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Teenreads Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2014!

Reviewer Picks

Teenreads Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2014!


There's no better way to start an argument with self-proclaimed book nerds than to ask "what is the best children's book of 2014?" We decided to get our lovely reviewers and Teen Board members involved in the debate by asking them to tell us a few of their favorites. See below for their picks, and a few fun quotes. Do you agree with their choices? 


Rebecca Czochor

  • WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
    I'll admit I guessed the twist ending, but that didn't stop me from obsessively devouring this book over two days! It's so quick and smart, and every character feels completely real.

Corinne Fox

  • GIRLS LIKE US by Gail Giles
    Immensely moving, groundbreaking, insightful; I could not write down enough adjectives that describe this book. A story about two special education teens, an area of characters not often explored, this book was both heartwarming and chilling, and I still haven’t forgotten it even though I read it six months ago.
  • GRACEFULLY GRAYSON by Ami Polonsky
    I’m going to gush like a schoolgirl with a crush about this book because oh my goodness, this book was wonderful. Poignant and uplifting, this is the perfect book to introduce younger readers to the transgender community and the importance of our acceptance of them, and it will touch older souls alike, serving as a reminder that the love between human beings can eradicate pain and prejudice. Please, please, everyone read this beautiful story about a transgender boy --- you will be very happy that you did. 

  • CONVERSION by Katherine Howe
    Intricate, harrowing, one of the most intensely ingenious plots --- I couldn’t put this book down until I knew all the answers.
  • THE LAST FOREVER by Deb Caletti
    Exactly the opposite of what I was expecting from a “chick lit” novel. In fact, I’d argue against using the label to describe the book. It was refreshing, funny and warm, and I closed the cover feeling good and also feeling satisfied with the fate of the characters. They got the happy ending they deserved.
  • Besides the fact that much of the content was rooted in Irish language and folklore (one of the things I love most), it was a unique entry in the fantasy genre, combining new ideas with common tropes that work. I’m really looking forward to the next entry in the series.

Charles Payseur

  • THROUGH THE WOODS by Emliy Carroll
    This is the best horror I have read. Period. The art is truly unique and well-rendered and the themes and stories are great and terrifying. I cannot recommend this one enough.
  • LOVE IS THE DRUG by Alaya Dawn Johnson
    A high school thriller with some solid character work and interesting plot. The mystery that unravels is tense and the stakes quite high.
  • IN REAL LIFE by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
    A mixture of video games, activism and economics, this is far from standard comics fare. But it works thanks to a great heart and amazing artwork.
  • POISONED APPLES by Christine Heppermann                                                
    Beautiful and haunting speculative poetry. Poignant and tackling some big ideas through the use of fairy tales.

Norah Piehl

Brianna Robinson

  • I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
    Incredible writing, story and characters. A must read and instant classic. 
  • THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
    The world-building and compelling characters make this amazing first in the series one of the best books in 2014.
  • THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson
    I absolutely adored the fantasy world that Mary Pearson created in the novel. The twist was perfect and the narrative just as fantastic.
  • THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
    Titanic in space. Literally star-crossed lovers. A gorgeous cover. I have so much love for this book. 
  • OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord
    This is one of the sweetest and best friendship stories I have ever read. It's a feel good book and one you're going to want to share with all of your best friends.

Abbe Wright


Pranshu A.

  • IN REAL LIFE by Lawrence Tabak
    Male protagonists in YA novels are hard to find and this book does a fantastic job of portraying one that is so unique and very memorable.
  • CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare
    The size of this book alone (a whopping 725 pages) was an indication that this book would be something you wouldn't soon forget. So many twists and turns made this a great end to The Mortal Instruments.
  • MILA 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza
    Although there were times when I was really annoyed by the main character, I think the idea and plot made this book one of my favorites this year. There was never a point when I felt like I could trust anyone in the book which made it stand out to me.
  • WHEN MR. DOG BITES by Brian Conaghan                                                                         The way the main character is so candid and innocent provides us with a narrator that is very biased in some ways yet very subjective in others. This was one of the only books I read this year where this narrative technique was used and it stood out to me.
  • ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins                                            
    I don't think I need to say anymore than the title in order to explain why this book is on my list. Cute, sweet, romantic, adorable…I will run out of words if I try to describe this book. This is a book that I see myself coming back to reread multiple times throughout the years.
Rachel B.
Cheyenne C.
  • TOMBOY by Liz Prince
    As a graphic novel memoir, this book was definitely different from the novels I normally read!  It's a quick read but one that will stick with readers for a long, long time.  It's a definitely a book that people are able to connect to.  I love the feminist message at the end of book, too.
  • THE CURE FOR DREAMING by Cat Winters
    A bit of magic and a dash of suffrage?  Count me in!  Olivia made a great protagonist, and Winters did a great job of pulling readers into Olivia's world.
    A thrilling tale of survival and hope, UNBROKEN is undoubtably one of the best books of the year.  The author interview with Louis Zamperini at the end of the novel is just fantastic and adds a whole new level to the book.  I can't wait to see the movie that's coming out on December 25.
  • DEATH COMING UP THE HILL by Chris Crowe                                                                     This book was cool for a lot of reasons, but the best part was definitely that it was written entirely in haikus.  Plus, Ashe was such a good character that I couldn't help but fall in love with his story.
Josh D.
  • PRODIGY: A Legend Novel, Book 2, by Marie Lu                                     
    PRODIGY continues the Legend series with a sequel just as good as the first book.
  • CHAMPION: Legend, Book 3, by Marie Lu                                                   
    CHAMPION is a great finale to a great series.
  • SKY RAIDERS: Five Kingdoms, Book 1, by Brandon Mull                                       
    I love Brandon Mull's books and I was overjoyed to see another of his series in the making. If you're a fan of Brandon, Mull like I am, then you'll definitely like SKY RAIDERS. He also wrote the Beyonders Trilogy, one of my favorite series.
  • THE PALADIN PROPHECY: Book 1, by Mark Frost                                           
    THE PALADIN PROPHECY was a little unusual but I still liked it. It's a book worth reading. THE PALADIN PHOPHECY was written by Mark Frost who also wrote a T.V. show from the 90s called "Twin Peaks" that had a cult following.

Rachel D.

  • THE HOCKEY SAINT by Howard Shapiro
    This book has both amazing illustrations AND a great plot!
    This is an amazing and heartfelt memoir and I really enjoyed reading it.
  • WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
    With an enticing plot and great characters, this novel grabbed my attention from the very first page.


Kate F.

  • HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas
    I love this book because it gives me chills...literally! Everything falls into place perfectly in this novel in ways that I never saw coming, and the characters....oh, the characters! The main character, Celaena, is incredibly fierce but also has a heartbreaking vulnerability. Not only is she incredibly awesome, but so are all the other characters Sarah J. Maas introduces into this novel (*cough, cough* ROWAN!). In short, this novel is a masterpiece.
  • THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
    This book is in my top five favorites mainly because of the characters. Normally I read novel's with a female heroine who is physically strong, but in THE WINNER'S CURSE, Kestrel is not physically, but mentally, strong. Her amazing wit astonished and thrilled me! Also, the relationship between Arin and Kestrel is incredible in how they are so different yet so similar.
  • RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo                                                                                
    I had been anticipating this novel since SEIGE AND STORM was released and it did not disappoint! This series has been very near and dear to my heart, so of course it is going to be on my top five books of 2014! I love the whole world of this series, from its enchanting magic to it's Russian-like landscape.
  • IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi                                                                                               This book has so many incredible aspects. For one, Tahereh Mafi's beautiful writing is enough to make me cling to every word. Her writing is just the beginning, though. With a passionate romance and evolving characters (not to mention a gorgeous cover!) this novel is heart-stopping.
  • IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken                                                                         The characters, the characters, the characters!!! IN THE AFTERLIGHT is the final novel in The Darkest Minds trilogy and while it has a brilliant plot, the aspect I fell in love with is the characters. There is such diversity in this cast of personalities that each and every character is a new story to me, and I love all of them. From hilarious Chubs to fierce Vida to heartbreakingly sweet Liam to brave Ruby, and to many more sincere characters, this novel is a labyrinth of personalities.

Cassandra H.

  • THE CRACKS IN THE KINGDOM by Jaclyn Moriarty
    I am always a fan of Jaclyn Moriarty's books, and especially her series The Colors of Madeleine. Every sentence is a breath of magic, with imagery and vividness in each word choice. The kingdom she builds is one of the most intricate and beautiful places I've ever delved into. It has it all --- adventure, charm, fantasy, magic and a hint of romance

Sara J.

  • TRUST ME, I'M LYING by Mary Elizabeth Summer
    It's a spy novel and contemporary fiction wrapped into one.
  • SCHIZO by Nic Sheff
    Gives a fresh yet relatable perspective of mental illness in a young adult
  • THE FOREVER SONG by Julie Kagawa
    An intense, captivating vampire story unlike any other --- the final book of the "epic dystopian trilogy.
  • CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare
    The final, crazy installment of one of my favorite series ever (The Mortal Instruments).


Maggie L.

  • OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS by Jessica Verday                                                           It's nice to see new books referring to the gothic works of Edgar Allen Poe, especially along with such an intense storyline.
  • A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley                                                                       This story had a little bit of everything --- romance, action and mystery --- and had a unique, exciting and unexpected storyline.
Sydney L.
    This was definitely one of my favorite contemporary releases this year. The sarcasm, the emotional rollercoaster, the mysteries and the perspective this book offered blew me away. Amy Zhang is definitely on my radar now.
  • CRESS by Marissa Meyer
    The balance of Rapunzel and science fiction in this book was amazing. The book is among the best fairytale retellings I've read to date and the best in the series yet.
  • THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS by Rick Riordan
    BEST. LAST BOOK. EVER. Rick Riordan did not disappoint in the final Percy Jackson book and I cannot seem to thank him enough for it.
  • DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige
    All the raving you've probably heard about this book is true; this book was such a dark retelling of THE WIZARD OF OZ and every bit of it was absolutely, without a doubt, perfect.
Aliza M.
  • CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare                                                   
     I absolutely loved the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, so naturally I was excited to read the final book. I was also wary because I know from experience that authors tend to end series with some unfortunate surprises. (I'm talking about Lupin and Tonks, for example). Thankfully I was not disappointed with CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE. Cassandra made sure that I was left happy after finishing her book. I really feel like the story was completed. 
  • THIS STAR WON'T GO OUT: THE LIFE AND WORDS OF ESTHER GRACE ERAL by Esther Earl                                                                                                 
    When I picked up this book I was smiling and thinking happy thoughts. When I put it down, one hour later, after reading it cover to cover, I was crying and trying to figure out how I was going to make a positive impact on this world. Enough said. 
  • RANDOM by Tom Leveen                                                                                                     Usually we don't realize the impact that our words make. We reason with ourselves and say that we aren't bullies. But unfortunately, this isn't true. RANDOM really opened my eyes to the "what-ifs" of bullying. After finishing the book, I started being a lot more thoughtful about the words I said and the posts I wrote on social media sites. I really appreciate this enlightening experience.  
  • NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT: THE TRUE STORY OF THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO CLIMB THE SEVEN SUMMITS by Jordan Romero                                             
    After reading NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT I was ready to go climb a mountain. Through his triumphant story, Jordan taught me that no dream is too big. He inspired me to reach for the stars . . . or the tops of mountains if I so desired! Anytime I need some motivation, I'm going to read this book. 
Mary McC.
  • SKINK by Carl Hiaasen
    This book managed to be completely realistic and highly compelling even while the main character is being chased by a wild boar. That is talent. It was such a delight to read and had me doing the awkward-laughing-out-loud-in-quiet-rooms thing. You know what I mean. Ladies and gentlemen, good book alert.

Christa O.

  • CRESS by Marissa Meyer
    The third book in The Lunar Chronicles Series! I loved meeting Cress. It also was just one big huge climax to the series which I loved! It also had a bunch of new characters and things were all connecting. It was INSANE.
  • OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine
    I loved the historical fiction. I loved the retelling of Phantom of the Opera because it was a whole new spin on it. The writing was so beautiful and unique. It also talked about culture and tradition which doesn't happen a lot in YA novels. I want to read it again soon!!
  • THE ASSASIN'S BLADE by Sarah J Maas
    This book was technically a bind up of five novellas but it read like a book. It's the prequel to the Throne of Glass series and it was phenomenal. I loved learning about Celaena's history before the beginning of the first book. I liked learning about her life and the trials she went through. It really showed her depth and how she got to where she is in the first book.

Aspen R.

  • UNDIVIDED by Neal Shusterman                                                                                        
    This is the anticipated conclusion to the Unwind Dystology, and as such, it does not disappoint.  Connor, Risa and Lev are up to more sneaky stuff, trying to get unwinding outlawed. Cam is just trying to end Proactive Citizenry trying to get Risa back.  When Shusterman started writing this series, it was impossible to not be drawn into the story. You were so quickly submersed, and sadly, with the ending of this novel, you have to resurface. But once you emerge, you are left feeling satisfied with how the dystology ended.
  • STRAY by Elissa Sussman                                                                                                
    Who doesn’t love a fairy tale re-done? There are many out there, some with more futuristic sci-fi views, such as PUPPET and CINDER, and there are others, like STRAY.  There are so many aspects that are different from other fairy tale retellings, and there are many aspects that are similar. This book is slightly reminiscant of THE JEWEL in the aspect that some people have special powers that are coveted by others.   Fans of fairy tales will devour this book and eagerly await the other novels in the series.
  • THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing                                                                                               
    Dystopian lovers will love this refreshing debut. Ms. Ewing has done a remarkable job in making it a world that is totally different from what we have seen. This is not your typical dystopian novel, and that makes the novel even better. The novel has all the elements that young adult dystopian fans will love.  As I finished the novel, I wanted to see what happened. As I reached the ending, I wanted to read the next novel immediately. I realized that, as a dystopian novel, this one definitely tops the list of my favorites, and I am waiting for the sequel anxiously.
  • THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY by Kate Hattemer                                     When a TV show overtakes Selwyn Academy, some students take action. In a novel with funny anecdotes and lots of action, fans of young adult novels will love this funny novel.  The characters are found in a situation that isn’t so hard to believe, and yet they react in a way that makes you want to see how they handle the next preposterous situation that they find themselves in. I loved the humor in the novel, and I would love to see what Kate Hattemer has up her sleeve next.
  • CAPTIVE by Aimee Carter                                                                                                 
    This is a sequel that you will never want to put down. You will want to binge read the series, and it will make you eagerly await the conclusion to the series. I know I am waiting anxiously to see what happens to Kitty! Kitty is in even more dangerous situations as she keeps impersonating Lila Hart. And how she handles the situations that she is in shows just how strong and brave she is. She is such a strong character and she is one of the best female characters that I have read in a long time. I can’t wait for the conclusion to the series, and also for the next story world that Ms. Carter creates.

Alison S.
  • THE FIRE WISH by Amber Lough
    Amber Lough's stunning debut immerses readers in a fantastic re-imagining of ancient Saudi Arabia. Bursting with lush description and deftly-crafted back story, THE FIRE WISH alternates between two protagonists, each with a strikingly different yet equally captivating perspective on the decades-long war between humans and genies.

LexiBex V.

  • INTO THE GREY by Celine Kiernan                                                                                     Who doesn't love a good ghost story?
  • SILVER SHADOWS by Richelle Mead                                                                                
    Anyone that fell in love with Mead's world of Vampire Academy understands the thrill of her fifth book in the spin off series, Bloodlines. I could not put it down! Perfect blend of adventure,  romance and suspense.
  • OF NEPTUNE by Anna Banks                                                                                            
    The conclusion to Banks's addictive trilogy. Beautifully sanctifying!
  • SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater                                                                                             
    The fourth book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (yes, you read that right!) follows Cole, a character from the series whose story wasn't quite finished yet...

Lynn W

  • DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess                                                                                      Everything about this book screams the perfect fantasy novel. Its setting is mystical, it has thrilling conflict and there is just a touch of forbidden romance. Of course it wouldn't be a fantasy novel without the all the magic and mayhem.
  • THE PERFECTIONISTS by Sara Shepard
    A dark spin on the usual glamorous high school teenager story. Four vastly different girls and a whole lot of conflict really makes for a great read. 
  • WINTERKILL by Kate A. Boorman                                                                                      
    This book is mysterious to say the least. It leaves the reader in the dark and slowly unveils the secrets of the town. The main character is also very strong and backs down for nobody. Seriously, she is not your average teenage girl.