Monday, January 6, 2014

Best of 2013: Young Adult Fiction (+Giveaway)


Hello, and welcome to the last of my Best of 2013 posts. This one was almost impossible to put together; 2013 was such a fabulous year for YA fiction and there were so many reads I wanted to share with you all. Let's start, shall we?

1. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
There are days when I walk around convinced that Maggie Stiefvater isn't human. No regular human could be as imaginative and talented as she is. Consequently, there's no one quite like her in the entire universe. The Dream Thieves  is a book that consumes, that eats you alive and then dreams you back to life. Entirely unpredictable and at times terrifying, it is a book far superior to anything I've read in a very long time.  I took my time with it, savoring each page and thinking through each event so as not to miss even the smallest of details. It isn't a book that should be raced through; it has so many layers to offer and one must really pay attention to notice and appreciate them all.


2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is perhaps my biggest surprise of the year. It is a story about a young girl surrounded by ghosts in October 1918, during the Spanish flu outbreak. The amount of research Winters put into it is staggering, and the many emotional moments will leave no reader indifferent. I was thrilled when it recently got nominated for the William C. Morris award, just as I predicted in my review. All the awards, critical acclaim, and every other recognition Winters might get are well deserved. Read this. 


3. Horde by Ann Aguirre
The words 'epic conclusion' have never been put to better use. Even I, a huge fan of Ann's work and a firm believer in her limitless brilliance, was surprised by the depth and strength she showed in this novel. Horde is mind-blowingly good, friends. It is bloody and dark, violent, but also gentle. Ann gives her characters a chance to shine, to show who they really are. In the never-ending nature vs. nurture debate that is the very center of this trilogy, she shows that nature can overcome just about anything, including a limited and violent upbringing. My heart still swells with the love I feel for these characters and I doubt that will ever go away.


4. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Tahereh Mafi can do no wrong it seems. Unravel Me was a complete shock to my system, so good that I'm still trying to find words worthy of describing it. Love triangles, starcrossed lovers, heroines that make unreasonable choices – those are all things that normally make me cringe, but in Unravel Me, Mafi made them all work. My heart was broken so many times, and I think I went through five stages of grief and a whole lot of (sugar-free) ice cream, and I still barely survived this book. If I could somehow quantify the emotional impact all my favorite books had on me, Unravel Me would certainly be at the very top. 
Mafi is a brilliant writer, and as such, she deserves all the hype that surrounds her. I'm desperate to learn how this trilogy ends, but I'm terrified of it at the same time. There's a month left until the release of Ignite Me. Join this party if you haven't already.


5. The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I cried and I cried and I cried until my eyes hurt and my heart broke. I feel like I haven't stopped crying since. I started reading this with trepidation in my heart, not trusting Clare to handle it well, and while I wasn't happy with some of it, it was incredibly emotional overall.  This is a book that will leave you exhausted but unwilling to leave the world Clare has created. I think #1 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list, #2 spot on the USA Today Bestsellers list and #1 spot on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestsellers list tell you all you need to know about this book. It is a definite proof of how many lives this hurricane touched.


6. Bruised by Sarah Skilton
If you read this blog on a semi-regular basis, you know I generally avoid contemporary YA, but making an exception for Bruised was one of the best decisions I ever made. Aside from being a brilliant author, Skilton shows an admirable understanding of human psyche. Her Imogen is incredibly realistic, and her approach brutally honest and realistic. This book is a must-read. 

7. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Set in New Orleans in the 1950's, Out of the Easy is a murder mystery first, a coming of age story second, and about twenty other things in between. It is a story of great complexity, and yet paradoxically, it is also a very simple one. Sepetys has a unique talent that allows her to pull her readers right into her story, turning them into more than willing participants. Her writing style is so clear, so completely transparent that it never gets in the way of the story. At the moment, Sepetys has two books on my all-time favorites list. I can't wait to see what she does next.


8. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Even after being slightly disappointed by Into the Still Blue, the long-awaited conclusion of this trilogy, Through the Ever Night remains one of the best middle books I've ever read. There are things in Through the Ever Night that will make you laugh, things that will make you cry, things that will make you inch up nervously in your seat, some that will make you angry enough to punch something (hopefully not someone, though), and things that will make you swoon. Now, aren’t those signs of a perfect read?


9. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Really, 2013? This is what you throw at me? Excruciating pain and heartbreak? Well, thank you very much! While I thoroughly enjoyed Ismae's story in Grave Mercy, Sybella's left me half-broken and sobbing. But aside from the very chatartic experience, another good thing came from this book: Robin LaFevers proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a love interest need not be handsome, with a crooked smile. Sybella's Beast is ... well, beast! And his physical appearance doesn't improve as the story progresses. But like Sybella herself, we learn to look past the ugliness and notice the beauty of his soul.



10. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Is Brandon Sanderson for real? Steelheart is the only one of his books I've read so far, but this dude can write! For Steelheart, he borrowed the basic idea from Marvel and DC, the only difference being that his superheroes – Epics, as he calls them – aren’t here to save anyone; they’re here to take whatever they want exactly when they want it. In Sanderson’s world, law of the jungle is the only law that still applies. 
I thought Sanderson did a wonderful job with David, his protagonist. For a teen boy, he was both observant and fairly wise, but I loved that he never stopped being a teenager with raging hormones, prone to rash decisions and careless behavior. Highly recommended.

A few more books I need to mention:
World After by Susan Ee
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Angelbound by Christina Bauer

Aaaand that's all folks!
Giveaway time!!

Enter to win one of these beauties, from The Book Depository. The giveaway is, of course, international.
Good luck!

Oh, and btw, my beautiful banner was created by Le Non Design.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

73 comments:

  1. Fabulous list of YA books! Gah, some of these I still need to read though. I feel so behind some days.

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!!

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  2. Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb was perfect to me! <3 I also loved Fractured by Sarah Fine and World After by Susan Ee. :)

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  3. I would choose Scarlet as my favorite.

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  4. I really loved Splintered by A G Howard

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  5. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, Just One Year by Gayle Forman, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!

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  6. Ooh, I haven't read so many of these! But I definitely agreed with Unravel Me! That was a game changer for the series. My favorite YA was hands down Champion by Marie Lu and oh, definitely Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Both of them were reallllllly good :)

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  7. That came out in 2013? Eh none. I usually read them when they are a year older. But I really wanted to read Steelheart this year

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  8. I haven`t read that many books released in 2013, but my favorite was Unravel me by Tahereh Mafi!

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  9. Splintered, Clockwork Princess and Scarlet. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  10. i don't think i've read any YA 2013 release but i do have several of your selection on my wishlist so i know i made the right choice and will be happy when i do get and read them

    thanks

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  11. The Dream Thieves, Into the Shadow of Blackbirds, Bruised, Out of the Easy, and Through the Ever Night are definitely among the best books released this past year. I know I also really enjoyed Wild Awake, though TDT is likely my favorite read ever. Ronan!<3 ;) Great list, as usual, Maja, and thanks for the giveaway once again!

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  12. This year it was most definitely Origin! Of course there were others, but that was one that I was dying to read!

    From this list, I am curious about starting the Shatter Me or Veronica Rossi's series! Getting the second book will definitely help make that decision!

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  13. I don't think I can pick only one book, The Dream Thieves, Clockwork Princess and Unravel Me would also be in my list, along with Crown of Midnight, World After and Eleanor & Park... and well, too many others! I start and can list at least 20 favourites!

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  14. my fave 2013 is the coldest girl in coldtown
    thx u ;)

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  15. I loved Clockwork Princess the most this year. It was superb!!!

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  16. Out of all of those books, I think Clockwork Princess is my favourite from last year. But there are so many more I could think of as well. Thanks for the giveaway Maja! :)

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  17. Siege and storm would probably be my favourite because her books are awesome, period. Because her books=<3<3<3<3<3

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  18. You know what's just downright sad Maja? The fact that I've only read one book on that list. Horde was absolutely epic though, so I feel like maybe it gets extra points ;-) I loved Under the Never Sky so I really need to get to Through the Ever Night and Into the Still Blue. I adore Aria, Perry and Roar:) I also need to read Dark Triumph, I've heard nothing but outstanding things about it. So many books I need to find time for!

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    1. Horde gets ALL the points as far as I'm concerned. And so do you. :)

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  19. The one that I liked the best was Siege and Storm. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  20. It feels like EVERYONE has read the Shatter Me series except for me! I am sooo seriously behind, its not even funny anymore. Same with In the Shadow of Blackbirds. I've heard so many amazing things about it. I have read Clockwork Princess from your list and in your words, "I cried and I cried and I cried until my eyes hurt and my heart broke." You hit it on the dot with that one. It was absolutely epic! I don't think I've ever cried for any book as much as I did with CP. There are so many books I still need to read but hopefully I can get to them all very soon! Haha! :D

    ~ Maida

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  21. Haven't read it yet, but Horde is one I am dying to read....Fire and Ash is another pick.
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

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  22. I agree with almost all your picks. I haven't read a couple.. I am currently reading Rossi's series, loving it. Next up will be the Shatter Me Series. Then I still need to read Dark Triumph and tackle Out of the Easy. Spectacular picks! Loving your banners!

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  23. The Iron Traitor and Crown of Midnight

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  24. I just finished Dark Triumph and your comment about Beast is spot on, Maja! I thought Bruised was okay but loved The Dream Thieves and Through the Ever Night. I'd like to read Out of the Easy soon.

    In terms of my favourite reads I finally read Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I loved both books and can't wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters!

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  25. Seriously? You want me to pick my fave? No can do... plus, I hardly remember if I read it last year or years before. LOL

    Oh I want all of those and some of them because of your reviews!

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  26. So many great books came out in 2013! How to decide? One of my most favourite was The Disappearance of Ember Crow, book 2 in the Tribe series. It has only been released in Australia so far. You should look out for The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. It's a fantastic dystopian that is releasing soon in the US.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  27. Almost all of these are on my To Read list. I didn't get to any YA reads the last year, but I'm definitely going to read them this year. Cassandra Clare and Brandon Sanderson are pretty high on that list.

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  28. I loved Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally when it came out last year. :D

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  29. I definitely agree about Maggie Steifvater. Even though I didn't like The Dream Thieves, I'm constantly amazed by her enormous creative talent. LOVED Dark Triumph and too many more!!

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  30. Fantastic list, and I now own the complete Agguire trilogy and have a signed copy of Horde..I cannot wait to read them!

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  31. I loved In The Shadow of Blackbirds as well. It was such a great book, but I would say my all time favorite of 2013 was 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma.

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  32. Oh you picked so many books I loved or want to read myself. For my 2013 end of the year survey, I picked In the Shadow of Blackbirds as my favorite YA read of the year, so I'll go with that. :)

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  33. I liked Altered
    by Gennifer Albin

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

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  34. I loved the Clockwork Princess, Fangirl and Asunder. Thanks for sharing your favorites - I'll definitely add The Dream Thieves to my reading pile. :)

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  35. My favorites were Reboot and In the Shadows of Blackbirds.

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  36. I really, really want to read In the Shadow of Blackbirds and Steelheart. There are so many books that I saw around the blogosphere that I just never got the chance to read.

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  37. Dream Thieves.. In the Shadow of Blackbirds.. The Clockwork Princess.. Dark Triumph.. SUCH good books. The rest are still on my TBR though! Really excited for Steelheart it sounds so freaking good.

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  38. Oh good lord, this list is pretty much exactly how I'd wrap the YA year up (though maybe I'd try to squeeze Wild Awake in somewhere). Goodness, The Dream Thieves and Horde were SO epically amazing. I'm re-reading Dream Thieves now (well, listening) because I just want more. I'm contemplating re-reading the whole Razorland series again soon too. I miss being in Deuce's head! Fabulous list Maja! :-)

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  39. I'd pick Senshi by Cole Gibsen, The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa, and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. :)) Great picks, Maja, and thanks for the giveaway!

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  40. I'm sad to tell I haven't read any, but my wonderful friend bought me the second Ann Aguirre for Christmas. I was so happy and I can't wait to try it! So my fav YA? *checking my list* Pawn by Aimee Carter; The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett, Eternity Cure by Kagawa. Loved them!

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  41. Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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  42. My fav 2013 releases where uses for boys by Erica Lorraine Schneidt and unravel me. Tnx for the giveaway maja

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  43. unravel me by tahereh mafi!!

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  44. I really liked The 5th Wave :)

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  45. I am terrible at picking one favorite, but any book you listed that I've also read, I LOVED it too. I really need to read Horde - or actually that entire series, since I've heard raves about the end. I also want to read Bruised, which I've seen on several favorites list. Heres to an amazing 2014!

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  46. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. Thank you for the giveaway :)

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  47. I find myself having a hard time crying. Clockwork Princess was close though...

    I usually avoid Contemporary as well. There's just something about it. O_o

    I haven't read 1-4 or 7, but I didn't like Under the Never Sky, so I'm not sure if I'm going to give Through the Ever Night a chance to up it's game. I still need to read the prequel to Dark Triumph, in which it's so unfortunate to be sitting in my Kindle and I've been staring at it at Barnes & Noble for quite awhile. O_o

    No clue about Steelheart, but I sort of want to read it, and as for The Eternity Cure... TIS A MUST READ. In my opinion.

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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  48. The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead :)

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  49. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Mass!!

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  50. I have not read any of these! My daughter loved Waterfell (The Aquarathi) by Amalie Howard.

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  51. My favorite 2013 YA release is Through the Ever Night!!! I am so excited for Into the Still Blue! Thanks for the giveaway xx

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  52. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was my fav!

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  53. Clockwork Princess, Altered by Jennifer Rush, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman.

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  54. I loved Allegiant -- wasn't the ending I wanted but it was a great book!
    Dede

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  55. Undecided between Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken. Thanks for a giveaway! :)

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  56. So many great books in 2013! But I really enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Perhaps, it was because I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but it was a wonderful read nonetheless.

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  57. Eleanor and Park from Rainbow Rowell! It's fascinating in a weird way. :D

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  58. The Dream Thieves, Clockwork Princess, Unravel Me, and Horizon are my favorite releases of 2013. Awesome giveaway!!

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  59. Except for Horde, I've read all those in the list! Loved them all!! :)
    Another favorite would be World After by Susan Ee.

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  60. Unravel me, The Dream Thieves, Through the Ever night and Clockwork Princess. I still have to read the others though.

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