Sunday, January 26, 2014

Megan Rambles About Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
From GoodreadsThis is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

Boy Meets Boy is the kind of book that I couldn't put down once I got into it. The story was full of awesome characters, funny situations, and had a sweet developing romance. I also loved that the characters weren't defined by their sexual orientation. 

From the very beginning of the book it's just an obvious fact that Paul is gay. Yet he and Noah aren't stereotypical and their characters aren't defined by the fact that they are gay. They're just two creative, interesting people who happen to like each other. I adored both of them. Paul had his fair share of problems, but at the same time was a really great friend to Tony. I also really loved Noah. He was so artsy and creative with his photography and painting the music. And they met in a bookstore! Can I please meet a really cute guy that I can then fall in love with in a bookstore?

The town that Paul lived in was also really interesting. When I first started reading about it I was confused. I mean, cheerleaders riding motorcycles, a homecoming queen who used to be a guy and is also the star quarterback? It isn't exactly something that happens often. After reading the interview in the back with David Levithan, I understand the point he was trying to make with the town a lot better. It wasn't about trying to make Paul's town necessarily be realistic, but to show society the way it could be in order to allow people to question why it isn't that way. It made me really proud of the progress we've made in terms of equality from 2003 when this book was originally published to 2013.

Boy Meets Boy was just overall really cute. It was about a romance between two boys, but it was also about a group of friends being there for each other. I flew through the book and found myself smiling uncontrollably by the end of it. It was beautiful in the simplest way and I really love David Levithan's ability to do that with his books.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random Ramble: Keeping Up With Series (Rachel)

For the most part, I'm a fan of book series. I kind of have to be if I want to read YA books, since the YA world is filled with series. We teens just love our stories to go on and on and on, with another book being added to our collection every year.

Series are awesome! Right? (source)

Like I said, I'm a fan of book series. I think they're a really awesome format for storytelling, and I enjoy learning more about my favorite characters and worlds. I like that the story doesn't have to end after 300 pages, and that it can continue into another book or books.

But sometimes I really don't like series. 

Lately, I feel like I've been reading a ton of series, and I just can't keep up. It seems like half of the books on my shelves are waiting for sequels to come out. And then, once the sequels come out, there are four more books that will be released in the series! Most of the time, I think, "awesome, I get to read more!" But sometimes, I get so tired of having to keep track of what book is going to have a sequel and how many books there will be in the series and when each book will be released and cover reveals and GOD FORBID THEY CHANGE THE COVERS HALFWAY THROUGH AND YOUR BOOKS DON'T MATCH. 
WHY. (although the new covers are WAY better) (source)

It becomes almost stressful for me, trying to stay on top of all these series. And it's not that I don't like reading these series, because I do! I totally do! But something about the one-book-a-year-for-at-least-3-years schedule seems to be burning me out lately.

Let's talk about the Under the Never Sky series. I read the first book back when it was first released, and I absolutely loved it. I even went to an author signing and met Veronica Rossi, it was awesome, blah blah blah okay whatever. By the time the sequel was released, I was excited to read it but...


I found myself unable to remember a lot of important details from the first book. This kind of thing happens after a year. If I'm reading, say, one hundred books a year, it's not reasonable to expect myself to remember every single thing from every single book. And my memory is kind of weird when it comes to books. There are certain books that I can remember perfectly even though I read them once, years ago, and then there are books that I read last week that are a complete blur to me. This isn't even an indication of how much I liked the book, because some of the books I remember loving are difficult to remember, while some more "meh" books are crystal clear.

So in this case, I loved Under the Never Sky, but my memories of it simply could not hold up for an entire year. So I decided to put off reading the sequel until I could reread the first one. It was a good plan, except for one problem: I never reread the first book.

I know, I know. I just said I loved it! What's the problem with rereading it? Well, the problem is that when there are so many new-to-me books to read, sometimes I don't have much interest in rereading old favorites. And the fact that I was going to have to reread it so I could understand what happened so I could go on to read the sequel made the whole process seem like such a chore. Which, hello, is not what reading is about at all! It should be fun!

So I kept pushing off rereading Under the Never Sky, until finally, I got my hands on a copy of the last book in the series a few weeks ago. Now, I currently have the entire trilogy in my possession, even though I've only read the first book. I plan on reading all three of them soon. (For real. I actually,  truly, have a strong desire to read all three of them.) But I feel like I wasted a ton of time in there somewhere, while I was waiting for each book to come out.

This situation is not an uncommon one for me. There are several other books that are the first in a series that I LOVED, but by the time the sequel was released, I couldn't remember enough of the first book to continue the series. This is the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Born Wicked, Everneath, Unspoken, Legend...the list goes on and on. And can I just say that all of these books are freaking AMAZING and I'm so excited to read the rest of the series? It's really silly that I'm avoiding the rest of the series just because my memory is a little fuzzy and I want to reread the first book before I continue.

It's gotten to the point where I'm actually stressed out by series. I'm having a difficult time keeping up with them, and in a lot of cases, I wish I had just waited for all the books to be released before starting the series. I much prefer to binge-read series. You know, just sit down and read a whole trilogy in a weekend. I find that I get so much more out of series when I read them that way, like the Vampire Academy series, which I just recently read. With that series, I didn't have to wait a year between each book, which is a really long time! A lot can happen in a year, and a lot of memories can override the memories of specific details in books.

In an effort to fix my problem with keeping up with series, I think I'm going to avoid first-books-in-series as much as I can until most or all of the series has been released. I'm not sure how well this will work out for me, since I do love jumping on the bandwagon for popular books the second I notice that there is a bandwagon, but I will do my best to restrain myself and wait it out. So all the cool first-books-in-series being released right now? You can tell me all about them in three years. Okay? :)

What about you guys? Do you have a hard time keeping up with series? Do you like to binge-read entire series at a time or read each book as it comes out? Do you prefer standalones or series? Do you have photographic memories that allow you to remember every single thing from every single book you read? (If the last one is true, I'M SO JEALOUS.) 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rachel Rambles About the Vampire Academy Series

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
My favorite way to read series is to binge-read them back-to-back, and that's exactly what I did with this series. It took me a little over two weeks to read all six books, and during that time, I became obsessed with this series. The Vampire Academy series is an addicting series that I had a hard time putting down, which means I essentially put my life on hold while I was reading it. (I actually had to force myself to take a break between books 3 and 4 so I could, like, attempt to interact with humans and stop ignoring my responsibilities and all that.)

If you haven't read this series yet, don't worry, because I'm not going to talk about anything spoilery in this post. I just want to talk a little about why I love this series so much, and hopefully convince you to read it if you haven't already. Hahahaha I'm just going to ramble and fangirl.

One of the most interesting things about this series is the unique take on vampire mythology. In the Vampire Academy universe, there are two types of vampires: Moroi and Strigoi. Moroi are the good guys, and Strigoi are the bad guys. There are also dhampirs, who are basically half-human and half-vampire. Many dhampirs become guardians to Moroi, and their job is to protect the Moroi from the Strigoi. I think it's really cool that there are different kinds of vampires representing good and bad, so the series doesn't have to rely on other creatures (like werewolves) to be the bad guys, like a lot of other vampire series do. That means that this series focuses purely on vampires, with no distractions from various other creatures. ALL VAMPIRES, ALL THE TIME. It's true that I'm generally a big fan of vampire stories, so I guess I'm a bit biased, but I really enjoyed this unique take on vampires. In a culture saturated with vampire stories, Vampire Academy definitely stands out.

Another thing I love about this series is that it centers on the friendship between Rose and Lissa. I'd been craving a really good friendship story, so this series was perfect for me. I love stories about best friends, and for some reason I haven't found that many of them, so I always appreciate them when I do find them.

Also, this will probably come as no surprise to you guys, but I also love the romance. HOLY CRAP ROMITRI I CAN'T EVEN. At first I was like "who the hell is this Russian guy? why do all the VA fans love him so much?" but after reading like fifty pages of the first book I was like "I GET IT NOW OMG I LOVE HIM SO MUCH" so yes Dimitri is awesome and I love him. I thought my list of book boyfriends was pretty top-notch, and I never expected someone new to just waltz in and take over one of my top spots, but Dimitri totally surprised me. He's giving my favorite book boyfriends some serious competition. Also, you know, he's not just a swoony love interest. He also happens to be a really interesting and complex character. But that just makes him even more sexy GAHHHH I CAN'T HANDLE MY DIMITRI FEEEEELS.

When I first started reading this series, I expected it to be super fun in an almost guilty pleasure way. I thought I would fly through the books and enjoy them, but not get really emotionally attached. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED. Here is what happened:

The first book took me a while to get into and I found the vampire world a little confusing, but I ended up really enjoying the book.

The second book was awesome, and I flew through it in a day because it was just SO MUCH FUN to read. (Until that ending, man. WOAH.)

The third book was when things got interesting. This (my favorite of the series) made me fall in love with the series, and it's also when all the FEELS started taking over my life. It was at this point that the series became much more than a fun and addicting story. It became an obsession that started to take over my life, and I found that I had accidentally become totally and completely emotionally invested in the story and the characters. (THAT. ENDING.)

The fourth book was thrown at the wall a few times in frustration and I was really mad at myself for getting so emotionally invested in this series but OOPS NO TURNING BACK NOW. So there was some hair-pulling. And tears. But in a good way? Kind of? ALL THE FEELS.

The fifth book was simply amazing. It was way less frustrating than book four, so I could breathe normally and stuff while I was reading it, which was nice.

The sixth book was the best conclusion ever. It's my second favorite of the series, and everything about it was so perfect and wonderful. GAHHHH IT MADE ME SO HAPPY! :D

So, in conclusion, I LOVE THIS SERIES. It managed to take over my life, and I haven't been this obsessed with a series in a long time. I'm talking The Mortal Instruments level obsession, which, if you know me at all, you know is saying A LOT. After finishing this series, I suffered from withdrawal, and I found myself scouring the internet for really bad fanfiction. I KNOW, I KNOW. I HAVE A PROBLEM. (But at least I admit it! That has to count for something...right?)

Also, in case you don't know, the Vampire Academy movie is scheduled to be released on Valentine's Day, less than a month away! I already have a date (...with my eleven-year-old sister) to go see it on opening night. Based on the trailers I've seen, I think this movie adaptation is going to be awesome. It seems like it's going to focus on the comedic part of the series, instead of the serious stuff, which sounds really promising to me. With all the popular vampire stories lately, I don't think there's any room for another dark and serious vampire series. I think it's an awesome idea to treat it as more of a comedy/parody, and this movie has the potential to be the book-to-movie adaptation that finally gives me faith in book-to-movie adaptations again, after the City of Bones/Sea of Monsters disaster this summer. :P (Although, Catching Fire gave me a lot of faith because PERFECTION.) So I'm crossing my fingers for a good movie!

What about you guys? Have any of you read the Vampire Academy series? What did you think of it? Are you excited for the movie? Am I asking too many questions? Do you feel like you're being interrogated? Let me know in the comments below! (None of my IRL friends have read the books yet, so I have no one to fangirl with and I'm desperate for a good VA discussion.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Megan Rambles About The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
From GoodreadsSeventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

I am SO glad that I finally read this book! Rachel has been begging me to read it for awhile now because she had decided that it was the best thing ever. She was one hundred percent right! 

I tend to judge how much I like a contemporary book on whether or not I love it as much as Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door. This might not always be the best comparison but Stephanie Perkins is a contemporary goddess and that's just the way it happens. The Distance Between us is Stephanie Perkins level good!

Just in case that isn't enough to convince you to stop reading this run out and get the book right now, I'll continue to ramble on about how much I loved this book for awhile. If it did, then I won't take it personally if you close this right now to bury your nose in that book. Go ahead, do that.

Now let's talk about the characters. I absolutely loved everything about Caymen. Her name is different and totally awesome and so is her sense of humor. I am a really sarcastic person by nature and have a dry sense of humor. This meant I found all of her witty comments hysterical and the banter between her and Xander was absolutely perfect from the first second they met. I also understood how it felt to not have everyone be able to tell when you're kidding. It can get really frustrating and I shared that with Caymen. From the very first page I found her to be easy to relate to, entertaining, and I couldn't help but root for her as a character.

Caymen has a lot of stress in her life between school, trying to decide whether or not she's going to college, and worrying about how to keep the family shop, Dolls and More afloat. I just wanted all of the problems to work out for her so that she could stop being so stressed out.

Another character that I absolutely loved was Xander. I totally shipped him and Caymen from the first second that they met. It's been a bit since I read a book with a romance that I was so in love with. Xander is the kind of boy that made me swoon from the moment that he appeared. He was witty enough to keep up with Caymen and he also appreciated her sense of humor in a way that the other people in her life usually didn't. The two of them were really great together and had me laughing out loud more times than I can count.

The aspect of Caymen being raised not to trust the rich was an interesting one. I've never read a book that dealt with people being rich or poor before. Kasie West handled the issue well and I loved watching Caymen's opinions change throughout the book. While this complicates her relationship with Xander, it also leads to Caymen learning some interesting new things about her mom and her family as well.

Before reading The Distance Between Us I hadn't read anything by Kasie West. Now after reading this fun, romantic contemporary I can say that I'm definitely a fan. I can't wait to read Pivot Point  and I've actually already downloaded it on my Kindle! I will definitely be picking up any future contemporaries by Kasie West.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rachel's Top Ten Series Books of 2013

Today I'm back with another top ten list. This time, I'm sharing my favorite books of 2013 that are part of a series. I'm counting any books with at least one sequel as a series, as well as books that are the first of planned series. Also, in a few cases, I'm counting an entire series in one spot. That's not cheating, right? If it is, blog, my rules. ;)

Anyway, here are my top ten series books of 2013:


10. Vampire Academy series #1-3  by Richelle Mead- I'm only including the first three books in the Vampire Academy series on this list because these are the only ones I read in 2013. My thoughts on this series so far? AWESOME. It's super fun and addicting, and I'm seriously having a blast reading these books. The series seems to get better and better as it goes on, and right now, my favorite is the third book, Shadow Kiss. I'm going to predict right now that the last three Vampire Academy books will be on my top-something-of-2014 list. :)

9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)- This book isn't the flawless conclusion to the series I was hoping for, but it's still a satisfying conclusion. I have quite a few issues with this book, but let's be real, all I truly care about is the ending. And the ending is FANTASTIC. It's like ninety percent of the reason Allegiant made it to this list, but that's fine with me, because seriously WHAT AN ENDING. 

8. Sever by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #3)- I've been a fan of this series since I first read Wither right when it was released. Sever is the perfect conclusion to a story I've enjoyed so much over the past few years. While it was sad to say goodbye to the characters and the series as a whole, this book really impressed me, I'm so happy the series ended the way it did.

7. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3)- Ahh, Ally Carter. You were a big part of my life this year, for reasons that I will discuss later on in this post. I think the Heist Society series is brilliant, and this installment surprised and impressed me. Also, I mean, Hale was in it a lot, so that was pretty great. :D

6. Pivot Point by Kasie West (Pivot Point #1)- This was one of the first books I read in 2013, and it was also one of the best books. The Distance Between Us made the number two spot in my Top Ten Standalones list, so clearly Kasie West is a new favorite author of mine. Pivot Point is such an awesome and well-written story, and I'm dying to read the sequel in 2014.

5. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (Shades of London #2)- Maureen Johnson is one of my all-time favorite authors, and 2013 gave me the chance to go to a signing and meet her, which was such an amazing experience. I thought The Name of the Star was pretty awesome, but The Madness Underneath blew me away. It's even better than the first one, and I cannot recommend this series enough.


4. Gallagher Girls series #1-6 by Ally Carter- I very clearly remember starting the first book in this series the week of finals at school. At the time, the sixth book hadn't been released yet, but I read the first five books in five days instead of studying for any finals. And you know what? I regret nothing! It was totally worth it, because this series is FANTASTIC. So congratulations to Ally Carter for making it to this list twice. (Well, technically more like seven times, I guess.) Both my mom and my sister also read all most of Ally Carter's books this year, so we all bonded over the fact that we are Ally Carter's Biggest Fans.

3. The Darkest Minds and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds #1-2)- I was a little late to The Darkest Minds party, but oh well. All that matters is I got to the party eventually. Both books in this series were very intense reads for me, and I flew through each one of them very quickly. This series is brilliant on so many levels, and I quickly became addicted to it. While both books are absolutely fantastic, I have to say that I like The Darkest Minds a tiiiiny bit more. :)

2. Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman (Just One Day #1-2)- These books caused me so much anxiety and frustration, and I absolutely love them. Just One Day is my favorite of the two, but Just One Year is an excellent companion novel. When I read Just One Day back in January, it had a huge affect on me, and I knew it was one of the best books I've ever read. The wait for Just One Year was excruciating  and I'm not sure I've ever anticipated a book more than I did Just One Year. January to October was a shorter wait than I'm used to, but still waaaaay too long!

Are you ready for my number one favorite series book of 2013???? If not, prepare yourself!


1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #3)- I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK. I'm a huge fan of all of Cassandra Clare's books, but Clockwork Princess is by far my favorite. The entire book, and the entire series for that matter, is so well-written and fantastic and [insert other gushing adjectives here], but the ending to this book was what impressed me the most. This book is the last book in a beloved trilogy, and I was so worried about my precious characters. But Cassandra Clare ended it in the best way possible, and I could not be happier with the conclusion to this series. Thank you, Cassandra Clare, for this beautiful story, and thank you for ending it in such a perfect way.

What are your favorite series books of 2013? Are any of them listed above? Let me know down in the comments!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Megan's Top Ten Books of 2013

Well 2013 is officially over. That means it's time for me to look back on all of the books that I read and pick my favorites to share them with everyone. I went through to try and pick out my list and realized that I didn't read a lot of books that came out in 2013 this year. So this list is my favorite books that I read this year, whether or not they were actually released this past year.

10. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I might not have loved Allegiant as much as I loved Divergent and Insurgent, but it still makes the top ten. Veronica Roth is a fantastic writer and I thought that the end of Allegiant was a beautiful end to one of my favorite series. I'm definitely going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

9. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
I was super excited for The Madness Underneath to come out because I couldn't wait to see how Maureen Johnson continued after The Name of the Star. She certainly didn't disappoint! The Madness Underneath was totally awesome and left me breathlessly awaiting the next book. You can't just end a book like that....

8. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
The Moon and More was my first Sarah Dessen book set in Colby and I absolutely loved it! Emaline was one of my favorite main characters of all time. This was a fun beach read about a town that brought me right back to my own childhood trips to the beach. Sarah Dessen wrote another amazing book as usual, and I appreciated getting to fall in love with a whole new set of her characters.

7. Every Day by David Levithan
I read Every Day with the book club that Rachel and I run with our friend Katherine and it was my first David Levithan book. Every Day was deeply moving, beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever read before. Reading about A and Rhiannon was heartbreaking and also made me ridiculously happy. This was the kind of book that is definitely going to stick with me for awhile!

6.Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Sever was another beautiful conclusion to a trilogy. I read Wither when it first came out and was sad to see this series come to an end. The Chemical Garden Trilogy wrapped up nicely in Sever with just the right amount of hope and happiness mixed in with some heartbreak. I absolutely loved it!

5. How to Love by Katie Cotugno
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of How to Love at BEA this past summer. I fell in love with the characters, the writing style, and the romance. How to Love was a beautiful debut for Katie Cotugno and I couldn't help but care about Reena and Sawyer. Anyone looking for a touching contemporary with a totally shippable romance should definitely give this book a try!

4. Just One Day/ Just One Year by Gayle Forman
If you know follow this blog at all, it shouldn't really be a surprise that this duet is on my list. I'm kind of cheating by counting them as one book, but it's impossible to read Just One Day and not rush to get your hands on Just One Year. When I read these books I wanted to pack my bags and head straight to Europe to start traveling and find my own "accidents" like Willem and Allyson. Gayle Forman is one of my writing idols and anyone who was a fan of If I Stay and Where She Went NEEDS these two books in their life.
        (I only review Just One Year on the blog. Whoops? Trust me, they're both amazing)  Review 
3. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Rachel had been begging me to read Pushing the Limits since last year and as soon as I finished it I regretted not reading it sooner. Echo and Noah were both amazing characters that broke my heart. They had both been through such terrible things and yet all I wanted was for the two of them to be together. Pushing the Limits was one of my all time favorite contemporaries and I highly recommend picking this one up if you haven't already! 

2. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
The Distance Between Us was just plain fun. I fell in love with Xander and Caymen. They were fantastic characters who just belonged together. It has been awhile since I read a romance with such great flirty banter between two characters and it's been even longer since I read about a character that was as delightfully sarcastic as Caymen. Anyone who loves Stephanie Perkins will adore The Distance Between Us for sure! 

1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
So far I've seen Clockwork Princess at the top of several peoples' lists and it doesn't surprise me one bit. I've loved every book that Cassandra Clare has written, but she gets better and better every single time. Clockwork Princess tore my heart to shreds and then put the pieces back together again. I cried tears of emotional trauma and by the end I was crying tears of joy because the ending was so perfect. Coming into Clockwork Princess I wasn't sure how such a perfect love triangle could end well. And yet, Cassandra Clare managed to tie up every single loose end, connect The Infernal Devices back to The Mortal Instruments and create the PERFECT ending to a series that I absolutely loved. 
(Rachel and I have been struggling to put our feels about this book into words/video format. So far it hasn't happened..oops)

2013 was a great year for books and there were a lot of great books that I read this year that I didn't include on my list and so many more that I wanted to read that I didn't even get to. What were your favorite books of 2013? Did we have any of the same books? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rachel's Top Ten Standalones of 2013

The time has come for the book community to share their lists of their favorite books of 2013. I've seen some overall top tens and some overall top thirteens. I've also seen people separating the books into different categories based on genre or when they were released or whether they are part of series or not. There are so many different options for how to share your favorite books of 2013.

After much deliberation, I've decided to share three lists. The first one (today's) will be my top ten standalones, and the next list will be my top ten series books. Then, I will share my final list in video format on my YouTube channel of my overall top ten books, which will just narrow down the top ten list a bit and give me something a little different to put on my YouTube channel.

Originally, I'd planned on just doing a regular old Top Ten Books of 2013 list, but then I saw fellow blogger/BookTuber Monica's videos (one and two) in which she separated her favorite books into two categories: standalones and series books. I thought it would be a good idea for me to follow her lead with these categories. This way, I can share more of my favorite books. :) So thank you Monica for the idea, and I'm sorry for stealing it from you!

These ten books are all books that I read in 2013, though they weren't all released in 2013. Without further ado, here is my list:

10. The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg- This book was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2013. I went into it expecting something short and sweet, and came out of it absolutely in love with everything about it--the writing, the characters, the story. Most notably, this book made me cry while I was reading it in English class, and I was only 20 pages in. Any book that can capture my heart that quickly deserves a place in my top ten list. *

9. Parallel by Lauren Miller- This book was another pleasant surprise. It started off a little shaky for me, but by the time I was about halfway through, I was completely hooked on this book. Parallel blew my mind with how awesome and complex and science-y it is.
-(I apparently never wrote a review for this book? Oops. Just trust me and read it please? :D)-

8. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr- This was the third Sara Zarr book I've read, and I'm continually amazed by her beautiful writing style. The Lucy Variations is about a complicated family and how important and powerful music can be to some people. It doesn't have an epic plot or any huge conflicts. It's a very simple story, but I think the simplicity of this book is what makes it so beautiful.

7. How to Love by Katie Cotugno- How to Love is not your typical YA love story. It's powerful and emotional and heartbreaking. I became emotionally invested in the lives of Reena and Sawyer, and these characters stuck with me for a long time after reading this book. I expected this book to be a fun romance, but instead it ended up breaking my heart a little bit (in the best possible way). *

6. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan- I thought this book was going to be a fun story about two boys trying to break a world record for kissing, but Two Boys Kissing turned out to be so much more than that. I was shocked by how powerful and emotional and thought-provoking this book is, but I'm not complaining. *(Do we see a pattern here?? I guess I was really into books that seemed light and simple but turned out to be full of FEELS this year.)

5. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White- Another amazing book by the amazing Kiersten White. This Egyptian mythology story set in contemporary San Diego made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The Chaos of Stars explores an unusual family dynamic, and it's also a ton of fun. Not to mention the totally adorable romance. :D

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- I might be the last person in the world to read this book, but hey, at least I finally read it. All I have to say about this book is: WOW. I mean, what else is there to say? I think most people are familiar with this book, so you probably all know what I mean.
-(I haven't been able to put my feelings about this book into words yet. Check back later? Maybe?)-

3. Poison by Bridget Zinn- I read this fantasy story in the beginning of 2013, but it stuck with me ever since, and I found myself thinking about it countless times throughout the year. As soon as I started reading this book, I could tell that it was something special. I cannot rave about this book enough. It is absolutely fantastic, which is why it's here in my number three spot. :)

2. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West- If you're at all familiar with this blog or with me, then you know how much I love a good contemporary romance. The Distance Between Us is one of the best contemporary romances I've read...ever. Honestly, it feels like this book was written especially for me. I connected with the characters and the situations so perfectly, and I've found myself rereading bits and pieces of this book countless times since I first read it in June.

And my number one favorite standalone book of 2013 is...


1. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen- Everyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with Sarah Dessen. Her books are so important and special to me for a number of personal reasons, and I waited anxiously for The Moon and More for what felt like an eternity. When it finally was perfect. Not the book, because no book is perfect, but the experience. Reading this book stirred up a whole lot of nostalgia and strong emotions, and I cherished the opportunity to fall in love with a new Sarah Dessen book for the first time. I only get to read a Sarah Dessen book for the first time once, so I try to savor it as much as I can. This book is my favorite standalone of 2013 mainly because of the experience I had reading it, which is something that is so personal and specific to just me. Although, objectively, I do think The Moon and More is a fantastic book. ;)

What are your favorite standalones of 2013? Do we have any of the same? Let me know in the comments!