It’s once again the time of year where I look back over my reading list and think about my favorite reading experiences from the past twelve months.
I didn’t read as many novels this year as I have in recent years. Partly, this was because I began reading plays for one of the local theater companies, which took up a bit of my reading time. But mostly it was because, for the first time, life events took so much of my focus that I didn’t have much left over for reading. Let’s hope this changes in 2014!
Today I’m going to talk about the YA novels I enjoyed the most this year and follow up with a list of titles that I’m looking forward to reading in upcoming months.
When We Wake, by Karen Healey
Science fiction about a teenager who dies during a protest and then is woken up a hundred years later, after being cryogenically frozen. As many Amazon reviewers mention, there are a lot of political ideas in this novel; I personally did not find them too heavy-handed, but your mileage may vary. I really enjoyed the world building and the setting of a future Australia. The actual story did remind me a bit of The Long Sleep, though.
The Originals, by Cat Patrick
Light science fiction about three teenage sister clones. They divide each day into three: high school morning classes, high school afternoon classes, and extracurricular activities after school, while the other two clones are homeschooled. What makes this novel is the family dynamics, both between the three sisters and the relationship they have with their mother.
My Favorite YA Novels of the Year:
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black
Holly Black makes vampires fresh and creepy (no small feat!). Her protagonist has a strong voice that pulled me right through.
The Bitter Kingdom, by Rae Carson
The finale of the trilogy begun with The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers, this novel had a big job to tie everything up in a satisfying conclusion for our heroine, and it did not disappoint. A very strong YA epic fantasy trilogy.
The Lucy Variations, by Sara Zarr
This YA contemporary novel follows the life of Lucy, a concert pianist prodigy who, in reaction to family pressure, retired during her teens. The reader gets to watch as she explores her family dynamics and decides what place to give music in her life. Complex characters, character relationships, and family dynamics combined with a passion for classical music? This is novel written for me.
The Different Girl, by Gordon Dalquist
I don’t want to say much about this one for fear of spoiling it, but I can assure you that it is definitely science fiction. We see the world from the perspective of our young protagonist, who is sheltered and often ignorant, and we learn about how the world actually works as she does. I found this story to be compelling and beautiful as it gradually unfolds.
YA Novels I’m Looking Forward to Reading in the Future:
The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart (comes out in May 2014)
Reality Boy, by A.S. King
She Is Not Invisible, by Marcus Sedgwick (comes out in April 2014)
Allegiant, by Veronica Roth (I’m in the middle of this one right now)
The Diviners, by Libba Bray (It’s already on my Kindle, hooray!)
Roomies, by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr (comes out December 24, 2013)
Which YA novels did you read and enjoy this year? Which ones are you looking forward to?