Although I didn't meet my personal goal of 50 books this year, I did make it to 40 and furthermore, I read a lot of good books this year. Actually while searching through the books I read this year and choosing favorites, I realized that I generally like the books I read. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's probably worth considering eventually (maybe). Despite that, it wasn't very difficult to play favorites this year. Some book just really stand apart.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
There is so much to say about this book. Asdfghjkl, but I have no adequate words. I'm convinced Rainbow Rowell is magic, and this fantasy-love-story hybrid novel is nothing short of it. In a world baring some similarity (yet still different) to Harry Potter's Wizarding World, Simon Snow and Baz Pitch are enemies -- and roommates. Baz seems to want him dead and even with his sub-par skills and the magic-eating nemesis personally after him, Snow just won't die. Review coming soon, but for now an ecstatic "best book of the year!" should suffice, I think :)
Perks of Being Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book. What's even more unbelievable is that despite having read this months ago, I still remember it so vividly. I think I always will. Perks is a poignant, thoughtful, and at times hilarious, coming-of-age story told in the form of letters from Charlie to his anonymous friend, recounting how he goes from an outcast to finally belonging somewhere. It might just be the coming-of-age story. It's hyped for a very, very good reason.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Another Rainbow novel? Why, yes. Because so long as she writes books, they will always be my favorite. The story of how Eleanor and Park, two misfit teens, fall in love hits you in the gut full force; it reaches down into you and holds on until the end. At the turn of the final page, you feel winded, sucker punched and exhilarated all at once. If you need more convincing, there's a full review right over here.
Aristotle and Dante Discover Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante might be the most underrated novel I've ever read. I just don't get why people aren't raving about this book from every corner of everywhere ever. Sáenz explores the realm of family and friendship and growing up in a way that is so gorgeously written, bordering on poetic without trying too hard. It's simple and elegant and so important. See me rave like mad about it in this full review.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The best word to describe this book is "fun". Or maybe "sweet"? Either way, this is the perfect novel to pick up when you're in the mood for a good story or are in reading. It took me mere hours to read Sam's story of getting to know the big Garrett family next door. Taken directly from my review, "My Life Next Door made me laugh, cry and fall in love with summer and all the possibilities the warm air carries." I was expecting a summer romance read and got so much more than that. The characters, OMG!
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
If I'd read Heir of Fire last year like everyone else, I have a feeling that this year's addition to the Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows, would have been on this list. But as it stands Heir of Fire wins. It finally gives readers what they've been waiting for - more depth. I felt like I befriended these characters and somehow cared more about their well-being than I had previously. For certain spoiler-y reasons, it felt like starting over, almost like a coming-of-age story. For the first time, we as readers were discovering the world right along with the characters and I really liked that aspect. Not to mention the wonderful cast of new characters we get to meet (Rowan!), who made the novel that much more fulfilling.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
You know a book was good when you wanted to hate it but love it anyway. That's what happened to me. A few months after brainstorming and outlining my recent novel, I picked up Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy and found a few similarities to my own story (something I usually hate to discover). I devoured the series anyway. Despite feeling a little to close for comfort, I think I'll write a full review of the books eventually, so for now I'll just say that I really love them, and this novel, the second in the series, escapes the dreaded sophomore slump with flair and a bit of flying :)
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Every Last Word is an intense yet heart-warming contemporary about a girl who has OCD and struggling to find a safe place and a group of friends that can help her deal with her condition. The novel depicts mental illness in a respectful and relatable way. It's may be something I haven't experienced but through her writing, it's easy to get a feeling for what it's like. The highlight of this story were the supporting characters. Stone shows us full and dynamic secondary characters within only a few paragraphs and it's brilliant writing.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Ugly Love was my first Colleen Hoover and my first new adult, and it didn't disappoint on either front. If it seems implausible, check out my gushing review. Tate's story of being too busy for a relationship and finding Miles, a guy miraculously more emotionally unavailable than she is, takes a turn when they begin a purely physical relationship. Hoover tells the story from a dual point of view that enhances the story ten fold and depicts her characters personalities really well. There great development, an interesting plot and well, I'll just say it, some pretty steamy sex scenes.
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Conclusions to book series aren't easy to write well. So when it happens, it worth thanking the stars above. Winter was a wonderful conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles, a fairytale retelling series surrounding four specific stories with a host of interesting characters all tied together in an epic, sci-fi world. It was full of pretty much nonstop action, but still managed to develop our characters and relationships fully. Meyer supplied satisfactory endings for her past characters and introduced two great characters in Winter and Jacin (possibly my favorites). It was a wonderful ride, a great ending to one of my favorite series.
2015 book awards
Sam from Thoughts On Tomes did her favorite books video award show style, and it was so fun to watch. Since I'd previously written out this post, I thought I'd just list my winners this year instead of talking about each one (so this post isn't too long).
Best Male Main Character:
Park (Eleanor and Park); Baz Pitch (Carry On)
Best Female Main Character:
Penelope Bunce (Carry On), Winter Hayle (The Lunar Chronicles)
Best Plot Twist:
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Best Book Cover:
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Best Male Sidekick:
Thorne Carswell (The Lunar Chronicles)
Best Female Sidekick:
Sloane (Since You've Been Gone)
Most Unique Plot/World:
Anna Dressed in Blood duo by Kendare Blake
Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation:
Perks of Being A Wallflower; Mockingjay
Best (New) Writer You Discovered This Year:
Huntley Fitzpatrick; Colleen Hoover
Best Candidate for Animation:
Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling