So I read 150 books this year.
That will come as no surprise to anyone who has met me. I am never without a book. I read as often as most people eat. I know more fictional people than I do real ones.
I also took a lot of classes this year that involved an absurd amount of reading. That helped.
But I did it! 150 books! There were days I certainly didn’t think I’d make it, usually accompanied by that little angry red message from Goodreads reminding me how many books behind schedule I was.
So I put together my end of the year wrap up. I did an A to Z book quiz earlier this year and it was fun, so I tried to do A to Z categories for this, but that did not pan out. So I just wrote about the things I loved about the books I loved. Basically this is just gonna be me gushing about books.
So here it is.
Mackenzi Lee’s 2013 Year in Books!
Pages Read: 49,585
Longest: The Rise of the Theodore Roosevelt at 960 pages
Shortest: Bunnicula at 128 pages
Best Adult Book
Not adult books as in porn. Adult books as in I mostly read children’s books, so it’s a big deal when I pick a book out of the adult fiction section. I actually read a lot of really good “adult novels” this year. I think my favorite might have been The Art Forger by BA Shapiro. My love for this book is definitely in part due to the Boston-ness of it. And my love of art. And forgers.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I dare you to come up with a better title than that.
Biggest Crush on a Fictional Character
Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races. Oh buddy. Sean Freaking Kendrick and his blood-red, man-eating horse.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell was a huge letdown for me, mostly because it seemed to be everyone’s favorite book of the year, and it was just barely not a two star book for me. No feels. None.
Best Epic Fantasy
Graceling by Kristen Cashore. That book made me proud to be a Simmons girl. (Kristen Cashore, it should be noted, is also a Simmons grad)
Gotta give this one to Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. Because it satisfied both the musical theater nerd in me and the lover of hilarious children’s books.
Best Graphic Novel
I read a lot of awesome graphic novels this year, but my favorite was probably Gris Grimley’s Frankenstein. Because it is a great marriage of classic text and beautiful art. If I had had this book in high school, I would have read Frankenstein a long time ago.
Best Historical Fiction
So the very obvious answer is Code Name Verity, which only sort of counts because I re-read it this year. Twice. So I’m gonna have to say…ah but this is impossible! I read so much historical fiction! And so much of it is so good! So if I was forced to pick, I would pick Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt. Which is a book I liked as a child, reread ten years later for class, and it totally knocked me over.
I Will Go Down With This Ship
Em and Dex from One Day by David Nicholls. My OTP. Forever.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn seriously freaked me out. In that very real, “people are truly horrible” sort of way. But The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson had me checking over my shoulder my whole walk home because I thought the ghost of Jack the Ripper was following me. Correction, I did not think it—I knew it.
Best Minor Character
So the biggest scene stealing minor character was Strumhound from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Mmmm. I love me some sassy pirate prince.
If You Could be Mine by Sarah Franzien was my favorite of the year in this category.
Favorite Fairytale Retelling
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. This one was also in the running for funniest book of the year.
Most Marvelous Middle Grade
Another category I read SO MUCH good stuff in. But if we’re not counting rereads, since Millions by Frank Cotrtrell Boyce, which I’ve read by my conservative estimate nine million times, I’d have to say The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Book that made me Angry
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. NO. JUST NO. SHTAP.
Most Ghostly Ghost
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I do love me a good ghost book.
Best Leading Lady
This year’s reading list was populated by amazing ladies. It might be impossible to pick a favorite. But I really love Deryn Sharp from Leviathan.
Most Tears Shed
A true, unexpected, and mildly embarrassing fact about me is that I tear up in a lot of books. Sometimes not because it’s sad—I’m just feeling too much (Feed by MT Anderson). Or the writing is too beautiful (Scorpio Races). Or just because I love these characters so much (One Day). But I also definitely cry when sad, sad, sad impossible things happen (Code Name Verity). Rose Under Fire, the companion novel to Code Name Verity, had me crying real tears in a restaurant. That probably wins the most tears award for the year.
Gentleman Practice by Buddy Wakefield
Favorite Quote of the Year
“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.” –Neil Gaiman, Ocean at the End of the Lane
Best Contemporary Realistic Piece
I don’t read a lot of contemporary realistic novels. Usually I need something magical to keep me engaged. I only found a couple this year that really grabbed me. If I had to pick, I’d probably say Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. Because sometimes I still think about that book.
Steampunk (is the best punk)
Steampunk is a new genre for me that I got hard core into this year. Far and away, the best steampunk series I read was the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. Nothing else can even compare.
Best Time Travel Novel
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terril. The most wonderfully unexpectedly awesome book of the year.
Up the Latest Reading
I was up veeeery late reading both The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater and its exceptional sequel, The Dream Thieves. The Dream Thieves was slightly more hazardous because it was reeeeeallly scary.
Most Villainous Villains
The Darkling from Siege and Storm. Do you want to kill him or make out with him? Only the third book will tell.
Most Vivid Setting
The island of Thisby in The Scorpio Races. Ah Thisby. Let me live on your chalky beaches and run from your man eating horses.
There are a lot of dystopians out there right now. The best dystopian book I read this year was Feed by MT Anderson. I didn’t think I liked dystopian books until I read Feed.
Most Classic Classic
I gotta say, Frankenstein was the most impactful classic text I read this year. I’d never read it before, and I holed up in my apartment during the great February blizzard and plowed through it. It was good when I read it. But then the more I thought about it, the better it got. Now I’m obnoxiously obsessed with it.
Best Zombie Book (because who doesn’t love a good zombie?)
My favorite zombie book of the year was Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and it’s only slightly less marvelous sequel, A Darkness Strange and Lovely.
A full list of the books I read and the star ratings I gave them can be found on my Goodreads page.