enough to attend one of her book signings with April and gave away two signed copies of “If I Stay” to my reader friends. “Just One Day” is one of my favorite books. I’ve never read something that so accurately describes what it is like to go through your first heartbreak. I kept going back and forth between loving Willem and thinking he’s an asshole. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on “Just One Year” when it finally released. I gladly paid sticker price at Barnes and Noble to have it in my hands on release day. I loved being able to see the events unfold from Willem’s perspective. I felt like I finally understood where he was coming from and why he made the decisions that he did. This book ended perfectly and I will undoubtedly recommend this novel to all of my reader friends. Seriously, you will not be disappointed!
2. & 3. Shatter Me & Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi. I saw someone post about Unravel Me on twitter and decided to buy Shatter Me. I am so relieved that I did. I fell in love with the story of Juliette, Adam, and Warner. It was a very different approach to dystopia than I was used to. Paranormal abilities are great. I found the striked out thoughts very intriguing. I actually felt like I was in her head and I knew exactly what she was feeling. It was amazing to watch her as the shell of herself in the first novel to a badass in the second. I cannot wait to read the conclusion next year. If you are looking for a new dystopian series, give this one a chance!
4. “Lovely, Dark & Deep” by Amy McNamara. I actually had never heard of this book or author before, but I tagged along to a book signing that she was at. As soon as I laid eyes on the cover, I wanted it. Seriously, the cover is gorgeous. As if the cover wasn’t enough, Amy read a passage from the novel. I was hooked from there on. This is a story about a girl going through the stages of grief and attempting to put her life back together again. The emotion in this book is so raw, I felt so much sympathy for Wren. I am extremely lucky in that I have never suffered the loss of a loved one. It was eye-opening to realize how much grief can burden someone. Anyway, this was a beautiful and poignant novel. It is a different style of writing as Amy specializes in poetry. It took a while to get used to but I am so happy I pushed through it.
5. “We Were Liars,” E. Lockhart. Oh where do I begin with this one? After reading tweets from both April and Jamie raving about this novel, I knew I had to read it. I begged April to let me read it after her and my persistence definitely paid off. It took a lot of restraint, but I didn’t read any reviews and kept away from spoilers online. I wanted to be completely surprised and engrossed in the experience. I highly suggest that you do the same. If I had known any of the spoilers before going into this novel, I without a doubt wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. With that said, READ THIS BOOK (when it releases, of course). I really don’t want to say much as you should go into this blind, however, I will say, this book absolutely wrecked me in the best way possible. I spent a good half hour just bawling my eyes out upon finishing. I was completely invested in the story and the characters and the ending literally left me shocked. This is easily one of my top favorite books.
6. “Code Name Verity,” Elizabeth Wein. I have to admit, it took me a long time to get into this book. I had heard nothing but rave reviews but it was a little bit too slow for me at first. I didn’t understand all of the jargen and that was very off-putting for me. Luckily, I stuck with it and it was a wonderful story of friendship and war. If you like books that come together at the end like a puzzle, you will love this one. The ending was very satisfying as it all finally made sense. This book is one of the best depictions of friendship that I’ve read in a long time.
7. “Eleanor & Park,” by Rainbow Rowell. I think we can all relate to this story. Eleanor is an outcast and her peers make sure that she is reminded of that daily. I will be the first to admit that I was not popular in school. My middle school years are plagued with memories of being bullied. I really connected with Eleanor over this. It was also great to have a protaganist that wasn’t wealthy and actually had real life issues. I absolutely fell in love with her relationship with Park. It wasn’t perfect, but it sure was real. If you want an original, captivating and quirky love story, this one is for you!
8. “The Diviners,” by Libba Bray. I have to admit, Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors. I still remember when April was attending BEA and got Libba to talk to me over the phone. Fast forward a year or so and I got to meet her at a book signing, it was great. I remember bawling my eyes out during “The Sweet Far Thing” when I was in high school. I since got many friends to read the Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy. However, I couldn’t get into “Beauty Queens.” I just didn’t care for the satire, it was a bit much for me. When April gave me “The Diviners” to read, I was a little nervous since “Beauty Queens” hadn’t worked out for me. I’m so glad I gave it a chance. I loved the mystery and roaring 20s atmosphere. It was such a refreshing break from contemporary and dystopian novels. I absolutely adored following Evie around New York. She is by no means perfect, but she is such a character. At times I hated her and then a minute later I was back in love with her. I am dying to read the next book in the series! Please hurry Libba!
9. “The Storyteller,” by Jodi Picoult. I’ve been a long time fan of Jodi’s novels. I buy every one of her books upon release. I’m not going to lie, her novels tend to be hit or miss with me. I love some (Nineteen Minutes) and hate others (Handle with Care – that ending! Really?!). Regardless, I picked up “The Storyteller” and got to reading. I’ve always been fascinated with the Holocaust as it is such an important part of history. I loved that Jodi gave us the perspective of someone directly involved with the Nazi party. You don’t get to see what the “bad guys” are thinking very often. In typical Jodi fashion, she beautifuly weaves a story between several characters. I really enjoyed this one and I’m so happy she is back on her game! Definitely give this one a chance!
10. “Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding. I’m not sure if I have mentioned this on the blog yet, but my boyfriend Ryan is a also a reader. However, he prefers sci-fi and classics. When he found out I’d never read Lord of the Flies, he begged me to give it a read. I’ve always heard good things about the novel and so I obliged. In my high school, depending on which English teacher you had, you would be given a different reading curriculum. Incidently, I was in the group that was not assigned Lord of the Flies. I am a bit grateful for that as I was able to read it as a mature adult at 21 instead of 15 in high school. I couldn’t put this book down. I was constantly wondering what these crazy kids were going to do next. It was fascinating to watch the transition from innocent schoolboys to literal murderers. I believe this is a book everyone should read. There’s a fine line between good and evil and selfishness and selflessness. Two of my favorite quotes from the novel, “The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life,” and “Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.”
What are your favorite reads of the year? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Lastly, any suggestions for me to read in 2014?