It was very difficult to narrow down which books I wanted in the top five. Cassandra Clare’s second in the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, and Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper had to be cut. To see a full list of what I read in this year’s challenge, feel free to browse here.
2012 was a mix of contemporary and dystopian young adult with Victorian gothic literature. I read my absolute favorite genre of all time and explored a new and booming genre with relish. Here are my top five books of 2012, in no particular order!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The first and only novel by John Green written from the point of view of a teenage girl in the midst of heartbreaking cancer is full of life, wonder, and awe. The characters are charming and a joy to read, and as a previous Indianapolis resident I was so happy to watch all their adventures across my home city.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Every person on this planet needs to read this book. I convinced my mother to read it — and it sparked hours-long discussions on Soviet history, her old Latvian friends, and the state of the Baltics today. I convinced history buffs to read it — and they are discussing untouched topics with their history professors. I convinced a friend who never reads nonfiction or YA, and she was moved to tears. This book, true accounts of Soviet Russia’s mass slaughter of the Baltics during and after WWII wrapped up in a fictional character, is beyond words. It is a must-read.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Enchanting and riveting, this masterpiece is set in the late Victorian age as two magicians compete in a fierce challenge within a spell-binding circus. The characters, the setting, the dream-like qualities, and the love are so moving, you’ll never want to leave Le Cirque des Reves.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Diana is supposed to be an American professor in Oxford, nothing more. But her magic draws attention to other creatures only heard about in myths, including the very predatory Matthew cannot seem to stay away. This is not the ordinary academic professor romance, nor are the witches and vampires sweet and kind. History, magic, alchemical texts, Oxford, Massachusetts, genetics, and chemistry merge together in this great, intelligent romance.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Hunger Games brought me back into the YA genre, and Delirium kept me in. I’m a hopeless romantic, so a story about forbidden love will always draw me in. However, Oliver does not make this dystopian cheesy or cheap. Love is forbidden because love is a disease. Love clouds judgement, causes unnecessary illness like fevers, sweat, lack of appetite. This concept is so beautifully written, and the characters so well-developed and intuitive, I could not put this down.