Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Top 10 Books of 2013

Merry Christmas everyone, or nearly everyone. Or happy Wednesday if you don't celebrate.

I thought I'd post an extended version of my Top Books of 2013 to this blog. It started as a Top 5 on my tumblr, but I think I might extend it to a Top 10, just for fun.

For the record, this will be the top books I read in 2013, not necessarily just books that came out in 2013. So keep that in mind.

Take a look after the jump! (In the order I read them...)

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater -- read in January
The first book in The Raven Cycle Series, this was one of the first books I picked up this year. And wow, talk about starting the year off strong. I adored this book, which was actually surprising because I'd read Shiver last year and did not care about it at all.

I am a big fantasy fan and I loved the mythology and paranormal elements. I actually have book 2 borrowed from the library to read over the holidays and I cannot wait.

Read my full review of The Raven Boys here.
★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -- read in March
This book was powerful. I read it in one day because once I started I couldn't put it down. I was really drawn in by the narrative style--the idea of having the story told from Hannah's perspective through the tapes was really interesting. And the need to find out why Clay had been included in this list kept me turning the pages as well.

I actually don't have a Goodreads review to go along with this novel. I think probably because I was so engrossed in the story while I was reading it that after I finished I needed time to let it sit.

★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
Highly recommended. Content warning for teen suicide.

3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson -- read in May
Another powerful book about a powerful struggle in too many teen lives. This book completely blew me away. And more than that, it horrified me. The way Lia narrates this story is haunting and just plain messed up. It is another book I would highly recommend, but that recommendation would come with a huge trigger warning for anyone with an eating disorder. I like food far too much to ever be anorexic and hate vomiting too much to be bulimic--but this story was still highly disturbing for me.

Sadly, this is another book without a Goodreads review. I sort of fell off the reviewing wagon over there for a bit this year.

★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
Content warning for eating disorders, drug use and overdosing.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz -- read in July
Another book I read in one day. Once I stopped, I couldn't put it down. I'd first heard of this book in the months leading up to July. There were some tumblr posts going around about queer books for various Hogwarts Houses. Aristotle and Dante appeared on the Ravenclaw list. And as a huge Ravenclaw, I knew I needed to check it out.

I managed to snatch it up book shopping in late June and all but devoured it. It was a fantastic read, but sadly also falls in the time in which I didn't write any Goodreads reviews, so I have nothing further to link you. But definitely check it out.

★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
Highly recommended.

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell -- read in August
Hands down, this is probably one of my favourite books of all time. The characters are so real, so relateable... you can't help but root for them. I felt like I knew both Park and Eleanor, that it some other universe we could have been friends. I connected with them both and shared their highs and lows. There were times when I was grinning and squealing so hard that I was profusely grateful that I wasn't reading this book in public.

Another reviewless read, I'm afraid. But highly, highly recommended.

★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

6. Written in Red by Anne Bishop -- read in August
August was a great month for reading. And Written in Red took me completely by surprise. This first book of The Others Series, I'd seen this recommended on Goodreads by Wendy Darling, whom I follow and adore. We tend to have similar tastes in books, so when I found this at the library, I scooped it up.

I wasn't sure if this was really my kind of book though, after the first 50 pages. It was slow to start and I was still trying to wrap my head around all the worldbuilding. But I am so glad I kept going, because what a delightful read this turned out to be. It's not a perfect book, but it was immensely enjoyable and the characters became very dear to my heart. I found myself wondering what was going on in their universe when I'd put the book down for a bit.

Read my full review of Written in Red here.
★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller -- read in August
This book was such a lovely retelling of the story of Achilles and Patroclus, before, during and after the Trojan War. I had a passing familiarity with Achilles because of his prominence in myth, but hadn't really heard much about Patroclus. Through this whole book I just became desperately attached to him, though. Patroclus is a lovely narrator and I just grew to absolutely adore him.

And oh, oh the last few chapters. Send help, I still have not quite recovered. This book has made me long for more queer historical fiction like it, so if you know of any hook me up!

Reviewless as well, I'm afraid. I was still reeling from that ending.
★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

8. Redshirts by John Scalzi -- read in August
What a delightful book! I'm a huge Star Trek fan, having grown up on the series. My mom was and still is big into a young William Shatner as Jim Kirk... and I do not blame her one bit. And after reading the premise of this book, there was no way I could pass it up.

It does a brilliant job of lampshading the redshirt trope without becoming a parody of itself. And it's occasionally so meta I can hardly stand it. Super fun!

Read my full review of Redshirts here.
★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

9. Cinder by Marissa Meyer -- read in October
And here my reading is violently put on hold, marking the beginning of the new school year. But as luck would have it, our school library is second-to-none and Cinder had been calling my name all summer. Book 1 in the Lunar Chronicles Series I really loved the worldbuilding here. I was sort of expecting, you know, just cyborg Cinderella. But there were so many neat twists and turns, you could tell that Meyer had been inspired by Cinderella without making this novel just a simple rehashing.

I'm venturing that Scarlet is waiting for me under the Christmas tree at this very moment. And I cannot wait. I have been dying to read it since I closed the book on Cinder. (And tried to immediately sign Scarlet out of the library upon returning Cinder but had been beaten to the punch by a student!)

Read my full review here.
★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -- read in December
Last, but certainly not least, is Fangirl. I think Rainbow Rowell may be one of my favourite new authors. I absolutely adore her writing style and her characters. They are so easy to connect to. And boy, did Cath and I have some things in common.

I've been involved in fandom for basically as long as I've been on the internet. So going on 12 years or something ridiculous like that. And fandom tends to get a lot of flack, but Rowell handled it ingeniously. You can tell (even before you read the ending acknowledgements) that Rowell is involved in fandom as well. She knows how it works and does a lovely job bringing Simon Snow to life as well. I can't recommend this book enough!

Read more of my review here.
★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

And there you have it! My Top 10 Books of 2013.

What did you read and enjoy this year? Did any of these books make your list? Let me know!

And once again, happy holidays!


  1. Thirteen Reasons Why and Wintergirls are both on my TBR. They look amazing. The rest of these books I've never heard of.

    1. I LOVED those two books. They're difficult reads, content wise--Wintergirls especially--but I appreciate it when a book doesn't pull punches.

      If you like contemporary, you should definitely check out Eleanor & Park. Super adorable overall while also dealing with those harsh truths of reality. Incredible book!

  2. I am hoping to read all of LHA's backlist next year, as I have not read any of her work, but she is a powerful and prominent name in YA lit. And I adore Rainbow Rowell and Aristotle and Dante. Swoon!
    Happy New Year!
    Jennifer @ A Librarian's Library--My TTT!

    1. I've only read Speak besides Wintergirls, but holy smokes both books are just incredible. And after this year I think I'm pretty much in for anything by Rainbow Rowell. Wow!

      Thanks for stopping by and linking me to your Top 10! Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Good list, I love Cinder and Thirteen Reasons Why as well.

    1. Thanks! It was a good reading year this year. :)

  4. Great list. You've got some really amazing books on your list. I need to read some Rainbow Rowell, have heard nothing but great things about her books. Happy New Year :) My TTT.

    1. Rainbow Rowell has basically become a "must read" for me now. I can't wait for her next book!

      Happy New Year to you too! And thanks for linking me to your Top 10, I can't wait to check them out!