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Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Jessica Love
I didn't end up participating last year, and since I've been a lousy blogger of late, I figured I'd be a joiner this time around. My choices for each category were limited as 2012 ended up being a bit of a catchup year for reading (ie. reading books from previous years that everyone else and their dog has already read). But I did manage to read a number of stellar books that were published this year. Here are my winners for today's superlatives categories:
Day #1: Head of the Class
(All titles are linked to their Goodreads synopses.)
Favourite Dystopian: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and/or The Selection by Kiera Cass
Favourite Science Fiction: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This was a super easy choice. I won an ARC of Cinder from the lovely Rebecca Behrens just before Christmas last year and wasted no time diving into it before it was released in January 2012. The pairing of a familiar fairy tale with science fiction (Cyborgs and androids and lunars, oh my!) and a dash of Sailor Moon was genius, in my opinion.
Honourable Mention: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Favourite Fantasy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Again, this was no contest really if we're going with straight-up fantasy (as in, not paranormal). Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone was fantastic for so many reasons: the Russian fairy tale feel to it, the Darkling (sigh), the Grisha and their powers, the cover and the beautiful chapter embellishments, a likeable heroine... There's much to love about this book.
Favourite Contemporary: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
This was definitely a five-star read for me. It felt real to me in so many ways, mainly because Hubbard didn't glamorize the backpacking life. If a place was filthy and buggy, then that's how she described it. Bria was a believable character who you so badly want to see burst out of her shell. This is a story of growth and letting go of the things that hold us back—lessons that we can all learn no matter our age or where in life we find ourselves. The margin drawings by the author herself were a nice touch as well.
Honourable Mention: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
Favourite Action/Adventure: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Though I'm not entirely sure it fits squarely in this category, my pick is Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier. This is first and foremost a time travel story, but it's certainly got a fair amount of adventure (and romance!). Who wouldn't want a first-hand glimpse at life in other eras? And to take that glimpse in a gorgeous dress with a swoonworthy and dashing albeit frustrating boy? There were definitely buckles swashed, and I'm eagerly anticipating the final instalment in this series.
Favourite Historical Fiction: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Hands down, bar none, without a doubt Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. If 'kickass nun assassin' and 'majority-age love interest who's okay to crush on' don't win you over, then I don't know what will. Seriously, you guys, this book was fantastic in so many ways. It's historical fiction for those who might not be crazy about historical fiction, it's romantic and full of swoon, full of action, difficult choices, suspense... I could go on, but I'll spare you the fangirl blathering. Just read it.
Favourite Comedy: Still thinking...
Favourite Mystery: A Million Suns by Beth Revis
While not exclusively a mystery, Beth Revis' A Million Suns does have elements of mystery. This was not a perfect book, but it did have plenty of things that I liked. For me, a lot of that came down to the suspense and science fiction aspects of the story. I like being forced to keep reading so I'll finally know what's going on in a story (in a good way, not in a what-the-H-is-going-on-I'm-so-confused-and-frustrated kind a way), and this was one of those instances. I can't wait to find out what's next for Amy, Elder, and the rest of Godspeed in the final book of the series.
Favourite Romance: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Oddly, a number of the romance books I read this year weren't published in 2012 so they didn't count. But that doesn't really matter because fortunately my pick for this category was simpler than typing out it's cumbersome (but awesome) title. This was a fun, simple, and sweet romance between two very likeable characters. I loved the dual settings of an airplane and London as well as the fact that the author didn't shy away from the possibility of love at first sight. Come on! We all want to believe it happens, don't we? ♥
Favourite Paranormal: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Though I'm not positive it fits under the 'paranormal' category, my pick is Everneath by Brodi Ashton. For those of you unfamiliar with this story, it's a YA retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone, which in and of itself is compelling. The romance between Jack and Nikki, a ticking clock (before Nikki must return to the Everneath), an intriguing yet evil-ish Hades character (Cole), and just a captivating take on the myth make this well worth the read.
Favourite Family Drama: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I'm a little confused about this category (what does it mean exactly?), but I think my pick fits here. It follows the story of a young girl who is deported by Stalin to Siberia in 1941 along with most of her family. (From Goodreads: Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?) All that aside, it's a powerful read and needed to be somewhere on this superlative list.
Because it hasn't yet made it on this list and it was fantastic and because it seems to fit under a few categories. I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between the Raven Boys themselves and felt invested in all of them. Maggie Stiefvater is the master at providing an atmosphere-rich backdrop for her story to take place—Gansey's warehouse apartment, Blue's house full of wacky women, the dreamlike quality of the woods (the tree!!). But while this story dealt with the supernatural, with legend, and even with issues of class disparity, it was not without its funny parts. Such a good book!