December is the time of year for recaps and lists, so keeping with tradition here are my favorite YA reads* of this year and least favorite.

Favorites

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (full review)

Set in the near future a teen from the poor side of town (living in stacked trailers) makes the first big break in the ultimate gaming competition that promises the prize of the entire fortune of James Halliday – video game magnet and creator of the Oasis, the virtual reality gaming world that almost everyone in the country is a part of. Part dystopian, part 80s nostalgia, and part adventure this book is even better on audio with Wil Wheaton as the narrator.

 

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

A complex look at stereotypes (particularly for girls) and how they can mean so much and so little. There’s P.K. (which stands for Preacher’s Kid), who is supposed to be a good girl (and generally is), but still enjoys drinking on the weekends with the rest of the kids in her small town. Then Alex, who’s older sister was brutally raped and murdered a few years ago (and who in turn murdered the man who did it and got away with it), who keeps away from others and has a rage within her, but also spends her time caring for lost and abandoned animals. There’s also Branley, and while the reader never gets her actual perspective it is clear that she’s more than just the vapid beautiful girl that people perceive her to be.

 

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Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Historical fiction set in Amsterdam during World War II. This novel takes a look at the war and resistance on the smaller scale. Hanneke is prompted to save one girl by an elderly woman she sells black market goods to, which gets her tangled up in the resistance and facing the pain and guilt she feels over her boyfriend’s death on the war front.

 

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Giant Days Vol. 1 by John Allison

A look a three new friends beginning college and independent life (in Britian). A fun and entertaining graphic novel.

 

 

Least Favorites

I am Princess X by Cherie Priestย (full review)

Together May and Libby created the comic, Princess X. Then Libby died in a car accident with her mom. Years later May sees a Princess X sticker on a lamp post. Maybe her best friend isn’t as dead as she thought. An intriguing plot, but a lackluster execution.

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Retelling of Snow White. The back story of the evil queen was the best part of the novel for me – everything else was just meh.

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

A prolific witch hunter discovers she’s actually a witch and now she has to figure out who is truly evil and who she should trust. Fairly predictable with flat characters.

Firstlife by Gena Showalter (full review)

Interesting premise with some good action scenes, but overall it fell a bit short of being really enjoyable for me. The dialogue was, more often than not, awkward and none of the characters seemed fully fleshed out. It was a bit fun, but Iโ€™m probably not going to be reading the sequel when it comes out.

 

What books did you love (or hate) this year?

*Books not necessarily published this year (or last).
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