So without further adieu, here are my TOP FIVE books of 2012:
From GoodReads: When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.
What I loved: Has there ever been a book where you threaten bodily harm if someone you know hasn't read it yet? This was that book for me. No lie, everyone (EVERYONE) got this book from me for Christmas this year. The minute Travis stepped off that plane, I wanted to know everything about his life. I loved every. single. thing. about this book. The complex relationships Travis had with his family, his marine buddies, his best friend, Charlie, and the girl he betrayed, Harper. I was intrigued by his struggles with PTSD and adjusting back to a post-war life. And it was so interesting to read a contemporary with a strong romance at the center of the story from a guy's POV.
Read this one. If you don't, I'll threaten more than bodily harm.
From GoodReads: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
What I loved: I mean, what can I say that everyone hasn't? Oh, maybe this: Okay? Okay.
From GoodReads: Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t.
What I loved: I was really surprised when another military book quickly rose to the top of my favorite list. Rusty almost knocked John After down off his book boyfriend pedestal. He was such a great, complex love interest. Jessi Kirby writes beautifully and is possibly the master of show-not-tell. I loved how she could write grief and humor and scenery so well. I'm anxiously awaiting her next book, Golden.
From GoodReads: A lot can happen in eleven minutes. Decker can run two miles easily in eleven minutes. I once wrote an English essay in ten. No lie. And God knows Carson Levine can talk a girl out of her clothes in half that time.
Eleven minutes might as well be eternity underwater. According to the lessons from health class, it only takes three minutes without air for loss of consciousness. Permanent brain damage begins at four minutes. And then, when the oxygen runs out, full cardiac arrest occurs. Death is possible at five minutes. Probable at seven. Definite at ten.
Decker pulled me out at eleven.
What I loved: I loved this entire premise. The voice in that pitch alone pulled me right in and wouldn't let go. I loved Delaney's very strained friendship with Decker after her accident. I was scared when strange and deadly occurrences followed her. I didn't want the book to end–but oh, how it ended! I can't tell you, but it's so good.
From GoodReads: Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .
What I loved: I love a good mermaid story, and for those who try to pass this one off as “another mermaid book,” DON’T. Of Poseidon combines suspense and romance. And Anna Banks is FUNNY. The dialogue was witty and really fun to read.
I loved the way the book flips from Emma's first person POV to Galen's third person POV. The chemistry between these two characters was fantastic! There were soft, romantic moments and playful, flirtatious dialogue. It was everything I crave in a solid YA read.