As part of the blog tour for Night School: Legacy By CJ Daugherty, I’d like to welcome CJ to the bog where she’s going to talk about her favourite YA reads of 2012.
Looking back, 2012 was a fabulous year for YA books. The genre is moving gradually from being mostly paranormal into an exciting mix of paranormal and dystopia books, thrillers, romance novels and literary novels.
This ain’t your mother’s YA genre.
My own tastes are varied. While most of the books among my favourite novels of the year are paranormal, I’ve also enjoyed reading thrillers, tales of adventure and romance.
Here are some of my favourites. What have you loved reading this year?
This is Not a Test, by Courtney Summers
This is unquestionably my favourite book of the year. The one that kept me up nights, disturbed me the most and stayed with me long after I finished reading. Set in an ordinary American town on the day of the zombie apocalypse, it follows a handful of young people who seek refuge in their high school after everyone they know is killed. With zombies pounding on the doors, they must figure out how to survive and where to go next. Summers spins a terrifying tale, packed with excitement. The title, by the way, comes from the strategic emergency communication system used in the US to tell people what to do in case of an emergency, such as a hurricane, an earthquake or nuclear attack. The system is tested regularly on all major US radio stations. It always begins with the recorded message, “This a test of the American Emergency Broadcast System...” and ends reassuringly: “This is only a test.” It is a message all Americans know well. I can still just about recite it if encouraged. I’ve only heard it used once in a real situation. On that day the message began “This is not a test.” And it remains the scariest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
My love of the Mortal Instruments series is increasingly well known, given how I keep banging on about it. I adore this story about sixteen-year-old Clary Fray, Jace and the entire Shadowhunter gang. The world that Cassandra Clare has created just keeps getting more complex and dangerous for Clary, a new Shadowhunter struggling to keep her relationship with Jace going, despite the fact that he’s the adopted child of a vicious lunatic who occasionally tries to kill her. Jace is so endlessly cool and strong, there’s no way you can’t kind of like him, even though his life has completely messed him up. Everything about this story draws me in, and I wait on tenterhooks for the next edition. If you haven’t dipped your toe into this series, don’t hesitate to do so.
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
This inventive and magical story tells the tale of Anna, a girl from a broken home, who moves with her father to a small coastal English town. While they’re fixing the broken down house, she finds a grimoire – basically a witch’s handbook – hidden behind an old stove. Soon she learns she has special abilities to make the spells happen that can change people’s lives. I loved everything about this book -- the meticulously researched spells, the love story, and the tension between Anna and the council of witches who threaten her very life. I love a good witch book. And this is a very good witch book.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I love reading about the 1920s and ‘30s. Sidecar cocktails, Scott and Zelda, Dorothy Parker and stock market crashes – it all makes me happy. So when I heard about this book about two young women in New York in the 1930s, I leapt on it. Since its main characters are in their late teens or early twenties, it’s probably technically ‘New Adult’ but it’s close enough to YA to include on this list and it’s a fantastic book. It tells the story of Katey, the daughter of Russian immigrants trying to make a career and fall in love. After she meets bubbly and beautiful Eve they become fast friends; soon they’re competing for the love of suave millionaire, Tinker. But when it all goes wrong – and it goes very wrong indeed – all their lives are changed.
Unrest by Michelle Harrison
The best ghost story I read all year, Michelle Harrison’s chilling tale of a boy who can see dead people scared the beHOOSus out of me. I couldn’t sleep! Seventeen-year-old Elliott’s life is never the same after he is hit by a car, dies, and is brought back to life by paramedics. After that happens he’s haunted. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, ghosts come to him for help, for advice, for explanations… and for revenge. He suffers from sleep paralysis – a state of half-sleep when his body is immobilised but his mind is aware. It leaves him vulnerable when the spirits who sometimes want to hurt him are at their strongest. His struggle to find out what’s wrong with him, and to know whether the ghosts he sees are real, is genuinely scary. Get ready to be spooked.
And now for a fantastic competition:
Do you have what it takes to face the Night School challenge?
To celebrate the publication of CJ Daugherty’s new book Legacy, she is offering fans of Night School the chance to join Allie and her friends in becoming members of the secret student group Night School. In order to prove you’ve got what it takes to join the highly competitive Night School you will have to distinguish the 14 skills every Night School member should have which will be hidden across the 14 blogs taking part in the tour.
Everyone who successfully completes the challenge will become a Night School member for life and will receive the Night School membership charter and Night School members’ badge as proof of membership, but, because intelligence and speed are two of the most important Night School skills, we will be rewarding those of you who are able to collect and enter the 14 skills in the fastest time. The first ten entrants to correctly enter the 14 skills will win an exclusive members only goodie bag, including: personalised copies of both Legacy and Night School as well as a Night School members material badge which can be sewn onto a book bag or school blazer and a place on an exclusive Google Hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty herself!
Night School Challenge Rules:
1. Visit 14 book blogs between 3rd – 10th January
2. Locate and collect 14 Night School Skill words
3. Return to the Night School Members page to enter your collected skills by 13th January
4. The entry form will be live from January 10th and will close at mid night on January 13th
5. If you successfully complete the challenge you will become a Night School member for life – when this happens you will receive a membership charter and Night School members badge to download
6. The first ten people to receive Night School membership will be rewarded for their speed with an exclusive Night School goodie bag and a place on a Google hangouts chat with CJ Daugherty!
For more information, visit the members page on CJ Daugherty’s website here.