2013 a letdown year?

A couple weeks ago, I read an article by Book Brats about YA in 2013. Megan feels 2013 has been mostly a disappointing year in YA. When I first read it, I disagreed, but after writing what seems like a lot of negative reviews lately, I’ve started considering it more seriously. I don’t think I’ve read that many standouts, and have read more bad books than usual.

To determine whether 2013 is a flop, I compared the number of standout 2012 books to standout 2013 books. What I consider a standout book is something different, a “wow” sort of book. I realize this isn’t entirely fair, since 2013 isn’t over, and I haven’t even read all the books from these years I want to, but ya gotta start somewhere.

STANDOUT 2012s:

Something Like Normal – Trish Doller
Pandemonium – Lauren Oliver
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
The Evolution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin
Fingerprints of You – Kristen-Paige Madonia
All You Never Wanted – Adele Griffin

Then I made a list of books I just really liked:

Crewel – Gennifer Albin
Wake – Amanda Hocking
The Selection – Kiera Cass
Starters – Lissa Price
Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin
Burn for Burn – Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Dark Companion – Marta Acosta
What Happens Next – Colleen Clayton
Son – Lois Lowry
Never Fall Down – Patricia McCormick
Miss Fortune Cookie – Lauren Bjorkman
The Unquiet – Jeannine Garsee
What I Didn’t Say – Keary Taylor
Starters – Lissa Price
Hallowed – Cynthia Hand
Erebos – Ursula Poznanski
Lullaby – Amanda Hocking
Painted Blind – Michele A. Hansen

After that, I compiled a list of memorable book disappointments:

Monstrous Beauty – Elizabeth Fama
Love and Other Perishable Items – Laura Buzo
The Glimpse – Claire Merle

Then, I did the same things for 2013:

STANDOUT 2013s:

Uses for Boys – Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Pretty Girl-13 – Liz Coley
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Splintered – A. G. Howard

Books I really liked:

Mila 2.0 – Debra Driza
Teeth – Hannah Moskowitz
The Madman’s Daughter – Megan Shepherd
Going Vintage – Lindsey Leavitt
Being Henry David – Cal Armistead
Altered – Jennifer Rush
Pivot Point – Kasie West
The Elite – Kiera Cass
Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

Memorable disappointments:

The S-Word – Chelsea Pitcher
Sever – Lauren DeStefano
Blaze – Laurie Boyle Crompton
The Watcher – Lisa Voisin
The Dead and Buried – Kim Harrington
Anthem for Jackson Dawes – Celia Bryce
Zenn Scarlett – Christian Schoon
Riptide – Lindsey Scheibe
The Lucy Variations – Sara Zarr
The Madness Underneath – Maureen Johnson

Looking at my long list of 2013 disappointments, I realized that 6/10 of them were debuts. I’ve definitely read some great debuts this year (12/21), and last year, I read 13 amazing debuts, which made up 3/5 books on my standout list. However, all of my disappointments for that year were debuts.

Based on the lists of disappointments, it would seem that 2013 is kind of a flop year. I also have less standouts than 2012, but again, I haven’t read all the books I want to for either year. I wouldn’t say 2013 is a flop for debuts necessarily, because my four standouts are all first YA novels. However, it does seem that the debuts released this year aren’t as good as last year, because more of my disappointments were debuts this year than last year, even though all of last year’s letdowns were first books.

There have been a lot of books this year that I thought I would like but didn’t, and as you can see, they make up a significantly larger portion of my reading list than the previous year. I’m not sure if 2013 is a flop yet because of the lack of standout books, but I honestly haven’t read that many “wow” books this year.

I think part of the problem is a lack of originality, which Megan talked about in her post, although she particularly talked about dystopians. I feel that the best dystopians (excluding The Selection) are over now, and I’m really surprised that trend hasn’t died out yet. For me, romance is another thing that can hinder the originality of a story. I really want to read a book that doesn’t have romance. The guys are always too perfect, and just make me want to shout “REAL GUYS SELL DRUGS” (don’t worry, I’m joking about that, but I’m just trying to make a point). Also, as a side note, can we have more LGBT please?

Basically, I’m still waiting for a “wow.” I’m looking for a book that makes me feel the way If I Stay, Hold Still, and The Sky is Everywhere made me feel. If I based my standout criteria on those books, I don’t think I’d have any standouts this year, and less for last year. I’m waiting for a book that breaks me in all the right ways, something I’ll talk about for years to come, as I’ve talked about those three books.

I’m happy with books that are just “really good,” of course, but it’s hard when I feel like I’m reading more bad books than good ones. I really hope that 2013 picks up, and restores my faith in the publishing industry this year.

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