My Top Five Reads of 2013 and the return of the Nice Guy

© Zolthar | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
© Zolthar | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

My TBR pile is an ever-growing monster. As always, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to in 2013, but I did read some great ones. Below you will find my top five, in no particular order. I loved them all!!

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell    e&pcover

2013 is the year that I, and thousands of others, fell in love with Rainbow Rowell. For real. I have a serious author crush on her. The nostalgia of first love, the heartbreak of being awkward in your own skin, the power of first touches of intimacy and so much more, Eleanor & Park made me ACHE with it all. I cried like, five times reading this book. Every step of their growing relationship felt so real. THE FEELINGS! This book reminded me the books I really love reading (and writing) are the ones that challenge me to ride along not just on events or thoughts of a character, but the feelings that accompany the experiences.

2. So I better follow up with . . . Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell    fangirlcover

Fangirl was amazing it’s own right. Trying to choose between Fangirl and Eleanor & Park would be impossible because I liked them for completely different reasons. Fangirl is about losing yourself in the safety of the intoxicating allure of fiction. And more specifically, in fanfiction. Fiction (as I admitted above) gives you all the feels! Without all the disappointment and lasting scars and heartbreak that real life can sometimes bring. Fangirl also champions . . . the nice guy. APPLAUSE! Nearly everyone I know loves themselves a story of the badboy. But I find it so refreshing when the female protag (in this case Cath) can connect with someone she doesn’t have to save, change, or get to stop brooding. Levi is a nice guy. He’s a good guy. And that is so hot.

3. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharpe   spectacularnowcover

Can we be honest? This book WRECKED me. Sutter isn’t a badboy in a real, true badboy sense. Stay with me here: He is an alcoholic. He is thoughtless. He is reckless. And the love of a good woman could save him. So maybe his IS a badboy. But damn if I didn’t love him and root for him and cry for him and also want to punch him in the face. And then I wanted to punch Tim Tharpe in the face! (Not really. I would never. Please don’t sue me, Tim Tharpe, I loved your book.) It’s hard to talk about this book without spoilers BUT I’ll just leave it saying that the MOVIE (yes I’m going to mention the movie which a lot of writers hate) was able to say some things that maybe Tim Tharpe could not in Sutter’s POV. For one, Sutter has a HUGE heart. And EVERYONE including Sutter has a chance to move beyond their own damage and be the person they want to be. On a very personal note (I did not realize this post was going to be so personal but that’s what these books do) it’s so real that everyone has the capacity for change. Great change. The just need a reason. Sutter has a reason.

4. Hysteria by Megan Miranda           hysteriacover

I also have an author crush on Megan Miranda ever since Fracture. She writes characters that are accessible and relatable to which amazing and frightful things happen to. Meghan Miranda, it seems, is also a fan of the Nice Guy. APPLAUSE! Hysteria scared me. It challenged me. And there’s a love story with a nice guy. What else can I say. I should say more, because of the author crush, but this post is getting very long and I’m sure she will be on next year’s post so I’ll promise to write about her first next time. Okay?

5. This is a cheat. The Last Policeman/Countdown City by Ben Winters (That’s two books. See what I did there?)

This is getting out of control, but I think I also have a crush on Ben Winters. And, as I confessed to him on Twitter, on his protag Hank. Hank is a standup guy. He’s like a throwback good guy (APPLAUSE) that you imagine your granddad was back in his day. Because I don’t know anyone like him. His just so chill. What’s he about? Duty, honor, respect. See how chill he is? And, like the honeybadger (there should be a link here for youtube) he just don’t give a shit that the world is going to end. He has a job to do. A murder to solve.  And doggone it, he’s going to do it. Waiting for book three. Summer 2014. (Unless the world ends.)

Read any of the above? Want to share your fav read of 2013? Hate nice guys? Love them? I heart comments!

You can also find me on Twitter! @MonicaYAWriting

7 thoughts on “My Top Five Reads of 2013 and the return of the Nice Guy”

  1. I have not yet read Fangirl. I know, I must live in a cave. It is on my TBR list as everybody I have talked to absolutely adores it.

  2. You totally sold me on The Spectacular Now. Am heading to bookstore!

    I love nice guys (maybe it’s because I married one) and am SO glad to see this trend in YA.

  3. I loved Eleanor and Park so much! I can’t wait to read Fangirl! And, can I just say, Yay for nice guys! I love they’re making a come back. 🙂

  4. I’m totally with you on Eleanor and Park, and I’m just starting Fangirl! As others have said: Yay for nice guys!

  5. Oooh, hadn’t heard of The Spectacular Now (love the title!) or Ben Winters, so I’ll be checking those out. Thanks for the recs!

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