We here at YA Interrobang read a lot of YA lit. Many team members grumbled and complained when asked to pick the best book they read that came out this year, because how could they choose just one?
But here you have it: the top picks of the YA Interrobang staff for 2014. Do you share the same favorites?
ALISON – Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
I am an absolute sucker for fairytale retellings. Whenever I find a re-telling that completely revamps the entire story and shakes up everything you ever knew about the fairytale, I’m a gonner. Hodge’s writing is absolutely stunning and the world she builds in Cruel Beauty is seductively cruel and beautiful. I was in love immediately. Cruel Beauty is actually one of my favorite books of all time.
“Knowing the truth is not always a kindness.”
― Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty
MERIDETH – A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
I’m a huge Claudia Gray fan. I love her writing, her world-building and her character development. She writes a story that you can just fall into and you forget there’s a world outside of her books. I loved the Anastasia-type world in A Thousand Pieces of You especially. It was what first drew me to the book – outside of the fact that it was a Claudia Gray novel, of course! I just think everyone needs to read it. It was perfection!
I fell in love with his unchanging soul.
― Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You
HEBAH – The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I liked how it felt so barbed and had truly high stakes, as well as the use of compelling strategy AND THAT ENDING.
NICOLE – The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I love fantasy novels. Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse have an amazing fantasy world and structure – and the dynamics between the two lead characters were absolutely breathtaking. The writing itself was beautiful as well – and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. A must read for fantasy fans!
LINDSAY – Deluge by Lisa T. Bergren
It was a great end to a fabulous series that has meant a lot to me personally!
How good it felt, to do some good, here and there. Perhaps this was what it meant to be an adult. To grab the opportunity at hand, make the most of the day, regardless of what it looked like.
― Lisa Tawn Bergren’s Waterfall
LAUREN – Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
In addition to the fantastic writing and intricate characters, I enjoyed Lies We Tell Ourselves because it contains two of my favorite things: history and diversity. Given that the book took place in the 1960’s in the deep South, the history was familiar, so it wouldn’t put people off, but it was accurate enough that historians such as myself appreciated it all the more. There was also a lot more diversity than I expected, and quite frankly, we don’t have nearly enough diversity in the publishing industry. I also enjoyed the dual point of view; oftentimes, this format is difficult to pull off in a way that the audience is not left feeling confused, but Talley does it beautifully. I would recommend this book to anyone.
TARA – Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. She’s not in your face about what’s going on – she’s subtle and deliberate with the clues she gives.
“I know when I’m awake and when I’m asleep,” Ronan Lynch said.
Adam Parrish, curled over himself in a pair of battered, greasy coveralls, asked, “Do you?”
“Maybe I dreamt you,” he said.
Thanks for the straight teeth, then,” Adam replied.
― Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue
LUCY – Cress by Marissa Meyer
An original and fast-paced addition to the series, introducing fantastic new characters and expanding on the social commentary of the previous two books.
Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”
― Marissa Meyer’s Cress
NATASHA – Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
Everything Leads to You is a love story not just between two people, but with art. The fear, the hunger, and the need for it. The behind the scenes look at set design and how it brings two people together had me turning the pages and I even bought a copy for my best friend. I just needed to share it!
“This is how it works. You bust your ass. Not everything goes your way, and then, after a while, you get to that point. You get to make your own decisions and people look to you for approval on their work.”
― Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads to You
EILEEN – These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
It was raw, painful to read (in a good way), and definitely thought-provoking. It was one of those books I needed to digest fully before I could even look at words again.
I don’t want to talk about anything, not even with her, but it feels like the words are pushing against my lips; if I start talking, I might not be able to stop and that scares me so much I think I might be shaking; but I’m not sure.
― Helene Dunbar’s These Gentle Wounds
SHAWN- Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Ask me again tomorrow and my choice for the best YA book of 2014 might change. One day it’ll be the beautiful Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, it could be the brilliant Glory O’Brien’s History of The Future by A.S. King the next day. But right now my choice is Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith for the purely selfish reason that the main character Austin was the first male character I could see parts of myself in. The book manages to deal with a character coming to terms with their bisexuality while still delivering a crazysci-fi story with giant grasshoppers that only want to eat and procreate. While I loved so many other books last year, and so many of them were important to twentysomething me, Grasshopper Jungle was the one I most wish I could send back in time to teenage me, knowing he’d get something valuable from it, which has to count for something.