This is a post I have been dying to do since the beginning of the month when all the blogs started doing this, but I decided to wait until it was a little closer to the end of the year.
Because this is my FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2012 POST. There are 16 of them, and this list only includes books that were PUBLISHED in 2012, although I cannot say I have read all of the books published this year, nor can I say that I didn't discover some new favorites this year that were published prior to 2012.
These are ranked in decreasing-number style, indicating that my #1 favorite is the last one you'll see.
I have been harsh on this book, but it really is one of my favorites of the year. Not necessarily for the story-- I stand firm in my opinion that it was not what it could or should have been-- but the writing. There's no denying Lauren Oliver a spot in your heart when she wants it, and oh, does she want it. If there's a writer out there who reads Lauren Oliver's words and is not overcome with writer-jealousy, they're lying to themselves.
One of the most unique and unexpected books I've ever read. It made me think, it made me cry, and it made me glad that David Levithan doesn't shy away from writing about things that seem uncomfortable and teaching you that they really aren't.
14. The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
I love me some Deb Caletti, okay? And this book-- even more than Stay, which I'm pretty sure was intended to make you cry-- made me cry more than any of her others. This is the story that never gets told. This is the story of a couple who was comfortable and happy and perfect together, and their relationship fell apart anyway. Not because they turned against each other, but almost because they were too attached. The thing about this book is that it leaves you with the feeling that Cricket and Janssen's breakup might have actually strengthened their relationship. It leaves you with hope, but doesn't spell anything out for you.
13. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
There are plenty of books out there that try to combine a light summer romance with a heavy personal story, but none this year have done so quite as well as Second Chance Summer. I was ugly-crying by the end of this book, and at the same time the romance aspect had me internally happy-dancing. Great characters, great story, and a real emotional doozy.
12. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
(Hey, this book came out on my birthday!) Dystopian novels are kind of considered a dime a dozen these days, and as much as I think this is an oversimplification (there may be a formula to dystopias, yes, but they're all different! My love for the dystopian genre prevails because people are always coming up with new worlds in which we'd never want to live, and they're all pretty fascinating), this one surely stands out in the crowd. It's a strange combination of futuristic techno-society and primitive tribal society. The characters, the romance, the world-building, everything seems to be done well and thoroughly in this book. If you're becoming jaded toward dystopias, try this one before you write off the whole genre.
11. Live Through This by Mindi Scott
I don't really want to say much about this book, because the less you know going into it, the better your experience reading it. I'll just say that it's a really important and powerful book, and you should read it.
10. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
If you had any idea how many books I read this year that wished they were this book, you might be concerned. This is the kind of light contemporary romance I long for and so rarely receive. If I can put your book on the same shelf as my Stephanie Perkins books and not feel like it's contaminating the awesome of that shelf, you're doing something right. (full disclosure: this book actually isn't on the shelf with my Perkins books, but the point is that it COULD BE.) The main character isn't a whiny, boy-crazy uptight brat! The love interest has qualities that make him seem like an actual person! They have witty banter and meaningful conversation! YAAAAY.
9. Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien
I. Love. This series. Promised was the perfect ending: bittersweet, heavy on the bitter. I can't actually believe that there are enough books ahead of it to make it number 9. Gaia! Leon! Commitment with absolutely nothing wishy-washy! Science fiction done believably! Supporting characters getting the attention they deserve! READ THIS SERIES.
8. Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky
Why haven't I heard from more people who are into this series? I don't get it. Middle Ground is the ideal sequel: it ain't no bridge book. If you ask me, it's better than the first one. The characters are stronger, the story is more interesting, and the overall concept is darker and more disturbing. Which, you know, is exactly what I want. I'm a big fan of escaping into worlds that make me go all NO THIS IS BAD MAKE IT STOP THIS CANNOT HAPPEN, and this book TOTALLY BRINGS IT. Also: relevant. That's all I'll say.
7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
This might be higher on my list if I were more of a Mortal Instruments fan, but we all know I'm an Infernal Devices girl through and through. The Mortal Instruments just don't *get* me like the Infernal Devices do, and that's okay because I still love these books. City of Lost Souls made my inner (okay, not-so-inner) fangirl squee and sob and analyze and just generally not want to put the book down. Mostly this was because of the references to TID, but this book really made me appreciate TMI more as well. I particularly appreciated the way the supporting characters (SIMON. SIMON. SIMON.) became more important in this book, and how the relationships you'd never thought about before were brought into light. You can tell an author really knows and loves her characters when they all have their own connections, rather than false connections that come from having someone in common.
6. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I finished this book the day after it came out, and I would have read it through the night were I not such a big fan of sleep. It is that good. To be honest with you, I don't really care about the minor plot holes and inconsistencies that everyone seems to think diminish the quality of the book. TRIS. AND. FOUR. Just, ugh. If you're looking for a series where there's real character development and a relationship that actually mimics reality, look no further. Allow me to introduce you to Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton.
This is a series I could read over and over and over, and Black Heart is once again the perfect ending. I just really love this take on magic (if you want to call it that), and how it's given a twisted criminal side in these books. The love story helps, too. And I have to say, this one is probably my favorite in the whole series, because not a single element of the story is left out of place. Everything in this book has a point. Something may seem small and insignificant, so you forget about it, but then later on it comes back and BAM! Ruins everything. Saves the day. Whichever. All of the dots are connected and Cassel's story is wrapped up in an open-ended kind of way, which only makes sense. I mean, I personally never *really* wanted to feel like I was saying goodbye.
4. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
This has been my comprehensive review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer by the infallible Michelle Hodkin.
3. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
My first experience with this book was at a signing with Cassie Clare, Holly Black, and Sarah Rees Brennan, during which Sarah read a particularly hilarious (though, really, most of them are particularly hilarious) scene from Unspoken whilst acting it out by unbuttoning her cardigan. And so began my infatuation with this crazy Irish lady (if you're not obsessed with her yet, you soon will be, grasshopper). Fortunately, I had already preordered the book, and then I just had to wait FOR TWO MONTHS for it to come. And oh, I was not disappointed. Sarah said her goal was to give readers something that would make them laugh and cry, and evidently she takes her goals PRETTY SERIOUSLY because I laughed so hard I cried, and then I cried so hard that I went back and reread the parts that made me laugh because I wanted to remember the good ol' times. The times before THAT ENDING. Cruel, evil, and undeniably fabulous.
2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
THIS. BOOK. I'm about to turn into an incomprehensible mess, because that's what happens every time I try to explain how much I love this book and its characters. The freaking characters, man. To me, every single thing about this book is perfect. It's like, "Hey, I'm going to give you a premise and see what you think: Girl has a prophecy that says she will kill her true love by kissing him. She meets a ghost and finds out that she either kills him or falls in love with him. I know what you're thinking. Obviously she's going to fall in love with him. This is a YA book after all. But oh, I'm going to twist your brain around a little before I tell you whether you're right." The great thing about this book is that no matter what happens, I will love it. I'll love it if Blue falls in love with Gansey, because okay, I'm a little bit in love with Gansey and I want him to have a deep connection with someone other than Adam. But I'll also love it if Blue kills Gansey, because I will be absolutely devastated and I'm a glutton for punishment. And because that would make these books even less trope-y than they already are (which is... well, not at all). It would spin the world's perception of YA on its axis. It would BE TOTALLY GREAT. Allow me to just finish this by listing the numerous other things that make The Raven Boys my perfect book: the friendships, the setting, the magical aspect, the reasonable main character, the weird way my brain connects Gansey and Adam to Gatsby and Nick, Gansey himself (he's a naive teenaged boy with enough confidence and suave to make it okay when he acts like a mature adult), the fact that the characters see each other's weaknesses, the mystery, GOD I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AGAIN.
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
So it turns out, if I wanted to find my favorite book of 2012, I didn't have to look very far or for very long. This was the first 2012 book I ever read, and it set the bar so high that no other book could really jump over it. So many good things have been said about TFiOS, oh, I don't know, EVERYWHERE (pretty sure it's on every "Best Books of 2012" list in existence), I don't feel the need to explain why it's my favorite. I just had to say that it is. I can't express the gratitude I feel for having been introduced to Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters.
In the book, Hazel talks about how there are some books that you love in a way that makes you feel like the broken world will never be put back together unless and until everyone reads them, and there are some books that you love in a way that makes you feel like they belong to you and you alone, and it would be a betrayal to announce your love of them to the world. This book is both for me. I think the world would be a better place if everyone were to read it, but at the same time I don't want it to belong to everyone. And I'm pretty sure that's how everyone feels about it.