YA Superlative Blogfest: Best in Show

C2013 Banner The YA Superlatives Blogfest is hosted by Katy UppermanTracey Neithercott, Jessica Love, and Allison Miller. It’s a chance to highlight the best, most affecting, most entertaining YA reads of 2013. Get ready to add to your TBR pile!

Favorite Cover —

Three-way tie:

Cutest Couple —

Two-way tie:

Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I love these two more than almost any two ever.

by Simini Blocker

by Simini Blocker

Gansey and Blue from The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I know they aren’t a couple yet, but that scene in the mountains by the Pig…oh God.

by Maggie Stiefvater

by Maggie Stiefvater

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.) —

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Honestly, this book is a love story to fandoms, and nerds, and authors (which often overlaps), and should be recognized for that.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!) —

Three-way tie:

Eleanor & Park because all the feels.

The Dream Thieves because obviously I am obsessed. I read it in just over a day.

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black because I sat in a chair a read it while my husband gave me dirty looks and tried to convince me to do anything else.

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Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up. —

Two-way tie:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I am a broken record.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Runner up: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.

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Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel—

bk

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. One of the most satisfying series enders I’ve read. We could all learn a thing or ten from Rae Carson.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath—

Two-way tie:

Wren and Charlie in The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle. I mean, if you’ve read it, you’ll know. I am actually a twelve-year-old girl who giggles and blushes when she reads sexy scenes. These two embarrassed me.

Celeana and Chaol in Crown of Midnight. Oh my holy geez.

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.) —

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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. The voice is so unusual, and the story has a quiet power that sneaks up on you. I don’t know what a “debut” should feel like to read, but this book definitely read like it was written by a seasoned storyteller.

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2013.)

Two-way tie:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

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Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry—

Eleanor & Park. If this book doesn’t make you cry, your heart may seriously be stone. Like, get it checked out pronto, Tin Man.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.) —

ocd

OCD Love Story by Cory Ann Haydu. I won this on Twitter from Alison Cherry, and was bummed because I wanted The Dream Thieves. (I entered every ARC contest I came across for The Dream Thieves. It was a admittedly, not my finest hour.) I ended up being totally enthralled and emotionally invested in this book. I wouldn’t have read it otherwise, so I’m glad I ended up with it.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle —

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Or quadrangle. She’s with Mal. She’s wooed by Nikolai. She’s seeing visions of the Darkling. It’s all very sexy and confusing for Alina and me.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

poison280

Poison by Bridget Zinn. The frothy, fabulous narration. The magical, whimsical world-building. Bridget Zinn passed away before her book debuted, and that made it extra sweet and special to read this already brilliantly done debut novel. If you haven’t read it, do!

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2013 book) —

I don’t have any. This is really, quite sad. I have problems.

Now for my own Superlative category…

Twist Ending/Plot Point that Most Caught You Off-guard (Spoiler Free) —

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma. Just so unexpected and so much more painful than I was prepared for.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I couldn’t turn pages fast enough. Then I just wanted to go back and un-know what I knew.

Honorable Mention:

allegiant-book-cover-high-res

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I still don’t know how I feel about this. I may never. I will just have to accept that.

I read an article once (and this isn’t it, but it’s basically the gist) that no matter how many books we read per year (40 for me this year so far) we will NEVER read all the books published. We will never get “caught up”, because every year there will be books published we can never get to, and there are always classics we haven’t made time for, and etc., etc., etc.  

Putting together my responses for the Superlatives, I was overwhelmed by the volume of books read in 2013 that truly exceeded my expectations, and even more by the amount of books I can’t wait to read, and again was reminded that I will never read them all, no matter how hard I try. 

Having a problem of too many books to read, that is a very good problem to have!

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24 thoughts on “YA Superlative Blogfest: Best in Show

  1. I am definitely keeping this list to refer to for 2014. I’m always craving a good book but have no idea what to choose to invest my reading minutes in. While I was in L.A. for those three months this year I picked up my 14 year old son’s copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and had a good (“good” as in painful) cry throughout. I was actually angered because it brought back painful memories of my mom’s long and painful battle with cancer. I was actually angry with Mr. Green for a while, quite a while. I believe that this strong emotional experience that Mr. Green was able to elicit from me is exactly an authors aim. So truly I have a huge respect for all you gifted authors. Then I also picked up a copy of an older book that was in the dollar bin at a local thrift shop – The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. I never thought I’d be reading this one but hey, it was a dollar and I was hungry for reading. It turned out to be a quick read with some satisfying encounters between the two main characters. Now I’m curious to see the movie starring Clint Eastwood (who also directed) and Meryl Streep. Not a bad lineup! Currently I’m reading my oldest son’s copy of The Hobbit which is his favorite book right now. This is his re-read book. And the 14 year old son has put his copy of Divergent on my night stand. But I hesitate to invest in this series after witnessing his strong (“strong” as in angered) reaction to the series finale. That was tough for a mom to witness! I felt so helpless. But then again, the strong feelings an author can elicit from the reader IS the ultimate aim! Bullseye!!

    • I love this comment so much. I read it right after you posted it, but I was Christmas shopping (for you!) and couldn’t reply.

      THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is a phenomenally affecting book. I read it in 2012 and it made my top five. I can definitely see how it would touch you so deeply, and think John Green would be pleased and genuinely touched if he knew it garnered such a strong reaction.

      To your comment about authors wanting that visceral experience for their readers, I clearly agree 100%. I need and want to feel all the things a book is written to make me feel, and as with anything as subjective as reading, I also probably feel things that are individual to me, and me alone. That is what makes the life of a reader so utterly fabulous and rewarding.

      How much do I love that your sons, my nephews, are readers? More than I can say. I too was privy to your younger son’s somewhat extreme (though, totally founded) reaction to ALLEGIANT. I was right there with him. Reading is meant to remove us from our circumstances, our current mindset or place in life, and challenge us to feel something beyond ourselves. That very reason is why I write and love YA. It is the last time in our lives when we can truly be changed by something we read. It is when our identity is beginning to pull away from our parents and seek our own way. It is what makes being a YA writer such a gift. To recall and re-exprience that time, and to put perspective on those feelings, however wild or wonderful they are.

      Thank you for this heartfelt and totally moving comment. Love you bunches.

  2. You are so right in your final comment. Having too many books to read is the best kind of problem! We picked a number of the same titles for the same categories. I kind of wanted to put CROWN OF MIDNIGHT under every superlative ever, but that might have been a bit ridiculous. That Gansey + Blue scene was probably one of my favourites this year. Well, besides certain scenes in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, of course. 😉

  3. Love your category. The twists/endings that most threw me for a loop were NOBODY BUT US and DANGEROUS GIRLS. I can’t say ALLEGIANT because I read it a few days after its release and by that point, I’d heard all the raging. Thanks, Internet. 😉

  4. Yes, yes, yes to that Gansey and Blue scene. I wanted to reread it right after. (Also adorable was the Noah and Blue scene.) Man I loved that book.

    I want to say ALLEGIANT had a great twist ending, but I read the book after it had been out for a week and while I didn’t read any reviews or anything I got the feeling some people were unhappy with how it went. I figured either Tris or Four would die. I can’t think of any other books I read with great twist endings, and I love those. Must remedy this.

    • I totally reread the Blue/Gansey scene, like immediately. (And had reread it multiple times since) I love the Blue/ Noah scene! Also, because Gansey’s bed. That book just dipped into my brain and pulled out all the things I ever want in a book and then made them prettier and Virginian.

      Yes! I hate when you can guess a twist ending because of reader reactions. (FYI If I ever publish my novel it totally has a twist ending that will hopefully destroy you.)

  5. This is a spectacular list! I haven’t heard of a lot of the books you mentioned, so I am excited to start 2014 with plenty to read. It’s strange how, when I have more free time I read less, and when I have less free time I want to read more. I only read books when I was working or at school this past year and in 2012, so I feel bad that I didn’t use my free time more wisely haha. Eleanor and Park was my favorite read by far, and I know I will go back and re-read it over and over again. Such a lovely piece of prose.

    • Oh awesome! So glad to add some new books to your pile and 2014 list! Every title mentioned here I would recommend. Some are sequels, so make sure to grab the first one in the series on those because I DO NOT want you to miss out!

      ELEANOR & PARK…my heart. Such a beautiful book, I agree!

      • Yeah, I am glad to see the categorie for best sequel and best ending to a series! I recently had to stop reading Insurgent because I was so disappointed in it, but I might start reading series again next year knowing that some people can get it right.

      • I’m sorry you were disappointed with Insurgent, but understand the sentiment completely. I love the series’ I recommended here, and in some cases (SIEGE AND STORM, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, and THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy) the sequels were even better than the first books!

  6. Great category! And now I feel like I need to finish the Mara Dyer series and Allegiant right now. Oh, and yes. Your ending comment is so true. I will never catch up, but it’s okay. I’m reading a lot of wonderful books in the process.

  7. It’s all very sexy and confusing for Alina and me. I’ve been putting off this book too long.

    And I understand giggling like a twelve-year-old when reading certain scenes. I might have been snickering as I copied and pasted that Hector quote into my post yesterday. Mature, I am not.

    • I am so glad you will be picking up NOT A DROP TO DRINK. I loved it, clearly, and I honestly wasn’t so sure going in. It ended up hitting me a lot harder than I expected, and it has really stuck with me.

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