Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012: Part 3

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.

Like I mentioned yesterday, these are in no particular order.

Since today's the last day of 2012, this will be my final Best of 2012 post. Though there are many more books I'd love to name my best, these are the ones that stand out the most.

Author: Moira Young
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetic writing style, and an epic love story—making Moira Young is one of the most exciting new voices in teen fiction.
I was very surprised at this read. I picked it up during my read-all-the-dystopias phase and for some reason thought this was another dystopia. Instead, it was a story with just a brush of a crazy king. Nevertheless, the world-building, character development, and every piece of action made me love this. Though some people say that they can't get used to the raw slang in the book, I thought it made it all the more genuine.

Author: John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Oh, John Green. Why have I not discovered you before? I read An Abundance of Katherines solely because I saw a friend reading it, and thought the cover looked kind of neat. As for The Fault in Our Stars? After reading An Abundance of Katherines, I found it in the deep recesses of my TBR list and thought, "Hey? Why not?" Needless to say, it is heartbreaking, earth-shattering, and just page after page of wit and emotion.

Title: Unraveling
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed--as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows--with every fiber of her being--that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something--but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened--the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life--points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
This was an unexpected gem. I don't know why, but I honestly didn't expect a whole ton from it except what the usual sci-fi read can offer. Little did I know how blown away I would be by this story, and how teary (more like sobby) I would be by the end of it. Besides, Elizabeth Norris poured so much detail about the sci part of sci-fi that she could've been feeding me a bunch of crap and I'd still believe it. This, my friends, is a book for anyone who wants a good story.

Title: Ashes
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
I was put off by this cover. A lot. I absolutely hated it, and that was the reason why I didn't read it for a long time. Then I got bored, and picked it up from the library, AND BEHOLD, a fantastic new story was waiting for me. This, I believe, was one of my first post-apocalyptic reads, and had me entranced at its image of complete and utter despair. The fear of the characters I could feel wafting off of its pages, and eventually, I became very much attached to Alex and her companions.

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

I generally stay away from books with heavy topics involving abuse mostly because I've always felt it was a bit out of my comfort zone. But I eventually picked this up because of how good everyone in the blogosphere were saying it was. I picked it up, and several times I had to set down to take a breather. The entire book, I felt, made me put my mind on one thing: How is it possible to love someone who hurts you so much? Still, the ending left me satisfied, but still shatters my heart at what Allie had to go through. 


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