Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This post is actually difficult to write because despite my list, many of the books I read this year are written by authors I’ve read before. I consider that a good thing because it means former debut authors and new-to-me authors have continued to impress me. I’d love to know which authors are on your list! Hopefully we’ll share some similarities. Hopefully I’ll discover even more authors!

Top Debut Authors:

Hilary T. Smith–Wild Awake has engaging characters and beautiful writing. I hope she writes another book soon!

Rainbow Rowell–Eleanor & Park is Rowell’s debut YA release which rocked my world. Seriously. I LOVE that book.

Hollis Seamon–Somebody Up There Hates You surprised me in a great way. It was fun to read despite being a “cancer” book.

Robin Constantine–As soon as I finished reading The Promise of Amazing I wanted to read another one of Robin Constantine’s books. It’s too bad this hasn’t even released yet because that means I have to wait even LONGER for her next book.

Jessica Verdi–She tackles a big issue in My Life After Now without getting preachy. Plus, it’s an issue not enough found in YA. Win, win.

Aaron Hartzler–Rapture Practice is a great example of YA memoir while also being a fabulous and relevant story.

K.A. Barson–45 Pounds is a fun book that many of my readers will relate to. Plus, K.A. Barson is a Michigan author!

Top New-to-Me Authors:

Benjamin Alire Saenz–I can’t begin to explain how beautiful Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is.

Jo Knowles–So technically Jo Knowles isn’t new to me since I read Lessons From a Dead Girl a few years ago. I’m including her on this list because I read three of her other books this year and loved all of them. I feel like I truly discovered her this year.

Amy Reed–I loved reading Over You and now want to read everything Amy Reed writes.

Review: Over You by Amy Reed

Over You coverTitle: Over You

Author: Amy Reed

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: June 4th, 2013

Interest: Contemp / Mythology / Author

Source: ARC gifted from a friend

Summary (From Goodreads):

Max would follow Sadie anywhere, so when Sadie decides to ditch her problems and escape to Nebraska for the summer, it’s only natural for Max to go along. She is Sadie’s confidante, her protector, and her best friend. This summer will be all about them. This summer will be perfect.

But that’s before they meet Dylan.

Dylan is dangerous and intoxicating, and he awakens something in Max that she never knew existed. No matter how much she wants to, she can’t back away.

But Sadie has her own intensity, and has never allowed Max to become close with anyone else. And Max doesn’t know who she is without Sadie.

There are some problems you just can’t escape.

This is one of those books that I’m afraid I won’t do justice in my review.  Over You by Amy Reed is a very smart book that deserves more attention.  It’s the first book of Amy Reed’s that I’ve read, even though I have two of her other books in my class library, but I’ll definitely be reading all of her books now.

I’m not always sure when to describe a book as being literary, but I feel comfortable describing Over You this way.  Amy Reed juxtaposes multiple mythological allusions with different parts in the story to compliment what’s happening with Max and Sadie or how her characters are feeling.  This mythological tie-in is what originally caught my attention about this book.  One of the project options for my YA Lit II class requires students to read YA mythology books and study the myths included.  I loved the idea of sharing a contemporary realistic title with them that’s suitable for that project.  Amy Reed’s inclusion of mythology really works for this story and adds rich layers to the characters.  Besides the mythology, there’s also beautiful uses of imagery, similes, metaphors, etc.  The perspective of the story makes it seem like Max is writing to Sadie or speaking to Sadie, by saying things like “we” and “you”, which took me a bit to get accustomed to, but I ended up enjoying it.

There are plenty of conflicts in this book, but deep down I was interested in Max’s character development.  Obviously she isn’t going to develop as a character without the conflicts, but more than anything I liked being in her head.  She’s defined herself through Sadie, so when she’s finally released from Sadie’s influence, Max gets to find out who she really is and what she likes/dislikes.  This is incredibly hard for her to do.  She feels guilty, but she’s also excited.  Her highs and lows kept me reading because they’re real.  I never felt like they were over-exaggerated or unbelievable.  She very much reminds me of Grace in Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard.  If you haven’t read that yet, I really hope you move it up in your TBR pile.  Over You is an excellent read alike to Like Mandarin.  The characters and their conflicts are similar and will resonate with readers.

I had a difficult time liking Sadie.  She’s lost just like Max, and much of it has to do with her parents (her mother in particular), but her character irritated me.  But honestly, I think we’re supposed to feel that way.  Max often feels that way.  Sadie is needy, immature, and manipulative.  But she’s also like family to Max.  I can see why Max cares so deeply for her.  I’m not exactly sure if Max’s feelings for Sadie are romantic because there are two scenes in particular that left me thinking that, but it really isn’t the point–or at least I don’t think it is.  Max is bi-sexual, but it isn’t really a core issue in the story.  Whether Max loves Sadie in a romantic sense or not, it doesn’t matter because so much of this story is about Max and Sadie’s friendship in general.  It’s about Max finding herself without Sadie.

There’s more that I could probably say about Over You and Amy Reed’s writing, but I’m going to stop because I feel like I’m rambling or about to start.  I’m so happy I finally read one of Amy Reed’s books and can’t wait to read the rest of them.

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