After twelve months and 44 books completed, here is the list of books I would recommend. Enjoy!
by Robison Wells
Published: September 26, 2011
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
Award: Glad I Read It Before Reading The Sequel
My Thoughts: This YA novel adopts the unknown confinement of Maze Runner but still felt distinctive. The pacing was steady. I was never bored. The writing was fluid and the characters were fun and believable. I just wish that book two had been as well executed as this one.
Cheaper by the Dozen
by Frank Gilbreth, Jr.
What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father — a famous efficiency expert — who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.
Translated into more than fifty-three languages and made into a classic film starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, Cheaper by the Dozen is a delightfully enduring story of family life at the turn of the 20th century.
Award: Never Judge A Book By Its Cover
My Thoughts: I didn’t want to read this, but it was probably my favorite book this year. A memoir, written with hilarity and whit, that has the plot and character arcs of a novel. I loved the family dynamics which are way more complicated than just twelve children. A must read!
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
Published: August 14, 2012
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
Award: Next Trip, I’m Wearing A Fisherman’s Jacket (have to read to understand)
My Thoughts: The book is formatted as though it’s a compilation of letters and emails. It was a little hard for me to understand the purpose until the end, but I found the writing and story compelling throughout. Very funny and very honest about the childishness of adults.
I Am Not A Serial Killer
by Dan Wells
John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.
He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.
He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.
Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means.
Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.
Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.
Reward: Favorite Series
My Thoughts: Dark humor, morbid setting, and so much fun! The character, though disturbing at times, is snarky and worth following. I never thought I’d be cheering for a budding psychopath.
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Published: January 10, 2012
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
Reward: Actually Earned Its New York Time Bestseller Status
My Thoughts: As depressing as a book about cancer sounds, I loved it. The characters were smart, fun, and realistic. This book deals with the realities of dying young and young love all rolled together.
by Wendelin Van Draanen
Published: May 13, 2003
Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.
Reward: Sweetest Romance
My Thoughts: Each chapter switches between characters, telling the same events from their unique perspectives – without boring you with representativeness. It was a great way to see how people misread others.