I'm kind of a numbers person. I believe in numbers, not only in a logical, mathematical sense but also in a superstitious, supernatural way. I trust that a book that has 300,000 ratings on Goodreads is going to be more in demand than a book that only has 5, and that I should buy the sequel to a book that has circulated 15 times in the past year before I get the sequel to a book that hasn't circulated at all. The higher the review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or in VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates, which is a journal that reviews books), the more likely I am to add a book to my collection, or to read it myself. This, I think, is all very logical. It makes sense.
But I also get a weird little thrill when I look at the clock and the time is a palindrome (the same forward and backwards, like 1:21 or the word "wow"), or when the first three numbers of the date add up to the last one (for example: 1/3/15). I like even numbers more than odd ones, which manifests in ways like picking an even numbered seat at the movie theater if I can and mostly eating 2 or 4 (or alright, fine, 6) cookies at a time. This makes less sense, but it's just something that I pay attention to throughout the day.
This is all to explain that when I say that 14 is one of my favorite numbers, that means something. I like numbers, and I like 14 especially. So I had high hopes for 2014, and frankly, it disappointed me (at least in terms of books). There were some highlights for sure--Marissa Meyer's third book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress, was an absolutely terrific addition to an already really great series, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters was a near perfect ending to Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. But there were hardly any other books that I really loved this year. There were a few others series installments that didn't ruin the books before them, a couple series openers that were at least halfway intriguing, and less than a handful of pretty good realistic fiction and stand-alones. Everything else was just ok, confusing, bad, or not from 2014 (The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, for example. It was probably my favorite book that I read for the first time this year, but it was published in 2010). This year was so disappointing that when I sat down to make a list of my favorite books of 2014, I couldn't really do it.
So even though it's an odd number, and even though it means the won't be '14 for another 99 years, I'm looking ahead to a fresh new year--it has to be better than last year, right? Here's a list of some of the stuff that's giving me hope.
(Just a note: Most of these aren't published yet, which means they're not in our catalog yet, which means I can't make them links to the library's collection. Instead, the pictures of the covers will be links to Goodreads, where you can read more about them.)
2015 Debut Authors
All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven
January 6, 2015
Number 1 Reason I'm excited by this book about a boy obsessed with death and a girl whose sister just died: it's being described as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park, which are two of my favorite books by two of my favorite YA authors. Now, I know these publishers are just trying to sell their book and that just because they say it's going to be like other books I love doesn't mean it will be. But that brings me to Number 2 Reason: professional review journals back up that claim. Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal Journal, and Kirkus Reviews give it a starred review. Number 3 Reason: 4.31 our of 5 possible stars from 644 rating on Goodreads. Those are some good numbers. This is definitely going on my list.
Mosquitoland, by David Arnold
March 3, 2015
I read two sentences of this book about a teenager on anti-psychotic medication who runs away from her home in Ohio to visit her sick mother in Mississippi and couldn't wait to read the rest. Voice, characters, setting, and message are widely praised in reviews, and I'm always down for an interesting voice and good travel story.
We All Looked Up, by Tommy Wallach
March 31, 2015
I've read a lot of novels that take place in dystopian or post-apocalyptic futures--some I've really loved, others not so much. But a good pre-apocalypse is hard to find. Early reviewers are raving about it, and I'm excited to give it a shot.
An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
April 28, 2015
Full disclosure: I might get excited for every epic high fantasy book that crosses my path, and it's still pretty early to know if the attention being paid to it is just the publisher doing a good job hyping it up or a result of an actual quality read. But it sounds pretty cool, and I'm a sucker for this genre, so I'll grab it as soon as I get the chance.
Made You Up, by Francesca Zappia
May 19, 2015
I know I just wrote practically a whole book about how I don't judge books by covers, but here I am planning on reading this book because the cover is ridiculously cool. I love it. It's probably the cause of half of my excitement for this book. The other half are the words, "will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson." Sold.
Series Continuations and Authors I Love
Fairest (January 27, 2015), and Winter (November 24, 2015)
by Marissa Meyer
It's no secret I love The Lunar Chronicles. I tell everyone--boys, girls, teenagers, grownups, fans of sci-fi, and fairy tales, and action-adventure, and romance. I'm a little worried about Fairest, which is a prequel to the series and tells the story of the main villain Queen Levana, because she is an excellent villain who I just really love to hate (which is the best kind, of course). I worry that giving us her story before the end of the Lunar Chronicles is to try to paint her in some kind of sympathetic light and transform her character into something completely different in Winter than what it's been for the rest of the series. Don't get me wrong, I love a complex and even sympathetic villain; I don't love it when I feel like new information gets dumped on me at the end and everything I've previously been told about a villain turns out to be not true. This makes me feel like the rest of the books were lies, and I hate being lied to. But I do trust Marissa Meyer enough as a storyteller to not completely screw up Winter, and I'm just dying to get all these characters together and kicking butt again. But Winter won't be here for months and months, so I'm excited for the new story from this world that Fairest will provide in only a few weeks.
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
October 6, 2015
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, will probably be one of my favorite books for as long as I am alive. I loved everything about this book. In it, the main character is the author of a well known and respected
Harry Potter Simon Snow fan fiction called Carry On, Simon. Carry On IS that story, and I might just crumble into a pile of dust from the anticipation of waiting for it.
Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine
July 7, 2015
This is cheating a little, because I've never read anything about this author. But this book is the first in a series about what the world would be like if the Library of Alexlandria had never burned. Can you imagine that world? I feel like it would be awesome! Hopefully this series is, too.
Untitled and Rumored
Three of the books that I am most looking forward to won't be out until closer to the end of the year. What makes it even harder to wait is the lack of information currently available about all of them. The as-yet-untitled fourth and final installment of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is due at the end of the year, and I cannot wait. These beautiful books make me feel like it's entirely possible that magic exists in our real world, and as much as I need to know what happens to Blue and her Raven Boys, I'll definitely be sad to see this series end.
I won't have to wait quite as long for Rick Yancey's still untitled third book in The 5th Wave series, but August still feels a far way off. The first two books in this series were so different but each was just as thrilling, emotional, and suspenseful as the other, and I have no doubt the next one is going to be equally brilliant.
There's a rumor that John Green, creator of The Fault in Our Stars, four other hilarious/devastating/real/wonderful books, and countless entertaining and informative YouTube videos has a new book coming out this year. I'm afraid to even hope for this, because the disappointment I will feel if it ends up not happening might crush my reading spirit to powder.
June 12, 2015
I know there's a Mad Max remake coming out, and a new Star Wars due at some point, and also a Mission Impossible and Fast and the Furious. But I don't really care about those. Jurassic Park is the decades old franchise revisit I'm most excited for, because dinosaurs. Besides, even as guy after guy after guy was getting torn in two by t-rexes, or cornered by intelligent velociraptors, or eaten alive by packs of tiny dinosaurs, I always felt like these people are smart enough to create animals from blood that is billions of years old. They should be able to figure out how to make an amusement park that doesn't get their guests killed. I'm sure lots of visitors will also be getting eaten in this new installment, but at least we'll get to see the park open and functioning for a minute the mayhem starts.
Mockingjay Part 2
November 20, 2015
I liked the first Hunger Games ok and loved the second, but I did not have a ton of hope that Mockingjay split into 2 movies would be any good. Boy, was I happy to be wrong. Not only was Mockingjay Part 1 the best movie in the series, it completely renewed my faith in the series, solidified my suspicion that splitting the last book in a series into 2 movies is a good idea (I had been thinking about it for a while beforehand), and got me super pumped for Mockingjay Part 2.
Pan (July 7, 2015) and Victor Frankenstein (October 2, 2015)
Everyone loves an Origin Story, and this year we get two! Bonus: they both focus on looking at some of the most classic YA stories from new angles. Pan will tell the story of Peter and Hook's early relationship when Peter first comes to Neverland. It looks as colorful and magical and piratey and ridiculous as anything with a bald and earringed Hugh Jackman should be. Victor Frankenstein is the story of the young life of the title character's assistant, Igor. An origin story of one of the best classic works of English literature that you'll read in your whole high school career and probably after that stars
Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe? How can you not be excited by that?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
December 8, 2015
There's no art work for this yet, but again, how could this possibly be bad? One of my super all time favorite high school reads (Pride and Prejudice), mixed with my favorite media fad from the past 10 years (Zombies). Perfect.