Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Part 1

There are just some books that I just can't express my love for enough. Genuinely, I loved all these books because they grabbed my heart and mind, wreaked havoc upon them, and left me wondering at how a book can do so much to me. There's just so many that I'd have to split them up into several different parts.

Author: Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery . . .

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
I can't believe I only read it four months ago. This is a fabulously enchanting story told by Death himself of the lives he observes. It blew me away, and in the end left me with questions that I couldn't answer (the good kind), and had me wondering at so many different things. What happened aftterwards? Was Liesel happy? Markus Zusak is a genius with words.

Author: Victoria Schwab
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger--a boy who seems to fade like smoke--appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know--about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.
The Near Witch was a chillingly beautiful read. It sent slight shivers down my spine, absolutely creeped me out, and I love it. I mean, it has a fantastic synopsis that drew me in immediately, and never let me down. The building of the world was stunning, and I definitely can't wait to read more from Victoria Schwab.

Author: Barry Lyga
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
This scared me. A lot. The mind games the author played with me tore my entire mind apart. Besides, this was totally out of my element. I used to reading lighter material, and though I don't read as many light reads now, this is way darker than what I'm used. Nevertheless, it was still very well written, and something I'd love to read again.

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
I'm not a huge fan of romances. Nor am I a fan of insta-love. But this? It was perfect. It's partially because of the absolutely cute title that blatantly states what this books about. But really? It was because of the two's relationship. It was absolutely sweet and downright perfect. Giselle at Book Nerd totally stole the words from my mouth in this one quote from her review: "How satisfying to read a book where the girl doesn’t want to rip her love interest’s clothes off!"

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Unexpectedly, this provoked a lot of thought from me, about the line between life and death. It's so fascinating how Megan Miranda created this story, leaving the lines just ever so slightly blurry. We know that Delaney dies. We know that she comes back to life, or is reincarnated by whatever power. But would I classify this as paranormal? Or is it some deformed sort of science fiction? Megan Miranda leaves a path of questions in her wake, and I absolutely can't wait for the next installment in the series.

Thank you so much for wanting to leave a comment! I read every single one of them, and respond to most of them!

I'm honoured that anyone would want to nominate me for an award, but I just don't have time for that anymore. This blog is award and tag free.