YA Superlative Blogfest 2013: Best in Show

We're on to the final day of the YA Superlatives Blogfest! I'm kind of sad, but my TBR list is brimming!

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 Best in Show!

Favorite Cover

Krispy's Pick: Because I love the type-dominated design and the perfectly moody imagery.

Type by Simon Alander / Designed by Nancy R. Leo-Kelly
Alz's Pick: Because I do love me some winged things, and the colors and arrangement combined with the title make for a gorgeously ethereal and evocative whole.

Jacket art by Chiara Fersini / Jacket design by Kristin Smith

Honorable Mention (Krispy's): I didn't get around to reading TAKEN, but I freaking love the cover design. Like the combination of bright colors and sleek sci-fi-y imagery somehow works, and goodness that raised K in the title!

Photography by Alisdair Miller & Howard Huang /
Designed by Alison Donalty and Erin Fitzsimmons

Cutest Couple

Alz's Pick:  Frenenqer and Sangris from The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti because the book is all about her, and them, and how they are.  She's been bound up in so many psychological and social restrictions her entire life and he teaches her to shake free her shackles and grow.  Also, they're just super cute together.

Krispy's multi-picks: I actually couldn't really pick so here we are.

Honorable Mention: From The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, Blue and Noah not as like an actual couple but because of their cute friendship, but specifically A SCENE from this book. Also,  The Gray Man and Blue's mom Maura had an unexpectedly sweet relationship.

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

Krispy's Pick: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta because they are amazing (and Marchetta has already won a Printz, though not for these books)


Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, which has already been nominated for a number of awards including being chosen as a finalist for YALSA's 2014 William C. Morris award.

Alz's Pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti because it's just poetically striking and moves worlds with the rhythm of its words.  Really, I love it a lot.  Which is why it's showing up all over Superlatives.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)

Krispy's Pick: I read a lot of page-turners this year, but for some reason I just could not put down Kendare Blake's Antigoddess.

Maybe it's because Blake writes a good plot (remember Anna Dressed in Blood?)  or maybe I just really love Greek Mythology (I do), but I blasted through this book in 2 days and then wished I had the next.

Alz's Pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti - I tore through this sucker in one sitting, which is pretty amazing since usually "plotless" books tend to be not that gripping for me.  But this, this was gripping.  I wanted it to never end.

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.) 

Krispy & Alz's pick:

Krispy's Pick 2: As a runner-up, I actually really enjoyed Siege & Storm, which was pleasant because I hadn't been that enamored of Shadow & Bone.

Alz's Pick 2: Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson - So technically this book is MG, not YA, nor was it published this year, but it really was a great book that didn't suffer at all from midquel-itis.  Although it is a fairly chunky book at nearly 500 pages and some parts were a bit slow, everything built up and the momentum in the end meant the story was a fireball hurtling forward.  I found the first book to be a lot slower, though it was worth it in the end; this sequel was much better overall.

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Krispy's pick: ALL THE FEELS. Perfect ending to an extraordinary fantasy trilogy.

[Fan art by Cassandra Jean]

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath
(Krispy only)

1) I wouldn't characterize the whole romance of the main couple this way, but in soon-to-be-released Control, there's this scene at a nightclub that is just... it is something else and all kinds of, uh, delirium-making.

2) Tana and Gavriel in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - again, not exactly on fire the whole time, but there is definitely a delectable kind of tension between these two and when that finally bubbles over? Well, it's "as dangerous as daybreak."

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Krispy's Pick(s): Tie - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (for its voice and beautiful writing) and Charm & Strange (for its taut craft and unflinching depth).

Alz's Pick: You'll never guess that I'm picking The Girl with Borrowed Wings for this category because reasons.  I just hope Rinsai Rossetti is working on another breathtakingly beautiful book as I type this.

Honorable Mention: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill because I (Krispy) did really enjoy it and I think I haven't given it enough props. Time travel that is not crazy-making is hard to do, and the premise of this book is amazing.

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2013.)

Krispy's Pick: The Lumatere Chronicles - Quintana was the only book published this year and that was only in the U.S.!

Alz's Pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings was technically published July 2012.  I wish I had read it then so I could've known how awesome it was all the sooner.

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry
(Krispy only)

The Lumatere Chronicles gave me all the feels. I probably got a little sniffly at points.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)

Krispy's Pick: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. It's a pre-2013 book, I know, but I finally read it this year despite years of wariness and disinterest. I'd been burned by far too many angel books and this one had a love triangle (always tricky)! Surprisingly, I liked it and I want to continue the series!

Alz's Pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings has a book blurb that was only kind of interesting to me, mostly because of the mention of winged shapeshifters and not so much the blurb-bits about a girl searching for her identity and struggling to free herself from etc.  It basically sounded like the type of book that I don't really go out of my way to read.  But it had an intriguing title and a beautiful cover and, as is my wont, I skimmed the first few pages to see how the writing was.  The writing was fascinating and beautiful, so I took the book home from the library and never regretted it.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

The Dream Thieves because there are a lot of compelling boys and one complex girl with a heavy prophecy hanging over her when it comes to her love life. What will happen with this ever changing polygon of love?

Honorable Mention (Krispy's): The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson. There's a love triangle, sort of, and it's also not what you think. A fascinating look at different kinds of love - between friends, lovers, artists, and between people and places.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Krispy's Pick: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake! With all the love for her horror books featuring the ghostly Anna Dressed in Blood, I was surprised there didn't seem to be as much buzz/excitement for her newest series The Goddess Wars. Maybe the Greek myth retelling thing was not so popular?

Athena by Cassandra Jean (though not specifically
as fan art for Antigoddess).
In any case, Blake brings her horror chops to this mythological adventure, and she reinvents the gods in interesting ways. I loved it! And I loved Hermes and Athena, and that Kendare Blake wrote some of my other Classical favorites in too (but I won't ruin which of them for you)!

Alz's Pick: The Girl with Borrowed Wings. I'm not going to cheapen this any by admitting that I read far fewer books this year than last--oh wait, I just did.  But even if I had read more, this book still would have taken the cake, hell, the entire dessert buffet, because it was just that awesome.  I'm running out of gushy things to say.

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2013 book)

Krispy's Pick: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Adult book) because it was a page-turner. I could not stop reading about these dysfunctional people and their psychological games, even though they were such terrible people.

Alz's Pick: Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson (MG book) was, as I mentioned previously, pretty dang riveting with many more good and interesting and terrible things happening than in the first book.

Pick Your Own Superlative: (Real) Oldie but Goodie

Krispy's Pick: Dragon's Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. Loved this as a tween because it had dragons and revenge and a sort-of romance? Also, Selendrile was a total babe. Upon my re-read this year, I found I still loved all these things...and that Selendrile is still a total babe.


Alz's Pick: The Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler.  Loved this as a child.  Read it again as an adult and still loved it.  I've read quite a few in this quintessential children's series, but the first book has always been my favorite.

Q4U: What are your picks for these categories?

And that's it for this year's YA Superlative blogfest! Thanks for joining us, and we hope you found some new books to put on your TBR piles!

We probably won't be blogging again until after Christmas. So until then, have happy and safe holidays! EAT ALL THE FOOD! Here's a bonus majestic!Loki.

YA Superlative Blogfest recap:
Head Of Class
Popularity Contest
Elements of Fiction


Jaime Morrow said...

Oh, I like your "Real Oldie But Goodie" category. I'm not sure if I read anything that fits under that category, but it makes me feel like I should! :D I have to agree that BETWEEN THE DEVIL... and TAKEN both had amazing covers. I totally forgot to list TAKEN under that superlative. Derp. And I still have yet to read the other, so... Great list, ladies!

Katy Upperman said...

Oh, I should have included QUINTANA for Favorite Follow-Up! I chose SHADES OF EARTH, which was fabulous, but QUINTANA... Wow. I love your "Real Oldie But Goodie" category, too. I reread Judy Blume's JUST AS LONG AS WE'RE TOGETHER this year, and it was just as amazing as I remembered.

Thanks for joining us for the blogfest, girls. I picked up some awesome recommendations from your lists!

Connie Keller said...

Wow, so many amazing books. I'm so behind in my reading, and now you're making me drool over even more books--ah, well, that's a good thing.

Love the photo of Loki!

Jessica Love said...

The best REAL oldie but goodie I've read this year is The Giver. I love reading this with my students! (Although calling it REAL old makes me feel ancient, because it wasn't even published when I was in middle school! Meep!)

Tracey Neithercott said...

Yes, that Noah and Blue scene. One of my favorite scenes in a 2013 book. Loved it.

So, funny story about THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: My sister works at B&N and a woman shopping for her kids asked my sister what books she read as a kid. My sister mentioned a bunch, including THE BOXCAR CHILDREN. The woman hadn't heard of it and asked for an explanation. So my sister goes, "Well, it's about these hobo kids whose parents die and then they're homeless so they live in train cars and hop off and on to steal food and stuff." The woman was like, Kthanksbye.