A bit late with this post, but better late than never! Here are some of the best books about living as a member of the LGBTQ community.
On the subject of best books of 2015 we thought we’d crunch some numbers and find out what’s been going out at Wellington City Libraries. Interesting results!
Of the books published this year The Heir by Kiera Cass went out the most (by far) but that’s partly because we have billions of copies. So, we thought, let’s make it interesting and see what went out the most per copy*. Here is an interesting Top 10 list of the hardest-working 2015 books in the YA fiction collection:
1. All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
2. I Was Here, Gayle Forman
3. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
4. Frostfire, Amanda Hocking
5. All That Glitters, Holly Smale
6=. Shadow Scale, Rachel Hartman
6= . Mind Games, Teri Terry
8. Love Hurts (short stories)
9. The Orphan Queen, Jodi Meadows
10=. Mosquitoland, David Arnold
10=. Love, Lucy, April Lindner
For people who like statistics, All the Bright Places went out an average of 13.2 times per copy which is a top effort considering books are issued for up to 3 weeks!
*And see what we need to get more of 🙂
December is a competitive month, with lots of people writing about what was best and most popular. We’ve had a look at lots of these lists and made a note of some repeat offenders. Not very scientifically, and in no particular order, here are 10 noteworthy 2015 novels:
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (more copies on the way)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (more copies coming too!)
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
To mark the New Zealand Music Month why don’t we read books related to music? It’s a subject that I love and the first two books in the list are my favourites.
Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell.
“Bono met his wife in high school, Park says. So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be, she says, we’re 16 . What about Romeo and Juliet? Shallow, confused, then dead. I love you, Park says. Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (Syndetics summary)
Playlist for a broken heart / Cathy Hopkins.
“When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can’t help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn. Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she’s imagined?” (Syndetics summary)
Hold me closer : the Tiny Cooper story / by David Levithan.
“Especially for those of us who ordinarily feel ignored, a spotlight is a circle of magic, with the strength to draw us from the darkness of our everyday lives. Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say–and he’s going to say it in song. Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson , the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan. Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage . . . and the world will never be the same again.” (Syndetics summary)
Coda / Emma Trevayne.
“Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem-the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid. Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and freewill. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?” (Syndetics summary)
This week we have a list featuring animals – magical animals, to be precise. If you just want a taster, try a short story from the collection Unnatural Creatures curated by our fave Neil Gaiman. If you know what you’re in for, try the dark tale The Knife of Never Letting Go (Manchee the dog is the comic relief here) or perhaps an interpretation of the Grimm brothers fable The Goose Girl. Whatever you choose, expect a talking dog. Or bear. An animal will probably be able to talk.
Down the Mysterly River / Bill Willingham ; illustrations by Mark Buckingham.
“Max ‘the Wolf’ is a top notch Boy Scout, so it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and McTavish the Monster (who might also be an old barn cat) – all of whom talk – and who are as clueless as Max. Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Armed with powerful blue swords and known as the Blue Cutters, these hunters capture and change the very essence of their prey. For what purpose, Max can’t guess. But unless he can solve the mystery of the strange forested world he’s landed in, Max may find himself and his friends changed beyond recognition, lost in a lost world…” (Goodreads)
Unnatural creatures / stories selected by Neil Gaiman with Maria Dahvana Headley ; illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs.
The 16 short stories in this anthology contain accounts of delightfully fantastical creatures, ranging from the familiar (werewolves, mermaids, griffins, and unicorns) to the chillingly mysterious (an ever-expanding, flesh-eating blob; a strange bird that spurs unpredictable changes to its surroundings; and even Death herself). Classic science fiction and fantasy authors Anthony Boucher, Frank R. Stockton, Peter S. Beagle, E. Nesbit, and Diana Wynne Jones are represented, as are contemporary authors such as Nnedi Okorafor, E. Lily Yu, and Gaiman himself. Who would a griffin eat? What does a phoenix taste like? What happens when you question an invisible dragon? Why are there always too many coat hangers? All of these questions, and more, are answered here.” (School Library Journal)
Also available as an Overdrive eBook!
The princess and the hound / Mette Ivie Harrison.
“He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he’ll rule.She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal “your” heart, but will they fall in love?” (Syndetics summary)
Darkwood / M.E. Breen.
“Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black. But darkness comes in other forms, too, and for thirteen-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her Uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance.” (Goodreads)
The twyning / Terence Blacker.
“Thirteen-year-old Peter, who lives in a garbage dump with his younger friend Caz, scratches out a living catching rats for the local “sportsmen” and their dogs. He also works for Dr. Ross-Gibbon, a monomaniacal scientist who wants to wipe out all of the rats in London. Efren, an impulsive young rat living in the Kingdom of elderly King Tzuriel, is restless and has trouble following orders. When Peter captures the dying King for the doctor’s experiments, Efren reports this to his superiors, leading to outrage in the kingdom; matters worsen quickly after the doctor puts his deadly plan into action.” (Publisher Weekly)
The knife of never letting go / Patrick Ness.
“Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?” (Goodreads)
We also have the Bolinda eAudiobook & Overdrive eBook versions.
Winter falls / Nicole Maggi.
“Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small Maine town. Things look up when a new family comes to town. But as she begins to fall for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals. Suddenly forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make, Alessia witnesses two worlds colliding with devastating consequences.” (Syndetics summary)
The goose girl / Shannon Hale.
“Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.” (Syndetics summary)
Also available as an audiobook on CD and Overdrive ebook.
Pom Poko [videorecording] / a film by Isao Takahata.
A community of magical shapeshifting raccoons desperately struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.
Tender morsels / Margo Lanagan.
“Liga’s life is filled with dark hearts and foul deeds. So she chooses a protective path of natural magic to find a safe other-worldly place for herself and her two daughters. But when magicked bears and mischief men break the borders of their refuge the girls must face the truth, and engage with the appeal and risk of the real raw world.” (Syndetics summary)
Also available as an Overdrive ebook.
At request, I have found some books featuring Kimberley, Kim and Kimmy! This was a bit trickier than finding Hannahs, but it’s so fun finding what variations in story can come from the same name!
The end or something like that / Ann Dee Ellis.
“Emmy’s best friend Kim had promised to visit from the afterlife after she died. But so far Kim hasn’t shown up even once. Emmy blames herself for not believing hard enough. Finally, as the one-year anniversary of Kim’s death approaches, Emmy is visited by a ghost—but it’s not Kim. It’s Emmy’s awful dead science teacher. Emmy can’t help but think that she’s failed at being a true friend. But as more ghosts appear, she starts to realize that she’s not alone in her pain. Kim would have wanted her to move forward—and to do that, Emmy needs to start letting go.” (Goodreads)
Hacking Harvard : a novel / by Robin Wasserman.
“”Oceans 11” meets “The Princeton Review” in this high-stakes comedic caper, as four too-smart-for-their-own-good pranksters take on the ultimate challenge: breaking into the Ivy League.” (Syndetics summary)
If I stay / Gayle Forman.
“The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents’ corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (“Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this”), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live.” (Publisher Weekly)
The boyfriend list : 15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs, and me, Ruby Oliver / E. Lockhart.
“Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
– lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list),
– lost her best friend (Kim),
– lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket),
– did something suspicious with a boy (#10),
– did something advanced with a boy (#15),
– had an argument with a boy (#14),
– drank her first beer (someone handed it to her),
– got caught by her mom (ag!),
– had a panic attack (scary),
– lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie),
– failed a math test (she’ll make it up),
– hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends),
– became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!). But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists. ” (Syndetics summary)
And a couple by authors by the name of Kim:
Clarity / by Kim Harrington.
“Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift. And a curse. When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?” (Goodreads)
Shift / Kim Curran.
“When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.” (Syndetics)
Time travel is one of my absolute favourite plot tropes, and it can be handled very differently from story to story. Sometimes more serious, sometimes less so. It’s also interesting to see how different interpretations deal with time continuity, and what happens when the past (or future) is altered. Here are a few time-travel picks which I hope you’ll enjoy!
The here and now / Ann Brashares.
“Prenna and her doctor mom are not your average immigrants. No, they have immigrated to New York from the 2090s, a future of climate-change extremes and mosquito-borne plagues that wipe out entire families and civilizations. The few who have survived the plagues and the journey back to 2010 have been charged with two challenges: change the course of environmental history and assimilate into the culture without disclosing their origins or becoming intimate with the natives. Prenna knows her friendship with Ethan is red-flag behavior. When an elderly homeless man warns her that she and Ethan must prevent a murder on May 17, 2014 just days away she realizes she must defy the community and its counselors for civilization’s greater good.” (Booklist)
The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare / MG Buehrlen.
“For as long as Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Vivid visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth; her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender — capable of traveling back in time to her past lives. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. And they will stop at nothing to make this life, her fifty-seventh, her last.” (Syndetics)
Tempest / Julie Cross.
“The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.” (Goodreads)
A thousand pieces of you / Claudia Gray.
“Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.” (Goodreads)
Timebound / Rysa Walker.
“When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?” (Goodreads)
After Eden / Helen Douglas.
“Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her. As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.” (Goodreads)
Steel / Carrie Vaughn.
“Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.” (Goodreads)
TimeRiders / Alex Scarrow.
“Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world…” (Goodreads)
Welcome to 2015 here on the Teen Blog! We hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday time & new year, maybe you’ve made some resolutions? If you have, let us know in the comments below! For now, we’ve gathered a few short’n’sweet treats for you, the perfect picks for chucking in your bag to read in a day on the beach. All these books are around 200 pages or less, but they all sound thrilling in their own way. We hope you can find something to suit your tastes, or perhaps a new direction in which to take your reading direction in 2015? Have fun!
“Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.” (Goodreads)
“When 15-year-old Tess DeNunzio loses her stepsister in a freak hit-and-run accident on September 11, 2001, she chronicles her family’s recovery in an epistolary novel that is a tribute to the power of love to heal. Tess struggles with her own ambivalent feelings of guilt. As the first-year anniversary of the Twin Towers collapse and Zoe’s death approaches, the teen dreads the day.” (Adapted from School Library Journal)
“Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother’s ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control…” (Goodreads)
“It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much-anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag.” (Goodreads)
“When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.” (Goodreads)
“Mal, a high school loner who has all but withdrawn from the world, believes that aliens abducted him four years earlier in the California desert, where he disappeared for three days. And he wouldn’t mind if they came back for him. It’s easy to see why Mal would want to escape Earth: his mother has a drinking problem, his father abandoned them six years ago, and he’s ostracized and taunted at school. When Mal meets a strange man at a support group for alien abductees, Hooper surprises Mal by claiming to be an extraterrestrial. Is Hooper insane–or Mal’s best chance for getting off the planet?” (Publisher Weekly)
“Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out?” (adapted from Goodreads)
“Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything.” (adapted from Goodreads)
“Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he’s focused on his duties as chief of Ngati Konohi in Whangara, on the East Coast-a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. In every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir-there’s only Kahu. She should be next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored. And in her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself, from whom she has inherited the ability to communicate with whales. (Syndetics)
“When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?” (Syndetics)
Lots of neat books have been released in the past 12 months, and we’ve rounded up our very favourites of the bunch just for you. If you’re going to read anything from this year, give these a go.
Read right to the bottom for a chance to WIN!
Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers – I have gone on a lot about the assassin nun books, but they are really good, honestly. In Mortal Heart Annith – who has taken a back seat in the previous two books – is desperately keen to prove herself as an assassin, but she’s foiled by the abbess’ plans for her to take over as the new convent seer. Annith must choose between being locked in a room in the convent for the rest of her life, or going against her vows and striking out on her own in search of the truth (which would you rather?).
I noticed my favourite book of last year was Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, so I have a theme going now.
I also liked:
Blue lily, lily blue, Maggie Stiefvater – can’t say a lot about this book without ruining everything and spoiling things, except to say you should definitely read it, having first read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. Don’t let the title (which I’m not a huge fan of) put you off.
I too loved Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I highly, highly recommend The Raven Cycle series as a whole.
I also loved Noggin by John Corey Whaley which I picked up because I loved his first book Where Things Come Back. Noggin is about 16-year-old Travis Coates who dies, but is reanimated 5 years later with his cryogenically frozen head attached to a new body. Sounds goofy, but it’s really rather lovely and insightful.
A huge hit for me was Half Bad by Sally Green! I love a good unreliable narrator, and boy was Nathan unreliable. Nathan is a half-black, half-white (good/bad) witch, and is treated abysmally for it by everyone in the magical world. Largely because his black witch father is the most dark and terrible witch the world has ever known. And Nathan must find his father before his birthday, or he may lose his powers forever. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the next book, Half Wild, is due out in 2015.
I really enjoyed Atlantia by Ally Condie! Rio lives in the underwater city of Atlantia, but has always dreamed of leaving. But her sister makes a decision unexpectedly which leaves Rio stranded and forced to find a way to save Atlantia from destruction.
Although it didn’t come out this year, I also really enjoyed reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.
Once again, all predictably comics, not that I don’t read other stuff, really, y’know, books with print and all that, but these are some of my favourites from this year!
Silver Surfer 1: new dawn by Dan Slott
Gently pokes fun at the po-faced Silver Surfer we know and respect with whacked out illustration by talented iZombie and Madman illustrator Michael Allred . Maybe, we can actually enjoy his silver headed company now?
Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
This particular episode of the Archie stable of stories convincingly combines Riverdale’s famous teens, grubby colours with noir shading and… Zombies. Maybe cashing in on the undead thing somewhat but much better than it sounds.
Daredevil volume 2 by Mark Waid
Mark Waid’s recent run on Daredevil has been like taking an uncomplicated step back in time. To when super heroes had best friends named Foggy, where Ant-man might guest star and fight for the brain of a dangerously sick DD and where danger and gloom might appear, but only fleetingly, to be cleverly resolved in an optimistic and rounded conclusion. Ah, old fashioned comic satisfaction.
FF Vol. 2: Family freakout by Matt Fraction
“As the kids in the FF start growing apart, their adult supervision seems to be having some issues of their own. And when Dr. Doom ascends and the Council of Dooms girds for battle, it’s the eve of a war between the Future Foundation and Latveriaa. But is it also the beginning of the end for the fractious FF?” (Syndetics)
Check out volume 1 if you haven’t already!
This one summer by Mariko Tamaki
Every summer Rose and her parents go to a beach house, and Rose gets to hang out there with her friend Windy. But this summer Rose’s parents won’t stop fighting, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other, because this summer won’t be like all the others.
I had a few favourites this year, including Minders by Michele Jaffe, Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, The winners curse by Marie Rutkoski, The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith & Nil by Lynne Matson.
Minders by Michele Jaffe
“Sadie Ames has been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him. Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie begins to think she knows him, Ford does something unthinkable. Now, back in her own body, Sadie must decide what is right and what is wrong… and how well she can really ever know someone…” (Syndetics)
The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith
“Sparks fly when sixteen-year-old Lucy Patterson and seventeen-year-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.” (Syndetics)
Nil by Lynne Matson
“On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days to escape, or you die. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought… and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.” (Goodreads)
Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors and I have just finished reading Talon (could one of your closest friends be a dragon in disguise?). I liked it and would probably say loved it, except that I had read a series by Sophie Jordan about the same subject and similar scenarios (Firelight series) so it already felt a little familiar. Both were very good though!
It wasn’t released this year (in fact, it came out in 1989!) but I absolutely adored Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. It is so dreamy and fairy-tale-like, but so contemporary and doesn’t firmly cement itself in the 80s. The book has such a dreamy, hazy yet vibrant atmosphere and I lived in the haze of it for a few weeks after finishing it!
I just finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and I thought it was great! Plus, it’s being made into a movie soon, so I’m excited about that. I also enjoyed the Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier — Shadowfell, Raven Flight and The Caller.
I really enjoyed Like No Other by Una LaMarche from this year. Set in Brooklyn, it’s about a comedy/drama about a disapproved-upon teenage romance between a Hasidic Jew girl and a Black boy set contemporarily. There is a history of race riots between the two communities which adds another layer beyond the religious conflict. Both main characters could be described as Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Boys. I’d highly recommend it!
“When she turns 14, Rebecca will find out who she is to marry. All the girls in her strict religious sect must be married just after their 16th birthday. Her twin sister Rachel is delighted when Saul, the boy she loves, asks to marry her. Malachi asks for Rebecca. She believes him to be a good and godly man. But will Rebecca find there is a dark side to the rules which have kept her safe? What does the future hold? Can the way ahead be so simple when the community is driven by secrets and hidden desires?” (Syndetics)
So that’s our roundup of 2014 favourites! It is by no means complete, just some of our faves that sprung to mind. We would love for you to share with us your favourite books of 2014, whether they were actually released this year or not. Let us know in the comments below! We will pick a commenter on this post to win an audiobook of Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire so tell us your top picks!
It’s officially summer and to kick off the season we’ve got some appropriately fluffy summer romance novels for you. If you want your heartstrings tugged – in summer! – you’ve come to the right place.
Along for the ride, Sarah Dessen
“It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents divorce, or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend the summer with her dad and his new family in a charming beach town. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.” (Syndetics)
Twenty boy summer, Sarah Ockler
“According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.” (Goodreads)
Great, Sara Benincasa
“Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.
Based on beloved classic The Great Gatsby, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.
One man guy, Michael Barakiva
“When it appears that Alek is going to fall off the Honor Track at school, the 14-year-old’s strict Armenian parents, for whom education is of paramount importance, insist he go to summer school. Little do they or he know that it will be a life-changing experience. For it is there that he meets Ethan, who epitomizes cool. To Alek’s amazement, the two become friends and then fall in love. But when Alek’s parents predictably find the two making out, they ground him and forbid him to see Ethan again. Surely, this can’t end well. Or can it?” (Booklist)
To all the boys I’ve loved before, Jenny Han
“Lara Jean writes plenty of love letters, but she never sends them. It’s just her way of moving on from a crush. When her secret box of letters goes missing and she discovers they’ve been mailed including one to her sister’s ex-boyfriend Lara Jean has to come face-to-face with her past and in the process learn more about her future.” (Booklist)
Teen idol, Meg Cabot
“When teenage heartthrob Luke Stryker shows up at a small-town Indiana high school to do research for a movie role, he persuades junior Jenny Greenley to use her considerable talents to try to change things at school for the better.” (Goodreads)