I'm feeling really excited to share my favorite reads of the year with you. I really enjoyed going through all the things I've read and reliving them a little while I compiled this list.
Here's some fun facts about my picks.
Of my 12 favorites:
6 were review copies
2 were audiobooks
6 were fantasy or sci-fi
5 were contemporary
2 were historical fiction or fantasy
3 were middle grade
9 were YA
6 were new-to-me or debut authors
Favorite Book in Verse: Moo by Sharon Creech
I loved this story and way it was told made it even better. The verse enhanced the sights, sounds, and smells of the city and the country. Moo is sweet, sincere, funny, and lovely. I enjoyed every minute of it. (featured here)
Favorite Fantasy: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
The Star-Touched Queen
is masterfully written. Mayavati is a strong, fiery character with
drive and resolve, and the setting is spectacular. The language and
images are beautiful. Inspired by Hindu stories, Roshani Chokshi weaves a world of magic, secrets, and fate. I fell into this book and didn't want to get out. (featured here)
Favorite Book by a Beloved Author: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
I have enjoyed all of Kasie West's books, but this one really captured me. The relationship between our main characters was funny and tender and really fun to watch. Also, the main character is an aspiring songwriter--a girl after my own heart. It is always so fun to read a Kasie West book. (featured here)
Favorite Middle Grade Book: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
This is what a middle grade book should be. The three main characters are ordinary seventh grade girls with ordinary problems that were told in an extraordinary way. I loved following the girls with their individual problems and especially enjoyed the mystery character. What a great way to tell a story and to show the possible future of our girls. (featured here)
Favorite Audiobook: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I completely missed the Fangirl boat, but, when the audiobook was available through my library, I jumped aboard. I loved the deep. involved, interesting characters; the story within a story; and the complicated, but lovely relationships. Listening to it was a treat. The main reader was excellent and I loved the separate reader for all things Simon Snow. (featured here)
Favorite Book Club Book: A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
This story is told in vignettes, which is a favorite of mine, but still had a beautiful character arc. We laughed a lot as we discussed this book and the grandmother's antics. We also enjoyed thinking about the time period and how things have changed and talking about the relationship between the grandmother and grandchildren.
Favorite Parallel Reality: Everything that Makes You by Moriah McStay
Everything That Makes You follows two possibilities and shows that one event can change not just one person, but everyone around her. Moriah McStay
takes the parallel realities tale a one step farther as she tells the
story of this girl years after a choice split her fate. The whole story was well thought out and detailed. It felt different than most parallel reality books. This is a
fantastic debut novel. (featured here)
Favorite Magical Realism: The Lost and Found by Katrina Leno
This book is a great example of magical realism because no one in the world quite believes in the magic around them, even when it stares them in the face. It has a lovely, mystical feel. It was the feel of the book that held me captive as I rooted for the characters. (featured here)
Favorite Historical Fantasy: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
This book is a combination of historical fiction and magical realism. I love the subtlety of the magic Rae Carson includes in this world. I love Lee's tenacity and the people she meets on her journey. Walk on Earth a Stranger is such an interesting and fun read; the perfect blend of history and fantasy. (featured here)
Most Beautiful Read: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt
I feel like saying too many words will diminish the beauty of this book, but I will say the images invoked by the words of this story were flawless. The book is beautiful, tender, heartbreaking. Gary Schmidt captures things so perfecting. Truly lovely.
Favorite New Series: The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
As you know, we are fans of Greek and Roman mythology here at Intellectual Recreation, and this book did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded expectations. There was just something about listening to Riordan's character of Apollo narrating and spending almost a whole book at Camp Half-blood that created a truly wonderful experience. I'm really looking forward to the next installment.
Favorite Series Ending: The Raven King by Maggie Stievfater
This was my most anticipated new release this year. I loved all of the Raven Cycle and was excited and nervous to read its conclusion. But, of course, Maggie Stievfvater did not disappoint. It really was the perfect ending for all the characters. It was satisfying, and heartbreaking, and lovely. It is a series I will revisit over and over of that I am convinced. (featured here)