Of the books I read in 2012, most of my favorites are again from science fiction and fantasy.
1. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
This is the second book in Justin Cronin’s monster epic about twelve virals (vampire-like creatures) created during a government experiment gone wrong. The Twelve continues their story, but what’s more disturbing in this book are the steps taken by some humans for their own survival. The humans are far more creepy than some silly vampires.
2. & 3. Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis
When Connie Willis has new books out, you can almost assume they’re going to be on my top ten list. In these books, Willis explores World War II with time traveling historians who get stuck in London during the Blitz. The rich historical detail is just as fabulous as the time travel in these epics.
4. Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
I fell in love with Doug Swieteck from the very beginning. He’s a young boy, in the 1960s, who just moved to stupid Marysville with his family. His father is abusive so much of Doug’s time is spent in the local library, running errands for his part-time job, or with his friends. The story is about friendship, family, love, birds, Jane Eyre, and everything in between, and it’s fabulous.
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I’m not sure why I never reviewed this book, but you’ve probably seen reviews of it everywhere, and each one of them pretty much says the same thing – it’s awesome. It’s a beautiful love story between two young cancer patients and it had me crying in the end. Read Jodi’s review and just imagine me saying “ditto” through it all.
6. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
This is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read, and it actually has no words. The story is told solely by beautiful artwork and it is never hard to follow. It’s about an immigrant and his experience in a new world where everything is different to him. This is the immigrant experience and it’s a must read.
7. Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
From the very beginning this book had me. It’s about black jazz musicians in Europe in WWII and it’s told by Sid, a man who has been torturing himself his whole life for a bad decision he made during WWII. The story jumps back and forth between the present and the past and it’s a wonderful story of friendship, regret, anger, and forgiveness.
8. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
I never reviewed this one because Jodi and Christa already had and I felt like I would’ve just repeated the praise they gave it. It’s a fabulous coming-of-age tale about the end of the world, or the perceived end, because the world starts slowing. The book is about this slowing, but it’s also about this young woman who is so incredibly believable. She’s an awkward teen, worrying about her looks and how she acts, all while trying to understand this new world. It’s what I wanted the book Life As We Knew It to be, so just take Jodi’s and Christa’s word for it and read this one.
9. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This is a beautiful, well-written mixture of fantasy, folklore, mythology, religion, and romance, and I loved it. It’s about Karou, a teen with blue hair who is being raised by Brimstone, a half-man half-beast who collects teeth. If you have a wish and a tooth, bring both to Brimstone and your wish may be granted. Brimstone keeps Karou from his world, so she doesn’t know what the teeth are for, but when she starts breaking some rules she slowly discovers a scary world very different from our own. The second book in this series just came out and I hope to read it soon.
10. The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman
This makes my list because it was so damn interesting. In this book we follow 13-year-old Tucker Feye, a boy who discovers new worlds via diskos, small disk-shaped holes in our skies. Jumping through the diskos to find this father, Feye’s world and beliefs are turned upside down. This is definitely great science fiction/fantasy, but it also raises so many questions that I still think about it today. I can’t wait for the sequel due in 2013.