Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review of All the Books I Read in 2013

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when I try to make up for not posting book reviews all year and stuff them all into one post. Read through for all of my 2013 book recommendations!! You can also read back to my 2011 and 2012 review for even MORE books to read. I introduced some new lists this year, and got rid of the new releases (too much work to look up which books came out this year... I know, I'm lazy).

Best Books of 2013
Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Such a clever, awesome book. Completely catches you off guard halfway through. Also FRIENDSHIP STORY. I am always asking for straight-up friendship stories, and that's what this is. And I got this, and Elizabeth Wein's second book ROSE UNDER FIRE for Christmas!! Yay!!
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - One of my favourite things is when a book makes you think really hard, and this one did. It was so awesome how the author got her point across. The characters and the way they were used was so fascinating. I definitely need to read this book again, because I know missed tons of stuff.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - This is a book about humans and dragons who live alongside each other, the dragons taking the form of humans so they can interact. It addresses discrimination, the characters are awesome, and the style of writing is similar to Megan Whalen Turner's. Such good writing. If you enjoy MWT or fantasy for that matter, read it!
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I don't think I can have a "Best of" list without Melina Marchetta on it. I actually put off reading Finnikin for a while, just because I didn't feel like reading fantasy for a while. Such a mistake. It was so amazing. MM never fails at creating awesome characters. But what impressed me is the completely fleshed out world that she'd created for Finnikin (and the sequels).
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - Best contemp I've read in a while. It didn't play on high school stereotypes, and the characters and situations were awesome and real. Rainbow Rowell definitely deserves to be the next big thing.
The First Third by Will Kostakis - A brilliant story about a Greek family. This also has stuff I'm always on the lookout for: diversity, family stories, focus on more than romance. Clever writing, and best of all, awesome characters and character development. You can find the review I did of it here.
The Fault in Our Stars - Not quite as good the second time around. I am now way less forgiving of the existence of the Van Houten character.
Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen - I feel like this book would appeal to readers of John Green and basically any contemporary author. I wish he was more popular. Also, JERK is a very interesting look into a young teenage boy living with Tourette's.
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - This book is everything that I ever want in YA. Good characters, focus on friendship, no high school stereotypes, family. These characters are my favourite. I could spend a hundred books with the characters in this book. I love how MM can make you (and Francesca) love a character with one well places line. Ugh. So good. (If you think I'm ever going to stop talking about Melina Marchetta, you can leave now...:D)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - How many times will I read these? Who knows? But Suzanne Collins remains a genius.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - I know lots of people don't like Mockingjay, but I love it. Suzanne Collins doesn't hold back for the sake of making her readers happy. I think what happens to the characters in Mockingjay is the logical next step to what happened in Catching Fire. There's an interview that did with Suzanne Collins where she said that she wanted to write a book for every age group about war, and I think she did it brilliantly, which I think is exactly why Mockingjay is so horrible.
Harry Potter - I think I reread these every year. I always find new stuff. (Like when Snape is teaching Legilimens to Harry and he's saying how it protects you against Voldemort, and then I realized that that's part of the reason why Snape can be a double agent!! Of course!!)
Books I Bought in 2013
Rush by Jonathan Friesen - Awesome, quick, entertaining read with an interesting concept. I bought it because I couldn't find it in the library and I loved JERK, CALIFORNIA.
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress - Couldn't find it in the library, read the first page and seemed interesting. I've actually had this on my TBR for a while, can't wait to read it!
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs - Found it in the markdown section at McNally Robinson, and A.J. Jacobs is absolutely hilarious. This book is a memoir about him trying to read the entire encyclopedia. If you like quirky, nerdy, awkward narrators that aren't ashamed, read it! (Also if you like learning interesting facts).
Allegiant by Veronica Roth - Of course I bought it. It was good, but I thought it didn't really deal with anything interesting. The ending was the only interesting thing, and I totally knew that was going to happen. I would've loved if Veronica Roth had dealt more with the issue kind of brought up in Divergent, about wanting to be the characteristics celebrated by all four factions not just striving to be one characteristic. But, subjectivity.
And some more recommendations
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King - I liked Please Ignore Vera Dietz, so I read this one. I wasn't disappointed; A.S. King does characters wonderfully.
Legend by Marie Lu - I'm almost done with dystopian, but this one was actually good.  I actually want to read the sequel (another thing I thought I was done with).
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - Awesome fantasy with a good female lead, and a diverse setting for a fantasy which I found really fascinating. The concept was unique, as was the focus on religion. I love it!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - There was so much hype around this book, and then lots of controversy over the writing style, so going in I had no idea what to think. I actually enjoyed it, thought the writing style quite refreshing, and thought it made sense. I think it's slightly convenient that the one person that can touch Juliette just happens to be a handsome boy her age, though.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  - A very cool, mysterious circus book. It took me a bit to get into it, but it actually turned out to be very interesting. Read my full review here.
There you go! A year's worth of book reviews. Now you can go out and buy some books with all the money you got for Christmas. :) Also what were some of YOUR favourite books that you read in 2013?


  1. Awesome! I'm glad you got to read so many books that you liked. :)

  2. Just wanted to comment so I can squee with you about CODE NAME VERITY (what an incredible book), SERAPHINA (elaborate world-building), and THE LUMATERE CHRONICLES (omg, Melina Marchetta is masterful)! I only read The Lumatere Chronicles in 2013 (the other 2 were 2012 reads for me) and they were my first Melina Marchetta books, and I was so blown away. I can't believe that was her first foray into fantasy because everything was so well-done. Bravo.

    1. YAYY sounds like you have similar reading tastes to mine. And yaaay Melina Marchetta. She is my favourite author of all time and it makes me happy when other people realize how awesome of a writer she is. :) You should DEFINITELY check out her contemps as well, THE PIPER'S SON, SAVING FRANCESCA and JELLICOE ROAD.

  3. There are some great recommendations here! I guess it's time to stock up at my library. I really want to read CODE NAME VERITY and some Melina Marchetta this year :)

    1. The more Melina Marchetta, the better.


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