Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014! YA Favorites of the Year

Another year is on it's way out the door! Wow, I can't believe how fast this one went by.  And while I feel like so many awesome reads got past me unread this year, I read so many great ones, discovered some new favorite authors, fell in love over and over again with so many amazing stories.  

So here, in no particular order, are a baker's dozen (because I can't bear to cut in any shorter!) of my very very absolute favorites of the year. I also included a little excerpt from my review. (These are books I read this year, not necessarily books that published this year) :)

While her new way of seeing things scares her beyond words, Olivia also becomes an even stronger woman because of it.  I loved the part she played in the suffrage movement, I loved the twisting and unpredictable, not-so-much love story, but attraction and fascination that Henrie and Olivia had toward each other.  And I love that at the end, she is standing strong, following no one’s influence but her own. (read full review)

 I quickly found myself immersed in the haunting atmosphere and eerie occurrences of The Fall. Griffin’s writing is full of beautiful descriptions and hypnotic prose, and from the first chapter, it successfully makes the reader’s blood run cold with her absolutely phobia-triggering description of being buried alive.  The story builds in intensity in a way that feels like the tightening of a screw, with each brief chapter flipping back and forth in time and giving us another small glimpse at the whole picture. (read full review)

There is madness, elemental witches, long-buried secrets, and the walking dead.  The Glass Casket sparkles with magic and wonder while still delivering a gut-churning dose of horror and gore.   With all manner of vivid imagery, from mountains and thick forest,  the shadows lurking in the washroom, and the body lying with its throat torn out---the author's carefully chosen words play it all out on the page in a way that pulls the reader in and holds them captive in this eerie, dangerous world.(read full review)

With Infinite, Jodi Meadows' epic Newsoul trilogy comes to an end...and also earns it's spot on my shelf of absolute favorite series. It's a rare thing that I can proclaim that a series kept the same level of excellence through it's entire run, maybe even getting better and better with each new installment.  This series did exactly that. (read full review)

I do hope this will be the start of a series of adventures, because this one was pure fun and danger and excitement.  Abigail and Jackaby have a great and humorous rapport between them (and completely non-romantic, I might add!), as she gets swept along in his madcap manner of solving supernatural crimes but also holds her own in being clever and observant in ways that he tends to miss.(read full review)

Oh, Mary Pearson.  You clever author.  Kiss of Deception fully and completely captured me from beginning to end.  I found myself mesmerized by the extraordinary writing, engaged in this gutsy heroine who fled a world she felt entrapped in, and blindsided by a plot that somehow completely pulled the rug from under my feet. (read full review)

As much as I loved Cynthia Hand’s debut paranormal series, and as much as I am not a contemporary fiction reader, I think that this is my favorite book of her so far. So beautifully done but in a way that feels like a snapshot out of the life or a normal teen.  It’s incredibly touching story that sends us reeling through a girl’s journey of grief, guilt, and trying to move on.(full review to come)

I adored the first book in this series, and this installment had no problem living up to it.  The story is outstanding all the way through.  The writing exudes the feel of a classic fairy tale adventure. Brilliant plotting makes it so that every twist and turn is a complete surprise.  Both sisters, and now Andrei, are all incredibly dimensional characters with a full gamut of reasons and purposes and emotions that drive them and bring them to life. (read full review)

This story takes mythology, assassins, tiaras, southern manners, head-butting, cotillions, and romance and mashes it up into one big fun, action-packed, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartfelt read. I can’t recommend it, or any other of Rachel Hawkins’ books, enough! (read full review)

This Shattered World takes place in the stark, swampy world of Avon, where Captain Jubilee “Lee” Chase and colonist Flynn Cormac find themselves at the turning point of a rebellion.  He kidnaps her, convinced that her high position in the military can answer questions he has about a “disappearing” base in the east. As their two opposing worlds coming crashing down around them, they find themselves thrown together working toward the same truth.(read full review)

Trial by Fire is a fantastic start to this series, with one exhilarating scene after the next throwing the story along at an incredibly fast pace.  There are moments of danger and fear and romance… and one scene that had me laughing harder than I have in a long time at a book.  Multiple interesting characters, a well-orchestrated battle between magic and science, and the possibility of endless worlds to come will have me counting down to the next book in this imaginative fantasy.(read full review)

There is really nothing I can pinpoint aside from just good storytelling that made me absolutely love this story. I loved both main characters for their strengths, weaknesses, and loyalties; there are twists and surprises and horrors; there are moments of hopelessness that you just know will have to be overcome or you’ll be devastated for Luke and Rosa.  And, of course, there is the love story: conflicted and forbidden and born out of kindness in the last place that either of them expected to find it. (read full review)

And last but not least, I read this whole series in one shot this year, so I'm counting this as one choice! LOL
If you love action, adventure, magic,  steampunk, and can stomach a bit of gore that comes along with the rising dead, this series will thrill you from start to finish. (read full reviews)

Update: Ok, I have to add one more! I didn't exactly forget about this one, but I initially left it out because I thought I'd read it in 2013. But then I realized I read it in January 2014! So here it is, a 14th pick for 2014, but honestly probably my favorite of them all:
For me, there is nothing out there that quite compares to this phenomenal series.  With this third installment, Cress, The Lunar Chronicles only strengthens its spot at the top of my list of favorites. I might even go so far as to say that with Cress, this series has outdone itself. While all three books have received 5 well-earned cupcakes from me, and while each one had me laughing and worried, excited, and hopeful, Cress is the first one to make me break down in actual tears.  Though I come close often, I don’t actually cry very easily at books…and for that I love this one all the more. (read full review)

What a great year in YA books!! What were some of your favorites?


  1. Yep I need to read the Something Strange and Deadly series soon!! I haven't read the majority of your picks so hopefully I'll be able to get to some of them in the new year! I did love Rebel Belle and The Kiss of Deception very much :D Happy New Year Miss Becky ;)

  2. Awesome list! I think I need to add couple of these to my TBR :)

  3. Morgan @ Gone with the WordsDecember 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I loved The Glass Casket too! I feel like I must have found it through your blog because I don't know anyone else who has read it! Kiss of Deception and These Broken Stars (so I can get to This Shattered World!) are at the top of my 2015 TBR. I've seen them both on so many favorites lists. Happy reading in 2015! :)

  4. I haven't read any of these books yet! But I've been wanting to. I'm actually about to start This Shattered World right now (my first read of 2015!)

    Some of my favourites were The Winner's Curse, Cruel Beauty, Heir of Fire, and probably a whole lot more I'm forgetting!

    Happy New Year!

  5. Meeep! Yay :D So many amazing books. <3 I loved a lot of these books too :D The Fall was just so good. <3 Okay, I loved many of these, so not mentioning them all, but so glad you liked many of them :D Excited about some of the others; curious about Jackaby :) I hope 2015 will be all kinds of amazing for you Becky. <3

  6. Yay! I loved every one of the books that I've read on your list! I'm so hoping Macmillan is sending out their review copies of Heart of Betrayal ASAP... :) I need to know what happens!