2013 YA Superlatives :: Best in Show

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Here are my selections for Best in Show

Favorite Cover 

Erin Bowman’s Taken, Leila Howland’s Nantucket Blue, Katie Cotugno’s How to Love, and Bennett Madison’s September Girls all struck cover gold as far as I’m concerned. (Maybe I have a thing for teal?)

Cutest Couple 

Is Rainbow Rowell capable of writing a not-cute couple? I adore both Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park (duh) and Cath and Levi from Fangirl.

Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner)

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys is exceptional. It has the “literary merit” the Printz committee looks for year after year. It’s beautiful in every way.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime

I stayed up way too late reading all three of these. Leah Raeder’s Unteachable, Katie Cotugno’s How to Love, and Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility are all absolutely unputdownable.

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.)

I enjoyed both of these follow-ups even more than their predecessors, if that’s possible. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves and Gayle Forman’s Just One Year added so much to their characters’ stories. Loved them both!

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis is everything I need a series conclusion to be. It answered my questions in a satisfying way while still introducing new twists and characters, and it ended in a way that left me feeling content — thank goodness!

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

I mean… Is there any other answer? Unteachable by Leah Raeder is far and away the most graphic YA-classified book I’ve read. The main characters have major chemistry and their encounters are described in detail. In fact, if this story’s writing wasn’t so gorgeous, I’d call it smut.

Breakout Novel (Favorite book by a debut author.)

  How to Love by Katie Cotugno and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu are stand-outs of all the books I read this year, not just those by debut authors.

Best Old-Timer (Favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.)

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Fire by Kristin Cashore, and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta are all books I’ve thought about often since reading them, in some cases even months after finishing. All three have lovely writing, dynamic main characters, and fantastical worlds. I highly recommend them all.

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Fault Line by Christa Desir broke me off. That had a lot to do with the fact that it’s a story about rape told from a male’s point of view. Watching Ben struggle to make sense of his girlfriend in the aftermath of her assault shattered me.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Book I didn’t think I’d like, but totally did.)

The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace (Mandy Hubbard) is the story of a student/teacher tryst, subject matter I usually steer clear of. But this story was incredibly well done, full of gray areas and imperfect characters that left me reeling. I think the second-person narration was a stroke of genius.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

I can’t give away too much about Sarah Guillory’s Reclaimed for fear of spoiling it, but let’s just say this is a take on the oft-utilized love triangle that I’ve never, ever seen before. My mind is still turning circles about how it all worked out.

Sleeper Hit (Book so awesome, I wish it had been hyped more.)

How to Love by Katie Cotugno, OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu, The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, and Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller are not exactly under-the-radar books, but in my opinion, they’re so awesome that any and every YA fan should read them.

Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book)

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is deep and rich and compelling. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is clever and colorful and highly entertaining. Loved them both!

And…Katy’s Superlative Category: 
2014 YA Release You’re Most Anticipating

Into the Still Blue (Veronica Rossi) / Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Laini Taylor)

Panic (Lauren Oliver) / Isla and the Happily Ever After (Stephanie Perkins)

Frozen (Erin Bowman) / The Eighth Guardian (Meredith McCardle)

Push Girl (Chelsie Hill & Jessica Love) / Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

Bleed Like Me (Christa Desir) / Complicit (Stephanie Kuehn)

Side Effects May Vary (Julie Murphy) / The Secret Sky (Atia Abawi)

Among many, many more! 🙂

Don’t forget to link your Best in Show post so I can visit!

Also, Trace, Jess, Alison and I will be randomly selecting four names from those who’ve participated in all four days of the blogfest. Those luckies will each win one 2013 YA book of their choice. Please make sure you’ve added your link for each day of the blogfest you participated in. Stay tuned… Winners will be announced soon!

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38 thoughts on “2013 YA Superlatives :: Best in Show

  1. Alexa says:

    Thanks for all these great recommendations! I’m most excited for Fangirl in 2014, as it hasn’t released in the UK yet. I have had it on order FORVER! Also looking forward to Gods & Monsters – I don’t know how Laini Taylor will wrap it up.
    I also definitely MUST read How To Love, Tiger Lily and The Day the Crayons Quit (love Oliver Jeffers).

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, I bet you will love FANGIRL, Alexa! It’ll definitely be worth the wait. I hope you find time to read HOW TO LOVE and TIGER LILY… They’re both such beautiful stories!

  2. Ghenet Myrthil says:

    Oooo 2014 is going to be SUCH a great year for reading!

    I *just* read FAULT LINE yesterday and OMG it was so intense and sad. But such an important story. Now I need to read something light and funny!

    Thanks again for hosting such a fun blogfest!

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, I definitely needed something light after FAULT LINE. It’s an incredible book, but it left me feeling all kinds of sad and helpless.

      Thanks for participating this week, Ghenet. It was so much fun to read about your 2013 favorites. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Briggs says:

    Teal IS an awesome color! Is Unteachable YA or NA? I have it on my Kindle to read during my Christmas vacation!

    I could pick a bazillion books for my 2014 TBR! Other than my lovely CPs’ books, I really want to read Alienated, Infinite, Open Road Summer, and Isla and the Happily Ever After… and I could keep going but I think I’ll stop before this list gets crazy, haha.

    • katyupperman says:

      UNTEACHABLE is… sort of uncategorizable. The protagonist is in high school, but the writing and the intimacy is definitely more appropriate for adults. That said, it’s very good!

      Oh, and ALIENTATED is high on my 2014 most-anticipated list too. I could have gone on and on with my list!

  4. Jaime Morrow says:

    Ooo, great category of choice, Katy! I’m so excited about a number of the books you listed. I’m kicking myself right now for forgetting about TAKEN’s cover. Honestly, I think it was one of my absolute favourites this year. And I’m so glad you loved FIRE as much as I did. I loved GRACELING, but FIRE is my most favourite of the three, hands down.

    • katyupperman says:

      FIRE is just gorgeous, Jaime. I can’t believe it took me so long to read it! The GRACELING trilogy is one of my very favorites.

      And I’m with you on TAKEN’s cover. Its color combinations are beautiful!

  5. Meredith says:

    Aaaaaahh, this is awesome! Thanks, Katy! 😀

    I was a slacker on reading this year. I read less than half the number of books I normally do. There are some on your list I haven’t even heard of, but I’m definitely going to check them out. Thanks for the great recs!

    • katyupperman says:

      Of course, Mer. 🙂 And what with your upcoming books and having a baby and all, I think you get a pass where reading is concerned. Hope you have more time for it next year!

  6. Dahlia Adler says:

    Oh man, I forced myself to only pick one for each but you have so many of my favorites on here! I love seeing other people love UNTEACHABLE ❤ And RECLAIMED, HOW TO LOVE, and OCD LOVE STORY were definitely all among my favorites this year!

  7. karibradley7 says:

    I agree, one thousand, one hundred percent with your Sleeper Hit comments. I just want to shove those books into the hands of anyone who doesn’t read, because I know at least one of them would turn ’em. Also, I bought The Day the Crayons Quit for Paxton. Kelly reads to him every night and I loved the colorfulness of the book, which Kelly said Paxton loves in his books. PLUS, his daddy’s an artist! 😉

  8. Tracey Neithercott (@T_Neithercott) says:

    I forgot about SEPTEMBER GIRLS, but that is one of my favorite covers of the year, too. Gorgeous. I still need to read that book, too. I’ve also been meaning to read RECLAIMED. It sounds great. UNTEACHABLE was one I was going to skip until it kept showing up on these lists. I guess it’s that good, huh? Okay, okay, it’s on my TBR list!

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, UNTEACHABLE is very, very good (the writing is absolutely beautiful) but I imagine it’s not a book for everyone. Give it a read and let me know what you think. 🙂

  9. Jessica Silverstein says:

    Oh no, too many to look forward to in 2014! Eeeek. (Double eek for books by blogfriends! So excited!) My plan for this break is to spend two full weeks READING ALL THE THINGS so I can get to some of these awesome 2013 books and make room for some 2014 new releases!

    • katyupperman says:

      I wish I could spend the holiday season reading too, Jess! As soon as I’ve moved in and settled, I’m taking a Reading Vacation and reading all of the awesome books recommended to me during this blogfest!

  10. rachelpatrick93 says:

    TIIIIIIIGGGGEEERRR LIIIILLLLYYY. That was my favorite book of 2012. And ah, look at all the books on your list! Great cover choices. I love HOW TO LOVE and all things Rainbow Rowell. I still haven’t read SHADES OF EARTH, and I need to read THE DREAM THIEVES, JUST ONE DAY, and OCD LOVE STORY. I’m seeing THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY everywhere, so I NEED to read it. I have lots of anticipated books for 2014, but one that you mentioned is ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER-can’t wait! Thanks for being a co-creator in this, Katy! I had a blast!

  11. Rebekah says:

    I am looking forward to SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY as well! Julie Murphy is a local girl, and we’ve hung out a few times, and if her book is half as fabulous as she is I can’t even imagine.

    I very much want to read FAULT LINE even if I know it will destroy me.

  12. Alison Miller says:

    Love the category! I am definitely looking forward to PANIC as well as the third book in the Raven Cycle. And clearly I should just plan on spending all my money on books this year because so many of these look awesome.

    Have a wonderful holiday, Katy! And good luck with the move!

  13. Kaitlin Bartlett says:

    I’m getting HOW TO LOVE for my birthday because of all the amazing things you’ve said about it this week (and before)! 🙂 So excited to read it!! and the cover is GORGEOUS!

  14. Stephanie Allen says:

    Into the Still Blue is for sure my most anticipated (although I still need to read Siege and Storm, Unravel Me, and Crown of Midnight, so I’m sure that list is going to grow). And I have a thing for blue/teal, too, so I can see where your cover choices are coming from 🙂

  15. Krispy says:

    I love your cover picks! They are beautiful and match-y! Although, I see later down the line for Favorite Debuts, HOW TO LOVE looks very complementary and beautiful next to OCD LOVE STORY (another one of my favorite covers)! Both are books I *need* to read. And I love that both cutest couples are from Rainbow Rowell’s books. I really need to read her asap. I even left FANGIRL out of my book tree so that I will have access to it!

    Love that you loved TIGER LILY. It was one of the quieter books I read last year and I was a little iffy about the up-aging of characters who are classically children, but I thought it was so beautifully done – nuanced, messy, and true to the spirit of the originals. I also loved THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, so much that I bought it. So cute and creative! I hadn’t heard about THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU & ME, but I’m definitely curious about it now given your rec and the fact that it’s second-person. Bold move!

    Great choice for Pick-Your-Own-Superlative! I too cannot wait for a bunch of those books, but especially Laini Taylor’s final DoSaB book!

    Thanks again for putting together this blogfest with Jess, Tracey, and Allison! So much fun!

    • katyupperman says:

      If I remember correctly, it was your comments on TIGER LILY that urged me to check it out from the library. So glad I did, though I really wish I’d bought it now. LOVED it! Thanks so much for playing along this week, Alice. I got tons of great recommendations from your lists. Merry Christmas!

  16. Adrianne says:

    This blogfest has convinced me that my life is definitely lacking for not having read HOW TO LOVE. And UNTEACHABLE gave me the vapors too! Thanks for hosting!

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