Skip to content

My Favorite Things of 2012: Literary Edition

December 19, 2012

Well hello.

I know I’ve been a tidbit absent from my blog updates lately. The reasons behind this are that 1) I got lazy, 2) I’m revising a book that I hope will one day be finished, 3) I blog about TV twice a week, 4) There isn’t a four. What it boils down to is that I got lazy and uninspired and that was, as they say, that.

So I let my little bloggy blog lapse into silence and now I realize that because of that I haven’t really talked about some of my favorite things from this year. So instead of putting them all into one giant post that no one will actually read, I’ve broken them down into categories.

Since books are basically my entire world (including the reason why I get paid—thank you publishing world!)  let’s kick it off with my favorite books of the year, shall we?

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I cannot say enough good things about this book. The main character is essentially Buffy meets Elizabeth Bennett, BUT SHE’S A TRAINED ASSASSIN. The setting is a medieval fantasy world and there are hot, confusing boys and a high stakes assassin competition and really, really nuanced backstories and I just loved everything about it.


2. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is a golden writing goddess. She just is. I loved loved loved the hell out of the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and was completely drawn in by the rich, warm world of magical realism that Taylor created about a naturally lapis-haired, polyglot of a girl who has a neverending supply of money and is always hunting for teeth to give to her chimaera boss.  And then she meets Akiva, an angel, and everything changes. The first book is just amazeballs. And the second is too. It’s a story of war and prejudice and loyalty and heartbreak. It’s beautiful and incredible and—a word of advice—you probably shouldn’t read it on a plane. Crying on planes isn’t always the best.


3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a book that took me by complete surprise. I receive a very fancily-packaged ARC of it at my office and was like, “Well I guess I’ll read this since Scholastic sent me a very fancily-packaged ARC.” I’d never read Stiefvater before, so I truly had no idea what to expect.  The writing is superb, the eponymous Raven Boys are engrossing, their Arthurian quest is just…yes please. The book is this incredible blend of magical realism without feeling, well, magical. This book is more grounded in the real that it is the magical or paranormal or supernatural or however you want to qualify it. But, part  mystery, part quest, part contemporary teen read, The Raven Boys is well worth your time.



4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Outside of The Fanfiction Series That Made Random House So Much Money That Every Employee got a $5,000 Bonus, Gone Girl has probably been the most read and most talked about book of the year. I decided to expand my reading horizons and venture out of YA for a bit this year (I also read all of A Song of Ice and Fire to date. Yes. I did.) and read Gone Girl, which punched me in the brain. The book is twisted in the best possible way—which for me is a terrifyingly realism that is smart and obsessive and creepy and completely fucked, but somehow still—somehow—understandable.  It’s a book that will keep you guessing and when you realize what it is that is actually going on, you’ll be both blown away and feeling a little dumb. But don’t worry—everyone else who read it felt dumb too. Because there is NO WAY that anyone saw THAT TWIST coming. (And if you say you did, you’re a liar.)


5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Okay, so I kind of feel like a cheater for including this because I’m, um, still reading it at this moment. BUT Y’ALL. It is a giant nerdgasm of a book! SO NERDY. SO POP CULTURE-TASTIC. SO, SO ADDICTIVE THUS FAR. Seriously, I want to read it all day under my desk, but I work at a book publisher and SOMEONE would totally catch on to what I’m really doing, so I don’t do that. But, the book is set is the 2040s, when the world has gone to shit, and most people live their lives via OASIS, a virtual reality system that incorporates every game/MMORPG/TV series/film/sci-fi anything you can think of within it. When the reclusive man who built the game dies, he launches a worldwide quest for his hidden Easter Egg within the game. The person who finds it wins his fortune of billions. GAME ON.


6. The Selection by Kiera Cass

This is a book that I read in one sitting and loved from cover to cover. The story of America, a girl living in the not-too-far future when the U.S. we know today has collapsed and is replaced with monarchy and caste system, begins when she is selected to enter the long-awaited and much-obsessed after beauty pageant/reality show in which eligible young women vie for the prince’s hand, is imaginative, fun,  sometimes heart-wrenching, and a lotta bit swoony. The Selection is a smart YA sort-of-fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed and plan to read again.

7. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits is one of those books that stayed with me months after I read it. The story of two emotionally fragile, but also very tough teenagers who have lived through things I can’t imagine going through, this book is extremely emotional, realistic, and romantic. McGarry does a magnificent job of showcasing that sometimes growing up is realizing that you need to ask for help. But it’s also a book about forgiveness, emotional strength, and the power of moving on with your life. Overall, this is a very powerful book featuring characters who are frustrating, funny, and fantastically readable.


8. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

I’ve always heard about The Bloggess, but I’d never actually read her blog. And then one day I told a friend of mine that I really wanted to read “smart, funny, lady books” (I still haven’t read Bossypants. Shut up.) and after recommending several (including Bossypants), said, “You know. You’d probably really like Jenny Lawson. You’re both neurotic.” And so I read it. Y’all. Ms. Lawson is so open and honest about her neuroses, social anxiety, depression, and general crazy that you cannot help but love and respect her. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened talks about everything from her childhood growing up in rural Texas as the daughter of a taxidermist to her blasé attitude toward her wedding to her trouble cultivating friendships. Lawson is a person whom I think many women can relate to (I know I can), except for the fact that she is maybe the funniest writer I’ve ever read. Her wit is sardonic and cutting and wry and I just adore her. READ THE BOOK.

9. Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I’ve really been into fierce, fearless heroines this year, and Rachel Adams, the main character in C.J. Redwine’s Defiance is exactly that. This book is a racing adrenaline rush full of agony, resolve, and determination. Rachel goes through the emotional ringer early in the book, and if I were her I’d crawl up in a ball and just cry forever. Luckily this book isn’t about me, and Rachel decides to do channel her pain and suffering into righting wrongs, avenging deaths, and proving that women are more than dutiful wives. YES PLEASE.


10. Destroy Me by Tahreh Mafi

A companion novella to Shatter Me, one of my favorite books of last year, Destroy Me is told from the perspective of Warner, the teenage despot who finds and comfortably imprisons Juliette, a girl with lethal powers who had been kept locked away from the world. Though Warner was portrayed as a sympathetic villain in Shatter Me, you get the lonely, desperate, insecure side of him in Destroy Me. Mafi’s writing abilities are showcased here, and between this novella and the first novel, her talent shines with each word. If you haven’t read it, definitely check it out before you delve into Unravel Me next year!

So those are my favorite books of the year! Obviously there are MANY books I haven’t read because there is only so much time in a year, but if there’s anything I missed out on or that you think would be up my alley, please do chime in, in the comments!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2012 5:55 PM

    OMG YES to Days of Blood & Starlight!! So, SO amazing! I really need to get to a lot of these though…ok, most of them. haha But I will!! SOON! 😀


  1. My Favorite Things of 2012: The Kitchen Sink Edition « Bethany Larson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: