Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2012
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!
This is it, friends. THE BIG ONE. *anticipation!* I can’t even deal with how long I’ve been pondering this list. You know what’s amusing about it though (possibly only to me)? I can think of my top 2 NO PROBLEM, but then it’s like a TRAFFIC JAM for the rest of the list. I can’t stop myself from picking everything. And you know, this makes me excited. The fact that I might have TOO MANY books that were my favorites? That’s a sweet deal I’ll take any time. So, in no particular order (except that the first two are my tie for favoritest books of the year), THE LIST! (Also, I’m just now realizing that two of these books–no, three–didn’t come out in 2012, but I read them in 2012. I can’t help it, friends! THEY BELONG.)
TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Seriously. One of the things that I often rely on when it comes to figuring out which books were my favorites of the year is: Did it make me cry? Did it make me feel real, in-person emotions for fake people, places, and things? For me, personally, the answer to this question is really telling because it means that I’m connecting with the story, the characters, the situations, the drama. It means that the author has basically made me think that the world I’m reading about now is real, and that these characters are real and worthy of my investment and feelings. TIGER LILY was this times infinity. INFINITY. With some of the prettiest words ever.
CINDER by Marissa Meyer
I still can’t believe that CINDER is Marissa Meyer‘s debut. I can’t even. It’s basically perfect. I can’t think of anything about it that I thought was lacking or weak or bothersome. I remember hearing about this sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, where our fairy tale princess is part robot and thinking, “THIS is something that sounds FRESH.” It’s so unique in my own reading, and well-written and gripping and dramatic. And you want a bonus? SCARLET? The sequel? FRACKING EVEN BETTER. I die.
GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers
The first thing that grabbed me about GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers was the cover. LOOK AT THE CROSSBOW. Look at it. But what makes me love it still, and what made me love it when I read it, was the story: Ismae and her troubled life, Duvall and his intelligence and loyalty, and the way they are on the same footing with their sometimes grudging respect for each other that becomes something more. And the Sisters of Mortain and their unwavering, unquestioning devotion. And the politics and it’s backstabbing twistiness. It’s all SO GOOD.
SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols
I’m such a Jennifer Echols fangirl, guys. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t LOVED TO DEATH all of her books, but the ones that I HAVE? They’re pretty much instant favorites and rereads. SUCH A RUSH is one of the latter, for sure. There’s something about the way Jennifer Echols creates these dramas for her characters that sometimes seem like they should be melodramatic. But instead they always seem just real and difficult. And also, let’s be honest: girl can write up some sexytimes. I anticipate her books like almost no other author out there.
THE MARK OF ATHENA by Rick Riordan
Aww, guys! Percy and Annabeth are GROWING UP before our very eyes!! *sniff* Truth time: I LOVED the first Percy Jackson series, obviously. It’s awesome. The Kane Chronicles, Rick Riordan’s Egyptian mythology series, was good but not always great. This Heroes of Olympus series is like Percy all over again, except double. The Greek and Roman camps coming together is really turning out to be super dramatic and intense. The series is definitely maturing, and with it, Percy and Annabeth and their relationship. It’s all in evidence here, in THE MARK OF ATHENA. One of the best Percy Jackson books I’ve read. BOOM.
SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson
This is another one of those books where I remember my own feelings while reading it and, remembering them, there’s no way I can leave SECOND CHANCE SUMMER off this list. Thankfully, my own father is alive and well, but there was something so similar in the way Taylor and her dying father interacted with one another that just slayed me. And it’s so, SO unbelievably heartbreaking because things happen so slowly that you dare to HOPE a little bit, while also trying to fight off reality, and an ending that you know is coming but keep HOPING will not.
ICEFALL by Matthew J. Kirby
VIKINGS, WHAT!!! Seriously, the middle grade I read this year was pretty legit. This book was one of the first ones I read in 2012 and it’s special. There’s two things, really, about ICEFALL that stand out to me even now, almost an entire year after I read it for the first time: One, the tension. It builds so expertly and slowly, but it’s never boring-slow. It’s GRIPPING-slow. And two, Solveig, the main character and one of the better MG heroines around. She’s selfless and strong and…just…wonderful.
THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
I can’t even talk about this book coherently. It’s ABSORBING and detailed and well-constructed. And the CHARACTERS! They’re all well-rounded and fascinating, even the bad guys. But let’s just get to the point here: the reason that THE NAME OF THE WIND is so amazing is because of Kvothe. I would read a book about Kvothe picking his nose or painting walls or doing any other inane, boring thing. He’s the epitome of a character you root for and adore.
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick
You know what one of my FAVORITE things about YA contemps is? I love it when they’re real. I know, I know: “DUH AMY. It’s a contemp. It’s SUPPOSED to be real. That’s, like, the point?” What I mean is, I love it when they don’t try to be too sweet or too perfect or unrealistic in their portrayal of teens and what they’re like. Jase and Samantha are so sweet together, and they deal with problems together, and they flirt and have fun and are responsible about sex. There’s maybe some ridiculousness at the end, but it’s not really about their relationship. I guess what I mean is that the relationship in MY LIFE NEXT DOOR isn’t treated like there’s two lovestruck idiots living in crazy drama fantasyland. Huntley Fitzpatrick treats Jase and Samantha’s relationship with respect, and makes them strong and devoted enough to fight and stick together. I enjoyed the crap out of this debut.
THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES by Wendy Wunder
So, obviously, 2012 was the Year of Books That Made Amy Sob. Because THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES was exactly that kind of book. It was sad and heart-wrenching, but Cam Cooper is a very special character, and Promise, Maine, is a very special place. I know that some people thought Cam was too prickly and unlikable, but I really appreciated her abrasiveness in the face her illness. I appreciated her spunk, and I appreciated her clinical, albiet slightly depressing, frankness. And I appreciated the way she changes, even as she’s so close to succumbing to cancer. But seriously: SOBFEST.
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
Again with the dying, cancer, make-Amy-a hysterical mess book! It’s officially a THING. But if I even dared to leave Conor off this list, I’d hate myself. A MONSTER CALLS is not just about the titular monster and how he appears to Conor at the time he needs a companion the most. It’s also about a young boy struggling with some pretty heavy, heartbreaking aspects of grieving. I literally CANNOT think of Conor without imaging myself practically strangling him with hugs and love. He needs it, friends and most importantly, Patrick Ness makes VERY MUCH sure that you know he needs it in the simplest, most devastating ways. I adore him…both of them, actually. The boy and his author.