The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest – Best in Show

Ahhhh… It’s our very last day!

The Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 17th through Thursday, December 20th. All of the awesome people who are participating in the blogfest (YOU, I hope!) will highlight favorite books published 2012 using a variety of super fun superlative categories. The Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest is about promoting extraordinary young adult books, so if you haven’t already, draft a post, hop down to the end of this post, and sign up to participate. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2012!

The 2012 YA novels I’ve read, listed in no particular order: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, A Million Suns, The Fault in Our Stars, The Disenchantments, Something Strange and Deadly, Pandemonium, Wanderlove, Under the Never Sky, Ten, This is Not a Test, Happy Families, Insurgent, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, Monstrous Beauty, Bitterblue, Time Between Us, My Life Next Door, Breathe, Pushing the Limits, Skylark, The Raven Boys, Live Through This, Bittersweet, Flawed, Ditched, Starters, Reached, Lovely, Dark and Deep, Meant to Be, and Days of Blood and Starlight…

And here’s how I chose to award today’s categories:

Best in Show

Favorite Cover

                  The Disenchantments      Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)
These covers are practically opposites (bright and fun/dark and mysterious), but they both convey the tone of the stories beneath them so perfectly, I couldn’t choose just one.

Cutest Couple

My Life Next DoorSamantha and Jase… So sweet and considerate of one another, with chemistry that sings. They bring out the best in each other.

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, Pick a Printz)

The Fault in Our StarsThis was a tough choice… I read SO MANY award-worthy books this year. But The Fault in Our Stars seems to most exemplify the qualities “literary merit” that the American Library Association looks for.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime

  Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)     Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)
These two… Could NOT put them down!

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite Sequel or Follow-Up)

   Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)       Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
I was nervous about reading both of these books. I love their predecessors SO MUCH, and I had very high expectations. Luckily, Days of Blood and Starlight and Bitterblue lived up to the excellence of the books that came before them.

Favorite Finale or End of Series

Reached (Matched, #3)A very satisfying conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since Matched‘s debut.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Echo and Noah have some pretty intense sexual tension, which made their otherwise dark and serious story a lot of fun to read.

Break Out Novel (Favorite Book by a Debut Author)

Lovely, Dark and DeepYeah… This one pretty much blew me away. Beautiful writing, characters I cared so much about, and a romance that had me swooning. Love.

Favorite Old-Timer (Favorite of the Year, Published BEFORE 2012)  

                   The Book Thief   Saving June
I waited far too long to read The Book Thief — now I know why it is so highly regarded. And Saving June, wow… A pretty darn perfect contemporary young adult romance.

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

The Fault in Our StarsThis one didn’t make me cry, but I’ve heard from a lot of others that they had to raid their tissue boxes, especially toward the end.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Book I didn’t think I’d Like, But Did)

This is Not a TestZombies? Eh. But I love the way Courtney Summers writes far too much to pass up any of her new releases. So glad I gave her version of zombies a chance — this book rocks!

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)I think the love triangle between Blue, Gansey, and Adam will develop further as this series goes on, but so far I’m totally on-board with the dynamic between these three. Maggie Stiefvater is masterful.

Sleeper Hit (Book I Found So Awesome I Wish it Was Hyped More)

Lovely, Dark and DeepI know, I know… I’ve talked a lot about this one. But guys, it’s just SO GOOD! If you like contemporary and romance and serious themes, pick Lovely, Dark and Deep up as soon as possible!

Favorite Outlier (Favorite 2012 MG or Adult Book)

Gone GirlYowza… This story is a total trip. The characters are pretty much all deplorable, but one is such a complete sociopath, she would NOT let me put this book down.


Cover Reveal :: FAULT LINE by Christa Desir

Today I have the great pleasure of taking part in the cover reveal of my critique partner and friend Christa Desir‘s debut YA novel, Fault Line (SimonPulse, November 2013).

 Fault Line is my kind of book, and Christa is my kind of author. Bold and sharp and affecting, she’s not afraid to tackle the hard stuff, and she’s not afraid to push boundaries. It’s sort of funny that her work is so gritty, because she’s one of the sweetest, most gracious people I know.

Here is Fault Line‘s blurb, which makes me all sorts of heartsick…

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.

And the cover…


Guys. I love everything about this cover, but particularly its spareness and its boldness. It stands out in a world of predominately girly YA covers, and it makes me want to look twice, then once more because it’s just so fearlessly striking (figuratively and literally, I suppose).

Congrats on a stunning cover, Christa! I can’t wait to see this book on my shelf!

Add Fault Line at Goodreads, and follow Christa on Twitter and at her blog.

One-Word Wednesday

Why I wake up early to run... #Desert #Sunrise #Flare
{Sunrise south of Phoenix… Last week my girlie and I road tripped 750 miles to visit family. Totally worth it!}

{My brother, my nephew, my girl, and me at sunset.}

{Loving this book SO MUCH! Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository.}

{Took a break last month, but I think I’m ready to jump back into the #PhotoADayAug challenge!}

#Inmymailbox: A #BEA surprise from @saramcclung! <3 her! #yalit #booksDreamy
{I’m chatting about cover art with Time Between Us author Tamara Ireland Stone over at YA Confidential today. Check it out!}

So, what’s new, friends? What are you reading? What are you writing? What’s the highlight of your week so far? Tell me everything!

BROKEN Cover Reveal!

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal and first chapter preview of my friend and CP Ann Rought‘s YA debut novel Broken (January, 2013).

First, a summary:

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.

A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.

And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

And, Broken‘s gorgeous cover: 

Today Ann is sharing bits of the first chapter of Broken on blogs all over the YA community. Below is PART THREE. If you’ve yet to do so, I encourage you to visit Jessie Harrel for PART TWO before reading on…

After backhanding moisture from my cheeks, I jam my hands into my pockets and turn from the fence. We’ll never sit together again, and someday I’m going to have to accept it. He would want me to move on, not haunt the graveside his parents will never give his ashes. Heart heavy and somehow empty at the same time, I drift toward home. Fall leaves whisper beneath my steps. Jack-o’-lanterns leer from porches, glowing faces following my every step, as if they see the hollow space in me and find it familiar. The Wendell’s pumpkin is particularly vicious looking, narrow pointy teeth and angular flaming eyes, squatting like a gargoyle on the front step. Jason, a junior at Shelley High like me, really went all out with the carving this year. He’s always had a flair for dark and drama.

The front porch door opens with a screech of hinges. Mrs. Wendell shuffles out, flowered house coat catching the breeze and showing her corpulent, pasty white legs. She gives me a wave and sympathetic smile when she stoops in her housecoat to blow the candle out.

You can continue on with PART FOUR over at Elana Johnson‘s blog!

I’m so excited about Broken and its gorgeous cover. I hope you’ll hop on over to Goodreads and add it to your To-Read shelf now!

Bookanista Thursday

For today’s Bookanista post I thought it’d be fun to highlight a few of my most anticipated 2012 releases. The books on today’s list are particularly special because their gorgeous cover art was revealed in the last week or so.
Check them out…

Defiance by C.J. Redwine
August 28th, 2012 by Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her. At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared. As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making. 

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
September 18th, 2012 by Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury. But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
September 18th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart? When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind…
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
October 2nd, 2012 by Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins
Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the pain meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv. The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become, and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all. 

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
October 19th, 2012 by Hyperion
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility. As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

Don’t these sound (and look!) amazing? What are your most anticipated releases of 2012?

Check out what my Bookanista friends are up to today!

Elana Johnson is crazy for CASSAFIRE

Christine Fonseca  falls for EVERNEATH

Tracy Banghart  goes wild over BORN WICKED

Stasia Ward Kehoe announces an author visit giveaway

Gennifer Albin  is givin’ some cover lovin’

Jessica Love wonders at WHY WE BROKE UP

Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest DAY FOUR

Today is the final day of the The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest, a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements, hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me. The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest spans four days, beginning December 26th and culminating today, December 30th.

Hopefully you’ve been participating throughout the week, but if not, that’s okay! Just draft today’s post (you can find the topics listed below or on the original post) and then scroll to the bottom of THIS post and add your link to the link list.

I’ve had so much fun dropping by the participants’ blogs this week, and I look forward to stopping by your blog to read about your Class of 2011 selections today!

And speaking of selections, here are mine for Day Four:

Best in Show

Again, my books published in 2011 Reading List:

Crossed, The Future of Us, Hushed, Want to Go Private?, The Scorpio Races, The Pledge, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Chain Reaction, Forgotten, Notes From the Blender, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Ripple, Hourglass, A Need So Beautiful, Chime, The Day Before, Forever, Moonglass, Beauty Queens, Boyfriends With Girlfriends, Forbidden, Wither, Divergent, Invincible Summer, Trapped, Where She Went, We’ll Always Have Summer, Cryer’s Cross, Across the Universe, Desires of the Dead, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Imaginary Girls, and The Liar Society

And my favorites in the way of Best in Show:

Favorite Cover – I think the cover for Hourglass by Myra McIntyre is beautiful. I love the movement, the graceful point of the model’s foot, and her unusual hair color. I also love the  title font. Honorable Mentions: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children because it’s eerily intriguing, and Beauty Queens because it’s graphic and cheeky.

Cutest Couple – Luke and London from Cat Patrick’s Forgotten are so freaking sweet. Their relationship boasts  mutual adoration, tons of respect, and a big dose of fun, too. While Forgotten‘s plot is engaging, it was Luke and London’s interactions  that snagged my attention and kept me reading for the duration of this novel.

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner) – Are you guys getting tired of hearing about Chime yet? Clearly Franny Billingsley’s novel had a huge impact on me. Of every book on my 2011 list, Chime is the one that, in my humble opinion, most exemplified literary excellence in young adult literature. Honorable Mentions: Divergent, The Scorpio Races, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone for their unbelievably thorough world-building and beautiful writing.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime – Veronica Roth’s Divergent is everything a page-turner should be. I was so connected to Tris and Four’s story, and so drawn in by their world, I could NOT put this book down. I still recommend it to anyone who asks for a great YA book or a fantastic dystopian read.

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.) – An easy choice: Gayle Forman’s Where She Went, or My Most Anticipated Sequel EVER. Love the emotional intensity of this book, and I love how Adam and Mia’s story concluded.Honorable Mention: We’ll Always Have Summer. Belly totally ended up with who I wanted her to end up with!

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath – Harlin and Charlotte from Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful. These two are adorable, and they have chemistry that seeps through the page. Then there was that scene… you know, the one with the fancy dress and the–ahem–wall.  Honorable Mention: Violet and Jay from Kimberly Derting’s Desires of the Dead. They’re hot too. 🙂

Pair Most Likely to Stay Best Friends Till They’re 80 – Josh and Emma from The Future of Us. We’ve seen the future (thank you, Facebook!). We KNOW they’ll stay friends!


Breakout Novel (Favorite Book by a Debut Author) – Yep, Divergent again. This book rocks. Obviously. Honorable Mentions: Moonglass and Across the Universe. I honestly had a hard time believing Jessi Kirby and Beth Revis were debut novelists after reading their first books!

Best Old-Timer (Favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2011) – Another easy choice. I read  Jellicoe Road this year and it broke me. Never have I envied another writer’s storytelling skills the way I envy Melina Marchetta’s, and never have I fallen so fully and completely for two characters as I did for Taylor and Jonah. Such an amazing book–a definite favorite!

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry – I have it on good authority that “animal books” make men emotional. Take Where the Red Fern Grows, for example, or Stone Fox (hell, Stone Fox made ME cry!). That’s why I have to go with The Scorpio Races. The bond between Sean and his horse Corr is enough to make any man (anybody) weepy.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.) – Laini Taylor’s The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, for sure. As a rule, I don’t like fantasy, and I definitely don’t like “angel” books. Plus, the mention of teeth in the back cover synopsis totally skeeved me out. I was wrong, of course. I ADORE this book.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle – The “triangle” in Ally Condie’s Crossed is pretty lopsided (Cassia’s not really wavering in who she wants), but there’s an element of loyalty and romance between both she and Ky, and she and Xander. What I love about this triangle is how it’s used in plot twists and in the bigger picture of what’s going on within the Society. Win.

Sleeper Hit (Book I found so awesome I wish it had been hyped more) – Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. This book was a trip. I wasn’t quite sure what was real and what wasn’t, and I didn’t know what to think about Ruby (or Chloe or London, for that matter) until the very end. Plus, the writing was, as I’ve mentioned, gorgeous.

And now it’s MY turn to pick a superlative! Leave me a note in the comments telling me your:

Most anticipated 2012 YA release…

I’ll tell you mine next week, and I’ll post about your selections. 🙂 

And if you’re participating in the Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest, please click on the image below to drop your link:

RTW: Book Buying

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Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: Where do you buy books?

I used to shop at Borders pretty exclusively (how that corporation folded while taking in profit made from my purchases alone, I’ll never understand). Now that Borders has faded into the sunset, though, I’m not picky about where I buy my books: Costco, Walmart, Target (these three are the stores at which most of my impulse book purchases are made), Amazon (I’ll do a big order every few months), my local new-and-used (because I love its ambiance and the luxury of browsing), and Barnes and Noble (though that’s rare because there’s not one nearby).

My only rule is: The place at which I happen upon a book that piques my interest is the place at which I buy it. I would never (NEVER!) peruse a brick-and-mortar indie, take note of titles that interest me, then rush home and make my purchases on Amazon just to save a few bucks. You shouldn’t either. So, so wrong. (Incidentally, I love this post by Rebecca Behrens on the same topic.)

A Good Book, my local new-and-used… Love this store!

Tell me: Where do you buy books? And don’t forget to visit YA Highway to see how others answered this question!

In other fun news, my fellow Bookanista Corrine Jackson has gotten the go-ahead to reveal the cover and summary of her August, 2012 contemporary young adult novel If I Lie. Please do visit Corrine at her blog or Facebook page to learn more about her books and writing, but first… How cool is this cover?

And how fantastic is this summary?

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town. Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

I have to say: I find the premise of this book incredibly intriguing. I’m always down for an emotionally charged, secret-shrouded contemporary, but the MIA bit mentioned in If I Lie‘s summary latches on to my deepest, darkest, military wife fears and won’t let go. I’m desperate to get my hands on this book!

Are you as excited as I am about If I Lie?