The Top 20 Sweet Reads of 2012? Not yet. Top 10? You'd better believe it! I've gone through some fantastic, exciting novels this summer. And because it's basically the end of what I like to call the Lazy Days (well...somewhat lazy), I just want to list a few of my favorite reads. Ten of them. I'll be a dear and save my top ten worst summer reads for another time.
(You'll probably want to prepare yourself for that later.)
1. Battle Royale, by Houshun Takami
Yes, it was translated from Japanese. And yes, it has been said to be a knock-off of The Hunger Games. But no, it was not. It was actually written a good long time before THG came out, and wow. Was I impressed (and left slightly twitching from the onslaught of violence)! I definitely recommend it.
2. Dark Inside, by Jeyn Roberts
Okay, so let me be totally frank. This book is pretty darn terrifying. An ancient evil is released and causes pretty much everybody on planet earth to become the darkest parts of themselves - and only a few resist the darkness. I was severely creeped out, but also very impressed with this entire story world and the way the author laid out the post-apocolyptic setting. This is not a book for anybody under 13. Heck, it's barely a book for young adults! But still, one of those novels that will start a healthy discussion amongst your friends about the future of mankind's fate.
3. The Genius Wars, by Catherine Jinks
Oh, the praises I could heap on this trilogy. I have been madly obsessed with this Australian-set storyline of boy-genius Cadel Piggot and his ascent from criminal to harbinger of justice. If you haven't read this series, you need to. It's fascinating, and at the same time, somewhat educational on the subject of computer hacking.
Yeah. Don't get any ideas.
4. Legend, by Marie Lu
This book chronicles the tale of a tightly-trained special agent who happens to be just 15 years old - only she's working for a twisted, corrupt government that puts on a face of being loving and kind. Sound vaguely familiar? Well....let's not go there. This modern retelling of Les Miserables is fascinating and exciting.
5. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
I've already reviewed this one on my blog, and you know I was impressed with the clean-cut story and clever setting of this epic yet classic fairytale. I adored Cinder and her spunky self. Marissa Meyer is definitely going places with these books.
6. Born Free, by Joy Adamson
This book was written in the 1960s (I know, ancient history for most of us, but still...), and although it may be from about 50 years ago, the story is still as heartwarming and endearing as ever. When Joy Adamson and her husband take it upon themselves to care for an infant lion in Africa, they do so not knowing the adventure they will embark on. This is a beautiful story of love and friendship between a brilliant creature and caring human beings. A true story. I highly recommend.
7. Through My Eyes, by Tim Tebow
I am totally not here to ring the proverbial Tebow bell and try to convert anybody to be a New York Jets fan. I'm just an avid fan of biographies, so when Tim Tebow came out with a book of his own, I picked it up with the intent to review it. And I loved it. He talks about working hard, having faith, and accomplishing your dreams...and the guy is only 25 years old. It's impressive. It's inspiring. You can't have anything but respect for the man.
8. Touching Smoke, by Airicka Phoenix
This was my guilty pleasure of the summer. This quick paranormal romance for the Young Adult crowd was the kind that makes your pulse race a little quicker when the main squeeze jumps onto the page, but preserves the dignity of the character by not going too far. What I'm trying to say is that the author achieved a very nice balance that's sure to please teeny-boppers out there looking for a handsome hero, if you catch my drift. *wink*
9. The Enemy, by Charlie Higgins
This book centers on one main plot: Teenagers vs. Zombies. You've heard this plotline before, friends, but the author takes a new spin on it by placing his main characters in London and storing them in an abandoned supermarket...and from there they take on the crazy, arguably stinky world of the undead with shopping carts, homemade spears and the occasional 100-meter dash. Keep in mind that this is not a book I would recommend for anybody younger than 14. It's fantastic, but gritty.
10. Day by Day Armageddon, by J. L. Bourne
Okay, so here's my last recommendation. This one is yet another zombie book. I know by now you probably think I'm a junkie for zombie books, but that's not true. It just so happens that a few of my favorite books this year happen to have zombies in them. This particular book is one I reviewed and it is not a book for children. It is written by an active-duty soldier, who details the experience of a fictional soldier who survives, along with his neighbor, against a bunch of rather annoying dead people who think humans are akin to Chinese takeout. Talk about a seasoning issue.
It's a really awesome book about pure and simple survival from the viewpoint of somebody who actually knows what he's doing. Because let's face it, an American soldier with an M16 taking out zombies is a lot more believable than a 15-year-old girl with designer boots taking out zombies with a rake (all while taking the time to apply lip gloss).
Not that I have ever come across this in YA novels............