I did a Faves of 2011 last year based upon Inkcrush's posts. She doesn't have one for this year at least not at the time I am writing this. I am using her and I Like These Books as a reference on what books to showcase. This post will be all about the characters and the books that have really impacted me this year. I even added some categories because some books needed to be showcased. It'll be in four parts. I'm liking putting things in parts if you can't tell.
Part 1: The Characters
Best Male Character
Doug Swieteck's only flaw is him being miserable about moving away from his beloved New York. He can do no wrong in my eyes. People assume by the way he looks or who his brother is that he's a hoodlum. But he is not. He is the friend you want when something goes wrong. He's the kid you can count on who will never complain to you when he's made to go miles and miles to deliver groceries in blazing heat. He's the kid who will save your child from an asthma attack, busting down doors to get the job done. He is the perfect main character who doesn't let you down. He fell in love with birds and drawing them. He showed me his world and Audubon's making me fall in love with both of them. He shows unlike his father he has integrity. All of this was done through the writing of Gary D. Schmidt who became one of my favorite author's because of this book and others. Doug is the perfect fictional best friend.
Best Female Character
I cannot begin to imagine what to say about Charlie. A Little Wanting Song is a book I gushed about and couldn't get enough of. I even consider it a favorite of mine. This is the book and Charlie is the character that made me want to go out and find as many books as I could with a music theme to it. Charlie is a bit insecure about her singing and just wants to get noticed by a guy. A sweet guy too which makes sense because she is an amazing character. When lyrics came up in the book I can just imagine her soulful voice. Her unique voice. So many quotes that I like have come from what she's said. I love when shy girls are awesome because all shy girls are awesome they just need to believe in themselves. I believe in you Charlie! Thank you for being a female character that girls could look up to and see a bit of themselves in.
Best Kickass Male Character
Jazz's childhood wasn't as usual as he would have liked. He would have liked to live in a normal family and not think of how he could have sliced open a person by his father's commands. His father, the serial killer. But he also has this point of view where he doesn't mind having that childhood because even though he is internally conflicted he also knows it could help stop other killers. Jazz is the epitome of kickass main characters. He goes after a new serial killer in his town and proceeds to be awesome. He could be a serial killer which makes him unnerving in his own way but makes his character so much more interesting. So many wonderful things I see coming up with his character in his new book. I expect more dark situations with him and I want to see how he reacts to them. Ultimately I'm very happy with his character and all the possibilities he represents.
Best Kickass Female Character
If you don't know already I have never ever liked a female character in the way I have liked D.J. I'm not saying Charlie or any other female characters aren't as good as her. I've just never wanted to be them as much as I want to be D.J. I can just imagine her running around in wide open spaces contending with guys in football and I'm just like... exasperated by how amazing she is. She feels like she isn't doing anything with her life and then she goes something so unconventional but right for. She's inspirational. I would love to be able to be so... honestly in shape as her. But it's not just that! She's great that way that she can run however long she wants and still not be out of breathe but she also takes chances. She may have never rocked the boat or did something for herself before but just being that brave and doing something about her situation at all is very kudos worthy.
Best Love Triangle
I've never read an angel themed book and really really did not want to but then I gave it a shot and what came of that was discovering the greatest love triangle ever!!! Seriously, a lot of people go for Tucker because he's the funny southern boy who obviously has a crush on Clara but then there is Christian which she is supposed to save from something. He's the popular guy but also the nice guy. It's so hard to choose! None of them are wrong for her or are bad guys. The author makes you like them both and that is the point of a love triangle. It should be a love triangle that people may take sides on but they are both quality guys. Clara is also really nice so it helps the whole love triangle situation because everyone is likable. I've read the second book so I know where it goes but honestly the author makes it so you don't really mind who she ends up with. It sucks that there is only one book left but it's going to be epic. I want to know how the romance ends up.
Best Forbidden Love
There's always a lot of forbidden love stories out there. I don't know when it started to be popular or why. Maybe it was Romeo and Juliet. The tragedy yet romance of it all but in YA it's been a prominent feature for at least the books I've read. So like Romeo and Juliet You Against Me is a battle between two families where one side is crying out for justice for the attack of their daughter and sister while the other is crying out injustice for their son and brother. While that happens love blooms and it is oh so adorable and perfect in every way. You root for them. You want them even with all the odds against them. They guy is just looking out for his little sister while the girl wants to protect her big brother. They are both decent people with good morals and family values.
Oh goodness me what can I say about Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace. How is it possible that I found a perfect couple like them? They have so much wit and humor that I envy so so much. It's such a pain listening to their perfect banter and their perfect tragic love. Ugh. It makes sense though because John Green wrote them and he's... them! He's their wit. He's their awesomeness. Augustus alone has one of the best quotes I've ever heard like: "Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you." What is that!? All girls want this type of love because it's adorable, heartwarming, and just... I want it. There's also the quote about him with a cigarette: "They don't kill you unless you light them," he said as Mom arrived at the curb. "And I've never lit one. It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing." It has nothing to do with them being a great couple but you can see clearly how awesome they speak which translates to their great coupling...
This cover is nothing like the main character! Evie has this spontaneous crazy personality that instantly made me fall in love with her. Her giddiness at discovering new things or with life in general makes you giddy about her in this book. The book introduces her and her pink taser that gets her out of problems like vampires attacking her. Her unique gift that isolates her from having a normal world... I don't know if she wasn't isolated if she would be as cool as she is now or if it would heighten the fact that she is so cool. I think not because I wouldn't expect her to be so excited about seeing real life lockers. That may be a reference to the second book but still. We need more Evie's so excited about the world.
I am not a very good decision maker... I love the witches that I discovered this year. One of them was Briony in Chime. I don't know what it's about her and this book but I liked them way more than I expected. The setting is very old times... like when witches first came about so with what I usually read it's not something I would usually go for but it worked out well for me. Briony is racked with guilt and doesn't want to use magic or go to the swamp where there are creatures only she could see but she can't help her nature when her village starts going after witches. It's like with modern times how people expand and kind of ruin nature but this time nature fights back. Briony is caught in the middle and you feel so bad for her. Her life is filled with darkness and her resilience in this makes her a great character but in the end a great witch.
Born Wicked has about... a lot of witches in it but there are three main witches. The witch that I liked the most out of the three sisters is Cate. It might just be because she's the narrator of the story but it also might be because she is so protective of her sisters and of her heart. She is the oldest sister whom I usually don't relate to but I didn't see her for her controlling side because she didn't want to control her sister's sense of freedom. She didn't like magic because it made her look over her shoulder all the time. To her sisters it was freedom but to her it was a death sentence. I saw the point of view of the older sister with Cate's eyes. She may have not wanted to use magic but when she did she was amazing. There are a lot of things that I don't understand going on with her and her sister's magic but all you have to know it's rare and it can get them in deep trouble with the wrong people which is basically everyone.
Part 2: The Books
Most Unique Read
George is a very special boy. Only two people know about him: The boy he lives inside, Benjamin, and Benjamin's younger brother Howard. Is it a case of multiple personalities? That's for you to decide. Apparently George wasn't born and got inside Benjamin. He is supposed to be his twin brother. He helps him on tests and is constantly keeping him awake and giving his opinions out. This was the strangest book I've read this year. I really can't believe it. It's an older read so I don't know what I expected. The story was so very different and ended up making me so captured by it that I had to make it a showcase on here. It leaves you questioning what was this book supposed to make you think... Could it be possible that George is real or is it a little boy's delusion? What did the author intend for you to think?
I have never read a pirate book before Steel. Not only is it a pirate book but a book about time travel. I read it pretty early so I can't recall everything but I know that Jill is a fencer and finds part of a sword on a beach which transported her on a pirate ship run by a woman pirate. It shows you the hardships faced by not only the pirates but slaves that she helped rescue. Now where would you ever read a book about Pirates in YA today? This was a genius and imaginative plot that I can't help applaud. This book has probably the greatest premise/plot I've ever heard of. Ever.
I had to add this book somewhere and then I realized what happened all throughout this book? They were on an adventure! In their own way. They were actually on the run for a while after the main character, P.K., found out that the stranger she's been climbing with, Critter, just got out of a psych ward. Now that instantly made me like him but not only that was the way he thought about life. He makes you want to go do something with it. He has this positive attitude that you can't help to like. Their extended road trip was so fun especially when cops came into the picture hence the word "extended". It wasn't majorly intense all the time but when it came down to it, it became intense and me really concerned for the safety of these two kids who just needed their parents to listen to them.
Almost all books make me cry in some way. There are a couple of books that wreck you and have you sobbing and getting all puffy eyed from crying. This book did this all the way through. Every five minutes I was crying. It was ridiculous. I kept on thinking if I was a mother and I my child had to go through this or if I had to... I would just be a wreck. I couldn't handle that. My imagination always runs away from me and I think of things that can happen in my life or what if this happened to me type of situations. Way too emotional to be reading this book. I didn't expect it to have that much impact on me. Of course the climax of this heartbreaking story about one girl losing her leg and the other losing her life just killed me. I started crying my eyes out. That was strategically planned to. I'm glad it was in there because it needed to be, It's words that would haunt me and comfort me that people do care about one another. Oh no I'm crying just thinking about it....
Inspires the Most Imagination
This needed to be on here. I added this because it needed it to be here. I really thought I was not going to enjoy this. When you read it, it reminds you a lot of Alice in Wonderland which initially was a bad thing for me because I couldn't read Alice in Wonderland. I don't know why. But I ended up really appreciating this book for what it was and where it took and never felt like it was dragging on just adding things to make it feel more magical. There was real thought and imagination that came with this book. I don't really see a need for a continuation of this book because it was perfect as a standalone but it will nice going back to that world.
Best New Series
I am really girly when it comes to a a couple of aspects in books. Romance is usually what gets me happy and hopping around but what really got me in this series was the mystery and the bad girls being murderers. I've read only two books in the series but the way in which they make you keep guessing and wondering what is that supposed to me is pure genius. It's a series that makes you devour the books fast. This is one series where the "romance" in the story isn't what gets me super happy because everyone is a suspect. You are always like... wait. Is the guy she likes that bad guy? Or maybe you are being ridiculous. He's just a nice guy it's probably the friends or sister. But wait. The second book leaves you with a shock and a new twist. Ah, how I love twists. I need to continue this. I forgot how much I liked it till now. One twin sister was murdered and the other twin sister who no one knows about took her place to figure things out. The living sister is a sweetheart and got caught up in everything. She doesn't deserve all this pain she has gone through.
When I got into Goodreads I discovered memoirs. One of those memoirs that I really wanted to read was The Rules of Inheritance which just sucked me up into the world of this woman who lost her mother and couldn't handle it all. I love my mother very much so her story and what she had to deal with hit me heard. I know it took her a while to get into a better place and I'm so happy she did. This is a book you have to read slowly because it's very dark. Her life had a dark cloud in it that she couldn't get away from until she did something about it. It's the most real and heartbreaking memoir I think I'll ever read. It's made me want to read other memoirs out there. Maybe not as sad as this one but it's good to see the different perspectives and lives out there.
Best Graphic Novel
I've read a whole bunch of graphic novels this year which I've never done before. This was my first one too and the one I liked the most. Not only are the illustrations amazing but the story line is too. The boys in her life are mainly her brothers. Her mother left for some reason I don't know yet. She's always been home schooled and now she is thrust into the high school life but she meets these quirky pair of siblings and promptly falls in love with a boy with the greatest hair ever. Him and his sister are very punk looking and the whole cast of characters make you think of the cool artsy type of people. In a good way. Not a snotty way at all. The main character sees ghosts and the story doesn't progress too much with that but leaves it a mystery for you to read on later. The main thing is her friends and family sticking up for each other but it's not boring at all. She's a fun character, all of them are.
Best Realistic Fiction
I had to have Daelyn on here! Daelyn wants to kill herself. She's
always been the fat girl but after her last failure at killing herself she has this clamp thing in her mouth and doesn't or can't (I don't remember) talk. A boy starts talking to her and being nice to her. The only thing that I don't particularly like is that she is no longer big so that might change the way the boy would have reacted to her. But she's skinny now which was a big thing. She goes on this website that she tells it that she will kill herself in whatever days from now and reads all these stories about abuse and wanting to kill themselves. I think it just is because she was bullied that she wants to kill herself. I don't remember any abuse. But maybe not. Anyways reading other people's entries she could kind of see how other people have it much worse than her and this boy comes into her life but he has some problems. It's a short read but very effective.
Best Book Club Read
My family has a book club this year and surprisingly they were okay with reading a YA. A lot of the books were really weird... Well all of the books were. The Fault in Our Stars is the most real out of them and brought more emotion out of me because the characters were more likable than any of the other books. The characters were just witty and wonderful. I wish I could talk like them. The relationship was just the best. It was the tragic romance that I mentioned earlier. It was a beautiful story by a great author and I'm glad I was able to read it after all that weirdness of the other books I've read. Not saying all were bad or anything. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was really great but I cared for The Fault in Our Stars characters more.
Part 3: New Favorite Books
Part 4: Favorite Book of 2012
It took a little while to figure out which book definitely was my favorite book of this year. I've never read this much in one year and I've read so many great books. I chose Unearthly because the romance was perfect, the plot was great, the characters were all interesting, and the twists kept me excited while reading the book and after reading it. I didn't have it as a new favorite book and I realize I do need to add it there. It's not like I didn't think at the time it wasn't favorite book worthy I just didn't realize till now how much I really loved the story and how devoted I am to figure out in my own what is going to happen with each individual character. That happens with a lot of books but I feel like I'm way more excited to read how their lives turn out than others. This being a trilogy and me reading the second book already might have contributed to that. I just love these characters and love this book. I'm so happy that I was able to discover it because I love how this story is turning out and I love the characters and everything possible with this story.
Finalists: Born Wicked, Chime, Okay for Now, A Monster Calls, The Fault in Our Stars, and Dairy Queen