YA Superlative Blogfest 2013: Elements of Fiction

There's no What's Up Wednesday today because we're on to Day 3 of the YA Superlatives Blogfest!

About the blogfest: The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 16th – Thursday, December 19th and will highlight our favorite books of 2013. This year, the lovely hosts Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and Katy Upperman will also be giving away books to bloggers who participate in all 4 days of the fest. Click the banner for more info!

If you join in, don't forget to link up at one of the host blogs! There's a prize for participating every day!

*Disclaimer: We tried to choose books published in 2013, but as we didn't read that many 2013 releases some of these might not be from 2013. Also, some books had their last book in the series pubbed in 2013.

The topic is Elements of Fiction!

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)

Krispy's pick: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta basically makes me never want to write fantasy again because they're just so darn good. The plots are riveting, the characters compelling, and the world of Skuldenore is just so well-realized. Don't even get me started on the complex themes!

Alz's pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti doesn't have a plot as such--it's more of a character-development-and-exploration piece.  In fact, it almost goes out of its way to not have a plot, which is why it works--the narrator's psychological issues, relationships, and personal growth shine all the more for not being mired in plot.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)

Krispy's pick: In the world of Dualed, if you live in the city of Kersh (like the MC does), you have to kill your Alt before your Alt kills you. So while daily life seems like it's okay overall, you'd have to kill or be killed, and you might get accidentally killed by Alt-vs-Alt crossfire. The motto of the city is "Be the one. Be worthy." Nope, count me out.

Cover art from DIVIDED, upcoming sequel to DUALED. [Source: MTV Geek First Look]

Alz's pick: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve takes place in a far, far future version of our world where cities are mobile and scuttle across the land, devouring weaker cities to fuel themselves.  It takes survival of the fittest to a whole new level, and really, you're screwed either way--seems like the cities (and towns and villages) are getting scarcer after centuries of predation so even if you're in a pretty big city like London, you still have to live with the worry that someday soon a bigger, hungrier city is going to eat you whole.  Also, if you live on the ground, you're pretty much screwed too because all the mobile cityfolk hate you.  Thank you, I'll take living in the comparatively far, far past over that eat-or-run lifestyle.

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)

[Source: April Tucholke's pinterest]
Krispy's pick: The small seaside town and crumbling mansion in April Tucholke's Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is straight out of a gothic novel and thus equal parts creepy and dreamy. But even with the creep factor, there's something so beautiful and romantic about the windswept cliffs and Violet's nook-filled home, the Citizen. I would love to spend an afternoon with Violet playing dress-up and listening to old records while sipping espresso in the Citizen's attic.

Alz's pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti is just all over my Superlatives this year, ain't it?  And it's because everything about this book was so gorgeous.  The desert is beautiful and the worlds that Frenenqer (yes, that's her name) travels to are strange and beautiful too.  I'd love to borrow her borrowed wings sometime.

Honorable Mentions: Henrietta from The Dream Thieves is, as ever and always, an atmospheric place, with lush magical forests and not-quite-as-picturesque-as-it-seems small-town life.   Just One Day was actual wanderlust-inducing because of all the traveling and romance in the real world. Paris! Amsterdam!

Loveliest Prose

The Dream Thieves because it's Maggie Stiefvater and she strings words together in wondrous and beautiful ways. Every book seems to bring new descriptions and turns of phrase for us to ponder and admire.

Krispy's pick 2: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea gets a shout-out here because the writing really is lovely. The settings are characters themselves, and Violet's voice is what carries the whole tale.



Best First Line

Krispy's Pick: From Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea:
You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand.

Alz's Pick: From The Girl with Borrowed Wings:
I am unlike most other people because I began, not in the body of my mother, but in the brain of my father.

Most Dynamic Main Character

Krispy's pick: Quintana from Quintana of Charyn - There are a number of characters I could put here just from The Lumatere Chronicles, but I picked Quintana because she is one of the most unusual characters I've come across. I didn't always like her and like the other characters in the book, I didn't always know what to make of her. But in Marchetta's skilled hands, Quintana comes across as a multifaceted character. She is damaged, wild, selfless, violent, strong, vulnerable, and maybe half-mad, but she also turns out to be one of the most dynamic and heroic characters of the trilogy.

Alz's pick: Cassie from The 5th Wave - I'll be honest, I couldn't even remember Cassie's name when Krispy and I were discussing our picks for this category.  But what stuck with me was the fact that Cassie was a typical teen girl with her whims and high school woes, who was then forced to become a lone survivor in an apocalyptic alien-invaded world.  It's been hard on her and hardened her, and yet she still retains her teenagery-ness and some truly admirable spirit despite the pretty damn awful turns her life has taken.


Most Jaw-Dropping Ending (Krispy's only, because Alz hasn't read anything this year where the ending totally blew her away)

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson- I pretty much can't say anything except that while this ending wasn't wholly unexpected, it was so beautifully and movingly done. It was triumph and tragedy and magnificently symbolic. It gave me chills.

Honorable Mention: The Lumatere Chronicles because it gave me ALL THE FEELS, and though Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn isn't YA, I needed to mention this here because that book was all kinds of W-T-F. But in a good way!

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Krispy's pick: The Lumatere Chronicles - I just love everyone, okay? Can we give an award for best ensemble cast? Because they're great. Main characters become supporting characters and vice versa, but they all work together to create this amazing patchwork whole.

Alz's pick (Krispy agrees too): Sturmhond from Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo - He's handsome and blond and piratey and charming and all those good things that make him instantly likable, but beneath that roguish exterior there are some hidden depths.

Best Use of Theme

Krispy's pick: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn is a finely focused novel. Everything is about character and theme, so it was a no-brainer pick for this category. From the imagery to the metaphors and motifs used, everything serves Win's story and explores the idea of survival and grief.

Seriously, just read my full review of Charm & Strange to see all the THEME flailing I did over this (because I love themes).

Alz's pick: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is all about family.  And love.  And secrets.  Like, what happens when you keep them even when you shouldn't, or don't understand them.  And what happens when you don't keep them.  And especially what happens when said secrets involve family and love.  They all weave together into one complex and intriguing thematic tapestry.

Honorable mentions: 1) The Lumatere Chronicles because one of the reasons these books stand out is the incredibly mature themes -about diaspora, national & cultural identity, faith, feminism, and sacrifice just to name a few. 2) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because there are vampires and the vampirism is used to explore themes of love, mortality, identity, humanity, and monstrosity.

Who would you put in these categories?  Join us again tomorrow!

YA Superlative Blogfest recap:
Head Of Class
Popularity Contest


Jaime Morrow said...

That line from BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA is pretty darn great. Need to read that one! And I agree with you that Maggie Stiefvater's prose is fantastic. I put THE DREAM THIEVES under that category as well. :-)

Katy Upperman said...

I am so with you on the awesomeness of THE LUMATERE CHRONICLES. Those books completely blew my mind. I haven't read THE GIRL WITH THE BORROWED WINGS, but I'm intrigued. Great choices as usual, girls!