Sunday, December 22, 2013

A New Year’s Toast to Our Favorite Books of the Year


At this point, you’ve probably read a lot of lists of the year’s best books.  While we agree with so many of the fantastic books praised by the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and NPR, we’d also like to point out the top three books that we devoured this year that didn’t make it into those lists.

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

The story takes place on the floating city of Internment where you can be whatever you want to be, but you can never leave. Even getting too close to the edge of the city can lead to madness, as the main character, Morgan, knows from her own brother’s experience. But when the first murder in a generation rocks the city, Morgan can no longer stop herself from wondering what's truly keeping her in her place.

While at first glance, this may look like another dystopian book in an oversaturated market, in DeStefano’s hands it is so much more. Easily one of the most beautifully written books we’ve read this year, DeStefano’s prose is so poetic, yet effortless. We’re so glad this is just the first in her new series. If her Chemical Garden series is any indication, we're in for a really gripping ride.

Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The latest book in the Bloodlines series follows Sydney Sage, a human torn between her family, her career as someone who bridges the worlds of humans and vampires, and her relationship with her very sexy, very undead boyfriend.

It must be harder to get on to the best of the year lists if you are in the middle of a series, but Mead’s books just keep getting better and better.  The characters and relationships evolve and deepen, and the plot twists become more intricate. If it were up to us, The Bloodlines series would never end.

Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan

Based on a true story, the book tells the story of two 17-year-olds boys who take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new world record and take a stand against a homophobic attack.  Narrated by a Greek Chorus of gay men lost to AIDS, the rest of the book is filled with other teen boys dealing with relationship issues, coming out as gay or transgendered, and struggling with self-loathing.  

We have no idea why this book was overlooked by the best of the year lists. Not only is it gorgeous and full of pathos, that made Betsy openly cry on the subway, but it’s an important contribution to LGBT literature that should be taught in schools. Or maybe not, because it’s even better to discover it on your own and savor it, and then talk about it over and over until your friends have no choice but to read it and repeat the process. 
We don’t own the images, but hope Simon and Schuster (Perfect Ruin), Razorbill (Fiery Heart), and Knopf (Two Boys Kissing) won’t mind us borrowing the cover images to go along with the gushing reviews.

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