Welcome to Part Two of my favorite books of the year! Yesterday I posted my Top Ten Adult Books of 2013, and today I’m focusing on the Young Adult category. I have to confess I tried my hardest to keep this list to ten books, but I had a short list of eleven and I could NOT cut one of these out. So technically, this is a Top Eleven list:) Going back over my list, I’m very surprised that most of these are books by debut authors. You will also see Chuck Wendig and Victoria Schwab on my adult list (link above), two new-to-me authors that I happily discovered this year! These titles are listed alphabetically, and you can click on the book covers to go to Goodreads. I’ve also given each a *special* designation, because hey, each book is special in its own way. (This post is linked to The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday)
The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Victoria had a very busy year! She published at least two novels (including Vicious and I think maybe a middle grade novel as well), and the follow-up to The Archived, The Unbound is out this month. I’m so glad I finally sat down to read this, even though it was near the end of the year. Lovely writing, an intriguing story, lots of surprises and a swoony boy! What more do you need? You can read my review here.
Bruised by Sarah Skilton. This was only one of a very few contemporary books I read this year, but it was a good one. Bruised has so many layers that it’s hard to say just what the story is about. Sure, it’s about a girl with Tae Kwon Do skills who freezes in the face of violence, but it’s also a story about her many relationships with the people in her life and how she comes to terms with things she can’t control. You can read my review here.
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. The “mystery” in Charm & Strange kept me guessing the entire story. I thought it was a book about one thing, but then it turned out to be about something else! Throw in gorgeous prose, perfect pacing, and some very intriguing characters, and you have a winning story. My review of Charm & Strange.
In the After by Demitria Lunetta. Dystopian may be falling out of favor as a genre, but In the After is a fresh take on dystopians that gives the reader more than just the normal tropes. Lunetta’s writing is so beautiful, and I fell in love with her characters. You can read my review here.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Winters brings the time period of 1918 San Diego to life with her colorful descriptions of what life was like during the Spanish Influenza breakout. Not only is this a historically accurate story, but there is a paranormal element—ghosts—to it as well. I fell in love with plucky Mary Shelley Black, and you will too. You can read my review here.
Pantomime by Laura Lam. When I say “best twist,” I’m referring to a twist with the characters themselves, not the plot. If you don’t know much about this fantastic debut, it’s best to go into it blind and be surprised. Lam’s world-building is also high on my list of favorite fantasy worlds! My review of Pantomime.
Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard. This chilling story deals with cloning, so right away you know things are going to get dicey. But Girard’s concept of cloning famous serial killers from history is what makes this stand out. I also loved the narrator and all the grisly facts about serial killers that the author includes. My review of Project Cain.
Splintered by A.G. Howard. OK, I’m cheating a bit here because technically I read this at the end of 2012. But hey, it came out this year, so I’m taking some liberties…I could have awarded this book any number of *special designations*, but this one seemed to fit it best. Two of my favorite boys this year, Jeb and Morpheus, live in the same book. Bloggers fight over which they love best, but I have to say I’m a Morpheus girl all the way. The second book in the series, Unhinged, is out next week! My review of Splintered.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. I was able to sneak this book in at the end of this month (I didn’t have it for review, but I was dying to read it) and boy am I glad I did! It’s everything bloggers have been saying: a wonderful non-insta-love romance, exciting story, and tension and surprises galore. I can’t wait for the next book!
Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig. This guy is super busy. He publishes YA. He publishes adult. He self-publishes writing guides. He blogs. He has a family. I’m tired just thinking about what his daily life must be like. But he wrote this amazing YA dystopian which he refers to as “cornpunk.” It’s crass, it’s got nasty bits and swear words (although many of them are “made up” swear words). But it’s got HEART as well. Read it, damn you! You can read my review here.
Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. When I say “best job in space,” I mean it. Zenn is an exoveterinarian, a vet that cares for otherworldly creatures from other planets. How cool is that? Why be a regular vet and take care of dogs and cats, when you can visit another planet and care for sunkillers and seepdemons? Schoon’s imagination never stops, and I’m really excited for the second book in his series, Under Nameless Stars, which comes out in 2014. You can read my review here.
And of course, I have more than just the eleven books above that I loved. Here are more favorite YA books that I read this year: The Outside by Laura Bickle, Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn, Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes, The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd, Insomnia by J.R. Johansson and Thin Space by Jody Casella.
You can also check out my 2013 End of Year Book Survey, which goes into much more detail about my favorites:)
Have you read any of these books? Did you do a top ten list? I’d love to read yours! Please link me up in the comments.