Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 13 of 2013

2013 is almost over, which is an incredible thought. It is difficult to believe that exactly one year ago I posted my top 12 of 2012 list, but somehow the year has come and gone, leaving a trail of blog posts and blogging milestones in its wake. In 2013, I celebrated Forever Literary's first birthday, I helped start Lit Up Review and continue to regularly write for it, and I attended my first book convention—ALA Annual 2013. This year was also my first full year of blogging (last December's favorites post only included books I read after founding Forever Literary in May due to the way blogging changed me as a reader), and I selected favorites from the entire year for this post. 

So, without further ado, I present to you the best YA books I read this year, ordered by the date I read them.
1. John Green's books in general
Yes, I realize this is cheating. However, since 2013 was the year I read everything John Green has published—including two zombie apocalypse novellas—he would have dominated this list, and that would not have been fair to the other titles. John Green's books are smart, witty, well-written, emotional, and any other positive adjective you want to add to this string.

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This series features some of the most complex characters gorgeous combinations of words I have ever encountered. Shatter Me is one of my all-time favorite books, and Ignite Me is probably my number one most anticipated 2014 release.

3. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Ally Carter never, ever disappoints. This book showcases her nearly perfect plotting tactics and keeps readers in constant suspense, making them desperate to know who committed this book's crime—and what Hale's first name is.

4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book is another obvious selection, but it is so good. The detailed piloting parts may be a bit dry, but readers who can get past them will be rewarded with a mind-twisting plot and horrifying historical details.

5. Golden by Jessi Kirby
This novel contains the kind of story that reminds me why I love reading. The protagonist and I could have been the same person as she struggled to shed the boundaries her quintessential good-girl personality set. I connected with her so much that I fell into the story and never wanted it to end.

6. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Sales's third published novel contains heaps of emotion as well as brilliant character development. The author shows how the main character's insecurities and DJing job shape her personality, which turns the protagonist into a relatable and realistic character.

7. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
I went into this book expecting a fun summer read, but I received so much more. Smith's writing is stunning in a subtle way, and she crafts an unstable protagonist who lends the story a supercharged tone. Reading Wild Awake was an experience I will not soon regret.

8. Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
Born Wicked made my top 12 of 2012 list, and I loved its sequel even more. Star Cursed raises the stakes of the trilogy's plot and builds upon the atmospheric setting, and its ending turned me into an emotional wreck.

9. All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
I almost did not put this title on my top 13 list because I had some issues with the romance that is supposed to be a central issue in the plot. However, the novel's uniqueness convinced me to include it. The author drops readers into her story's world with no background information on the setting, and she proceeds to tell her story in a gorgeously written second-person narrative. I reread paragraphs multiple times, soaking in the beauty of the book's words, which is a strong indicator of literary quality.

10. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Anderson wrote this book in a lush, illustrious style that paints pictures without being overly descriptive. Even better, this story spotlights characters who were barely noticeable in Peter Pan and gives them their own stories, which are every bit as good as the classic children's tale.

11. United We Spy by Ally Carter
I adore this series more than words can convey, and while reading the last book flooded me with nostalgia, I could not have been happier with the way the Gallagher Girls' story ended.

12. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein is making a second appearance because her books are that good. Harrowing yet hopeful, this book still forces its way into my thoughts daily, even though I read it in October.

13. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Many people say they finished this book sobbing, and even I, someone who rarely cries over fictional stories, had a few tears in my eyes as I turned the final pages. Matson depicts one family's struggle with its father's cancer in a sensitive way and also leaves room for funny and romantic scenes. Second Chance Summer makes readers feel every imaginable emotion and appreciate the people they love just a bit more.

I read so many more fantastic books in 2013, and I hope the same is true for you. Have a fantastic New Year's Eve tomorrow night, and I will see you in 2014!


  1. I really agree with you about Star Cursed! I enjoyed the first one a lot, but I think I liked book two better. And that ending?!?! I need Sisters' Fate ASAP! :)

  2. Ahhh! The Fault in Our Stars is such a great book. I will literally read anything JG writes, even that weird zombiecorns novella haha.

    Definitely excited for Ignite Me too! I really want to find out who she ends up with D:

    I see Tiger Lily on these sorts of "top" lists, so I should definitely read it soon. Apparently it induces a lot of feels?

    1. Even Zombiecorns was wonderful! Only John Green could make a zombie apocalypse novella so deep.

      Aah, the love triangle suspense is killing me. I'm so Team Warner.

      It does. It induces all the feels imaginable.

  3. United We Spy was probably my favorite book overall this year. I'm sad that the series is finished, but I'm very happy with the ending of it. I have not read any of the other books on your list, which is something that I definitely need to fix next year! Many of these are going on my TBR list! :)

    1. I'm glad to hear that because they are all fantastic! You can join Sunny and me at out Gallagher Girls support group, which we founded before the last book came out.

  4. Your year really was amazing! I've read most of these and LOVED them, but I know that I have to read the others asap (Golden, Rose Under Fire, This Song Will Save Your life)! I'm glad you had a great reading year and hopefully an even better one in 2014!

    1. Golden is the perfect book to read at your age, when you're right on the brink of adulthood and seriously planning your "future." I can't wait to hear what you think!

  5. So much win on this list. I still haven't read Tiger Lily for some reason which I need to fix soon. And urghhh CODE NAME VERITY THAT BOOK. Great list, Emily :)

    Happy New Year and best of luck with competitions!

    1. YES THAT BOOK I CANNOT EVEN. Code Name Verity is the definition of capslock-inducing novel.

      Thank you and you too! Choir girls unite!

  6. Aww I feel kind of sad 2013 is coming to an end. It's weird to feel sad, right?--but I do. But on the bright side…look at all the great books going to be released in 2014!

    Ugh, I didn't even get to read TFioS this year! DX I will do it next year! Yes, I will read one of his books next year, dat shall be my goal. I didn't read any of the books on your list, but they all sound amazing and I am so glad you enjoyed them very much. ^^


    1. That's what I tell myself to make myself more willing to accept 2014. :)

      Yes, you should!! And let me know how you like it!

  7. I haven't read any of these but two -- and both by Ally Carter. She's awesome! :)

  8. YES YES YES!!! So many of these are awesome! Ally Carter is wonderful, so is TFIOS!
    Loved your choices! New bloglovin follower.
    Em @


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