One final list of book highlights from 2012, this one from The Horn Book (including books for kids also), which is a well-regarded book reviewing magazine (and a hornbook is also a “primer for study” according to Wikipedia).
Tag: Best of 2012
There have been some excellent Best of 2012 suggestions, but none of them have come near Kirkus Reviews for comprehensiveness – reading through this list will take you through summer and well into the rugby season. There’s some excellent stuff here.
Radiant Days : A Novel, Elizabeth Hand
This is a book about Merle, a young artist who goes homeless in the late ’70s after her heart is broken. It is also about the nineteenth-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who, at the age of 16, was already on the way to becoming an established writer. He and Merle meet up via time travel, but this is not a science-fiction novel; this is about the isolation and transcendence of art. Arthur Rimbaud (a real person!) was a hero of mine when I was a teen and so I was thrilled to read a story in which he is a character. AND furthermore the book is beautifully written, something you’d always hope for but is especially appropriate in this case.
Here are more reviews and information.
The Fault in our Stars, John Green
“Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.
“Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
“Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.” (goodreads.com)
Also really liked:
The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
The Diviners, Libba Bray
Every Day, David Levithan
The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
All her life, Blue has been told if she kisses her true love he will die. But! Blue’s not too cut up about this, because there are more important things to worry about when you’re a feisty, creative, intelligent young woman who lives in a house full of quirky psychics (therefore the prediction of future doom). Blue’s not psychic herself, so she’s surprised when on St Mark’s Eve – when the spirits of those who will die in the next twelve months walk the Corpse Road – she sees Gansey. The psychics say this is either because Blue will kiss him or just plain kill him, one or t’other. When Gansey turns out to be a Raven Boy – a student at the elite Aglionby academy – Blue decides it’s probably the latter. When she meets him, she’s fairly sure this is the case (best to steer clear then). But Blue’s drawn to Gansey and his Raven friends, who are on a quest to discover the resting place of the long-dead (or rather long-sleeping) Glendower. Gansey is convinced Glendower is around these parts, and that he will grant his waker (being, if all things go to plan, Gansey) a favour.
The Raven Boys is like a supernatural double mystery story (one obvious, one that gradually reveals itself), and if the start sounds like a romance, you might be surprised (don’t be deterred!). There’s a large cast of characters, and they’re all distinct and interesting: I couldn’t decide who I liked best, the competition was stiff. The final sentence is really very good. This book received a lot of advance publicity (um, some of it from me here) and is on its way to being a film.
I also particularly liked this year:
Grave Mercy, Robin LaFevres
Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
Quintana of Charyn, Melina Marchetta
Sea Hearts, a.k.a. The Brides of Rollrock Island, Margo Lanagan
“On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings – and to catch their wives. The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment. Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.” (goodreads.com)
It’s been a good year for reading, but we want to know what was your favourite of the most wanted new books of 2012*? Vote on our poll!
* For new books published this year: we acknowledge the awesomeness of The Hunger Games phenomenon, which would just need a poll with one option maybe?
These are the the Goodreads Top 10 YA Fiction for 2012 (in no particular order):
- Pushing the Limits, Katie McGarry
- The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window, Kirsty Moseley
- Slammed, Colleen Hoover
- Out of Sight, Out of Time, Ally Carter
- The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
- Barely Breathing, Rebecca Donovan
- Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
- My Life Next Door, Huntley Fitzpatrick
- Easy, Tammara Webber
- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Jennifer E Smith
The Goodreads Top 10 YA Fantasy for 2012 (again in no particular order):
Terrifyingly it’s already that time of year when Amazon produces its best books of the year lists. The Top 20 list for teens is here. It’s an interesting, varied collection, with some of our favourites of 2012.
- Reached, Ally Condie – we’re still waiting patiently for this. You can reserve it though!
- The Fault in our Stars, John Green
- Son, Lois Lowry – we’ve just ordered this one.
- Insurgent, Veronica Roth
- Days of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor – again, we’re waiting patiently (join the queue!).
- The Kill Order, James Dashner – The Maze Runner prequel.
- Dodger, Terry Pratchett
- The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater – one of our favourites of the year. Perfect for after-exam recovery (you can suspend your reserve until after you’ve finished).
- Every Day, David Levithan
- The Diviners, Libba Bray – Grimm is half way through (it’s quite epic).
- Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
- Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
- Cinder, Marissa Meyer
- Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
- Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
- Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein – loved this book. One of our favourites of the year also.
- Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler – who is also Lemony Snicket.
- Grave Mercy, R L LaFevers – again, this was a great read.
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily M Danforth
- For Darkness Shows the Stars, Diana Peterfreund – we’ve just ordered this one too.