RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

The Books of 2015: Survey + Pretty Pictures

For stats like longest/shortest bok and my total number of pages, see Goodreads' Your Year In Books page.

For the Quilt of Many Covers, click here to view it on Tumblr.

For the survey of book awards, click the following cut.

I had to straight up ban myself from finding a way to use a Twilight book for 80% of this survey, by the way. I also seriously debated scrapping this meme and just making a post where I talk about the most memorable books of the year and various reasons I felt that way, but by the time that ocurred to me I was already halfway done so I figured I may as well power through. While sneakily trying to work all my faves in anyway.

1. Best book of 2015
I decided to give this year's honor to Rainbow Rowell's Attachments and I stand by that. However, I also really, really fell in love with one of the few old animal books I read: Raff, The Story of an English Setter, which was just amazing in every way.

2.  Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more, but didn't
That Time I Joined The Circus by J.J. Howard, which was started off so great and then devolved into soapy relationship nonsense. Seriously, it started out so great that even now I keep forgetting why I gave it a 3 instead of at least a 4. And then I remember in painful detail.

Also, Since You've Been Gone, which I still WANT to love with all of my heart, but the character does indefensibly stupid things because her absent friend dared her to go out of her comfort zone. You know what's outside the comfort zone? Skinnydipping, kissing a stranger and stealing something. I'll go ahead and stay out of that, thank you.

3.  Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2015
Vivian Apple at the End of the World, which got a lot more solid and realistic than the cutesy title and premise implied.

4.  Book you read in 2015 that you recommended the most
I'll Trade You an Elk by Charles A. Goodrum (sounds like a hunting book but is actually about managing a zoo in the 1930s)
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, which deserves the hype
Summer of the Wolves and Fourmile are books I think should be taught in middle school classrooms, they're that good.
Once There Were Castles, which I literally recced to everyone I know IRL because it's about the history of our hometown's parent cities, and the same author's Minnesota's Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes.
High Challenge by Maria Kirchgessner
The aforementioned Rowell novel and also Eleanor and Park.

5  Favorite new author discovered in 2015: F.E. Rechnitzer seems like a real solid author of old dog books, though sadly minimally known on Goodreads.

6.  Best book that was out of your comfort zone
Didn't go too far out of my comfort zones this year, but Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train was very much not a guarantee, being bestseller adult fiction, and it was AMAZING. One of my favorites of the year.

7.  Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2015
A Cold Legacy, the conclusion to the Madman's Daughter trilogy.

8.  Book read in 2015 that you are most likely to reread: Not for the usual reasons, but I might give The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas another shot. I gave it 2 stars since I spent the whole book wanting to punch the former "good girl," but shortly after I read it I got all tangled up in Miles/Rachel, and now I have templates for a smart/good girl getting drawn in by a bad boy who may or may not have been involved in or have knowledge of the accidental murder of her father during a home invasion and been lying about it all this time while honestly liking her and trying to keep her safe. This plotline takes on a whole new meaning with the right faces in play.

On a serious note, I will inevitably continue to reread Girl Next Door. I might also read The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland just to soak up that B&B atmosphere.

9  Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015:

The summer perfection! The clothes! The hair! The best friendship! EPIC. There's another picture on the back that I don't have a picture of, the same girls but an aerial shot of the backyard, which just makes it even cooler.

10.  Most memorable character of 2015:
Can I just give it to the Cullens? All the Cullens except Emmett.

Or Eleanor, of Eleanor and Park. Or Vivian of Orphan Train.

Favorites revisited in rereads: every family member in The Ark (Margot Benary Isbert), and Tanaquil of Black Unicorn.

11.  Most beautifully written book of 2015:
Life Is But A Dream

But if there was an award for most beautifully designed book it would go to the blog-turned-book Once Upon a Flock, which was frankly like a piece of readable, handheld art.

12.  Book that had the greatest impact on you:
I got mad at Gayle Forman's Just One Day and Just One Year for being grossly based on a one night stand and otherwise rewarding stupid life decisions. AND YET. It has been almost a year and I have not stopped thinking about their star-crossed globe-trotting beauty, and I don't even like globe-trotting. I almost want to try on Allyson's life. I still can't get behind the reason for their soulmatehood, but it is shimmering with so much potential to be sweepingly romantic that I tend to remember it that way. One thing for which I'm especially grateful is that it inspired my AU Glee dream for Blaine Anderson to quit Ohio and disappear somewhere into the west where no one knows his name, off on a new life, and that headspace has brought me great comfort.

13.  Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to read

14.  Favorite passage/quote: I don't really remember that sort of thing. Except, I mean, as it pertains to Twilight, and I'm not going to embarrass myself typing those twice.

15.  Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it:
I spent most of Rescue Me being like "LOOK AT HOW MITCH/JAMIE THIS IS." (I work very hard to pick romance novels that fit my shippy whims)

Also, I kept punching the air over how detailed Hit was in describing the "hurt" department, which I could then use to feed "comfort" scenarios of my choosing.

16.  Favorite relationship in a book read in 2015:
Alice & Jasper Cullen (CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP)

Also, Nell and Charlie Rose in The West Winds of Wyoming.

17.  Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you read previously
I quite enjoyed Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.

18.  Best book you read in 2015 based solely on a recommendation
Other than Goodreads' algorithm-based recs, which I don't think count, the only thing I can really think of is The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading, which was highlighted in Entertainment Weekly.

19.  Book that was the most fun to read
I LOVED the experience of reading High Challenge, drifting away into 1960s Germany and the charming innocence of the schoolgirls, part of which I read in the park on an exceptionally warm and sunny March day that was largely free of work.

I also did a lot of smiling during The Reece Malcolm List and Just Breathe.

20.  Book that made you cry
The Girl Next Door, always. Among the non-rereads, first one that comes to mind is Bobbi Pyron's The Dogs of Winter.

21. Best series you discovered in 2015
Twilight. (I'M SORRY IT IS TRUE)

22. Best book you read that was published in 2015
I actually read 19 (!) of those this year, and I even had a hard time voting in the Goodreads Choice awards because of it, but at the end of the day Imma say: I Was Here by Gayle Forman. Even though I only gave it 4 stars (compared to A Cold Legacy's 5, which was mainly for being a satisfying series conclusion), I thought about the characters long after I closed the book, and I still feel a surging sense of anticipation when I think about it.

23. Book you most anticipated in 2015
Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me?, which was worth the wait and was also a contender for "best book published in 2015." That said, I also tied myself into knots anticipating the publication of Courtney Sheinmel's Edgewater. (YA GREY GARDENS???? I screeched, so much so that I even entered the drawing to win a copy. Which I did not win...but I was first on the request list at my library, which ordered it immediately, so it was almost as good.)

24. The most unique book you read in 2015
Sandy Hall's A Little Something Different lived up to its name, coming across endearingly like a creative writing class exercise turned into a full length book, a story about a pending romance told from everyone's perspective except the couple in question.

25. The book that shocked you the most
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. That got real violent.

26. Book that made you the most mad in 2015
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which was SO GOOD and that I loved for every page until right near the ending, and then I flew into a frothing tornado rage over a character death, mentally staked and burned the book and wrote off the remaining 5 books in the series as unworthy of continuation. I rated it 1 star on Goodreads and left a scathing review based on the ending alone, and I decided to leave it that way as punishment.

Runner-up: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi, which is the aftermath of a teenage girl who died from cancer because she was determined to stay off treatment long enough to give birth despite literally everyone in her life urging her to have an abortion*, and honestly every time I think about that scenario I get punchy. On behalf of the family/boyfriend left behind, but also the kid, who by the time they are 13 will probably be furious that their mom made them suffer through everything that is hard about life/growing up and grow up without a mom when they could have just not existed instead.

*I still don't quite know what to do with the fact that this pretty much the real-world equivalent of Breaking Dawn.

27. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith. Set roughly 50 years in the future, this is the single most underrated gem in YA, and if it does not have a movie option out on it I am sorely disappoint. I'm already mad it's a standalone instead of a trilogy, and I never say that.

28. Worst book of 2015
I bestow the honor of "overall worst" to Julie Halpern's The F***-It List, which had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. ("I WAS PROMISED CANCER AND A BUCKET LIST. I thought we could overcome [the swearing in the title]! Who really expects "make out with a burnout behind the school" to be anyone's life goal? And that's one of the less dumb or morally questionable things on there.")

29. Books you are most looking forward to reading in 2016
Deb Caletti has a new one I've not read, I think -- The Last Forever? And...I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is ready for pickup at the library. I'm also looking forward to the sequels of The Teashop Girls and Vivian Apple at the End of the World, if I can find them.

30. How does 2015 represent you in books?
It represents my inner teenager, clearly (but seriously, after a year away I had an intense craving for YA novels and I've been largely satisfied by those. Plus a few really solid forays into regular literature). Not as many animal books this year -- I dunno, I just wasn't in that mood so much.

...oh no, I've reached the end of the survey and I STILL WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY YEAR OF BOOKS. Even though I've already written reviews for all of them and should really have it out of my system, I feel like I had really strong connections to almost all of them (both good and bad), and I have mooore to saaaaay. Help me brainstorm audiences I haven't talked at yet! My current frontrunners are "email to boyfriend," "Facebook note," and "time capsule letter to myself."

Extra Reading Stats
Number of rereads: 3
Month w/ most books: January (13)
Month w/ fewest books: February (3) -- clearly I burned out
Male : female author ratio*:  1 : 3.5. Women dominating as always, but much more than last year. (thanks again, YA!)
(*this one's just a personal stat for me)
Tags: books, surveys, year in review

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