2012 in books

Read over the past year, with intermittent comments.

A few that especially rocked my world: Inside Out and Back Again, Breadcrumbs, Bitterblue, Code Name Verity, The Animal Dialogues, Vessel, and Plague in the Mirror. (But that doesn’t mean there weren’t many others on this list that I loved as well, of course.)

1. Jumpstart the World, Catherine Ryan Hyde
2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (this book reminds me of The Blue Sword, only the heroine prevails through strategic thinking rather than magical gifts, even though she is magically special; I liked that)
3. The Never Weres, Fiona Smith
4. Clem, the Story of a Raven, Jennifer Owings Dewey
5. First Day on Earth, Cecil Castellucci
6. Inside Out and Back Again, Thanhha Lai (a moving and true-feeling look at what it means to leave one’s home and one’s culture behind; deserved its National Book Award)
7. Mastiff, Tamora Pierce
8. Earwig and the Witch, Diana Wynne Jones
9. A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Madeleine L’Engle (reread)
10. The Arm of the Starfish, Madeleine L’Engle (reread; this book still makes me cry)
12. Illegal, Bettina Restrepo
13. A Wind in the Door, Madeleine L’Engle (reread)
14. Many Waters, Madeleine L’Engle (reread; more problematic than I’d remembered, with its not-so-subtext that good girls die young and only bad girls care about their own sexuality)
15. Destined, Aprilynne Pike (still team Yuki)
16. The Raven Steals the Light: Native American Takes, Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst
17. The Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney
18. Friends With Boys, Faith Erin Hicks (this is the year I discovered Hicks’ work, yay)
19. A Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix (my new go-to book for old time SF fans who want a YA that’s in the tradition of Heinlein’s juveniles … and yet not quite)
20. Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu
21. The War at Ellsmere, Faith Erin Hicks
22. Above, Leah Bobet
23. Another Damn Newcomer, Audrie Clifford
24. Black Heart, Holly Black
25. Zombies Calling, Faith Erin Hicks
26. Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore (unlike Katsa and Fire, Bitterblue has no magic, and has to earn things in a way the other protagonists don’t, quite)
27. Coyote Tales from the Indian Pueblos, Evelyn Dahl Reed
28. Grave Mercy, Robin LaFevers
29. City of Night, Michelle West
30. Blue Magic, A.M. Dellamonica
31. Borderland Jaguars / Tigres de la Frontera, David E. Brown and A. López Gonzales
32. Windblowne, Stephen Messer (a many-worlds story with some Diana Wynne Jones-ish overtones)
33. The Way We Fall, Megan Crewe
34. Brain Camp, Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Erin Hicks
35. Doglands, Tim Willocks
36. Beauty Queens, Libba Bray (lots of fun; lots more critique of the ways in which we try to define and confine women than I expected)
37. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein (“FLY THE PLANE, MADDIE!”)
38. The 7th Level, Jody Feldman
39. The Great Good Thing, Roderick Townley (odd little meta story about the characters in a book playing out their roles and struggling to survive their book’s fate)
40. My Fair Godmother, Janette Rallison
41. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
42. Unlucky Charms, Adam Rex (sequel to Cold Cereal; due out in February)
43. The Animal Dialogues, Craig Childs
44. Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (been enjoying her books from the start; my favorite so far)
45. Amber Brown is Tickled Pink, Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy (a worthy successor to Paula Danziger’s Amber Brown books, true to their voice and tone)
46. Taking Off, Jenny Moss (lovely coming of age story about trusting one’s voice and one’s art, set before and after the Challenger explosion)
47. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, Madeleine L’Engle and Hope Larson (true to the original and pleasant enough, not sure it added anything new or more)
48. A Companion to Wolves, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
49. Adaptation, Malinda Lo
50. Knife, R.J. Anderson (a faerie book at once comfortably familiar and unlike other faerie books)
51. Red Thread Sisters, Carol Antionette
52. The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester
53. Plague in the Mirror, Deborah Noyes (due out in July; I blurbed this one)
54. The Unnaturalists, Tiffany Trent (read this one for its world-building)
55. The Farthest Shore, Ursula K. Le Guin (reread)
56. Absent, Katie Williams (due out in May; a ghost story about a girl haunting her high school that has stuck with me. Paige’s friends are convinced she jumped off the roof but she … remembers things differently.)
57. Above World, Jenn Reese (another book with great world building)
58. Days of Blood and Starlight, Laini Taylor (worthy successor to Daughter of Smoke and Bone; I miss the our-world Karou of the first book, but the new focus on Zuzana fills the gap at least a little)
59. Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, Xinran
60. Rebel, R.J. Anderson

5 thoughts on “2012 in books”

  1. Forgive me if I’ve asked this before, but, have you read “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead? As you are a fan of Madeleine L’Engle, I think it would be right up your alley.

    1. I have! Enjoyed it … in the ways I enjoy realistic novels, interestingly, because I felt like it was the everyday real life details and tone that made the book shine, rather than the SF elements.

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