Friday, January 2, 2015

2014: A Year in (Book) Review - Fiction Edition

Goodreads is one of my most favorite websites.  I think I've mentioned it before, but it wholly appeals to my love of lists and books - two of my very favorite things.  Also, with as bad as my memory has become lately (I'm blaming it on pregnancy...which has become my scapegoat as of late) it's great to keep track of how much I liked a particular book and why.

2014 was a year full of both good and bad reads.  I kept up with my trend of devouring Young Adult novels and tried to divert my attention to more non-fiction so as to actually improve my mind.

So, it is without further ado that I give you my favorite fiction reads of 2014.

In no particular order.

Young Adult Fiction
1. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.
    Before this year I hadn't really ventured into Australian-authored YA literature, but I've got to say that it's obvious that I've been missing out.  This one started out feeling a bit like a combination of Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace (both favorites of mine), but took a turn into a more southern gothic feel.  I can't explain it, but it was so beautifully written and so poignant, that I wanted to re-read it immediately after finishing it.

2.  Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.
    Another Australian author who now has my heart.  Think Huckleberry Finn meets Little Rascals meets To Kill A Mockingbird...and you still don't quite have it.  Impressive doesn't even begin to describe it.  It's another one going on my re-read list.

3.  Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.
    I think this one may be making an appearance as one of my top-10 favorite books.  Ms. Vanderpool is a relatively new author, but she is absolutely magnificent.  The story takes place in a boys' prep school in Maine just following the Second World War.  It's heartbreaking and thought-provoking and I'll be reading it again and again.

4.  Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner.
    One of my goals this year was to read through as many of the Printz Award winners and honorees as possible.  This one and the previous three listed are all from that list and it's no surprise why.  Maggot Moon is haunting in a 1984/The Handmaid's Tale sort of way and the ending was not at all what I was expecting.  Although it's YA, I wouldn't recommend it for the younger-end readers as its really quite disturbing.

5.  The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
    I probably don't need to go on about this one as everyone on earth has either sobbed through the book or bawled through the movie.  I almost hated how much I loved it.

6.   Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.
    Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snickett, surprised me with how well he captured the teenage voice.  I felt like I was re-living high school and found myself laughing out loud at parts. I listened to this as an audio book, which made it particularly entertaining as the reader was so much fun.

7.  Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.
   This felt so much like the swashbuckling adventures of classic literature and I loved every second of it.  I was initially turned off by the cover (I know! How dare I judge a book by its cover?) but five pages in, I was hooked.

Adult Fiction
1.  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
    Long and full of language and despicable characters, but also Boris.  Boris is one of the most compelling characters I've ever read.  I may have wanted to throw the book across the room halfway through, but those Boris monologues towards the end made it all worth it.

2.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
   This fun mystery perfectly captures the tech generation.  I loved every second of it and hardly a week goes by where I'm not recommending it to someone.

3.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.
   I listed to this on audio book and absolutely adored the narration.  It was so cleverly told and so spot-on in its descriptions of suburban life that I wanted to listen to it straight through with nary a break.  Bernadette, will you be my best friend?


  1. i'm reading "jasper jones" right now. it's going to break my heart, isn't it

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