Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest HEAD OF THE CLASS

The Class of 2014: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 15th through Thursday, December 18th and will highlight favorite books published in 2014 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2014: 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 2014!

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2014 Reading List (starred = debut): The Winner’s Curse, *Let’s Get Lost, *Loop, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, *17 First Kisses, Ashes to Ashes, *The Secret Sky, *Behind the Scenes, Isla and the Happily Ever After, *The Only Thing To Fear, Bleed Like Me, The Bridge From Me to You, *Creed, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, I’ll Give You the Sun, *One Two Three, *Of Scars and Stardust, We Were Liars, *Wish You Were Italian, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Frozen, What I Thought Was True, *The Eighth Guardian, *Pointe, *Push Girl, *Open Road Summer, *Far From You, *The Symptoms of My Insanity, Panic, *The Truth About Alice, *NIL, Complicit, The Summer I Found You, The Evolution of Emily, Into the Still Blue, Heartbeat, The Killing Woods, Brown Girl Dreaming

Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian

Frozen by Erin Bowman – Loved it even more than its predecessor, Taken! Gray is such a compelling protagonist, and I can’t wait to see how this trilogy wraps up with Forged come spring.

Favorite Science Fiction

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi – Is this a stretch for the sci-fi category? It’s the only sci-fi-esque 2014 book I read, and it was a fantastic conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since its first book. Bravo! (Honorable Mention to These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, which came out late in 2013 and therefore missed a spot on my Class of 2013 list. It’s so excellent!)

Favorite Fantasy

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – Not only my favorite fantasy of 2014, but one of my favorite reads of the year, period. Oh, the glorious world-building and the slow-burn, deliciously forbidden romance…

Favorite Contemporary

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson and Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid – I could not choose between these two! They’re both incredibly moving and gorgeously written, and they both left me feeling just… joyful. New favorites!

Favorite Action/Adventure

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Another trilogy concluded. I love Laini Taylor’s prose, and this book was a true page-turner. Unputdownable!

Favorite Historical

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – Oh my gosh… So gorgeous. I’m such a sucker for verse stories and this one, a chronicle of the author’s childhood in the 1960s and 1970s (so, it’s a little bit middle grade if you want to get technical), is mesmerizing. Plus, that cover… Love.

Favorite Comedy

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf – I’m not big on comedies and this book certainly has plenty of profound moments, but it was also full of genuine, perfectly penned humor. I legit LOLed more than once!

Favorite Mystery

Far From You by Tess Sharpe and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Again — I could NOT choose! Both of these are gripping, full of beautiful writing, diverse characters, and gut-wrenching twists. So, so good.

Favorite Romance

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – Both of these are lovely romances, but they’re so much more, too — friendship and travel and authentic voice. Love them both! (Honorable mention to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, which I couldn’t select this year because I *must* read the sequel before deciding if Lara Jean and Peter’s romance is a favorite.)

Favorite Paranormal

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – Obviously, right? I am such a fan of this series, and I am already so anxious to see how it concludes next fall. Can I please be Maggie Stiefvater when I grow up?

Favorite Genre Bender

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – While I did not love how this trilogy concluded (I want to tear the epilogue out of my copy, quite honestly) there’s no denying that the series, as a whole, is crazy-good. Oh, Reeve. ❤

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Click the graphic below to add your name and your Head of the Class post link to our sign up so we can hop around and check out your selections. Don’t forget — there will be a new link sign-up each day!


March Reading Wrap-Up

March. A long month full of awesome books! Along with the three manuscripts I beta read, here are the books I added to my Read list…
(As always, covers link to Goodreads pages.)

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler – I’ve now read all of Sarah Ockler’s novels and this one’s tied with Twenty Boy Summer as my favorite. I enjoyed JuJu’s voice (so spirited and perfectly teen), I adored Emilio (especially the sweet way he treated JuJu and her father), and I loved the family dynamics (Holy Trinity FTW. Also, Pancake!). And, there were several Friday Night Lights references, which automatically increase a book’s awesome quotient. The Book of Broken Hearts is pretty much an ideal Katy Book. Definitely a recommend for fans of contemporary romantic YA with strong family threads.

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn (June 24th) – I recently read Stephanie’s debut, Charm & Strange, and I absolutely loved it. I signed up for Netgalley specifically so I could read Complicit early and now that I have, I can promise that I’ll be buying a physical copy when it releases in June. It’s amazing. Twisty and mind-bendy, and even though you sort of know where the story’s headed, the ride is bananas and had me swiping pages at an alarming rate. Jamie is a complex character with a sad and complicated past. His strangeness is oddly enchanting, as is his sister, Cate. This story’s conclusion, much like that of Charm & Strange, is staggering. Can’t wait until you’ve all read it so we can discuss!

Nil by Lynne Matson – This is such a cool book. Part survival story, part romance, part adventure, it’s like Survivor set in a parallel dimension, one where escape is not guaranteed. Lynne Matson is ruthless when it comes to challenging her characters, and she very successfully uses the idea of dwindling time to ratchet the tension up, making Nil almost impossible to put down. Charley and Thad’s relationship deepened  quickly, a bit of an insta-love situation that might’ve bothered me in another story, but on Nil, time’s limited and a no regrets mindset is the way of life. While Nil requires some suspension of disbelief, it’s a unique story of survival and sacrifice. My Bookanista rec is HERE.

Panic by Lauren Oliver – Honest confession: The synopsis of this novel didn’t do much for me. The fact that there’s no mention of romance had a lot to do with that. Also, talk of the “game” and the danger and the high-stakes… Just not my thing. But the game of Panic turned out to be quite gripping, and the characters are beautifully drawn. This is one of those books that seems absolutely hopeless as you’re reading —how are these people possibly going to solve all of their problems? — so it was hard to put down, particularly as I hit the climax. And the ending… awesome. Pick it up if you like contemporary that’s gritty and unique, and if you’re a fan of stunning, evocative prose. My Bookanista rec is HERE.

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines – This one’s not going to win any fine literary awards, but I kind of loved it. It’s a perfect read-in-the-sun, guilty-pleasure romance, and it’s pretty darn sexy (as its cover suggests). Beau is totally hot (gotta love the tortured bad boy), and while Ash occasionally grated my nerves, she also struck me as a very genuine, true-to-life teen. The Vincent Boys is another book that seems like it just has to end in tragedy, but Abbi Glines wraps it all up quite satisfyingly. Now, I need to get my hands on The Vincent Brothers. Wait — not literally… Okay, maybe literally. 😉 Next time you’re in the mood for a book that’s sweet and steamy, pick up The Vincent Boys.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – Erin Bowman read and reviewed this one a couple years ago and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. I finally bought myself a copy, and I thought it was a great little read. Super quick, and full of awesome thoughts on creativity and how to get the most out of yours. A lot of Austin Kleon’s advice is stuff you’ve probably heard before, but the reminders are excellent and were particularly timely for me, as I’m in a weird between-projects place. Recommend!

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3rd) – Such a fantastic debut. I had a feeling I’d like this book going in, but it turned out to be much more than I was expecting. It’s all about Alice, who supposedly slept with two boys in the same night and then killed one of them by texting him while he was driving. Alice’s story is told by several peripheral characters who — save Kurt — are pretty big jerks. Yet, Jennifer Mathieu manages to humanize each of them in really specific ways, making this story of slut-shaming much more complex than it might’ve been otherwise. Fantastic pacing, fantastic small town setting, FANTASTIC voice. Definitely get your hands on this one when it debuts in June.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – A new favorite! I loved this book fiercely, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read it. I liked Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer a lot, but Amy & Roger… I swooned over every. Single. Page. The slow-burn dynamic between Amy and Roger is executed brilliantly, and the people they meet during their epic road trip are fascinating and fun. There’s just the right amount of conflict, and all kinds of quirky road trip antics. Plus, there are doodles and scrapbook memorabilia and playlists jotted between chapters, which are just so charming. I borrowed the book I read, but upon finishing, I immediately bought a copy of my own, and I can’t wait to reread it. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a total experience, and I adored it. Recommend!

What’s the best book you read in March?