• Gina Denny

The Best and Worst Books of 2012: Part 1

Some how I’ve managed to read a lot fewer books this year than in previous years. Maybe moving across the country had something to do with it. Maybe the prolonged miscarriage and recovery. In any case, I present to you The Best and Worst Books of 2012 (according to me, and based on what I’ve read)

Today, THE BEST:

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green


It should be depressing. It’s not. It shouldn’t be funny. It is. But it’s really about kids dealing with things they should never have to deal with, and doing a better job than anybody really expected them to do. All the things you probably hate about YA lit (insta-love, absentee parents, tropey characters) are absent. The age of the characters (thus the category they’re forced into) is deliberate to the story, instead of obviously capitalizing on a trend. Green knocks it out of the park and I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith


One of the first books of the year, thus one of the most overlooked. It’s adorable and sweet, if a teensy bit on the predictable side. Another YA in which the parents are not absentee so much as they are becoming irrelevant in their kids’ lives. As if these kids have been raised and are now growing up. Crazy.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver


The second-book-in-a-trilogy slump gets solved when the author wraps two stories into one, giving the book a double climax. Take that, slump. Our main character also has to actually deal with the negative consequences of her choices, and I’m excited to see how that plays out. (Because of this, the third book has the potential to be a really hormonal, emotional mess of teenage-love-angst, but that’s book three… we’re talking about book two here.) And I love how Oliver isn’t afraid to remorselessly rip your heart out. I need to learn from her.

Honorable Mentions: (these came out in 2011, but I didn’t read them until this year)

Ashfall by Mike Mullin


Action packed and thrilling, but incredibly thought provoking. One of the best Potential Book Club Books of the year, no doubt (the sequel came out this year, but I’m in line for it from the library). It raises questions about emergency preparedness, role of government in our lives – and in particular in our disaster recovery – and on and on. It’s one of those haunting books that stays with you for weeks afterward.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


At first, you feel like you’ve fallen into a weird rabbit hole that you don’t want to be in. The narrator has cracked, and the inside of her head instead particularly welcoming or pretty. It is fascinating, though, so you continue. And you find yourself in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, conspiracy, sci-fi, superhero, romance novel. And you love it.

#BookTalk

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Gina Denny is a writer, homeschooler, and former classroom teacher who writes about parenting and education issues. She also writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and lives near Phoenix, Arizona with her family. 

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