Friday, December 28, 2012

Reflecting on 2012

I looked back at my New Year's post from the beginning of 2012 and it looks like I was pretty convinced that 2012 would be my year.

Oh, Past Jess...how wrong you were.

I guess I can see why. I'd just snagged an agent at the end of 2011, and we all know that solves any and all problems, right? And I had this great job that I'd had for six years, so obviously that wasn't going to be an issue, right?

Yeah...not so much.

Losing my job turned out to be this awful black hole in my year, and, honestly, I haven't yet recovered from that blow, and I can't imagine myself really bouncing back from it any time soon. I didn't really realize how much of my identity was tied into not just being a teacher, but being a teacher at that particular school teaching those particular kids. I miss that job every day, and my current job is fine, but it's not my home in every way like my old job was.

So, yeah, 2012 ended up being the worst year so far in my professional life.

Obviously there were still some major highlights in the other parts of my life.

JANUARY


Met John Green for the 2nd time at the Tour de Nerdfighting

MARCH

Dressed up for the Hunger Games movie


APRIL


Went to Coachella


MAY

JUNE

JULY




AUGUST

SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
These months were all really difficult, which is why I didn't blog much. Gah.

DECEMBER

And through all of it, I wrote a new book...something that I think is pretty darn awesome.

So, even though I went through one of the worst and hardest things I've had to deal with this year, and it continues to impact me every single day, there was also a ton of awesome. It was nice to take some time to remember that.

I hope you all had an awesome 2012! It was so great to get to know you all this year (or get to know you better), and I look forward to all the awesome 2013 has in store for all of us!

So, the image hosting I've used forever has sort of crapped out on me, and many of the posts I linked above have broken images in them. I was going to try to fix all of them, but I don't have time for that. So...sorry. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Class of 2012: Giveaway Winners


I can't believe our Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest has come to a close!  Alison, Katy, Tracey, and I have had a blast this week, both sharing our own favorite books as well as reading about all of yours. I don't know about the rest of you, but my TBR pile has grown a lot larger since Monday!

To say thank you to all of you for participating in the blogfest, because I KNOW how much time and effort went into putting these posts together, the four of us each used Random.org to chose a winner from the people who participated all four days. Each of the winners will get to choose the 2012 book of her choice as a prize. HOORAY! (I certainly hope at least one of you uses this opportunity to read UNSPOKEN!)

Katy's winner: Stephanie Allen
Tracey's winner: Elizabeth Briggs 
Alison's winner: Kari Bradley
Jessica's winner: Jessica Silverstein

Winners, please contact Katy at katy.upperman at live. com with your book choice and shipping info, and we'll get those books out to you ASAP!

Thank you all so much for hanging out with us this week and sharing your favorite 2012 releases! We all had a blast. We can't wait to do it again next year, so you better get going on those 2013 releases as soon as you can!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Class of 2012: Best In Show

It's the last day of the blogfest! Thank you all so much for playing along with us and sharing your favorite 2012 releases! Alison, Katy, Tracey, and I have had so much fun hosting you all this week, and we've loved reading about everyone's favorites. I don't know about you all, but I've certainly added some new books to my TBR pile!

Remember to hop around to the other blogs on the linky below to see everyone else's choices. And at the end of today's post, everyone chose their own superlative category, so make sure you weigh in on all of those.

Here are my picks for today (and remember, these are the 2012 books that I read this year)...



Favorite Cover
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Transcendence by C. J. Omololu

I absolutely love the cover of The Disenchanments. The colors, the t-shirt, the glasses, everything. This is one of my favorite covers EVER. And after all the whitewashing in YA drama, to see this cover with gorgeous, gorgeous Griffon smack in the middle and looking right at the camera, well, damn, it's so awesome. I love the cover to Transcendence. 

Cutest Couple
 
Hazel & Augusts from The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Anna & Bennett from Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Both of these couples are adorable and adorably doomed, but you can't help but root for them.

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner)
The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Honestly, I doubt that I have read this year's Printz winner. But I think The Fault in our Stars is pretty damn close to perfection.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn't put down!)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

This book, you guys. THIS BOOK. I could NOT put it down, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I STILL think about it.

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Days of Blood and Starlight was a fantastic sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You know those second books where nothing happens? Yeah, that wasn't this one AT ALL. And I thought In Honor was a fantastic follow-up to Moonglass, my favorite 2011 debut!

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

I was so happy to find out what happened to Sophie and Archer!

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

You guys, no one is writing YA romance like Jennifer Echols. If you're a romance fan and you aren't reading her books, you are TOTALLY missing out.

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Ditched by Robin Mellom
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

It was impossible for me to choose between these three books by three awesome ladies. One made me laugh, one made me swoon, and one made me feel all the feelings. I loved all of them, and I can't wait to see what else these three have in store for us.

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This book won ALL THE SUPERLATIVES last year, but I hadn't read it because the magical horses from the sea freaked me out. I WAS SO WRONG. It was awesome. And I love Sean. And Corr.

Most Likely To Make a Grown Man Cry
The Fault in our Stars by John Green

If this book doesn't make you cry then you are dead inside.

Most Pleasant Surprise (The book you didn't think you'd like, but totally did)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I remember seeing this in my NetGalley and thinking...WHY did I request this? It doesn't sound like anything I would like. OH HOW WRONG I WAS. 

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

So you think Blue is going to hook up with Gansey. AND THEN SHE DOESN'T. What are you doing to us, Maggie? Well, I don't even care. I know I'm going to love it, regardless. 

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

It warms my heart that so many of you have PROMISED that you will pick up this book based on all of my raving. YOU NEED TO. It's freaking fantastic.

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite MG or adult 2012 book)
Neversink by Barry Wolverton

Puffins! A walrus! Owls in hats!

And now it’s your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end of today’s list. Blog hoppers can drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

Here's mine...

Book You Loved That Hasn't Really Fit In Any Of These Categories
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I loved both of these books, but I wasn't able to squeeze them into a category, so I wanted to make sure they got a shout-out!

Ok, everyone...that's it! Thanks so much for playing along! Be sure to drop your linky in the list, answer my bonus question in the comments, and visit everyone else's blog. And check back, because if you participated every day of the blogfest, you are eligible to win the 2012 release of your choice from BookDepository! I hope you guys had a great time...I know we sure did.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Class of 2012: Elements of Fiction



Welcome to Day Three of the Blogfest! I hope you all are having as much fun with this as Katy, Alison, Tracey, and I are!

Okay, let's get to today's choices. (And, as a reminder, here are the 2012 books I read this year.) .


Most Envy-Inducting Plot (Or, the plot you wish you'd thought of yourself.)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

I love time travel and I love romance and I love 1995 and I wish I would have figured out how to put them all together in a book like this!

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to.)


Fantasy World
Eretz from Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

World at war where civilians on both sides are being slaughtered? Yeah, I'll pass on that vacation.


Real World
Watonka, New York in Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

I'm a southern California girl, so, as much as I enjoyed this book, small town New York in the dead of winter sounds like my own personal hell.

Wanderlust-Inducting (Or, the setting you'd happily travel to.)
La Ruta Maya in Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

This part of the world is truly paradise, you guys, and Kirsten Hubbard makes you feel like you're there.



Loveliest Prose
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

These two ladies have such a way with words.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." 'Nuff said.



Most Dynamic Main Character
Clementine in Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker

I don't know if she is the most dynamic of every character of all of these books, but this is a book I loved and haven't had a chance to mention yet, and I loved it because of this character and all her flaws. She's made some terrible decisions, but that doesn't mean that she's a bad person, and I loved the insight into all sides of her personality.


Most Jaw-Dropping Ending
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending of this book left me clutching my chest. I think I tweeted Sarah Rees Brennan with "WHAT WHY MY HEARTTTTTT!!!!!!!"


Best Performance in a Supporting Role
The Raven Boys in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Even though this book is told in multiple POV, I feel like, ultimately, it's Blue's story. But the boys really stole the show for me here, especially Gansey and Ronan. (But I loved hearing from and about each of the boys.)


Best use of Theme
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

I love how the theme of hope that was established in the first book continues in this book.

If you played along on your blog, leave the link to your post below. If not, tell me some of your choices in the comments. And come back tomorrow for the last day of the blogfest!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Class of 2012: Popularity Contest



Thanks for joining Katy, Alison, Tracey and me over here at the Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest again for the popularity contest! The linky is at the bottom, so add your link and the then hop around to visit everyone's blog!

Today's categories were particularly difficult for me. (And, just in case you need to be reminded, these are the 2012 books I read this year.)


Class Clown
Jason from Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

This boy was ALWAYS goofing off.


Most Likely to Become a Rockstar
Cole from Transcendence by C.J. Omololu

I've seen a lot of awesome chicks on strings in indie and rock bands lately. I think Cole could turn her killer cello skills into rockstardom, no problem.

Most Likely to Start a Riot
Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

You guys...I absolutely LOVE Jared. And I can picture him starting some major riot without even realizing what he did. And then making some awesome comment about it.

Biggest Flirt
Leah from Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Leah sure does get her flirt on with a lot of guys in this book. But, really, that's why I read Jennifer Echols in the first place. I love her flirtatious characters!

Fashion Queen
Chloe from Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Corriell

Chloe has a TO DIE FOR vintage shoe collection. *drool*

Girl You'd Most Want for Your BFF
Kami Glass from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Kami is MY GIRL. Smart, spunky, and sassy, plus fiercely loyal, this girl is pretty much the best friend you could have. (As long as you don't mind that she talks to herself...)

Boy You Wish You'd Dated in High School

ALL OF THEM

Not gonna lie, you guys...I had a crush on quite a few of the boys this year.




Four in Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Bennett in Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Prince Kai in Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Every single Raven Boy from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Colby in The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

But, would any of these boys have dated Teen Jess? Well, that's not the question, now is it?

Most Likely to Become President
Prince Kai in Cinder by Marissa Meyer

He was already next in line to be Emperor, so, really, President would be a downgrade.

Quirkiest Character
A in Every Day by David Levithan

I would call waking up in the body of a different person every day a bit of a quirk, wouldn't you?

Villain You Love To Hate
Brian in Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

So, he's not exactly a villain, but, hot as he is, Brian is Parker's teacher, so...ew, no. Go away, Brian. I don't care how hot you are, you're gross.

Favorite Parental Figure
Blue's Family in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue's kooky psychic family is the absolute BEST. They were my favorite part out of all of Blue's chapters in this book.

Coolest Nerd
Pawel in The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

So, Pawel, the cute boy in this book, has this deliciously dorky hobby, but I can't remember if it's a spoiler or not. In fact, I wonder if just mentioning that he has a dorky hobby at all might be a spoiler in itself. I don't know. But he was adorably dorky and I loved him.

If you participated today, leave the link to your Popularity Contest below...then hop around and see what everyone else picked today! Be sure to come back tomorrow for Elements of Fiction!