You might not know this, but we here at FYA HQ love us some books. (So much so that I’m sure we occasionally talk about them in our sleep.) When someone asks us our favorites, we can immediately rattle off 10, 20, 30 titles… which is way too many for a “best of” list. But because we love you so, we’ve whittled down our lists down to the best of the best—released in the past year. (An all-time list would be a whole other endeavor.)
Without further ado, welcome to our list of our favorite books from 2013!
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
This book. THIS BOOK. This book punched me in the gut then gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek. Equal parts devastating and hilarious, Matthew Quick’s novel is a powerful and strangely charming glimpse into the mind of a potential school shooter.
Seconded by: Mandy C.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys was my favorite book of 2012, so to say that my hopes were high for The Dream Thieves is a severe understatement along the lines of “Katniss thought it would be cool to win the Hunger Games” or “Bella liked Edward a lot.” I dove into this book with the ferocity of an Olympian and didn’t resurface until I’d devoured every page of Stiefvater’s wildly imaginative world. Electric and unnerving, this sequel achieves the rare feat of being equal to its predecessor.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Packed with action and pulsing with paranoia, The 5th Wave is a real nail biter of a ride, and I relished every minute. The aliens are terrifying, the heroine is badass, and the twists are deliciously shocking. I need the sequel, like, YESTERDAY.
Seconded by: Mandy C.
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
After trying to commit suicide, a high school loser becomes a DJ at an underground dance party and learns to love herself. It’s a great premise, and Leila Sales takes it to the next level with a wonderfully complex heroine and an excellent soundtrack. If you don’t fist pump at least once while reading this novel, you are dead inside.
September Girls by Bennett Madison
Trust Bennett Madison to write a book about mermaids that isn’t really about mermaids. This artfully subversive story of summer love glimmers with Madison’s dark wit, and its complex emotional notes will resonate in your heart for weeks after the last page.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I adored Rainbow Rowell’s marvelous exploration of college, sibling relationships and first love. Alternating between the angst-ridden narrative of its heroine, Cath, and chapters from the Harry Potter-esque tale of Simon Snow, this book is heartbreakingly authentic and thoroughly delightful.
Seconded by: Mandy W., Megan
Mandy W.’s Picks:
Reality Boy by A.S. King
This is not an easy read, but having A.S. King as your guide into Gerald’s anger and pain means you’re in great hands. There’s a reason why her books have made FYA’s best books lists for the third year in a row (the reason being King’s amazeballs ability to bottle such a depth of experiences for each one of her protagonists).
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
OH LORDY, how this book emotionally flayed me. Daisy Whitney’s story of grief is as beautiful as it is powerful. I fell so hard for Danny and his relationship with his mother. When You Were Here also prompted me to watch a super sad movie—as if there weren’t already enough FEEEELS from this book alone.
Firecracker by David Iserson
Astrid Krieger is one of the most vibrant and memorable characters that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I had so much fun viewing the world through Astrid-coloured lenses, that I internet-stalked author David Iserson to ask for a Between Two Lockers interview (which he graciously—and hilariously—accepted). This book also has the unfair advantage of me reading it while traveling from Budapest to Vienna (#notsohumblebrag), so I, too, could pretend to be an affluent asshole like Astrid.
House of Hades by Rick Riordan
OOF, this one packs a wallop. We FINALLY learn what happens after The Mark of Athena, and we get to know our intrepid heroes better than ever before. The penultimate installment of the Heroes of Olympus series sets the stage for Sobfest 2014, aka the series finale, The Blood of Olympus.
Inheritance by Malinda Lo
The second half of Malinda Lo’s swoony sci-fi Adaptation duology, Inheritance makes the cut on the strength of its superb ending. And there are very few authors who can masterfully navigate sexual fluidity as well as Lo. No wonder I totally geeked out when she stopped by for a Between Two Lockers sesh.
Champion by Marie Lu
Last minute addition, ‘cause I juuuuust finished this one. And OMG, Marie Lu’s finale to the Legend series does not disappoint! Yes, it’s dystopia. And yes, it’s a trilogy, too. But it’s one of the rare cases in which the sequels actually get better and BETTER. I officially declare Marie Lu a champion of my bookshelf (GET IT GET IT?).
Firebrand by Antony John
The much anticipated second book in Antony John’s Elemental series, we finally find out where the Elementals get their powers, and what happened to the lost colony of Roanoke.
The Troop by Nick Cutter
Disgusting book about parasitic monsters that crawl under your skin. What’s not to love?
Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron
A delightful look at the ‘son’ of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, chock full of ghouls, ghosts and demons in modern America.
Paperboy by Tony MacCaulay
A young boy from Northern Ireland grows up during the Troubles of the 1970s. Not available in English, only Irish.
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
A young man wonders if he might be happier as a young lady, and how to break this to his girlfriend. Second best YA book on transgenderism ever.
Dare Me by Eric Devine
Edge-of-your-seat action, as a group of young men participate in insane dares for money.
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff
We all do what we have to do to make a living, be it flip hamburgers or assassinate enemies of the state.
Mandy C.’s Picks:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park is a book about teenage love, but is in no way the typical pretty-girl-next-door-meets-a-bad-boy-with-a heart-of-gold—and a smoking hot bod—story. This book is for the weird kids, the misunderstood kids, the kids with terrible home lives and “different” views on the world. As I was a weird kid myself, I appreciated the look at a love that felt heartbreakingly real.
Seconded by: Megan
More Than This by Patrick Ness
I’d never read anything by Patrick Ness (other than a Doctor Who short story) prior to More Than This, but I’d heard good things about his work. (Shameless plug: The first in Ness’ Chaos Walking series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, is the FYA Book Club pick for February!) This book certainly wasn’t a disappointment. It’s dark and a bit eerie, but it’s got a beautiful underlying feeling of hope (embodied by main character Seth who learns what it means to want to really live) that runs throughout.
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Everytime I want to describe this book to someone, the word “snowglobe” pops up in my head. I’m not sure this first book in the Internment Chronicles was meant to give off that feeling, but it’s a good thing, as odd as it sounds. I loved reading about Morgan and the strange, self-contained fairy tale (with sinister undertones) world she lives in, high in the clouds above Earth.
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
I hadn’t read the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles (Born Wicked) until this year, and since it was originally published in 2012, I can’t include it in this list. BUT, I loved both books equally, which I don’t often find myself saying about the first two books in a series. Star Cursed expands on the story of the secretly magic-imbued Cahill sisters and the awesome alternate American history they live in. The cliffhanger at the end of this book is KILLER, however, and I am not-so-calmly waiting for the third in the series to be released.
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
I’ll freely admit that I’m a sucker for romantic stories that involve paranormal creatures, British accents and a little bit of action and intrigue. This first book in the new Dispossessed series involves all of that, but it’s not entirely what you might used to—in the case of The Beautiful and the Cursed, the MLD with a secret isn’t hiding that he’s a vampire or a werewolf … he’s actually a gargoyle. (It works, I swear.) Another bit for the “pro” column: I found myself swooning from the very start with this book, and we all need books like this in our life from time to time.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I obviously have a thing for series (as evidenced by my three prior “best of” picks), but sometimes there’s something so appealing about getting caught up in a world and knowing that it’ll continue for at least two more books. Such was the case with this second book in the Grisha series; I found myself getting sucked back into Alina, Mal and the Darkling’s lives from the very first page.
Now that you’ve read our picks, what say you, FYAers? Did we miss any of your fave books from 2013? Let us know in the comments!