1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My favorite fairy tale retelling of the year. The original setting, the well-developed characters, and an incredibly engaging writing style made Cinder an overall great read and left me wanting more! I can't wait for Scarlet to come out in just a few short weeks.
2. Well Witched by Frances Hardinge
I adore Frances Hardinge's writing. Well Witched was deliciously creepy and still scares me a bit. Although it is a relatively older book, I only discovered it this year, and am so glad I did.
3. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
An amazingly crafted fantasy - and in my opinion, the best book of Cashore's trilogy. This carefully woven tale absolutely won its place on this list with characters I fell in love with, a complex and fascinating story, and amazing writing. Absolutely superb.
4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
This weighty historical fantasy absolutely captured me with its amazing characters and multiple (captivating) storylines. The complex politics of the court and the amazing development of the already awesome character of Ismae kept me glued to the pages.
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Ah, The Night Circus. This beautiful book was absolutely breathtaking. It's beautiful writing and story was perfectly crafted and masterfully woven together. I've read it twice so far, and it only gets better upon rereading.
6. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was probably the most fun book I've read this year, although technically I listened to it rather than reading it. I laughed more times than I can count when I was listening to this book, and I've listened to it three times this summer alone. An excellent, excellent middle grade.
7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Princess Bride is such a classic, I can't believe I hadn't read it until this year. I grew up with the movie, which my family quotes extensively, and my dad had read the "good parts version" to my brother and me (which, looking back, is somewhat ironic as the whole book is supposed to be the good parts version) so I never felt I needed to read it until this year. Well, I was missing out. I loved it!
8. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Although I preferred Divergent, Insurgent definitely earned its place among my favorites of 2012. I read it when it came out in the spring and also listened to it as an audiobook this summer. I can't wait to see what happens in the series' conclusion.
9. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The twists and turns of this excellent MG enthralled me, and the fantastic main character became a favorite of mine. I love Sage, and I cannot wait to read The Runaway King, the next volume in this wonderful trilogy.
10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone was absolutely one of my favorite fantasies of the year. I couldn't get through it fast enough. It had such great characters and compelling plot that I did not want to put it down.
11. Reached by Ally Condie
I loved Matched, and although I was not quite as enamored of Crossed, finishing the series with Reached made me love the entire trilogy more than ever. Ally Condie brilliantly wrapped up the Matched trilogy in the perfect way, keeping true to the characters and the story. The writing was so beautiful and the way that the poetry, art, and songs were woven in enriched the story and made it stand out from all the other dystopians I've read.
12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I almost never read contemporary fiction, but I had heard so much about The Fault in Our Stars that I knew I had to pick it up. And even though I don't generally like contemporary books much, I loved TFioS. It took a lot to keep me from shoving it into the hands of everyone I knew, although I suspect I will end up giving it to many of my friends as birthday presents this year. Very highly recommended.