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Favorite Fiction of 2013

by Kim on December 16, 2013 · 23 comments

I can’t believe it is the end of the year already! Where on earth did 2013 go?

As I mentioned on Sunday, I’m posting my end of the year favorites lists this week ahead of the Christmas holiday. If I happen to read any life-changing books before the end of the year, the plan is to just fold them into 2014′s favorites list. It’s not a perfect system, but it’ll do.

Because I read a mix of new releases and backlist books, this list of my favorite fiction for 2013 is not exclusive to books published in 2013, although it does lean that way. These are also in no particular order — I think it’d be impossible for me to rank them in any meaningful way. Please consider them all equally as well loved and highly recommended.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The moment I finished reading The Round House, I wanted to start it over again at the beginning. Louise Erdrich writes beautifully and the book tells an important story about the real life social and legal issues at stake on a reservation, particularly legal loopholes that can exist when it’s not clear where a crime happened.

Lexicon by Max Berry

Former book blogger and current Book Riot mastermind Rebecca Schinsky described Lexicon as “X-Men plus The Magicians with a side of Nick Harkaway” which is basically perfect. Lexicon a heck of a read, full of mystery and intrigue and love for the power of words and language. I loved it.

Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

If you like history, fantasy, and finicky but wonderful teenage narrators, grab this series! Alina Starkov thinks she’s an average girl, right up until the moment she discovers that she can control light. With that, she becomes part of an elite group of wizards, the Grisha, and discovers she may be the only person who can save her country from an encroaching, mystical darkness. I tore through these audiobooks and can’t wait for the trilogy to conclude this summer.

Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

I took a couple weeks off my regular reading schedule at the end of August to read straight through Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy. With these books, Atwood again proved why she’s one of my favorite authors. I loved the way the world built through each of the stories, getting bigger and more diverse and more complicated. These were spectacular.

Night Film by Marisha Pessel

Night Film scared the heck out of me, but I loved it anyway. It’s a beautifully constructed book that uses documents (slideshows, reports, letters, newspaper clippings) to set a scene and make you, as the reader, feel as discombobulated as the main characters. I’m excited to read this one again.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is a very recent addition to this list — I just finished reading it yesterday! But boy, did I love it. It’s a book about growing up, becoming brave, holding on to the things that are important and learning to let go of the things that aren’t. Rowell’s writing about first love gave me all the feelings in the world… so many that I was deeply disappointed when the story ended. This is a delightful, warm, lovely book.

Honorable Mentions: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker for showing me a whole new type of dystopian novel to fall in love with; Me Before You by Jojo Moyes for making me cry like a baby; and The Golem and the Jinni for reminding me that I love fantasy elements in my fiction.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with my favorite nonfiction of the year! What were some of your favorite fiction reads in 2013?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy December 16, 2013 at 5:49 am

You will find Night Film (in print) and Fangirl (on audio) both on my lists (Fangirl was just added in the last week!). The Round House is definitely going to be added to my to-read list.

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Tanya Patrice December 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

Your list is my list of books to read because I always love your recommendations! I’m going to take your advice and read the MaddAddam trilogy back to back, so I’m saving it for early next year. I’m not a fan of contemporary YA at all – but I’ll give Fangirl a try too.

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Kim December 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

It was a fun reading experience to go through the series that way. You can really see the way Atwood builds out the world she created and I think it’s a rare series where each book gets better.

I’m honestly not sure about Fangirl if you don’t enjoy contemporary YA. I really loved it, but I’ve enjoyed other popular YA authors like John Green. I hope you’ll give it a try though!

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Shannon @ River City Reading December 16, 2013 at 6:00 am

Great list! I can’t remember if I read The Round House this year or last year, but somehow it always slips my mind how much I enjoyed it – it was such a great book, though. I love that you were able to slip Fangirl in on time!

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Kim December 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I forgot about that one too, until I was going back through Goodreads and thinking about the books I read this year. It was incredible, but oddly under-the-radar for me.

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Diane@BibliophilebytheSea December 16, 2013 at 6:14 am

I thought Round House was very good as well. I also enjoyed Night Film but don’t think it’ll make my top reads list. So happy u r excited about Fangirl as I plan to start the audio today. Have a great week.

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bookmammal December 16, 2013 at 6:42 am

I keep meaning to read “Round House” but it keeps getting delayed by other books–I’m going to have to fix that soon! I really liked Fangirl as well–ALMOST as much as I loved “Eleanor & Park”! I hadn’t heard about “Night Film”, but I’m intrigued, as I really enjoy books that use the technique of using letters and other documents to tell the story–in fact, I did a Tuesday Ten post about my favorite books in that format–here’s the link if you’d like to take a look–
http://bookmammalmusings.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/the-tuesday-ten-dear-booklover-my-favorite-epistolary-novels/

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Kim December 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I’m a total sucker for books with “documents” in them. I just adore the technique, especially when done well. I think Night Film’s story is really suited for those details.

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Jennifer December 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

I also adored The Round House :) Great list! You have books listed that I keep meaning to get to! Thanks for the reminder :D

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bermudaonion (Kathy) December 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

I’ve only read one of them – Fangirl – and I loved it. I need to make note of the rest of your list.

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Athira December 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

Fangirl was the only one I read from your list and I enjoyed it a lot. As for the others, I have my eye on Shadow and Bone and Lexicon.

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Kailana December 16, 2013 at 11:54 am

I loved The Night Film, too! All in all it looks like a great list. I am thinking I might try to sneak Fangirl in before the end of the year and I really have to get to MadAddam. I bought it when it first came out and haven’t started it yet. Ditto with the sequel to Shadow and Bone. I really want to read Lexicon now, though. I know that much!!

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susan December 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Nice list! Would Fangirl be a good gift for my college age niece? I think I might get it for her based on the positive things I’ve heard. thx
http://www.thecuecard.com/

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Kim December 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I definitely think it could be, especially if she’s a bit of a nerd :)

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Kelly December 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Ok, fine, I’ll try the Atwood series! I keep resisting b/c I’m not a dystopian fiction kind of person but I think you’ve convinced me, finally.
I have Lexicon downloaded and hope to get it to it at some point next year!
Same goes for the Rainbow Rowell books.
I’ve heard mixed thoughts about Night Film…

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Words for Worms December 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Atwood! I loved this series soooooooo much! I’d been waiting for MaddAddam to come out since 2009 and I was so relieved it was as delicious as I hope it would be. Excellent list!

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Monika December 17, 2013 at 12:30 am

I haven’t read any of these!! But Lexicon and Fangirl are on my list, woohoo. They all sound fantastic!

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Rebecca @ Love at First Book December 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

Yay for the Age of Miracles mention! I am sooooo intrigued by Lexicon. . . I can’t wait to get my hands on that one, it sounds sooooooooo good!

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Kim December 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Age of Miracles was another one I sort of forgot about until I was looking at my list from the year. But it was totally wonderful.

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Allison @ The Book Wheel December 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I must say, this is a pretty good list! I’m looking forward to reading a few of them and already have them on hold at the library.

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Kim December 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Well thanks! I’m happy with how diverse it is. I think it stretches across a lot of styles and genres.

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Katie @ Doing Dewey December 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Ooh, Lexicon sounds like a lot of fun! I wasn’t as blown away by The Handmaid’s Tale as I hoped to be, but I think I’ll probably give Margaret Atwood another try with Oryx and Crake at some point. I really did like her writing style, so I think I might like some of her other books more.

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Kim December 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Of the three, I think Oryx and Crake is probably the weakest. I loved it, but don’t just the series just from that book.

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