Book Editorial, Book Reviews, Books, Editorials, Reviews

The best YA science fiction and fantasy books of 2013

2013 was an incredible year in YA. There were so many amazing books that came out this past year that this list could be insanely long. But we took into account popularity of series, authors, and of course our own personal tastes after reading, and the list we’ve compiled won’t steer you wrong. If you haven’t read the series that some of these books are in, now’s a great time to start. And  the series beginners and stand-alones are also well worth your time. I’m sure we’re going to get some stunning YA in 2014, but to hold you over be sure to exhaust this list! So without further ado, to honor 2013, here are our 13 favorite YA books of this past year:

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo

siege and stormDarkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

scarletCinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

An NPR Best Book of 2013

Teardrop, by Lauren Kate

teardropAn epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away. The first book in the new series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series

Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, presents Steelheart, the first book in the Reckoners series, an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers breathless.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner

the eye of mindsFrom James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

the coldest girlTana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

allegiantWhat if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

 

 

 

Requiem, by Lauren Oliver

requiemNew York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller, this exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s acclaimed Delirium trilogy is a riveting blend of nonstop action and forbidden romance in a dystopian United States. With lyrical writing, Lauren Oliver seamlessly interweaves the peril that Lena faces with the inner tumult she experiences after the reappearance of her first love, Alex, the boy she thought was dead. Named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, this sophisticated and wide-ranging novel brings the New York Times bestselling Delirium trilogy to a thrilling conclusion.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

The Bitter Kingdom, by Rae Carson

the bitter kingdomThe third book in Rae Carson’s award-winning The Girl of Fire and Thorns fantasy trilogy. Elisa, the seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen, will travel into an unknown enemy’s realm to win back her true love, save her kingdom, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny. Veronica Roth called The Girl of Fire and Thorns “intense, unique . . . definitely recommended.”

Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and George R. R. Martin’s style of sweeping and deeply satisfying epic fantasy, the third and final book in the trilogy takes the young queen on a journey more dangerous than any she has faced before. Elisa will stand before the gate of the enemy. And she must rise up as champion—even to those who have hated her—or her kingdom will fall. Full of sorcery, adventure, sizzling romance, and secrets that challenge everything she believes, this is a bold and powerful conclusion to an extraordinary trilogy. As USAToday.com proclaimed, “Rae Carson has proved she’s a master and has shaken up the YA genre.”

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

9780399162411B.JPGThe Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

clockwork princessDanger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

 

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater

the dream thievesThe second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….

 

 

Champion, by Marie Lu

championThe explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Be sure to check out our list of favorite adult SF/F from 2013. 

Book Events, Books, Events

BEA, Day Three: We’re Tired, but it was Worth it!

(Jackie Krah) BEA wrapped up today. I couldn’t be too sad as we walked away with an absurd amount of great ARCs and professional contacts. (I believe Lauren wants to tell you about our shipping fiasco. The post office hated us.) The highlight moment of day three barely had competition for me. We decided to swing by the IDW Comics booth before we said goodbye to the coolest experience ever. Mike wanted to check out some info about the Dr. Who comic series, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to their publicity reps yet.

Wow, am I glad that we did. After talking to a spectacularly nice and helpful IDW representative I scored several volumes worth of reviewable comics. Look forward to upcoming reviews on True Blood vol. 1, a G.I Joe series by Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) and graphic novel additions to James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard books. Lauren also got some spectacular booty – but I believe she’s eager to tell you about that herself.

Mike began to talk about other things as we turned the corner away from the IDW booth (where they could no longer see me therefore I could switch from the professional to the fan-girl side of my personality). Lauren held up her hand to tell him to hold on for just one second. Then she looked at me, knowing exactly what to expect. I, predictably, burst into a happy dance. I’m a big fan of IDW in general, and am extraordinarily excited to discover new series to delve into and share with you.

Don’t be too jealous. We were absolutely thinking of our viewers the entire time. Many of the book ARCs that we procured we were also able to get a copy (usually signed) to give away on the site at the time of the review/ interview. We couldn’t do this with all the books, but whenever the opportunity presented itself, we grabbed a copy to share. (As I said. The post office HATES us.) More on these giveaways to come!

A stack of our books after only the first two days!

(Lauren Zurchin) I am tired. Dead on my feet (actually, I’m sitting in bed, watching a movie in our hotel room, but I digress). Because I just had one of the most rewarding, wonderful weeks of my life, which was capped off by today.

There was only one official thing on the agenda this morning: Christopher Paolini was receiving an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest author to ever have a best-selling series. How cool is that? I don’t know how he wasn’t giddy; I know I would be (though he did mention that he was talking about it so much at home that eventually his sister told him to shut up!). We got some nice pics, and then went off to visit the remainder of the convention.

Considering we already had more books than we knew what to do with, we were thinking we wouldn’t end up picking any up today. Wrong! There were some being given away, including Lauren Oliver’s new Middle Grade book Liesl & Po. We also visited the blogger convention which was happening a level below. It wasn’t as well-developed as we expected, but it was still nice to get cards for potential future connections.

Something extraordinary that happened to me, the book girl. I got given a breathtakingly beautiful hard-back graphic novel of The Last Unicorn. Anyone ever seen that movie? I loved it as a child, the beauty and the hauntingly dark parts. Even back then it drew me in. So to see there was a gorgeous version of the story, drawn to look pretty much the same, was amazing. And the guy at IDW gave it to me! Needless to say, I was over the moon, and I’ll be sure to review it soon.

So, as you can see from the above photo, we had a TON of books. That photo doesn’t even include the ones we got today. So imagine trying to take all of those home on the bus. Granted, they were split between three people, but I had almost as many as Jackie and Mike combined. So after we left the convention center, we headed over to the post office to mail one of my suitcases home. It turned into a disaster. At first it was too heavy, and then it needed to be wrapped in bubble wrap and taped, and one person said one thing and another said another. So at the end we had a box filled to the brim with books, and a lighter suitcase wrapped and taped to be sent on its way. Over an hour later, we finally finished, to come back to the hotel and relax on our beds, where we haven’t left.

There is so much I want to say about this event, but overall, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I cannot wait to share all of the wonderful things we got and learned with you, our lovely readers.

Book News, Books, News

Get Inside Two Awesome YA Books: Beastly & Delirium

HarperCollins has some freebies on their site right now–excerpts of Beastly by Alex Flynn and Delirium by Lauren Oliver. They are only available on the HarperCollins website, so click here for Beastly and click here for Delirium.

Beastly is being turned into a movie, set to release onMarch 18th. Click here to link to a previous post about the movie, including the trailer.

Delirium is the newest book by Lauren Oliver released on February 1st. She is known for her New York Times Bestselling debut book, Before I fall. Both of these books have been optioned for movies as well, so we’ll definitely be seeing more of her in the future!