Readable Christmas Presents: The Best Books of 2012

Can’t believe it’s that time of year again already–especially because the Springtime weather is clashing with the all-Christmas all-the-time radio stations. It feels like just a few months ago I was compiling the holiday shopping list for the best books of 2011.

For those of you on Goodreads, how is your yearly reading challenge going? I originally committed to reading 100 books this year. Then, as I started falling behind schedule, I dropped my expectations to 75, and then finally 60. And just last week I met–and nudged a little beyond–my goal!

So, with 60+ books under my belt this year, these are the ones that should definitely appear under your Christmas tree (or on your own Christmas list to Santa!)

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Fantasy set on a tiny island somewhere near England that’s infested with bloodthirsty seahorses–magical horses that live in the ocean, not those cute things with tails you see at the aquarium–a traditional race, and a subtle, potential, budding love story. Perfect for young adults and adults alike who perhaps had a childhood obsession with everything horse-related and always asked for a pony under the tree.

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Noticing a theme? I have completely fallen in love with this author this year! I am trying to read everything she’s ever written (though Shiver, a werewolf love story trilogy she wrote is a little too sickeningly sweet for my tastes, and I’m not sure I’ll make it through the series). Anywho, this is the first in a series, set in the sticks of Virginia and combines legends of a Welsh king, a treasure hunt, ghosts, a brood of psychics, and just…awesomeness. Seriously. Everyone in the world should read this book. Words can’t even describe.

4. Stork (3 book series) by Wendy Delsol. I got the third and final book in the series as an ARC at BEA and, so as to not spoil the ending, got the first two out of the library. Set in frigid Minnesota, there’s magic, other worlds, an evil Snow Queen, Jack Frost, mermaids, lots of Nordic folktales and traditions, and even a trip to Iceland at one point. I loved these so much and blew through them (no Jack Frost pun intended). Perfect for those who love retold fairy tales and are tired of beating the dead Cinderella horse and are ready for some more obscure/less mainstream fairy tales.

3. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.Everybody in the world who’s going to read this series has probably already read it by this Christmas, but it’s the perfect gift for those we love who live under rocks! Set in post-apocalyptic America, in the Appalachian area, it reminds me a lot of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and the Triwizard Tournament in the Harry Potter series, minus the magic.

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth.Love. So much love for this book/series (the second one Insurgent, is really good too and won the 2012 Goodreads Best Young Adult Fantasy category). If you liked the Hunger Games, you’re going to LOVE this series. So it’s perfect for those in Hunger Games-withdraw until the next movie comes out. Post-apocalyptic America, in a shabby, war-torn Chicago, teenagers have to choose a “faction” (basically, the Harry Potter house sorting ceremony minus the sorting hat) that they believe in: Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, or Amity…or risk becoming one of the homeless factionless. There’s a plot to overthrow the system though, complete with bad guys and corruption.

1. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.Set in snowy NYC during the holiday season, complete with all the top tourist attractions everyone’s sure to be familiar with–The Strand, Wax Museum, FAO Schwartz, etc.–along with a few quirky relatives, it’ll get you in the Christmas spirit. Who wouldn’t want to find a clue in a random book at The Strand that puts a boy on a hunt to prove himself to and find a mysterious girl?

If you’re a historical fiction fan–or know someone who is–I have a whole separate list of the best historical fiction I read this year, too.

Apparently, I’ve noticed, 2012 was the Year of Series and Epic-ness! Hope you all enjoy! Any other books you’d recommend adding to the list?

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8 thoughts on “Readable Christmas Presents: The Best Books of 2012

  1. Kay Kauffman says:

    I loved The Lottery by Shirley Jackson! I remember reading it as a teenager and being struck by how completely strange the concept of sacrificing someone each year was. I think I was 13 or 14 when I read it the first time and it was so hard for me to wrap my mind around, but I’ve read it again since and find it fascinating.

    • hannahkarena says:

      I never liked the story that much because I think I really hated the characters. But if a story keeps you thinking about the ideas days, weeks, even years after you read it, I think it’s successful. I think about that story every once in a while still, and I think I read it at the same age you did! Disturbing, yes. But still such a good short story.

  2. lovethebadguy says:

    I adore Stiefvater, and actually discovered her through her Shiver trilogy (which I adored — each to their own!). I also read Lament and Ballad, so I’m waiting for the final book.

    I haven’t actually read the two series you’ve listed, so I’ll have to check them out soon!

    (Also, your Reading Challenge in the sidebar is a bit behind the times — it says you’re at 45 books!)

    • hannahkarena says:

      That dumb Reading Challenge widget doesn’t really work that well. If you click through to my goodreads Reading Challenge page, it’s accurate and up to date. I hope the new 2013 widget works better!

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