DON’T CLICK IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED.
BOOK ONE: HDU, by India Lee
Amanda’s life sucks. After her lifelong best frenemy stole her boyfriend, she was forced to move back to her small hometown in Missouri with no job prospects and plenty of pitying looks from the town gossips. The only thing she actually has a good grip on is moderating HDU (How Dare U), an ONTD-esque gossip blog. After posting one too many angry screeds about hot douchebag actor Liam Brody, she recieves an out of the blue email from Liam, who’s looking to rehab his image. When Amanda suggests that he date a “normal” girl, guess who comes knocking?
HDU’s a fun, breezy read that’s made more fun if you’ve ever frequented Oh No They Didn’t. The way that Amanda and Liam’s relationship plays out on the posts to HDU read exactly like something you’d see on ONTD. The other celebrities and scandals are twisty and soapy.
RECOMMENDED TO: ONTD regulars, people who miss Gossip Girl
BOOK TWO: The Diviners, by Libba Bray
It’s the Roaring Twenties, and Evie O’Neill has arrived in New York City after stirring up trouble in her Midwestern hometown. Evie, you see, has the ability to touch personal objects and get a read on the secrets of the owner of the object, and that ability is what made her parents ship her off to her Uncle Will, who is the owner and curator of the American Museum of Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. But when a strange series of murders start happening in the city, Evie, her uncle, and their friends find themselves entangled in this web of mystery and must stop it before it brings about the apocalypse.
I’ve read all of Libba Bray’s novels, starting with A Great and Terrible Beauty, and was pleasantly surprised when she wrote two thoroughly modern books after the last Gemma Doyle book. The Diviners is a return to her historical paranormal/fantasy roots, and like the Gemma books, it’s the first book in a trilogy.
Which means that I was pleased when I got to the end (yay, there’s going to be more!) and distraught (but when is the more coming out?!) as well. The plot is well-paced, the characters intriguing (Evie is lovable and loathsome at the same time; I [heart] Theta and Memphis so much, and the reveal about Jericho made me shriek [SPOILERS—will elaborate if you want me to later]!), and some of the language and turns of phrase that are just gorgeous. Example:
“There is no greater power on this earth than story. ” Will paced the length of the room. “People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense—words do. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.”
Also, it’s downright disturbingly creepy at parts. If you like that, go ‘head, if not, I advise that you read this only at high noon.
RECOMMENDED TO: fans of Supernatural, plucky heroines, and the musical Chicago.
I’m going to try this again this year, starting with the more recent books that I read at the end of this year. Uh.
What I mean is this: Instead of starting with whatever book I’m reading tomorrow, I’ll probably talk some about the two I read before that (I’m going to count the Year from December 26th of this year to 12/26/13 if that’s okay), because I really loved one of the books and can’t stand the idea of not talking about it in some way.
IN THE MEANTIME, this is what I read in 2012, ratings included (no stars = BURN IT, SALT THE EARTH, MAKE SURE NOTHING EVER GROWS THERE AGAIN; five stars = BARFING RAINBOWS, IT’S SO GOOD. Again, my opinion is highly subjective):
- The Leftovers, Tom Perotta (January, ***)
- Tempest Rising, Tracy Deebs (January, ***1/2)
- Destined, Jessie Harrell (January, ***1/2)
- 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson (January, ****)
- How to Say Goodbye in Robot, Natalie Standiford (January, ****)
- The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier (January, ****; reread)
- Blood Wounds, Susan Beth Pfeiffer (January, ****)
- Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison (January, ***1/2; reread)
- The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (February, *****)
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brasheres (February, ****1/2; reread)
- Monster, Walter Dean Meyers (February, ****; reread)
- Beautiful Chaos, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (February, ****)
- That Was Then, This is Now, S.E. Hinton (February, ***1/2)
- The Future of Us, Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (February, ***)
- The Last Little Blue Envelope, Maureen Johnson (March, ****)
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Gramme-Smith (March, ****)
- Famous, Todd Strasser (March, ***)
- A Separate Peace, John Knowles (March, ***1/2; reread)
- Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead (April, ***1/2)
- Legend, Marie Lu (April, ****)
- Forever…, Judy Blume (April, ***1/2)
- The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney (April, *****)
- The Giver, Lois Lowry (April, *****; reread)
- Thumped, Megan McCafferty (April, ****)
- Jane, April Lindler (April, ***)
- Forever, Maggie Stiefvater (April, ****)
- Shine, Lauren Myracle (May, *****)
- Shut Out, Kody Keplinger (May, ***)
- Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver (May, ***1/2)
- Living Violet, Jaime Reed (May, ****)
- When She Woke, Hillary Jordan (May, ****)
- Divergent, Veronica Roth (May, ****)
- The Selection, Keira Cass (May, ***1/2)
- Very LeFreak, Rachel Cohn (June, ***1/2)
- Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma (July, ****)
- The Time-Traveling Fashionista, Bianca Turetsky (August, ***)
- Reunited, Hilary Weisman Graham (August, ****)
- The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker (August, ***1/2)
- Dare Me, Megan Abbott (September, ***1/2)
- Easy, Tammara Webber (September, ***1/2)
- Princess, Courtney Cole (October, **)
- Entwined, Heather Dixon (October, ****)
- Wide Awake, David Levithan (November, ****; reread)
- The List, Siobhan Vivian (November, ****)
- Decked With Holly, Marni Bates (December, ***1/2)
- Warm Bodies, Issac Marion (December, ****)
- The Diviners, Libba Bray (December, ****1/2)
- HDU, India Lee (December, ****)
BOOK THREE: Destined, Jessie Harrell (three and a half stars)
I’ve been fascinated by the story of Eros and Psyche since sixth grade, when our English and social studies classes did units on ancient Greece (which culminated with Greek Night, when we all had to do some presentation involving an aspect of ancient Greek culture; my group did a skit called Medusa’s Hair Salon). I’ve read a few books/short stories with this myth as a basis, and even attempted to write my own during NaNoWriMo a few years back.
Destined was not one of the best of the adaptations.
Oh, it was an easy read, and cute. I liked Psyche’s personality. She had enough moxie that it wasn’t grating and didn’t read like faux girl power. However, I didn’t like the POV change—Psyche’s chapters are in first person; Eros’s in third. It disrupted the flow for me.
If you’re looking for a light, fluffy reading of the story, by all means go with this one. But if you’re left dissatisfied by Destined, I’ll suggest one of my favorite retellings: Cupid by Julius Lester. I read it at the start of last year, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
BOOK TWO: Tempest Rising, Tracy Deebs (three and a half stars)
(Hi, still doing this!)
Mermaids were supposed to be the Next Hot Thing in the young adult genre after the vampire craze came to a head (remember how Stephenie Meyer was supposed to be writing that book about sirens?), but they were instead displaced by dystopian stories. (thank you, Hunger Games!)
Contrary to what the blurb on the book says, this is not a book that is only about a love story. Yes, it does play a part, but by and large it’s about Tempest coming into her own.
Simply judging by the ending, Tempest Rising is going to have a sequel. If it doesn’t, then the author’s just cruel. There’s some pretty interesting world building going on there, though. The story was okay, but the promise of another one has piqued my interest in it juuuust a little.
BOOK ONE: The Leftovers, Tom Perotta (three stars)
I think I first heard about this book in Entertainment Weekly or on NPR last summer, and had been eager to read it all year.
During my first year of high school, my dad got super-into the “audio drama” version of the Left Behind series, and he would play the CDs/tapes in his car whenever we went places. I hated listening to them partially because I found it to be boring and because frankly, the idea of the Rapture freaks me out. People just disappearing out of nowhere? Even if you do believe in God/a spiritual force, that is seriously kind of frightening. The Leftovers deals with the dread and horror of witnessing large swaths of the population disappearing, and some interpret it to be the Rapture—like the group the Guilty Remnant. Except, well, the faithful aren’t the only ones to vanish.
I wasn’t riveted by the story, but not so much that I got bored enough to completely abandon the book. It felt really slow to me, and just as the Guilty Remnant started to get really creepy, the book was over. I wanted more of that gloominess and fright and less of the character study that I felt the book really was.
- Hi, I’m Candice.
- I really, really enjoy reading—which goes without saying, as I would not be writing a blog called “What I Read This Year” if I did not enjoy reading.
- I usually read about 50 books a year.
- I have been keeping track of the books I read since 2005, and I’ve been keeping track online at Listography since 2007.
- I’ll still be doing that this year, but I will also be posting small book reviews here.
- “Small” = at least three sentences worth of my thoughts on books.
- I’ll also include ratings ranging from no stars (BURN IT, SALT THE EARTH, MAKE SURE NOTHING EVER GROWS THERE AGAIN) to five stars (I WANT TO CUDDLE WITH THIS BOOK FOR ALL ETERNITY). My opinion is highly subjective, so just know that before you look at a four star rated book that you think should have gotten one star.
- I read a ton of young adult fiction. Just something else you should know.
- That’s it! Hope you enjoy.