2014 has been both a great and disappointing year for my reading. In many ways, it’s a year of quality over quantity, which is pleasing; yet I was hoping I could complete more than the 28 I did. I suppose completing my A Levels and working on a big theatre project didn’t help!
This year I notably also started a fair few books I didn’t finish, not because I don’t think I’ll like them but because I just didn’t get on with them at the time (I’m a firm believer in right place/right time for my reading; sometimes a narrative just won’t click with me when I first attempt it but I’ll love it another time). Amongst these books were Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant and Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy, two books I was HUGELY excited about; as well as sci-fi Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard and sort-of-paranormal Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve.
All cover images link to my reviews (if published).
|Burn by Julianna Baggott, How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan, Salvage by Keren David and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs.
January began with a bang as I feasted on Burn by Julianna Baggott – the third and final instalment in the Pure Trilogy which has become one of my favourite dystopian/post-apocalyptic series. Baggott has a knack for great characterisation coupled with unbelievably good prose. I continued with short story collection How They Met by David Levithan – lovely, sweet and tender if you’re up for a few cute stories about blossoming relationships. And, of course, there are plenty of LGBT characters; a definite plus! The month ended with the human story of Salvage and the fantasy elements of Hollow City, which was a nice contrast.
|The Things We Did For Love by Natasha Farrant, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
The Things We Did for Love was a book I picked up after meeting Natasha Farrant (the author); it’s not one I reviewed for several reasons, mainly because I was away from home at the time and never got around to it (shame). February was a slow month thanks in part to exam mocks; but I did manage to devour the superbly fantastic Grasshopper Jungle which is my favourite book of 2014; it’s truly astounding and here to stay, I think, as Andrew Smith’s reputation as a genius writer blossoms in the new year with further releases and the hope of developments of the film adaptation.
|Half Bad by Sally Green, Trouble by Non Pratt, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, I Predict a Riot by Catherine Bruton.
My luck didn’t change after finishing Grasshopper Jungle because I subsequently read Half Bad by Sally Green, a marvellous witchy tale that would have made J.K. Rowling jealous (yes I went there!) Also experimental 2nd person; big thumbs up. Trouble was up next which, apart from being the debut novel of my buddy Non Pratt also revolved around a Juno-esque teenage pregnancy; this time with a twist, so that was good. March was also the month in which David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing was finally published in the UK; I couldn’t get away with not reading it! It was lovely to end the month with Catherine Bruton’s I Predict a Riot; I’m a fan of her writing and her third novel is a lovely/tragic exploration of the London Riots.
|Raging Star by Moira Young
Just one book this month, and I can’t quite remember why. I managed to read the finale of Young’s epic dystopian trilogy early and was able to ask her lots of questions in my interview with her.
|Blues for Zoey by Robert Paul Weston, Winger by Andrew Smith, Ciao for Now by Joe Schreiber.
|We Were Liars by E Lockhart, Prince of the Icemark by Stuart Hill.
Exam season begins so I’m back to just a couple of books; this time We Were Liars, which got so much hype that I read it just to see what all the (largely deserved) fuss was about. Then a brief throwback to my early teenagehood with the prequel to one of my favourite high-fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Icemark.
|Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, Sand by Hugh Howey, Zero Hour by Will Hill, Replica by Jack Heath.
Sand and Zero Hour are undoubtedly standouts here; lost worlds in the former and vampires in the latter.
|Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, P.K.Pinkerton and the Pistol Packing Widows by Caroline Lawrence
My theatre project took over my life at this point but I still managed to get through the raucously British rom-com Lobsters and catch up with one of my favourite middle-grade series about a young detective in the Wild West.
|Red Rising by Pierce Brown, The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud.
I normally love to read whilst travelling but it just didn’t click as I worked my way from Prague to Istanbul with some friends. Red Rising finally managed to pull me out of that lull with its off-world dystopian plot; I quickly followed it up with the ghost-busting sequel from Stroud’s Lockwood & Co series. Then my kindle broke and I was marooned and all hope was lost. Sob.
|Norwegian Wood by Haruki Marukami
After a long while of nothing (and trying various books), I eventually got back into the groove with a recommendation from M.G.Harris: Japanese modern classic Norwegian Wood, which you could easily describe as the Japanese version of Catcher in the Rye, except it’s less whiny, more sexed-up and generally better…(controversial, I know!)
|The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
I managed to whizz through these three phenomenal contemporary/coming-of-age novels in a jiffy. All three deal with serious issues, though Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is arguably the lightest of the three; Last Leaves Falling and All the Bright Places both deal with mortality and are both tragically sad (in a good way). It was nice to end 2014 with three books that would kick off the YA scene for 2015 – especially as they’re all so good.