Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best Young Adult Books of 2013

We're two and a half weeks into the new year, but I'm still thinking about all the young adult (YA) books I read last year. 2013 was a good year for YA books, but there were three in particular that I was so emotionally invested in, I'm still thinking about them months later.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

While on spring break in Aruba, a young girl is accused of her best friend's death and must stand trial for murder in a foreign country.*

Dangerous Girls is sort of a cross between the real-life cases of Amanda Knox and Natalee Holloway. The writing was superb, the story engrossing, and the ending, while not unpredictable (for me; some reviewers have said they never saw it coming), still blew my mind. I didn't pick up another book until several days after finishing Dangerous Girls, because I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

Golden by Jessi Kirby

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she's about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap--one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery--she decides to take a chance.*

Jessi Kirby is one of my favorite authors, and Golden is her best novel so far. The question that Parker faces throughout the book is a quote from the Mary Oliver Poem The Summer Day: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" If you decide to read Golden, expect to think about that question in terms of your own wild and precious life; almost a year later, I'm still dwelling on it.

Game by Barry Lyga (Note: This is the sequel to I Hunt Killers.)

After solving a deadly case in the small town of Lobo's Nod, seventeen-year-old Jazz, the son of history's most infamous serial murderer, travels to New York City to help the police track down the Hat-Dog Killer.*

Game is the second book in Lyga's I Hunt Killer series. I love a good murder mystery, and Game didn't disappoint. Read it closely enough, and you'll figure out what game the serial killer in this book is playing.

Dangerous Girls, Golden, and Game weren't the only books published in 2013 that I loved. The others I loved were (in no particular order):

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Seven Minutes in Heaven by Sara Shepard
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Finally, I have two honorable mentions for books I loved last year but that weren't published in 2013.

The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin
The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen

In a couple of weeks, I'll be taking a look at 2014 young adult releases--stay tuned!

*Book descriptions are taken from the library catalog, unless otherwise noted.

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