Time for another year-end round-up! These are my personal favorite books of 2012. I hope you all had the chance to read some awesome new books this year or maybe you discovered some classics that you enjoyed. Just keep on reading. It was a strong year in YA literature. I found interesting and well-written books in several genres: fantasies, dystopian fiction, historical fiction, even non-fiction. Let’s take a look:
Modern fantasy; supernatural elements
*Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.
Every day by David Levithan.
Every morning A wakes in a different person’s body, in a different person’s life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.
Seraphina: a novel by Rachel Hartman.
In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.
Historical Fiction; WWII
*Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
Bomb: the race to build and steal the world’s most dangerous weapon by Steve Sheinkin.
Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos.
Historical Fantasy; supernatural elements
*The Diviners, by Libba Bray.
Seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan.
Lured by the witch Misskaella, who possesses secrets for luring beautiful sea-wives from their underwater homes and transforming them out of their sealskins, a fisherman on remote Rollrock Island becomes the witch’s victim when he falls desperately in love with the woman he has captured.
Modern realistic fiction; mystery
Burning Blue by Paul Griffin.
When beautiful, smart Nicole, disfigured by acid thrown in her face, and computer hacker Jay meet in the school psychologist’s office, they become friends and Jay resolves to find her attacker.
Son by Lois Lowry.
Unlike the other Birthmothers in her utopian community, teenaged Claire forms an attachment to her baby, feeling a great loss when he is taken to the Nurturing Center to be adopted by a family unit. Companion book to: The Giver, Gathering blue, and Messenger.
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse.
When Radley returns to the United States after volunteering abroad, she comes back to a country under military rule with strict travel restrictions, and she must find her way back to her Vermont home through the New England woods.
*The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.
*Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
A world away by Nancy Grossman.
Sixteen-year-old Eliza, an Amish girl, goes to work for an “English” family as a nanny to two young children, and must then choose between two entirely different ways of life.
My life in black and white by Natasha Friend.
When beautiful high school student Lexi is involved in an automobile accident that leaves her disfigured, she must learn who she really is beyond a pretty face, and she must also learn to forgive.
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony, Rodrigo Corral.
In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is “Chopsticks.”
Have a very Happy New Year and here’s to more amazing books to read in 2013!
Teen Services Librarian
* Top 5 from this list, my must reads.