12.18.2014

YA Superlative Blogfest 2014: Best in Show


About the blogfest: The Class of 2014: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 15th – Thursday, December 18th and will highlight our favorite YA books published in 2014**. The week will conclude with the lovely hosts Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and Katy Upperman giving away 2014 books to a few blogfest participants. Click the banner for more info!

If you join in, don't forget to link up at one of the host blogs!

**Disclaimer: I tried to choose books published in 2014 (Alz isn't participating this year because she's been in a year-long reading slump), but I will also have older books since I read A LOT LESS this year & many were not books published in 2014. I'll make a note if the book is NOT 2014 pubbed. In some cases, it was the last book in a series that came out in 2014, but I may talk about the series as a whole.


The topic of Day 4, the final day, is BEST IN SHOW!

Favorite Cover: THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski / OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine


I think we're all a bit over the Girl-in-Dress covers, but The Winner's Curse works for me and is absolutely eye-catching. I love the sumptuous image (fancy dresses are part of the story) and the vertical, overlaid type. And did you notice, the girl's hand clutching the P?

I love the Of Metal and Wishes cover for its simplicity and neutral color scheme. I love the type and the kind of romantic atmosphere, and of course, how awesome is it to have such a beautiful cover featuring a non-white heroine? Oh and that plastic-looking tarp? I love that it hints at the meat factory setting.


Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner): A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman


This book is moving, uplifting, and just beautiful. It's one of the first verse novels I've read, and what a great introduction to the medium. The poetry is simple but vivid, painting evocative scenes and drawing out emotions. A Time to Dance is about rising up, growing up, love, and the power of dance/art. Here's my goodreads review for my immediate impressions.

(We Were Liars is a close second, but that book has been everywhere, and I think I've gushed about it enough.)


Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime: MORTAL GODS by Kendare Blake


It was the same with Book 1: ANTIGODDESS. I blasted through Mortal Gods over a weekend because I just needed to know what was going to happen! And then that cliffhanger ending?! Killer! When is the next one out?!


Best Repeat Performance: HEIR OF FIRE / BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE / WHERE SHE WENT

I couldn't choose between HoF and BL,LB because HoF is my favorite of the Throne of Glass books so far, but I LOVE every subsequent book of the The Raven Cycle, probably because I'm just so grateful to be in Henrietta and Cabeswater again.



So to make it really fair, I'm going to choose a follow-up that wasn't published in 2014- Gayle Forman's WHERE SHE WENT, the sequel to IF I STAY. I liked If I Stay a lot, so I don't know why it took me so long to pick up Where She Went. I think I was too afraid it would somehow fall short of the magic that was the first book. After seeing If I Stay the movie, I finally went out and read the follow-up... AND I LOVED IT. I maybe loved it more than the first book, and I just want to hug everyone, but especially Adam and Mia.


Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel: RUIN & RISING by Leigh Bardugo

You must be sick by now of hearing me talk about how satisfying I found this conclusion. Endings are hard, and Leigh Bardugo killed it.


Best Old-Timer (Favorite Book Published BEFORE 2014): WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman


See "Repeat Performance" category for Where She Went reasons. I also really enjoyed Gayle Forman's 2013 pubbed JUST ONE YEAR, follow-up to JUST ONE DAY. It was nice see the other side of the story.


Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

I'm cheating with this one because this book has been out, and I'm just slow getting to read this. Did the book make me cry? Almost but no. Books don't really make me cry, but I watched the movie in theaters like 2 hours after I finished the book, and that was a cryfest. So, yeah. (To be fair, movies are more emotionally manipulative than books for me, AND I was already in a compromised emotional state. You don't do TFiOS back-to-back like that on little sleep. At least, I don't recommend it.)


Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle: OF METAL & WISHES by Sarah Fine

All I can say is that it's kind of unusual, and I believed both relationships.


Sleeper Hit (Novel So Awesome I Wish It’d Been Hyped More): A TIME TO DANCE / OF METAL AND WISHES

I talked about why A Time to Dance is great in the "Most Likely to Succeed" category, so I'm going to tell you about Of Metal and Wishes a bit. Other than the fact that it has a love triangle that works and is an intriguing spin on The Phantom of the Opera (who would think to mash it up with Upton Sinclair's The Jungle?), OMaW has a fascinating political set-up. It has explores class and race divisions and manages to be dark and gory while still maintaining (at appropriate times) a sort of dreamy atmosphere as suggested by the book cover. I'm very curious where the story will lead next, and like The Winner's Curse, OMaW is a vivid fantasy...without actual magic (or is there?).


Favorite Outlier (Best Picture Book): SAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen


I loved the last book Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen collaborated on, the adorable EXTRA YARN, so I was so excited to find another collab between them. While this book isn't quite as cute or sweet, it's amusing, delightful, and has a twist ending. As usual, Klassen's animals have the best expressions and add a little extra something to the tale.

Honorable Mention: Sparky! by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans. This book is about a girl who gets a sloth as a pet. It is THE CUTEST.


Favorite Graphic Novel: THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll


Emily Carroll draws some of the most delightfully creepy and disturbing web comics around like her (in)famous HIS FACE ALL RED. I love her web comics and her art, so I was super excited to hear she had a book coming out this year. The anthology does not disappoint with its new stories and first-time-in-print His Face All Red. Give it a read if you like the kind of fairy tales that are meant to scare you and stay with you.

And that's it for this year's YA Superlatives blogfest! I can't believe it's over and that 2014 is coming to a close. I hope to read more next year, and I hope this blogfest has added to your TBR piles!

I will mostly be taking a break for the holidays, but I will sometimes pipe in on Fridays for 5 Fandom Friday. Other than that, see you next year! xoxo


2014 YA Superlatives Blogfest recap:
Day 1: Head of Class
Day 2: Popularity Contest
Day 3: Elements of Fiction

8 comments:

T. Drecker said...

Of Metal and Wishes IS lovely. Maybe I'll finally get to it in the next weeks. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Simply Sarah said...

Looks like we are both Gayle Forman fans!

Jessica Love said...

All the kids in my life are getting Sparky (and a stuffed sloth) for Christmas!

Sophia L said...

I looked up the Goddess War series and it's a good price. I think it'll be my first purchase after Christmas!

Tracey Neithercott said...

I love that cover for Of Metal and Wishes. So simple and gorgeous. I need to read that one!

amy said...

I've read If I Stay but I haven't read Where She Went. I'm going to have to do that.

Alison Miller said...

That cover of Of Metal and Wishes has me wanting to read it NOW. Looks so good! And I LOVED Where She Went - favorite of all Gayle Forman's books!

Thanks for joining us again! SO much fun!

Katy Upperman said...

Okay, you're totally making me want to read OF METAL AND WISHES. You're right: such a beautiful cover, as is THE WINNER'S CURSE (the book that can do no wrong!). And I'm so happy about all of the Gayle Forman love... She's excellent, and so are her books! Thanks so much for joining us this week, Alice. I've loved picking up recommendations from your lists! <3