(Warning: Long post ahead!)
How I picked the list:
Although I think almost all of these are 2012 releases, my only criteria was that I *read* it in 2012. I am bad at narrowing the list down-I ended up picking 25 books out of 300 read and that was only because I restricted it just to YA. Then I sorted it by my choice of genre and wrote a little about each book. Links are to my reviews and I only included the cover of my favorite book because I had some troubles with formatting-sorry! Where helpful, I have quoted my own review. Books are listed in the order I read them; it is not listed by preference. Make sure to read the end to see what themes I noted reoccurring in my favorites.
Historical-3 selections (including favorite of the year; I think you know what that is ;)
Contemporary-9 selections; hey it's my fave genre so no surprises there!
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross-"Another delightful entry in the Steampunk Chronicles with more of the adventure, romance, and fun that could be expected!"
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress-just read this and loved the great female characters as well as the overall light tone (I would say lighter and less romance-driven than The Girl in the Clockwork Collar)
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T Bergren-"An exciting historical fiction that sets up relationships that I'm excited to explore over the course of the next two books." Also there is a boy named Will-swoon!
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-I've talked about this book a lot and gifted it to several people in real-life. It's fantastic. If you have not read it yet, you need to get a copy ASAP!
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys-this is actually a 2013 release but the amazing folks at Penguin sent me an ARC and I adored it. Expect a review in February closer to the release date and be prepared for awesome! Link is for goodreads.
Legend by Marie Lu-This stood on the strength of its characters for me: "I loved their similarities-how both are so smart and can easily adapt to
various situations; how they don't want to hurt people; how they're so
protective of their families; how they want to do the right thing."
Crewel by Gennifer Albin-the cover definitely played a role in my love for this book but the ending sealed the deal, pushing me to the brink and leaving me desperately guessing what might come next.
Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin-"I don't want to go too in-depth but there are some great scenes of Anya
having to kick some butt and a lot of information is thrown at us but
there is still more to come. I don't really have the words to articulate
my strong positive feelings about this book."
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo-this is one that I didn't really like initially (at least, not compared with how other people loved it). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I liked it.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman-my second favorite read of the year. I loved pretty much everything about this book, finding it to be a "Pretty dang perfect fantasy!"
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson-This Jack the Ripper story contains "great mix of different elements without being too scary" and sets us up for book two. Look for my review to come in 2013.
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey-despite (fully warranted) instalust, I was captivated by this story because of how its heroine embraced her role to save the world. I also really appreciate that its a standalone (although a second book could totally be added).
Everneath by Brodi Ashton-although there has been some debate over whether this book contains a love triangle, I am on the side that thinks there isn't, which made me very happy. "I really did love this book. I thought Nikki was fairly strong for her
situation as well as for a YA paranormal heroine and the romance really worked
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa-this could technically be classified in dystopia as well but since there are vampires, I'm putting it here. Despite the slow beginning, once Allison was turned into a vampire and the plot picked up, "even this vampire story hater was won over by the masterful writing and plotting."
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers-I do not consider myself a zombie book fan but as this has a lot of elements of contemporary, I loved it. Great character-driven novel although not very much in the way of plot.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater-"Wow, what can I say about this beautiful enchanting magical book?" still holds. When will the next book be released?
My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky-a hilarious LGBTQ novel with a very light touch; recommended for other Broadway geeks.
Radiate by Marley Gibson-inspired by the author's own experience, this book hit me hard; "An emotional journey through a difficult period as navigated by a graceful inspiring young lady."
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm-"This is such a "me" book-I loved the MC so much and completely clicked
with the sense of humor displayed. The storyline is about the summer
adventures of a young woman with a love of history, color, reading, Jane
Austen...in other words, someone a lot like me!"
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker-"While some people will have trouble liking Clem (I almost didn't like
her myself), I really bought into her feelings (the sulking I did as a
teenager-whoa) and especially her feelings about best friend Amanda and
how the loss of that friendship is affecting her. I just feel like a lot
of YA doesn't spend much time on female friendships, focusing instead
on love triangles"
Miracle by Elizabeth Scott-Scott is one of my favorite YA authors and one of the few on my auto-buy list. This is one of her more intense reads that will sit with you for a long time.
Speechless by Hannah Harrington-"A must-read for lovers of contemporary especially if you don't usually
read "issue" books. Although talking about some important things, this
book seamlessly weaves them in without coming across as preachy. There
are also a lot of fun moments and the writing is flawless so you should
be able to lose yourself pretty easily in the narrative."
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn-"A really fun ride through artwork, deception, and love with an exciting Tokyo/Japan backdrop. Highly recommended!"
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo-Another book I like even more as I reflect on it. I especially loved following the characters over the course of a year as well as the main character's budding feminism.
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger-despite the lack of Shakespeare, which I feel the title hints at, I loved this fun and funny book-"recommended for people who like fun contemporaries, complicated female leads, and the other Keplinger books!"
Some themes that recur among these books:
-My appreciation for a focus on female friendship
-My love of strong female leads
-Praising characters who feel strongly about their family, their honor, and performing their duty
-Books that are generally on the lighter side especially those that make me laugh while also making me think
-Characters > Plot
Do you agree with my list of favorites? Any books you're going to add to your to-read list?