The past three years, I have been setting a yearly challenge of how many books I would like to read and using Goodreads.com to help me track my goals. For 2012, I said I would read 30 books, and I ended up reading 54! Yeah for me! I would give myself a gold star. Joe got me a Kindle Fire for my birthday and that has really helped me read more books, since I can check out ebooks from the public library. Below, it my list of all the books I read (or re-read in the case of the Hunger Games Trilogy). But, out of all those books, there I would say these were my most favorite of the year; books I couldn’t stop thinking about for days after I finished them, books that I left beside my bed to re-read favorite passages, and books I couldn’t stop telling people about.
BEST FICTION BOOKS
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book was so creative. I wish I could dream the way this book was written. I also enjoyed the romance. A book about magic that was, well, magical!
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This was an expected story about an adolescent girl and her relationship with her uncle and her grief after he dies from AIDS. Sometimes when you read books, the characters are very one dimensional (the mean older sister, the parent that doesn’t get it), but I loved how complex the characters and their relationships are. It was a view of a family without making you feel cynical or that you want to punch everyone in that family in the face (ahem, Jonathan Frazen).
BEST YA FICTION BOOKS
Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
These books are part of the same trilogy. I thought I had a general idea of the plot, but I was surprised. I can’t recommend this series enough. I can’t say too much without giving away the book, but I loved the worlds that the author created, and she wrote a story with emotional weight that seemed authentic, even in a mythical setting.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This book was the outlier from my other favorites, nothing magical or whimsical. It’s just a realistic, coming of age story. I just loved the characters who had created this strong bond from knowing each other for so many years of their lives. It was cool to relate to friendships I have had for more than half my life.
BEST MIDDLE CHILDHOOD BOOK
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
This is a book for younger kids that I can’t wait to share with Jude when he is older. It has a message about life and meaning that resonates with people of any age. I read a lot of books by Lauren Oliver this year and I realize she is very talented author. But this is one I want to keep in my family library forever.