These were my favourite reads this year. Not all were published in 2012 but as I read them this year they are included on the list!
Skin Deep – Laura Jarratt
After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan’s a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn’t believe her; he can’t imagine why this place shouldn’t be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found..
This book is a beautiful story of a girl struggling with the repercussions of a car accident who falls in love with boy a traveller boy and herself. It’s a sweet love story with a important message that appearances certainly aren’t everything. A lovely contemporary YA romance that made me feel warm and fuzzy at the end.
Night School – C.J. Daugherty
Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested. Again.
This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends. But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students. When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.
And that she is not who she thought she was.
This contemporary YA thriller is set at a English boarding school. I’ve always loved boarding schools and this school is really creepy – you’re not sure who to trust. This is the first book in a new series that promises a lot of thrills and romance.
The Last Echo – Kimberly Derting
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.
When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye...
This is the third in a four book YA series about a girl with a talent for finding dead bodies. These books are creepy thrillers that always have me racing to the end. There’s also a hot romance on the side. In this one Violet’s talent is out in the open and she’s helping solve crimes but it leaves you questioning whether she’s working for a good guys or not.
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
All the blurbs for this book are really long but in a nutshell is about three women living in 1962 Mississippi – two black maids and a white woman who form an unlikely friendship and set about changing attitudes in their town by writing a book about what it’s like being a black maid working for white families. This adult story is really inspiring and very moving. I thought the film adaptation was also excellent.
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
This is a really moving contemporary YA story about a girl dealing with cancer. But it’s really a coming of age story with a touching romance, a beautiful piece of work that had me in floods of tears by the end. I defy you not to be moved.
Heart-Shaped Bruise – Tanya Byrne
They say I’m evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don’t know. You don’t know who I used to be. Who I could have been.
Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time. Heart-Shaped Bruise is a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge.
This book is on my list for pure originality – I haven’t read a book like this one before. From the point of view of the ‘villain’, this is a raw, honest and compelling contemporary YA book that throws up questions about blame and revenge while making you eagerly turn the pages to find out exactly what the main character has done. The ending has caused some dismay on Amazon so be warned that things aren’t neatly tied up but for me that just adds to its freshness.
Divergent - Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
This YA dystopian sucked me completely into its world. I loved the concept and found the main character compelling. This is the first book in a trilogy and I read the first two books this year – the sequel was equally good for me and carries on immediately from the first book. I found both books page turning thrillers and I fell hard for the love interest. I can’t wait to read the last book. I may even prefer this to The Hunger Games
Delirium - Lauren Oliver
THEY SAY that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.And I’ve always believed them. Until now.Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
I loved this dystopian YA book – the premise that love that been banned was really intriguing and I frantically read to find out what the main character would do when she fell in love just before she was due to be cured. The thriller / romance spilt was really well done and the world well constructed throughout. I also read the sequel this year and found it equally good – I’m really looking forward to the final book next year.
The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.
This is a lovely contemporary YA book about grief and love. It’s emotional but funny and the voice of the main character shines through. The story is peppered with poems that add a realistic and sweet touch. I found it both heartbreaking and heartwarming. A one-off.
Easy – Tammara Webber
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?
This list isn’t in order but I would say this as been my favourite read of 2012. A contemporary New Adult story set at a American college it’s about a girl who is dumped by her boyfriend and then attacked at party. She is rescued by a boy called Lucas with who she starts an intense romance with but when she starts being stalked by her attacker she realises she needs to learn to fight back. This story is about love and trust with a powerful message about protecting yourself without becoming a victim. It really struck a cord with me when I read it. Originally self published, the author has now signed publishing deals in the UK and US so look out for it on the shelves.
What were your favourite reads of 2012?