Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Half-Year Favorites of 2012 - The Books

Last year around this time Nomes over at inkcrush posted a three-part "faves of twenty-eleven (so far)" survey that I participated in here, here, and here. This year she's not going to be doing it, but I am, and I'm using her end-of-the-year book awards as a template (you can see them here), which means there'll be five days of this instead of three. Yay!

Day One ~ The Books:

1. favorite book so far: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi. Something about this book. My goodness. I can't quite explain why I love it so much (or I could, but it would make me sound like a crazy person), but Juliette, Adam, their story in this book... it's just so good, and Mafi's writing amazes me in the best way. I don't love everything that happens in this book and am so, so nervous for the series as a whole but I still love it so. incredibly. muchness.

2. most powerful book: Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech. I expected this book to be good, even great, because it is a Sharon Creech novel after all. But I didn't expect it to be so absolutely powerful. Profound, simply-written, heart-stirring. All the best things. Everyone should read this book because I don't even know how to explain how truly powerful (in the best sort of way) it is. 

3. brilliantly funny: Nothing Special, by Geoff Herbach. The protagonist in this book, Felton Reinstein, is one of the best narrators. Nothing Special isn't a comedy, but Felton's way of seeing the world and interpreting things makes it even funnier than many comedies.

4. best ache-y, heartbreak-y, tearjerker book: Sisterhood Everlasting, by Ann Brashares. I can't say much (or anything, really) about the sadness in this book without spoiling it but suffice to say Brashares succeeded in making me cry and be so angry about how the book went.

5. most beautiful story: Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley. It may be because I'm such a sucker for stories that take place over short periods of time or at night, and this one happens during one night, but whatever the reason, there's such beauty to Graffiti Moon. It's a story all about art and love and even that just that fact is beautiful.

6. delicious rainy day comfort read: Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler. I think it's the combination of winter, a diner, and  Hudson's wonderful friends and family that makes this book so perfect for a rainy day read. In fact, I just decided: I'd like to take an afternoon reading this book and drinking a frozen hot chocolate while it rains -- or, I mean, at least while it's gloomy out.

7. adrenalin-fueled, unputdownable award: A Million Suns, by Beth Revis. I feel that this needs no explanation, right? I mean, it's solid sci-fi that I just couldn't stop reading.

8. beautiful prose award: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi. This is the sort of book where I want to underline all the words because they are just so excellent and beautiful.

9. most atmospheric & vivid setting: The Disenchantments, by Nina LaCour. One of the big things that makes this the best road trip book I've read is the fact that each place the characters stop at is so vivid. It's not the first book you might think of because it's set in shady, backwater towns instead of, say, Paris or New York, but these backwater towns are written with amazing attention to detail and realism.

10. i-so-want-to-go-there award: Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler. The diner in this book (Hurley's) is the sort of place I'd love to pull up a seat at. But beyond that Hudson's story and the people around her are the people I'd love to be around for a while. The hockey boys. Her family. The people at the diner. I'd love to pull a blue-ski-do and jump into this book, please.

11. most original & imaginative: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. Cinderella reimagined as a sci-fi story with robots and aliens? Um, yes please.

12. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book: Life is but A Dream, by Brian James. I honestly don't think I've even seen this book in stores, which is such a shame as it's all kinds of creepy, mysterious, pretty, and on top of that a really solid story and exploration of mental illness. I want more people to read it.

13. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love-this-so award: Fangirl, by Ken Baker. I'm really sorry this isn't out yet, as I want everyone everyone to read it. It's so adorable, such a perfectly sweet little gem of a story. I picked it up at ALA mostly because the premise was pretty awesome (a popstar falling in love with a fangirl -- whaaat?) and while I expected it to be a fun read, I wasn't expecting to fall so head-over-heels for it the way I did.

14. most haunting story: Unwind, by Neal Shusterman. The whole idea behind this book (read it on the Goodreads page because I can't really explain it but basically teenagers can be "aborted" sort of, as long as every part of them is donated to someone else so they're "technically" still living) is weird enough, but there's one chapter in particular -- and if you've read it I'm sure you know what one it is -- that is so totally haunting. It makes me shudder.

15. outside my comfort zone, but gosh how i loved it: And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. I don't read crime novels. And it's not like I won't, but so often they just don't appeal to me and I don't really "get" the writing and they're creepy. But this? It's probably the first whodunit I've read and it made me want to explore the genre further. Now I get why Agatha Christie is one of the greats.

16. series that i'm loving: A Million Suns, by Beth Revis. (The Godspeed trilogy.) AH! Such great sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for the conclusion to this incredible, awesome series. A Million Suns just blew me away.

17. book i'm recommending most often: Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech. I know it's an older one, but I've already had my mom read it and now I've passed it on to my dad. It's a book that I really think everyone (EVERYONE) should read. And yes, this means you. Get on it.

18. completely awesome premise award: The List, by Siobhan Vivian. There are always quite a few awesome premises, but in this case The List just takes the cake. I mean, a story told by the prettiest and ugliest girl in each grade at the same high school? LEGENDARY. And so well done by Siobhan Vivian.

19. would make the best movie: Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler. And by "best" I mean this is the movie I'd personally love the most. A sweet, winter-flavored romantic comedy with cupcakes, hockey, ice-skating, and an overly-smart younger brother? MAKE IT HAPPEN, MOVIE PEOPLE.

20. want to reread already: Fangirl, by Ken Baker. You guys, this is the last book I read and I already want to reread it, if only to make all kinds of doodle-y notes in the margins. That's how much I love it. (I actually have the book in a basket by my bed and the last few days I've been re-skimming it, making little notes, etc. I love it.)

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