Page 2: Hypable selects the best books of 2013.
As 2013 comes to a close, it is time to look back on the year that was. To celebrate the end of 2013, we asked Hypable staff members to each select their favorite book of the year (or sometimes two, for the indecisive). Make sure to let us know in the comments what you thought the best book of 2013 was.
Don’t forget, you can also have your say in the 2013 Hypable Awards, where you can vote for your Favorite Book of 2013, and Favorite Debut Author, plus a whole range of fandom categories.
Michal Schick – ‘The 5th Wave’ by Rick Yancey
The 5th Wave is definitely one of those books that lives up to the hype. The story of Cassie Sullivan’s survival in an Earth brutally conquered by aliens is more than just a tale of extraterrestrial invasion. The 5th Wave morphs easily between disparate genres, blending survival stories with romance, and post-apocalyptic nightmares with contemplative reflection on the nature of humanity. Thanks to the intelligent and relatable voices of Cassie and fellow survivor Ben, these disparate elements come together with powerful intensity. Terrifying, touching, and all too real, The 5th Wave sails to a gripping conclusion that leaves readers shivering for more.
Tariq Kyle – ‘Allegiant’ by Veronica Roth
With the Divergent series getting so big within the last year, thousands of readers were looking forward to the final installment of the series, Allegiant, and when it finally came out it definitely made a huge splash. While many readers thought it to be a disappointing finale, I found it to be realistic and thrilling. Seeing the heroine fight the battles until the very end is something that I’ve always loved – from Harry Potter to Hunger Games, it seems the final book is always my favorite. Allegiant brings back the action that we love so much in the Divergent series and finishes it off with a bang, and I’m glad that it ended the way it did.
Natalie Fisher – ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
Generally, when a book (or a movie, or a TV show) tries to portray a subculture to a wider audience, it doesn’t come across well – it tends to either turn into a caricature for “civilians” to laugh at, or it shows the community in a way that’s dumbed-down in its attempts to “translate” to the rest of the world. So, to say I was skeptical when the buzz around Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl started growing would be a massive understatement. My fears, in this case, were misplaced. Fangirl gets it right in a way that I’ve never encountered before. I’m genuinely shocked by the lack of heavy-handed exposition about things like shipping and fanfiction – it’s brilliantly and subtly done through the use of a few incredibly likeable civilian characters. The general story of Cath and her twin sister starting out at college, their family issues and first loves, holds up on its own, and in fact tackles some pretty tricky material in terms of mental health. The description of Cath’s involvement in fandom is so spot-on that I simultaneously want to gather up every copy on the planet and hide them- it feels that much like a look at something private – and to shove a copy in the face of every civilian I know and say “Read this. Here’s the last fifteen years of my life. Now you’ll understand me.”
Brittany Lovely – ‘The Madness Underneath’ by Maureen Johnson
Personally, paranormal young adult novels are not the first books on my must read list. My personal preferences were thrown to the wind when the Queen of the Internet (and author) Maureen Johnson introduces Rory Deveaux to the Shades ghost-policing force in the Shades of London series. After finishing book one, The Name of the Star, the anticipation for book two, The Madness Underneath in early February of 2013 became an event worthy of a countdown! In book one, an imitation of the Jack the Ripper massacre leads the Shades to discover Rory’s ability to see and communicate with ghosts. The second installment in the series, follows Rory returning to Wexford after discovering she is a human terminus. Possessing the power to destroy ghosts with her touch, Rory matures into a young woman analyzing her future with the Shades and the discovering the cost of a life working with ghosts she unknowingly walked into a year ago. This novel strikes a delicate balance between reality and the supernatural that is unlike any story told before. The Madness Underneath is chilling, touching, and full of relationships to root for. I must issue warning: The end of this book may cause you to yell, “WHY?” But never fear! The third book’s draft is off to Johnson’s editors as you read this!
Louie Schuth – ‘Paddle Your Own Canoe’ by Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living is everything you would expect. One part memoir, one part good life lessons for anybody, and one part typical Nick Offerman hilarity, this book is a very good read. It’s Nick Offerman’s natural wit that really shines in this book, and if you’re a fan of his, you’ll probably enjoy it. Saying things like “Uncle Don had the most throbbing boner of a vehicle” and “How’s that for a punch in the nuts, ladies?”, Offerman never keeps you from laughing. Depending on how close your values are to Offerman’s, the book can get preachy at times. Regardless, it’s still good for some very good laughs. I’d recommend listening to the audiobook version as Offerman reads it himself, and that adds a lot to the experience.
Danielle Zimmerman – ‘The Disaster Artist’ by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
It had all of the ingredients to be a total flop. In fact, it really should have been. The script made no sense and the main actor/director/producer had zero acting ability, just to name a few of its flaws. Yet, it went on to become one of the most beloved cult classics of all time, and from that, my favorite book of 2013 was created. My favorite book from this past year is The Disaster Artist, written by (the devilishly handsome) Greg Sestero. This book is essentially a tell-all/attempted explanation of the best-worst movie of all time, The Room, by one of the few who experienced its making firsthand. While I highly suggest that everyone who hasn’t seen “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” drop what they’re doing and watch it immediately, you don’t have to have seen the movie in order to really enjoy this story. Tommy Wiseau, the actor/director/producer I mentioned above, is such a mysterious and almost mythical character in The Disaster Artist that the book practically reads like a work of fiction, making us invested in the life of a man whose dream is a beloved Hollywood star. It’s honestly laugh-out-loud funny and really shows you a side of Hollywood and the film business that you have never seen before. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Jen Lamoureux – ‘The Fiery Heart’ by Richelle Mead
The Fiery Heart is the latest novel in the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. The Fiery Heart continues the story of Adrian and Sydney with the added bonus of including Adrian’s point of view. Adrian’s voice adds an entirely new layer to the book allowing us to understand where he is coming from and what it is like to be him. As expected from a Mead novel, there is action and twists when you least expect them. And then there was the ending. Does anyone write a cliffhanger like Mead? The Fiery Heart delivers on every level including having some of our favorite characters from the Vampire Academy series visit. This is how a book should be written.