2014: Best Books

I did a post last year called The Top 13 Books of 2013 on my old blog. I fully planned on doing a Top 14 of 2014 post this year, but I have decided to simplify it. There is no number limit; I’ll just list my favorite books that I read in 2014. Also, I’m going to stick to one book per series because otherwise I’d probably list them all out and I think you can get the gist from just one. That being said, I will mention if the whole series was a favorite. Books are not listed in order of how much I like them; they’re listed in order of when I read them. Most of these books were not published in 2014, but all were read this year. I read 70 books this year, 6 of which were re-reads, 2 of which were graphic novels, 4 of which were novellas. Here were the best!

1. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series. The whole series was a favorite for me this year (I read the first two in 2013). I loved this book because it was the in-between: it was set at St. Vladimir’s Academy, was light-hearted (a lot of it anyway), and Rose was surrounded by her friends, but the climax- and plot twist- helped transition the series into its second half. I found this book thrilling and riveting. I remember reading it in AP World History, one of my favorite classes sophomore year, during review week after winter break. Vampire Academy lead to one of the best friendships I have: Korina and I gushed and bonded over this series, especially this book, which she’d read a year earlier. I adore the whole Vampire Academy series for all its wit, charm, excitement, action, romance, and its strong female protagonist.

2. My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron
This is the first New Adult novel that I’ve finished. I dabbled a bit into the genre in 2013, reading excerpts and free samples. But this one pulled me in and kept me. I loved the protagonist Taylor and her icy shell, her banter with Hunter, her muddied past. Although the “secret” she kept was blatant to the reader, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. It was hopeful and funny and made me laugh and I think I even teared up. It was a beautiful story, a happy ending, everything we can hope to find someday but probably won’t. I was sucked in.

3. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
This is the third book in the Shatter Me trilogy. Character-wise, this novel was brilliant. It solved the love triangle beautifully, albeit a bit painfully. Warner was wonderful. Juliet grew into herself more than ever. She was strong and finally knew what she wanted. That’s why this book made my list. However, the actual execution to the conclusion of this series was mediocre. Almost the whole book focused on resolving character issues, which I loved. But the ending was so so so rushed. As with most dystopian trilogies, the corrupt institution was overthrown and we didn’t get to see the world rebuilt. Very abrupt ending that left me wanting more: an epilogue, a novella, something to wrap up my unanswered questions. The book, while good, left me upset and annoyed at the end.

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
I could not decide which of the three books in this trilogy were my favorite. I had all three highlighted on my list, so I decided to just list the first one. This book- and series- was brilliantly written and executed. The world-building, the descriptions of Prague, Morocco, the world of seraphim and chimaera, was all so exquisitely vivid. I love this trilogy so much, it is definitely an all-time favorite. And it got me back into the genre of fantasy, which I consistently and almost exclusively read from until sixth grade.

5. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I had heard a lot about this book in 2013. The hype surrounding it convinced me to give it a try, though half of me didn’t expect much because it was about, well, aliens. I’m not a sci-fi girl and I had my doubts. Boy, was that half of me wrong. I loved the writing style, almost stream-of-consious for Cassie, though it took me awhile to get into rhythm with. I loved the changing POVs, the world-building, the complex apocalyptic plot with moral questions subtly woven in. This was a great read, and though the sequel didn’t live up to its predecessor (or make the list), it was good too.

6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
The hard thing about writing a post like this with no notes is that I forget why I liked the books I highlighted. I liked the whole TMI series (I still haven’t read City of Heavenly Fire yet). This one was just my favorite. Jace was a brainwashed sidekick to Sebastien. Clary joins the pair in an attempt to save Jace. Some big battle with a cup of darkness or something happens at the end, the day is saved, Sebastien gets away. I forget the details okay! All I know is that this book, the fifth in the series, was my favorite and I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down and that is enough for it to make the list.

7. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
The ending and epilogue of this finale to The Infernal Devices trilogy is what made it my favorite over Clockwork Prince. The second installment’s plot was better, but the tear-jerking ending to the series takes the cake. I loved this trilogy because of the characters. The plot, while intriguing at times, was mediocre. But the characters were beyond fascinating. Their relationships to each other, their backstories, and their dialogue set this series apart. Will and Jem are two of my favorite characters ever. Their friendship and brotherhood was lovely to the point of heartbreaking. I highly recommend this series to everyone.

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
This is definitely one of the best of the best of 2014. I loved this coming of age novel, set partly in Europe, partly in suburbia, partly in Mexico. This book seemed to speak to me specifically. It moved me, changed me, made me think about myself and the world and the future in ways I hadn’t before. It made me reflect and hope and dream and plan. I loved it. The second book in the duology, a companion novel of sorts, was also very good. Read more of my thoughts in this post.

9. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I read this late in the year, in November. It was refreshing because it was so different than I expected. It took turns I didn’t predict, the protagonist was unpredictable, the story was anything but cliche. I loved this because it was unique, because it surprised me, because it stood out on purpose and in a good way, a way that made me think. I so highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA, villains, fantasy, dystopian, or Marie Lu’s Legend series. Or to anyone looking for a book that doesn’t follow the usual rules and patterns of YA fiction.

10. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
I read both this book and The Blood of Olympus this year. While the latter was good, it did not make my list. HoH made me feel nostalgic as I always do reading Rick Riordan’s writing. It was simple, middle-grade, safe, and entertaining. I knew everyone in the book would be okay, which is sometimes less of a certainty in YA, and although the writing style is definitely geared toward younger kids (as it should be), I think the world of demigods and its characters are magic.

The best re-read of the year was Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. The best nonfiction book I read was The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal. The best book I read for school was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. And that’s a wrap! I can’t wait to see what will be the best books of 2015.

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