So if it hasn’t been apparent yet, I have finished my goal to read 25 books for 2014. Yay! So what I want to do in this post is to rearrange the list of books that I read this year from the best to the worst – a great way to review all the books I’ve read in a nutshell.
25. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (February)
Insurgent was definitely the worst of the bunch. Terrible character and plot development. I’m really not looking forward to the movie itself. As far as I’m concerned, I’m completely put off by the Divergent series. Even the lovely Shailene Woodley cannot save this.
24. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (December)
Girl Online is a read for those who are huge fans of the Youtuber, Zoe Suggs. It’s a lighthearted read you can curl in bed with on a rainy day. Never to take too seriously – it’s basically a rom com in book form.
23. Looking For Alaska by John Green (March)
Back when John Green thought himself one with the teen crowd but made a terribly cliched attempt at a teenage story. Oh, what do teenagers like? Cigarettes, tattoos, skipping class, rebellion – great, let’s have that. Oh, what makes a book have substance? Divorce, abuse, rape, alcohol and drug overdose, suicide – yup, that sounds great. That’s what Looking for Alaska is.
22. Emily of Emerald Hill by Stella Kon (September)
Overall a decent play. But a forgettable one for me. Maybe better as a play than a read through.
21. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (May)
I was really looking forward to this one, but again I have a feeling that it will be forgotten along with the above few stories. Maybe Blade Runner is a better movie, but K. Dick’s book was not really my cup of tea. I felt like two thirds of it I was waiting for something to start that didn’t.
20. The Death Cure by James Dashner (June)
A decent enough ending for The Maze Runner series. But I prefer the Mockingjay as a series ending. Another book I feel like I need to reread before the final movie to remember what exactly happened.
19. The Giver by Lois Lowry (July)
I have honestly yet to watch the movie. But I thought the book itself was a pretty decent dystopian story. I remember being fascinated by the Christian allusions in it. Overall a thought-provoking read. But I don’t think I’ll continue on in the series.
18. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (September)
A really easy read and in touched upon some distressing issues about the Holocaust and Auschwitz. I was so frustrated by the ending of this novel, but looking back on it, I feel like it was so necessary for the moral of the story. Only trouble I have is the portrayal of Bruno as a protagonist. He seemed more ignorant than a boy his age should have been.
17. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (March)
A better depiction of teenagers than Green’s Looking For Alaska – I felt like a decent portion of 2014 was spent looking for decent teenage novels. For this one I loved all the characters except the protagonist, which is a real odd feeling for me because I usually feel the closest with the protagonist. But, overall, I recommend it.
16. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (March)
I watched the movie a while back and decided to go to the novel to see if there was anything different. It definitely was different – if anything a little plain. I expected a lot more depth in language and character. But overall it was a decent book. More all-rounded than Thirteen Reasons Why.
15. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (October)
This book really made me think about how we perceive time and space. It was incredibly well-written in terms of the choice of words by Vonnegut and I loved the entire plot of Billy Pilgrim getting dislodged in the time-space continuum – and the entire symbolism of it.
14. Sold by Patricia McCormick (September)
Sold was really different for me. It touches upon the issue of child trafficking and it made me really hurt inside for Lakshmi. It is also incredibly misleading. Despite how easy it is to read, and how few words there are sometimes, it tells so much more than is on the page – and its subject matter is so difficult to get through. For these reasons, Sold is another must-read.
13. The Kill Order by James Dashner (October)
I didn’t really expect much from the prologue of The Maze Runner, but this one surprised me as to how much I did love it. I loved the world that Dashner created after the sun flares. And the unexpected twist at the end of the novel.
12. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (December)
I read this one in one night, two hours, on a cruise and was absolutely absorbed in the story. It is the perfect kind of magical realism children’s world that Gaiman creates. I would absolutely love to read this to my children one day before they go to sleep – or recreate my own reason as to why I was late to fetch the milk. 😉
11. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (July)
Neverwhere is definitely a more grown-up Gaiman novel that I loved. Honestly, I feel fortune to have read books that I generally loved this year and that I do not feel like I’ve wasted my time on. I loved the idea of London Above and London Below and that people can fall through the cracks and end up in an entirely scumbag world where you risk being forgotten and eaten by the rot. Gaiman is definitely an author that captured my heart this year – and the beautiful irony was that my New Year’s resolution for this year was a Gaiman quote.
10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (May)
I feel like I have to put a majority of Maze Runner in my top 10 because I just absorbed this trilogy into my veins, like literal osmosis. It’s fast-paced, has so many twists and turns and a protagonist that I absolutely love-hated with a passion and a world that is just ugly to the core. I only wish for more character development.
9. Paper Towns by John Green (May)
Paper Towns took me by surprise as something I loved. After reading Looking for Alaska, I felt that The Fault in Our Stars was a fluke and that there would be no other good John Green book. Paper Towns renewed my faith that Green could write for teenagers. I liked the protagonist, I liked the plot. It had quotable quotes. I can’t wait for the movie.
8. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (June)
I feel like The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials was pretty much tied in love, but Paper Towns somehow managed to sandwich itself through – I don’t know what I’m saying now, it’s late and I did not expect that it would take so long to quick review 25 books (stupid stupid idea). But the one reason why The Scorch Trials wins over The Maze Runner for me is Brenda. Brenda was a great addition. And the landscape of the desert was just the grit the trilogy needed to make everything even more real and disgusting. Also, one chapter actually made me gasp and almost scream. I mean, I didn’t even do that for The Shining. But The Scorch Trials did that to me.
7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (August)
Speak was an incredibly powerful novel for me. It spoke to me (oh my, here comes the unintentional puns). It tells the story of Melinda Sordino, who suffers from selective mutism after a traumatising incident (which I will not “speak” of). There were moments in this novel that really just yanked my heart out of my mouth.
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (September)
So what inspired Speak was this novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I think it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was just gorgeously written. If you want poetry in prose form, Maya Angelou is the goddess of poetic writing. There are so many lines in this novel that should just be memorised and recited when one needs freedom from racism, sexism and just from being a judged human being. Absolute love.
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (March)
Gah, this book gave me the feels. And, yes, I cried. The Fault in Our Stars is not perfect. It has its – dare I say it – faults. But there were so many moments in this book that reminded me of my own life (and I’m sure many of other readers’ lives) that I just have to put it up high on this list. I will remember many of these scenes more than others from other books on the list. Augustus Waters will forever live in these pages … okay, why am I getting so soppy in these last few reviews. Hush. Shut up.
4. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (May)
My good friend and fellow blogger, Rhey of Sunshine’s, favourite book. I decided to read it this year and I do not regret it. It was an incredible story of Charlie Gordon – a Forrest Gump-esque character – and his journey of obtaining intelligence through an experiment and the changes he experiences in his humanity and personality because of it.
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (November)
I feel like this novel in particular is going to inspire me in a lot of my writing in the future. The Graveyard Book was everything that I needed in a Gaiman’s novel. It is the tale of a character named Nobody (Bod for short), who lives in a graveyard for his own protection. This is another book I can’t wait to be turned into a movie. And I feel like if there is a gorgeous version of it in book form, I would totally get it and reread it.
I think I will forever remember reading this book in one sitting in the library. I will cut this review short, but I feel like it was such a perfect novel, one of the best of 2014 – not only among the books I read, but I believe among all the other books of 2014. I feel like everyone should read this book if they were to read any book that came out this year.
This book definitely sits at the top of my list. Recently I’ve been listening to the audio book of it read by Will Wheaton and it honestly still leaves me so enthralled and gives me chills. I love the characters, I love the world and I love the plot. Whenever I read it I feel like I’m being given a crash course in American pop culture in the 80s.
Let me know what books you absolutely loved in 2014 and which ones I should add to my list for 2015. I’m contemplating of giving myself another goal for reading books next year. Maybe I’ll make it 30 – or keep it at 25 still (no need changing something that works). Either way, I just hope that I keep reading consistently. This year has been so much more amazing because of the above books I’ve read.
Till next time!