Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 for 2013: Kady Goes Genre Crazy

Kady's ready to give you her own intro to her fantastic list:

2013 was a year of reading outside my comfort zone. My likes- realistic, current genre fiction- are well documented. Give me something I can directly relate to, or give me death. In the last few years I've tentatively branched out in fantasy with Melina Marchetta's The Lumatere Chronicles, but mainly I read books in which everything could actually happen, and it could happen today.

Except this year. This year I flung myself out there. I read fantasy. And horror. And thrillers. I read books that took place in the 1400s and the 1980s. Books with dragons, with assassin nuns, concentration camps and dead best friends who still roam the world. I read everything, and my top ten list is 10 times richer because of it.

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yavnoff (see our full review)

This was the very first book I read in 2013 and I knew it was special even then. This creepy, atmospheric book about a girl, her best friend's ghost, a swoony mysterious loner boy and the hunt for a serial killer left me feeling chilled to the bone (even though it take place in a heat wave) and on the hunt for more horror.

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman (see our full review)

This was one of the last books I read this year, after Best Of lists had already started coming out. I didn't recognize it, but the description gave me the same sorts of chills that Paper Valentine did way back in January and the actual book did not disappoint. Minimally supernatural, with a healthy dose of para-military invasion and creepy cult like religious fervor, The Waking Dark follows a ragtag group of teenagers (is there any better kind of group?) as they try to uncover the mystery of the Killing Day- a day almost a year in the past when five normal townspeople rose up and murdered everyone in sight. Including themselves.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Hey guys, remember how I felt about Code Name Verity last year (see her review here)? Elizabeth Wein is back with a companion novel, covering the end of World War II and a sassy American pilot who gets captured and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Equally devastating as Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire is another beautifully rendered ode to female friendship, the craft of writing and the imperative to survive.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (see our posts)

Hey! It's the first book on the list that fits into my normal genre requirements! It's no secret that this year, at least of TATAL, has been ruled by Rainbow Rowell. And if you're sick of everyone talking about how fantastic she is, it's only because you haven't yet read one of her books. Why not start with Fangirl? A love song for quiet geeky girls with rich internet lives everywhere and the boys with amazing hair and great chins who love them.
Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron (see our posts)

This shouldn't have been as good as it was. Normally I'd be out the second a sentient computer virus was mentioned, but man oh man, this road trip romp- part comedy, part action, pure fun hooked me from the first page and didn't let go until the last. I've been recommending Man Made Boy to a lot of non-YA fans these past few months and have made an equal number of YA converts.
The F-it List by Julie Halpern

Alex isn't speaking to her best friend, Becca, when Becca learns that she had cancer. And then, just like that, their fight is over. Because Alex has to do all the things that Becca can't anymore: tell off the queen-be rival, touch Jamie Bamber's butt, set up a stand with every single flavor of Kool-Aid, and the scariest of them all, fall in love. Think of it like a bucket list, with a twist, because if Alex has any say whatsoever, Becca will not be dying.

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (see our full review)

Here's a subtle plug for a fantastic 2012 book I did not read until this year: READ GRAVE MERCY (see our full review). Because then you can read the even better follow-up Dark Triumph, which came out this year.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (see our posts)

Oh hey Rainbow, nice to see you again. Rainbow's first YA novel of the year holds a really dear place in my heart. You've read the reviews, the interviews and seen everyone else's take on this book in their Top 10 list so I'll just leave you with a personal anecdote:

I grew up in a house where profanity was THE WORST THING EVER. My mom still sighs and says "Don't say that dear" when I say something sucks. So when she finished Eleanor and Park (she listened to the FANTASTIC audio version) and had a few choice words for Eleanor's stepfather, it reconfirmed for me just how powerful the story, and especially the writing, of this slim tale of first love truly is.

This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (see our full review)

I just can't with words for this book. I wanted to jump into the pages and hug Elise and pet her hair and tell her everything was going to be alright, but then she met Vicky and I would have been superfluous.

Leila Sales is, simply put, the master of contemporary, realistic fiction and she double out does herself with this book.
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

Even though I read far and wide this year, I am still a very predictable person and anyone who didn't see Quintana of Charyn coming in as my number one book of the year has obviously never read one of my lists before.

This is the perfect conclusion to my favorite series by my favorite author. I read, breathless, from beginning to end and then immediately started it up again.

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