That’s actually a bit of a lie. Quite a few of the books on this list weren’t actually published in 2013, but that’s when I read them, when they made me laugh, cry and love. As usual, there is a bit of a mix, reflective of my tendency to read a bit of everything – but I would strongly recommend any one of these fantastic novel (and some I have done in the past!). A belated Happy New Year to everyone, and Happy Reading, too!
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The most refreshing fantasy novel that I’ve read in a while. I loved the world of Seraphina, particularly the way that Hartman created her dragons. The fact that they were able to assume a human form and yet were so obviously un-human was fascinating, as well the undertones of anti-dragon discrimination throughout the novel. Seraphina was a wonderful blend of fantasy, mystery, political intrigue, secrets and romance. The story captivated and amazed me at every turn, and I recommend it to pretty much anyone I can. Seriously, if you have ever even considered liking fantasy, read Seraphina!
Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier
Well, it is a novel by my favourite author, but I really loved where Raven Flight took the Shadowfell series. I really liked how Neryn’s character developed with Tali around, and the way these two very different girls worked together. This novel just worked! The characters are fantastic, and the plot is really developing into something spectacular. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out, and I can’t recommend Raven Flight or Juliet Marillier enough!
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
I have reviewed this novel before, but again – this was an ‘issues’ novel that I found to be really well written. The issues were approached with sensitivity, yet in a way that I found intensely realistic and utterly believable. The characters were wonderful, and I felt Sid’s pain and strength throughout it. As I’ve said before, this was a hard novel to like, but a worthy one. Strongly recommended for readers 15/16+, only because the issues discussed are very confronting, but very worthwhile reading about.
The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson
This memoir of Leyson’s experiences during the Holocaust and on ‘Schindler’s List’ are exactly what you’d expect: horrifying and confronting. What I didn’t expect was how beautiful and approachable Leyson’s writing would be. While his memoir accurately depicts the horror of the Holocaust for Leyson and his family, he does not linger on the horror, but rather on the strength and bravery of those who survived (and those who didn’t). This is one of the best accounts of the Holocaust that I ever read, and I have recommended it to many students. This is definitely a memoir that is worth reading.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This is the book that instantly became one of my all-time favourites. It is so hard to put why I loved A Monster Calls so much into words, except to say that it broke my heart, made me cry, and made me think. If you’re going to read this (and you really should), read the illustrated version because the illustrations tell as much of the story as the words do. And they are beautiful words! This is almost guaranteed to break your heart, but it is a good kind of breaking and a worthwhile one. Read. This. Book!
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
One of the sweetest romance novels I read all year. Equal parts funny and romantic, and a novel where the fact that a lot of the characters are gay is not even an issue. A wonderful and romantic ideal! (Rating: 4/5)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
A fantastic ‘issues’ novel for pre-teens and teens alike. It was fantastic getting the perspective of different people on deformity and difference. Auggie is a wonderful character, and I rooted for him from the very first page! (Rating: 4/5)
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
I was late coming to this series, but I read all three books in a matter of days. I really enjoyed the dystopian world, and the twists and turns within it. Tris and Tobias were really interesting characters, and I actually loved the way it all ended! (Rating: 4/5)
Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider
A really good YA novel about popularity and finding out where you really belong. Both Cassidy and Ezra were great characters (as were the supporting cast), and I really enjoyed the way their relationship unfolded. A good read! (Rating: 4/5)
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
This was fantastic. Most YA novels have a certain amount of tragedy – Life in Outer Space has none. It is just a happy novel, without being toothache sweet. Really nice story about a nerd and his real life Princess Leia. I loved it, and so has everyone I’ve recommended it to. (Rating: 4.5/5)