If last year was my epic rock concert year, this year was my YA novel love affair year. I read some seriously amazing books this year. Books that inspired me. That made me cry. That invaded my sleep and caused me so much anxiety I could barely function for days on end. Books that I pushed on friends and co-workers and my sister because I needed people to talk to about them.
Not all of the books on this list are from 2013, but this is the year I found—and fell in love with—them. And there are dozens of other books that I read and loved, and dozens more that are still on my TBR list, because even though I managed to read 3-5 books/week on multiple occasions this year, I still had to do things like work, and talk to my husband, and, you know, write my own stories. All things I love, so sacrifices had to be made.
But for the books I did make time for, these were my favorites…
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (2011) and The Evolution of Mara Dyer (2012), Michelle Hodkin – Why I love it: A phycological thriller/paranormal romance series that is so expertly crafted you don’t know what to believe. Oh, and Noah Shaw, my favorite book boyfriend ever.
Shadow and Bone (2012) and Siege and Storm (2013), Leigh Bardugo – Why I love it: An epic fantasy series that sucks you into the world in the first few pages and refuses to let you go. There’s on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, and super swoony moments with multiple boys, and a girl who kicks serious ass. Also, the Darkling.
Unspoken (2012) and Untold (2013), Sarah Rees Brennan – Why I love it: Jared. He’s the ultimate bad boy who would do anything for the girl he loves. You know, except tell her he loves her. (Warning, these books may make you want to throw them across the room in agony.)
Pivot Point (2013), Kasie West – Why I love it: It’s like Sliding Doors but with teens with abilities and super swoony Texas boys and a little murder thrown in to complicate things.
Anna and the French Kiss (2010), Stephanie Perkins – Why I love it: All the feels. This books captures friends falling in love so perfectly, it made me fall in love with my husband all over again.
Imaginary Girls (2011), Nova Ren Suma – Why I love it: The writing is so f-ing gorgeous and the bond between the sisters is so powerful that it I’m pretty sure that if I went to the reservoir I would actually find Chloe waiting by the water for Ruby.
Shatter Me (2013) and Unravel Me (2013), Tahereh Mafi – Why I love it: A girl, who can’t touch anyone because her skin kills them, meets the one boy who (seemingly) isn’t affected by her. I’m not even going to talk about the other boy. Even thinking about him makes my anxiety flare up, which is part of the brilliance of Tahereh Mafi.
Across the Universe (2011), A Million Suns (2012), and Shades of Earth (2013), Beth Revis – Why I love it: This sci-fi series set (mostly) on a spaceship felt like I was reading in a world based on so many TV shows I love. It’s this awesome mix of Futurama, Firefly, and Doctor Who with some teenage angst and love thrown in.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2013), April Genevieve Tucholke – Why I love it: It’s creepy, and dark, and not at all what I normally read. But River is another (redeemable) bad boy I just couldn’t resist. And because of his powers, neither could Violet, which made it a whole helluva lot of fun.
The Selection (2012) and The Elite (2013), Kiera Cass – Why I love it: It’s a love triangle that made me switch which boy I was rooting for partway through. That NEVER happens.
The Fault in Our Stars (2012), John Green – Why I love it: The humor and frankness in a story about kids with cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s heartbreaking, but So. Damn. Lovely. Also, the diagram of virgins vs. 17 year old guys with one leg.
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell – Why I love it: It’s about a girl who would rather live in a fictional world than deal with the people around her. Enough said. (Well, not quite. Also, Levi.)
Allegiant, Veronica Roth (2013) – Why I love it: Veronica Roth wasn’t scared to do what was right for the character of Tris, even if it did break my heart. It’s not the ending I wanted for Tris or Four (or for me, for that matter!). But as a writer, I have to respect how much guts it took to do what she did.