As we begin 2013, my lovely reviewers and I thought it would be good to look back at our favourite reads of 2012. My personal favourites have been chosen from books published in 2012 but I didn't want to limit my reviewers in the same way.
I asked them for one each but I think like myself they struggled to pick just one. Personally I have four which come under different genres.
Best International Adult Fiction - The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
I read this quite early on in the year and yet still it haunts me. The beautiful adaptation of the Russian fairytale with the same name, completely captivated me and captured my heart. The writing was so pure and magical that I was in awe of the author's talent to breathe new life into such a timeless tale.
Best International Children/YA Fiction - Wonder by RJ Palacio
If you read just one of my selection then this is the one I would highly recommend. This book broke my heart. I defy you not to fall in love with Auggie as he comes to terms with the way people treat him due to his disfigurement. I laughed and cried simultaneously while reading this book. Pure genius and pure joy.
Best UK Adult Fiction - Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti
Dani Sacerdoti debuted this year and appeared to come from nowhere. Three books later within one year and this author has seriously become one of my favourites. Not only is she a fantastic writer but she has shown her diversity by writing incredible novels for a range of ages. Watch Over Me is her adult novel - a beautiful, poignant contemporary novel with a touch of the paranormal. In a similar vein to the books written by Sarah Addison Allen.
Best UK Children/Adult Fiction - Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
I was recently asked to choose my Top UK YA book and believe me I struggled. Unable to pick just one book I ended up creating a whole list which you can find here. I did have one overall winner which I couldn't deny captured my heart completely. Tanya Byrne's debut novel was such a gritty gut wrenching read that it stills stays in mind nearly six months after reading it. This book really makes you feel emotional and I would definitely recommend that everyone reads it.
Now I will pass you over to my reviewers who will share their favourite reads in 2013.
Georgina Tranter @anigroeg
One of my favourite books for 2012 has to be The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, published by Virago (comes out in pbk in Jan). A gripping read set in1914 following a group of individuals stranded in a lifeboat following the sinking of the ship they were on. It concentrates on the decisions that people are forced to make when faced with a life-or-death situation. More than a post Titanic novel, this looks at the power of survival and what we will do if necessary. It has stayed with me all year and I wholeheartedly recommend it
Can I have two books for my best of 2012?! Could I also nominate the outstanding Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood. This is a novel about two little girls who kill a child, they are found guilty and when released from prison are given new identities and told never to see each other again. Years later their paths accidentally cross and they need to do everything they can to protect themselves and their past lives from being revealed. This book kept me thinking long after I read it about the justice system and how that what is reported is not necessarily the whole story. A perfect book for a group discussion on morals and self- survival.
KM Lockwood @lockwoodwriter
"I'm going to cheat: I'm going to have two. My first is one for children - and my second for older readers and adults, but they both have one thing in common. They both take you to a world both like and unlike our own. There's some sort of Alice Through The Looking Glass magic in both these amazing books. For children, my favourite was A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge. The underground world of Caverna and the adventures of the resourceful yet naive Neverfell were moving funny and enchanting. For older readers, I'd plump for The City's Son by Tom Pollock. The hugely inventive first book of a trilogy, it crackles along with life and energy. I imagine London in quite a different way now."
Caroline Hodges @musingdragon
It was hard to choose but I think I'm going to say my favourite of this year was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
"I read this book near the start of the year and it has stuck in my thoughts
more than any other. It's a glimpse of the life of two women in nineteenth century China and moves through their shared life experiences; the absolute horror of foot binding, their worth judged solely by how many sons they produce and the unique friendship Snow Flower and Lily nurture and then destroy over the years. By the end I was in tears and that hasn't happened any other time this year! If you're a fan of beautiful writing, historical novels and Asian culture, this ticks all the boxes. "