Thursday, January 2, 2014

Books of 2013 (The Final Edition)

{Here a string of new posts: Books of 2013, then Goals for Next Year, and My Top Picks of 2013.}

These are the final books I read in 2013. Total for the year? 35. Which I think is better than last year, and I'm excited about surpassing that in 2014. I don't want to make too ambitious of goals for myself. I know I am capable of doing a lot; there was one week where I read 7 novels and wrote 10k, so I can do that, but I'm not consistent with my productivity. But I'm happy with where I ended up this year! Without further ado: these are the final five.

31. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
32. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
33. The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
34. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
35. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Best of the Bunch: Hard pick, because I liked a lot of these. Probably has to go to Rose Under Fire, though. This woman never ceases to amaze with her gorgeously written historicals. I would love to see her branch out next and write something outside of WWII, but if she turns out another WWII pilot book, I won't be opposed. I can't decide if I like this one better than Code Name Verity: probably not, but there are passages where I feel Rose Under Fire surpasses its predecessor. It ends better, for instance. And I continue to love the fact that Wein writes friendship books. Although I write mostly love stories in my books too, I do like that there can be successful YA without romance.

Surprise Favorite: Again, a hard pick. I'll go with Just One Year by Gayle Forman. To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Just One Day. The main character was blah, and the premise was cutesy, but kind of ridiculous to me. I also just didn't buy that the MC would spend so much of her year obsessing over a guy she met for a day. Willem's story made more sense to me, because although he was really into "Lulu," he did other things and the decisions he made to look for her were not the backbone of the story. I think Forman is actually better at writing guys than girls; I also liked Where I Went better than If I Stay. Anyway, Just One Year was brilliant and surprisingly lovely to read. By the end, Forman had won me over again, and her ending, while some people didn't like, I thought was just perfect.

Biggest Disappointment: Jellicoe Road. The book is not by any means bad, but I had higher expectations so maybe that was why when I read it, I didn't find it as engaging or mind-blowing as people thought. The parallel story in Hannah's manuscript that ends up coming together with the main plot only serves for a large part of the book to be annoyingly confusing to me and at the same time super obvious. Anyone could have probably figured out the significance of the manuscript very early on.

Up next: Unsure, but possibly Bright Young Things. I will resume reading The Diviners when I get back to school, for a 2014 that kicks off with a distinctly 1920s flair.

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