Below are the thirteen most memorable books I read in 2013, in no particular order of course. There are still many more on my to read list but I guess those will just have to wait until 2014!
1. )Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Though I have traveled with the characters of this series since it first came out, I'm not sure I could be any more devastated to finish this book. I, however, didn't love this book the way I'd hoped. And not for the reasons you might think. There were moments, which seemed to negate everything Roth worked so hard to build in her other two books. If you're looking for a book to make you feel brave or simply a world to get wrapped up in, I do suggest this series. Even though this is the final book in the trilogy, this doesn't mean Roth is done. Stay tuned for Four , her collection of short stories coming out in 2014, and the Divergent movie making it's big screen debut March 2014!
2.) The Giver by Lois Lowry
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Have you ever been asked what your favorite book is and had a difficult time answering? It seems like the typical college question, which I've encountered, and I always start thinking of my top five. Because my favorite is always changing, but the list of absolute favorites usually stays the same. And this is one of the books from that list. So why am I reviewing it under the 2013 books? Well, I reread it again this year, and fell in love with it all over again! Each time I read this book, I take away something new. I remember the first time I read this in eighth grade, thinking it was such a simple story, and yet, it is probably one of the most complicated books I've ever read. If you found your way to this book yet, you need to just that! And if you have, well I'm sure you know what I mean when I say it's amazing. Though this is an older book, they are making it into a film in the future with Jeff Bridges playing the Giver. I guess, until then, I'll just have to keep reminding myself that the book is always better so as not to be too disappointed when I actually see the movie.
3.) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I don't think I can properly assess this book just yet seeing as I'm not quite finished with it. But there's still a few more days in 2013 so it will happen. This is the third book by Gaiman that I've read this year and I've been just as pleased. In fact, I had one of those weird, geeky, my mind has just been blown moments while reading this book. There is a moment when Bod, the protagonist, meets the spirit of a witch named Liza Hempstock, which, if I'd read this first probably would have meant nothing. But because I read The Ocean At The End Of The Lane earlier this summer, I noticed the last name. You see, invisible reader, Gaiman's newest adult novel which debuted this summer is based around a group of witches named Hempstock. So you can see why my mind just couldn't take that connection. It made me start thinking about all of these irrational things about lineage and future stories and endless questions that really had nothing to do with my current reading of The Graveyard Book. Needless to say, I'm taking my time with this one. There is so much to find between these pages, which teaches you about life and love and imagination. It is worth your time to read!
4.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
What can I say about what might be my favorite book series of all time? Certainly, if I don't say this is my favorite book, then I can say Jo Rowling is my favorite author. She gave me a childhood filled with magic and imagination and words and stories; she is the reason I still love words today. But as for this little boy with glasses and a lightning bolt scar, I just want to say thank you. This book and this series taught me about the importance of friendship and love and Harry Potter has been my best friend since third grade, and still is today. So why did this make the most memorable books of 2013? Well, invisible reader, I read this book every year during the holiday season, and every year it makes me feel like a kid again. Thus, I'm more able to enjoy the magic and innocence of Christmas. During this time of year it is easy to get lost in wrapping paper and shopping and the stress that always follows, but Harry always seems to make this season a little less stressful and for that, I'm always thankful.
5.) The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Though this book ended much too soon, I absolutely fell in love! It was one of those books that I bought on a whim, which then sat on my shelf for far too long, and then completely consumed my life while I was reading it. Filled with magic, heartache, love, and loss, this book is one that is truly special to me. For anyone looking for a beautiful world to fall into, I would recommend this 110%. I look forward to reading more books by Allen and to falling madly in love all over again with her characters! There is something really special about an author and a story that can create magic like Allen and The Girl Who Chased The Moon. I can't wait to read this again in 2014!
6.) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
As previously mentioned, I loved this book! Gaiman is the master of creating haunting stories, which stay with you long after the book is finished. The Hempstock ladies in this book gave a great example of female power and the importance of family. I've recommended this book to so many of my friends now that I've started to lose count. It's just that good. This book taught me that magic and whimsy combined with darkness is just like real life, and that it's okay to use both when writing. In fact, it's more than okay, it's necessary! If you're craving a good scare or just a fantastical world to escape to, read Gaiman's newest book!
7.) Oh the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
For the longest time, I'd never really read this entire book. It may seem childish, but I promise Dr. Seuss writes about some pretty life-changing things in this short book. And this year, between graduating and getting into graduate school, I think I needed to read this book. I bought this for my sister this summer as a high school graduation present, but ended up reading it three or four times before I gave it to her. Sometimes we don't need thick tomes about life to help us see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, all we need are a few rhyming words, some colorful pictures, and a guarantee that even when we can't see it, we'll be going places soon!
8.) No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
I borrowed this from the best friend, not really knowing what it was about. I started it the same way. But by the time I was done, I realized this was more than just a book. It was a testimony to the importance of words and stories and how they can carry us through even the worst moments of life. The book begins with a character who tells us about her story, but ends with a character who has had to change her story just to survive. It was beautiful and magical and devastating. If I had the chance to reread this, I would. In fact, I loved this book so much that I gave it to one of my own characters to read. And though that sounds crazy, it's not. I love the fact that this cover is not covered in disingenuous promises of greatness. It never boasts that it is wonderful and mesmerizing. It waits until you are waist deep in its words to whisper about how amazing it really is. If you are looking for a fantastic piece of fiction, this is one of them! I'm sure you've noticed that most of the books on this list are young adult fiction because the majority of the books I read are YA. But this book was so good I didn't even notice it wasn't YA.
9.) Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
I read this book to do a book "report" for my Writing for the Professions class and ended up loving it more than I thought I would. I've read quite a few books about writing. While those books have been informative, none were nearly as enjoyable as this one. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't simply profess all the things a writer should do. It gives wonderful anecdotes mixed with sage writing advice. And Lamott never says you should take her advice. She just puts it out there for you to take for yourself. There are several techniques I've used from this book that have worked quite well for my daily writing routine, and then there are others which didn't work for me. But that's the amazing thing about writing! It's a unique experience for everyone. So for any of you that are writers out there I recommend the book. And for those of you who aren't writers, this book is great regardless.
10.) Requiem by Lauren Oliver
I am so sad that I had to give this three stars on Goodreads ( and even that's generous). But I promise it was necessary. The first book in this series, Delirium, was amazing. The second book, Pandemonium, wasn't spectacular but second books rarely are. But most often, the third book in a series is mesmerizing and beautiful and ties up all its loose ends. This, however, was nothing of the sort. I'm not sure if any of you have seen Silver Linings Playbook, specifically the scene where Bradley Cooper throws his book out the window. But that was the same reaction I had to the end of this book. Only I didn't throw it out the window. Instead I woke up the sleeping members of my family on our way home from Myrtle Beach. Though I wouldn't necessarily say you shouldn't read this series, I would caution you to begin the last book with care. It will most likely disappoint you. But for me, it gave an example of what not to do when I finish my series. So even though the end of this book was not amazing, it taught me that endings are just as important as beginnings.
11.) Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Unlike Requiem, Sisterhood Everlasting was a great end to a beloved series. Though this book brought back some of my favorite characters, they were older, and so much had happened since I finished reading Forever in Blue (Book Four). This book was filled with an inescapable sadness, which left me weeping into the wee hours of morning. But that's life I suppose. And though these characters are flawed, they are more real to me than most people I know. If you haven't read The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants series yet, you should. And if you're scared to read the adult versions of your favorite characters you should be. But sometimes, even when we're most scared, life offers us the best experiences. This book was one of those great experiences.
12.) Crash by Lisa McMann
I read this book pretty early into 2013, and can't wait to read the sequel, Bang, as soon as I have time. Plain and simple, this was a fun read. Lisa McMann is at her best when writing these supernatural books (I fell in love with her Wake series years before) with characters who are flawed, and often don't see themselves as special despite having unusual gifts. And yet, McMann creates characters for readers to care about. I read this book in one sitting, glued to the edge of my seat, and flipping furiously from page to page. If you're looking for a great, suspenseful read, look no further. As the first McMann book I've read since the Wake series finished, I was impressed!
13.) Smoke by Ellen Hopkins
I have been waiting for this book since I finished it's companion in high school. And I must say, just like Burned, this did not disappoint. Ellen Hopkins has a way of writing about life, which feels real and gritty and flawed and beautiful, all while fitting into the constraints of poetic prose. The book brought me back to my first journey with Pattyn and I felt just as enthralled by this experience as the first time around. I don't think I could have asked for a better way to wrap up a story I have been thinking about for the past several years. Well done, Ellen Hopkins! Well done!
This concludes my reviews of the thirteen most memorable books from 2013! I hope you have found some great new books to discover. I hope you've looked back at the most memorable books you read this year. And if you're not a reader, I hope this post has made you interested in reading. It's truly one of the greatest things life has to offer. I firmly believe it only takes one book to make people life-long readers. And who knows, maybe one of those books is listed here for you!