I was putting off doing this list as I had hoped to get a couple more books read while I was on vacation, but I spent that time combing old manuscripts I found for viable bits that could be salvaged for other things. (There are also about twelve books I wanted to read this year I've not gotten to, and I'm not going to finish The Luminaries before 2014 because it's 400 pages of description longer than it needs to be.)
My Top 10 Books Published in 2013
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This has been my favourite book of the year since February, and I didn't read anything that was nearly as perfect in its ability to reach through flesh and bone to hold onto my heart. It is the most perfect thing that Gaiman has written.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I love this book for what it accomplishes as its own story, and what it accomplishes as a second book in a series. I haven't stopped thinking about it.
The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton. I love this book for the same reasons I fell in love with The Raven Boys last year. At the core of The Lost Sun are three wonderful, flawed people whom I care deeply about. It has my new favourite BROTP (Soren and Baldur.) The world is thoughtful and seamless and it's the most inventive use of Norse mythology I've read in quite some time. This was my favourite new series, and I think it's highly underrated and more people need to read it. (Thanks, Kate.)
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. This book broke me in public and reduce me to tears on a train. I have no regrets. It is a monumentally important story. Brave, honest, and so full of hope.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. While I enjoyed Eleanor & Park, I had a stronger connection to Fangirl. I remember being Cath, and I cared about her—and everyone in this book—plus Rowell created her own fantasy world to fanfic for this book. That's dedication. This is a compassionate, honest look at the relationship between fandom and story.
Firecracker by David Iserson. This was a joyful discovery of a quirky, odd contemporary story that made me laugh out loud and then kicked me in the kidneys when I wasn't expecting it. It broke the standard YA formula, and I appreciated that.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff. I don't know if Paper Valentine is a perfect book, but it is so magnificently complex. There is so much going on in it, and it was the first book I read this year that reminded me what a well-written book can do. It's haunting.
Doll Bones by Holly Black. This is a lovely, creepy, thoughtful book about growing up and friendship and toys and stories. It reminded me a lot of Coraline in the sense that you can read it no matter what your age and get something out of the story.
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan. I enjoyed the second installment in the Lynburn Legacy, especially in the way it handled feminism and discussions about sexuality. I did not enjoy it's ending. You are a bad person, Sarah Rees Brennan. I had plans for those feelings.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. As a kid who grew up fascinated with space, getting to read a memoir of someone who has been to space is fascinating. But what I took from Hadfield's story was a reminder that while pursuing the impossible, you need to enjoy each step of the journey and not get caught up in trying to progress to the end goal.
Two Books I wish I'd read sooner
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. I have read all the David Mitchell books, and while this was the one I read the last... I think it's the one I like the most as a whole. Structurally it works the best for me, and it feels the most complete.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. There is a world in this book, and if you pay attention it will tell you how to create one of your own. Plus, it has horses that eat people in it. And George Holly is the Chrestomanci.
Five books for 2014 (That aren't the next in a series)
The Story of Owen by E. K. Johnston. (March) I read an ARC of this from Net Galley, and it is an accomplished, wonderful account of life in rural Canada. It is feminist; it has things to say, and it says them with clean, readable prose. Also, it has dragons. And jokes. It did the same thing that The Lost Sun did, in that about 100 pages in I realized I was going to be very upset if anything bad happened to any of the characters.
Half Bad by Sally Green. (April) I've read an ARC of this one, and I can't stop thinking about its world and wondering what will happen next. It's about a world where witches are real and they are either White or Black, but Nathan is the son of a white witch and a black witch. It's a gruesome, dark book and I like it.
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. (July)
Landline by Rainbow Rowell. (July) Rainbow Rowell's next adult novel. I think it's about a time-travel telephone, but it really doesn't matter because I'll read everything she writes.
Mary: The Summoning by Hilary Monahan. (Fall 2014) I read this one in manuscript format, and I am always pleased by the clean, readable prose my friend Hillary writes. Her books appear straight-forward, but they are smart, smart stories. And she's creepy. I mean, her book is.