I read over fifty (50!!!!) books in 2014. These are some of my favorites.
1. Cliffs of Insanity – The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
I finally read the Heroes of Olympus series this year, after reading the Percy Jackson and the Olypmians series growing up. And boy, does HOO have some cliffhangers. The end of Mark of Athena made me sit back in shock, my face contorted with ugly crying. The three middle books in the series are amazing for their humor, their action scenes, and their Percabeth. If you’d like to hang from some cliffs, I’d recommend the Heroes of Olympus series, except I don’t really because Blood of Olypmus was such a disappointment.
2. Cliffs of Intensity – the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
The Mara Dyer series has some pretty crazy cliffhangers, too, but it’s much more thrilling and creepy than Heroes of Olympus. These books are not for the faint of heart. I love Mara Dyer because the characters are so strong and unique, the writing is so beautiful, the relationships will physically make your heart ache, and the plot is suspenseful AND actually makes sense! Also, the Lord of the Rings references are pretty great. Recommended for people who want to be so scared they pee their pants and so attached to characters that they feel actual pain when the characters suffer. (Because there’s a lot of suffering.) (Also, read my review for the last book in the trilogy, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, here!)
3. Sad Books Make Me Cry – Looking for Alaska by John Green
Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking characters. Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking relationships. Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking story about the impact that we have on other people and the importance of forgiveness. I recommend Looking for Alaska to all of the people, but especially if you want to deepen your understanding of yourself and the world around you.
4. Why Do I Like So Many Sad Books – Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
I related so hard to Laurel’s character in this book. It’s heartbreaking as Laurel copes with the death of her sister, but she grows so much throughout. I enjoyed this book for the epistolary writing style which combined anecdotal and poetic writing, as well as the character growth Laurel undergoes. Recommended for readers who have been struggling and need to be reminded that it’s okay to struggle. (You can read more of my feelings in my review here.)
5. Seriously Though with the Sad Books – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I read We Were Liars in one night. My favorite part about this book was the way the tone worked with the mystery, which complemented an overall theme of the novel. While reading, you get the vibe that something is off, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. This is a perfect illustration of the way the Sinclair family works. Ultimately, the ending is way tragic, and you barely get to see the main character, Cadence, let go of the past. But the suspense, the writing, and the story are still just so good. Recommended for people who want a contemporary that’s not focused mainly on character growth or romance.
Honestly, The Archived is just a really good book. The main character is so awesome. Her romantic interest is so hot. The pacing is so excellent, suspenseful-but-not-too-suspenseful. There’s action, there’s strength, there’s fantasy colliding with reality. My main thought when this book comes to mind is that it’s very well balanced: the writing style, the characters, their relationships, and the plot all weave together wonderfully. Recommended to fans of action and butt-kickery. (Also, there’s a really awesome sequel, too, and there’s been enough support that a third book is in the works!)
7. Approximately Four Percent Were Nonfiction – Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis
I read this book just before I went to Haiti, and it was very influential for my experiences there. It taught me so much about complete dependence on Jesus and was a huge part of what God did to my heart this summer. It was touching, thought-provoking, and so meaningful. I recommend it to those looking for direction or feeling alone.
8. Dead Welsh Kings Apparently Pique My Interest – The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys and subsequent books are probably some of the weirdest I’ve ever read, but they’re totally worth it because the characters are absolutely vibrant. The humor, creativity of the writing, and relationships between the characters will also keep you distracted from the fact that the plot is literally about a boy who should have died from hornet stings searching for a sleeping Welsh king on an energy line with his poor friend, his angry friend, his ghost friend, and a psychic’s daughter whom he falls in love with while dodging attacks from their psycho Latin teacher, their other psycho Latin teacher, and a hit man whom said psychic’s daughter’s mom is dating. Recommended, obviously, for those who are looking for something a little different.
9. One That’s Actually Cute and Somewhat Normal – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I know for a fact that I will always go back to this book to make me feel better, whether it’s after a break up (ha) or a cliffhanger that makes me feel like I’m going to die. 2014 was the year I finally pulled myself together and read Anna, and I’m so glad I did. The characters, the humor, and the writing just make you feel like your heart is melting into a pile of goo and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Stephanie Perkins creates characters and situations that are just so real. I recommend this to people who need a recovery book, because whatever it is you’re going through, this will make you smile.
You have no idea how badly I wanted to add another book and bring the number up to a nice ten, but… oh well. Feel free to tell me your favorite books of 2014 in the comments! Happy holidays and happy reading!