Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013 Young Adult Roundup

I have to admit, I didn't read as much Young Adult last year as I have in years past.  Nor have I been following many discussions of what is noteworthy.  And even if I had, the times when I am in accord with the Printz committee are few and far between, so don't take this list as predictions -- rather, it's a list of personal favorites published in 2013.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (my review) -- This book is sweet and funny and hits all the right notes for me as a reader.  You'll see Rainbow Rowell's name again on this list, and her other book is arguably more distinguished, but this one was definitely my favorite.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (my review) -- This book has great characters and an interesting setting.  I found it engrossing and memorable.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (my review) -- On the other hand, I'd call this one harrowing, but extremely well-written.  It doesn't have the plot twists of this author's last novel, but the character development and setting are so raw and vivid that in some ways it is even more distinguished than its predecessor.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (my review) -- Here's the other Rainbow Rowell title that I promised.  This one is angsty and character-driven, and I loved it even though I kind of didn't want to.  It's a powerful emotional story without being manipulative.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (my review) -- It's rare that I would list the second book in a series among my top five, but this one is surprisingly good, maybe even better than the first book in the series.  Stiefvater's talent grows with each book she writes, so I look forward to seeing what she does next.

I do have a few honorable mentions:

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson --- delightfully creepy, with lots of atmosphere and just-right pacing, not to fast and not too slow.

Poison by Bridget Zinn -- fun and funny, this light fantasy is simply a pleasure to read.

Shadows by Robin McKinley -- one of my favorite authors took her writing in a completely new direction, and it worked.

And of course I loved The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, but it's impossible for me to separate out the merits of that particular book from the merits of the series as a whole.

In my chapter book post, I listed Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, which straddles the line between children's and YA and would be at home on either list, so I thought I'd just make note of it here.

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