I managed to get to 70 books for 2013, and yes, the majority of them have been forgotten already. Logging them on Good Reads has been really useful and I’ve found some great recommendations through it, especially YA books. Anyway, these are my favourites in no particular order, and largely without spoilers:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My favourite YA trilogy came to a close with, in my opinion, a very brave move. There was only one real way for it to end, and I know many people were disappointed, but I loved it. I bought my copy in Vermont mid-way through my road trip (I had booked a hotel near a Barnes and Noble on the day it was released) and missed the lovely things Bennington probably has going for it whilst I read the whole thing in our hotel room. I regret nothing! Hurry up March, I want the film series to start.
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Oh holy crap, this was so good. I really got into “women’s fiction” (ugh at the label) with a mystery element this year, and this book kept me guessing right until the end. Everything was to tightly wound in grief, love, and betrayal that is almost left me breathless in parts. I really love fiction set in Australia for some reason – I’m reading another Australian fiction book at the moment – there’s just something different about them. This story stayed with me long after I finished reading.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I truly didn’t know what to expect from this book when I started reading it, but I was immediately taken in by the warmth of the lead character, Bee. It’s an incredibly touching and witty tale of family life, with an overly anxious mother (the Bernadette from the title), and a geeky father. It’s told through emails and diary entries for the first part of the book, and there’s a little bit of a mystery to solve. And just when you think the end is going to be sad, the author springs a surprise on you.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I debated about whether to put this or The Fault in our Stars on the list. They’re not similar thematically or anything like that, but both books affected me in similar ways. Eleanor and Park took me completely by surprise though. I was expecting The Fault in our Stars to leave me in tears, but I really wasn’t expecting it from this book. It very delicately hit me right in the feels and I fell head over heels in love with both the characters. Utterly beautiful.
I’ve also just read that this book is being called obscene by a bunch of crazy Christians in the USA. THAT’S INSANE. I’m completely outraged! This is one of the sweetest books I have ever read, and that some people can find obscenity in it says more about the people then it does about the book.
The Moment by Douglas Kennedy
This book was incredibly intense to read, I almost couldn’t put it down as I feared for the characters at the end of almost every chapter. I had just finished reading Five Days by the same author and found his writing style captivating, so I wanted to read more of his. I was drawn to this book in particular primarily because it was set in Maine and I was about to visit the state, but also because of the Cold War Berlin setting. It’s not something I would have read before, but I vaguely knew a little about the history of Berlin so thought it would make for an interesting story. Which of course it did. The ending was so heart wrenchingly perfect and I loved the whole thing.
Wool by Hugh Howey
THIS BOOK. My goodness, this book was amazing. From the very first page, I was memorised by this rich, dystopian future that the author created. I honestly don’t think I’ve read anything like it before. It was another book I didn’t want to put down – I would have quite happily stayed awake until I finished it, if only I didn’t have to go to work. Curses. I bought the second book Shift straight away which was a prequel of sorts, and whilst the second book gave some answers, I loved that there were still so many more answers left. I am waiting for the paperback of the third, only because Shift was a bloody heavy book and didn’t really fit in my work bag (no, really). February can’t come quick enough.
What’s even more amazing about Wool is it’s told from the point of view of an amazing female character. I loved Juliette, and it was so nice to see such a three dimensional female character written by a man.
Also, I’ve seen Hugh Howey comment on reviews of the series (on the Guardian for example) and he comes across as a really lovely guy, an absolute sweetheart. He deserves all the success he’s received, and I sincerely hope that a TV show or film is made of this fascinating world.
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
I’m including this on the list not because I enjoyed it, but because I was supposed to enjoy it and yet it took me two attempts to get through it. I really disliked both the main characters, and I would have given up if it wasn’t for the film and for Mild Concern encouraging me to finish it. Sutter Keely is a douchebag and I hated every single thing he did. I couldn’t find anything to connect with him and I wanted to punch his fictional face every time he spoke.
I don’t like being negative, but I don’t understand what I’m supposed to like about him, and I don’t get why this has been made into a film, although good for Shailene Woodley for getting herself into three YA film adaptations. I will see the film when it gets a proper release over here as I’ll be interested to see how they make Sutter ACTUALLY RELATABLE /rant
I’ll continue ‘logging’ the books I read for 2014 on my Good Reads account, which you can find through my little widget on the side of my blog. I’m already really excited for what 2014 holds.