2014 was a GREAT reading year for me. I read upwards of 60 books (some for university, most not) and had a high number of five-star reviews over on Goodreads. My favorite time of the year is when all the best-of lists come out, so I thought I’d chime in with my own Top 5 Books of 2014. The following are listed in no particular order.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.
This was the first book of Rowell’s that I read, and since then I’ve read Eleanor and Park and Attachments…so I think you can tell how well this one went over. Cath quickly became one of my favorite heroines in the world of books, probably because I can see a lot of myself and my friends in her. What I liked most is how Cath is eventually able to succeed in college without having to change who she is; it’s a lesson to “be yourself” but said in a fresh, winsome way. Also, LEVI. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.
Sometimes, you just need a book that you can curl up and cuddle with and go “awww” at the end. Anna is just that book. The setting and atmosphere of Paris is wonderful, and the characters are instantly lovable. Romances can sometimes push the bounds of believability, but all the conflicts felt grounded in reality and the happy ending (it’s hardly a spoiler that there is one) feels well-earned. I feel like most people in the book blogosphere have read this one, but even though I’m a bit late to the party I’m so glad I arrived.
You Say Potato by Ben Crystal and David Crystal
Wait a second, no one says potahto. No one’s ever said potahto.
And now, for something completely different! Ben Crystal and his dad, David Crystal, work together educating folks on performing Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation (something about which I am a complete and utter nerd) and in this book they lay out, in an engaging way, how and why people talk in different accents, connotations of different accents, and more. As someone who loves words, both spoken and on the page, this book is a must-read.
Champion by Marie Lu
I always knew, on some level, that I wouldn’t live long. It’s simply not written in my stars.
Champion was an almost-completely satisfying end to an exciting trilogy. Marie Lu writes some of the best action scenes in YA and gives us June, an absolutely badass young lady. I listened to this book as an audiobook and would find myself walking slower as I made my way toward class so that I could listen to more. This book is suspenseful, exciting, and even if you’re sick of the YA dystopian trend the Legend trilogy may just change your mind.
Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
I wanted popularity. I wanted other people to like me. But it turns out most people are waiting to be discovered too.
I read this book in one evening (when I probably should have been doing homework) – it’s that good. Maya’s journey and transformation, both physically and mentally, is both a joy and a struggle and you are right there with her, cheering her along. I wish I was half as courageous as Maya when I was fifteen! She is a talented writer for one so young and I hope that this is only the first publication in a long career. This is an inspiring book if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present for your middle-school age kid.