This year, 2014, has been a year of reading and blogging, quite literally. I don't think I've ever read this much in a year, with as much purpose in the entirety of my life... and I'm quite proud of that as of today (the 17th of December) I have read a total of 108 books, not including re-reads or DNF's. So that brings us right up to the topic of today's post, what books were the best? What books have now taken up residence as a treasured favourite? Well, let me tell you, it was easy enough to list the ones I liked - it got slightly harder to come up with a list of ten books I read this year that I loved. I mean truly loved to pieces. Nevertheless, after much blood, sweat, and spilled tea, I have finally come up with the final list.
I decided to do a "favourite books of 2014" books rather than "top ten" because I have not read all the books in the world, so the ones I'm talking about in this post are simply the ones that are my favourites out of all the books I've read this year, they may not technically be the best or considered the "top ten of all YA books" though. Furthermore, everyone is going to have different tastes and opinions on books, again, this is only my opinion!
1. Splintered by A.G. Howard - Splintered is an Alice in Wonderland-esque retelling, and it drew me in straight away, everything from the writing style which was vivid and imaginative, to the whole world that the book was set in - it may not be the Wonderland we know and love, but if anything its darker and better than ever before! This is a book I cannot stop raving about, and has definitely been a huge favourite of mine this year!
2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - If you haven't heard of this book already then I'm very, very, surprised because We Were Liars was surrounded by a lot of hype before and after it was published. I've heard my fair share of people call it the it book of 2014 and I'm here to tell you it really is that good. I was on tenterhooks the entire time, not only was it exceptionally well written, but E. Lockhart took me on such a roller-coaster of a journey that I was shaking by the end of the book.
3. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - I'll admit that I was pretty sure I was going to love the latest installment in the Throne of Glass series before I'd even read it, and I did. Heir of Fire has definitely brought the series to a whole new level for me, from the character developments we see in Celeana to the sheer awesomeness of simply being sucked into Maas' world and writing style again!
4. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith - Grasshopper Jungle has been described as a very marmite book, which I think to some extent is true; you either click with it or you don't. Evidently I did click with it and whilst I read it very early on in the year it still remains a favourite. Not only was it a weird and original concept, but Andrew Smith doesn't seem to be afraid to put the finger up and write the truth. With LGBT elements, a little running for your life, and a whole lot of kickass writing this was funny, original and a book I think will get quite a few people into reading.
5. This Book Is Gay by James Dawson - James Dawson is one of my absolute favourite people, and one of my favourite writers, so when I found out his newest book was going to be non-fiction and on the matter of LGBTQ* teens and the topic in general I was really excited and it did not disappoint it was very colourful on the inside and out! Dawson's voice was brilliant, and I think this book could really help a lot of people to understand themselves and others, and not just teens but parents and everyone really! Also, I have to mention the brilliant illustrations by Spike Gerrell which just wrapped the book up very nicely!
6. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd - The Madman's Daughter intrigued me from the very beginning and it got better with ever turn of the page, like Splintered its reminiscent of a tale we've been told before, but with its own unique spin, and it had a similarly brilliant writing style and again it was quite dark, more so than Splintered, a grungy atmosphere that I was immediately sucked into.
7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown - This book had me on the edge of my seat and whilst I (and my lovely friend Arianne) certainly had my issues with it I still can't deny that I loved reading it, and I really did enjoy the writing style itself - everything about it stood out.
8. All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry - I was pretty late to the party with only getting round to reading this quite late in the year but nevertheless I'm glad I picked it up. I've praised some of the above books for being original, and this is pretty much the epitome of that! Written in the third person this book had the right amount of everything, from mystery to thrills, to good old contemporary moments, and just like We Were Liars it had me on tenterhooks! Not to mention the brilliant way the author made the main characters voice come across in her writing.
9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - Eleanor and Park was the book that made me fall in love with Rainbow Rowell. It was simply adorable, and I loved Eleanor and Park; Eleanor wasn't the perfect female that we see portrayed through the media, and Park wasn't your run of the mill guy either, he was slightly nerdy (for want of a better way to put it) and I loved him for all that he was. The story itself was honestly perfect, and the ending broke my little heart - it was an original contemporary that I knew right away would be going on my favourites list.
10. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas - I think Dangerous Girls is a pretty underrated book, I haven't heard many people talk about it but it was a fantastic read! It had me constantly second guessing myself and Haas' wrote in a way that I can only describe as cleanly, but everything still came across. I have yet to pick up the companion/sequel, but I'm hoping to do that soon!
It took me all of four hours to narrow down my list, and then my short list, to get to this point where I had ten books I was happy with, but there's still a few others that I can't leave out so the following few books were close contenders and definitely deserve an honourary mention because I loved them too!
(from left to right; The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Take Me On by Katie McGarry, Winger by Andrew Smith)
So that's it for this post! Since I'm such a pushover and still have others book from this year that I loved I will be writing a second post based on books in the UKYA genre rather than just the YA genre (don't worry its not as long as this one!) as that was something I really made an effort to read more of this year - thanks to Lucy, really, being her friend pretty much guarantees that you'll be influenced to read more UKYA, hehe.