As part of Hollywood Crush's Best YA Novel of 2012 poll, we've enlisted a handful of our favorite teen lit writers to weigh in on the tomes that touched them this year. First up is Melissa de la Cruz, author of the "Blue Bloods" series, whose finale, "Gates of Paradise," hits bookstores January 15.
My favorite book of 2012 is "Code Name Verity." I've been a fan of Elizabeth E. Wein since she published her debut, "The Winter Prince," an Arthurian re-imagining wherein Medraut (Mordred) is a sympathetic character and anti-hero. I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of "Code Name Verity" when I was visiting Hyperion, who also publishes my "Blue Bloods" series. I read it on the plane back from New York and unapologetically blubbered as we were landing in Los Angeles. (People probably thought someone close to me had died—and they were right!)
It's the kind of book that reminded me of the pleasures of reading—the absolute joy and satisfaction you experience from a great book, it's as powerful as Harry Potter in a way—and it also reminded me why I love writing in the young adult genre—because of the way it delivers on the themes of heroism, tragedy, and the bonds of friendship and love. It's devastating and true and wonderful. Brave Maddie and clever Queenie and handsome Jamie and the war and Nazis and spies and a great plot twist. Let's not let a book like this remain a cult hit between impassioned writers and readers. Let's get the word out people! "Code Name Verity"! Do it! And for those who've read it: Kiss me Hardy. I'll leave a window open.
Some of my other favorites: "Between Shades of Gray" by Rupa Sepetys, "Never Fall Down" by Patricia McCormick. I feel like readers who love dystopian lit will love these books—which are, horrifyingly enough, true stories about real dystopias in our history. An adult book I think kids would enjoy is "Where'd You Go Bernadette" by Maria Sempel, one of the funniest and smartest books I've read in a long time. It's hilarious, absurd and deeply moving. I love books that ignite a love for other art—there's a moment in "Where'd You Go Bernadette" where the characters talk about their love for the Beatles' Abbey Road, which reminded me of how much I loved that album, and since I read the book I've been listening to it non-stop and enjoying it in a whole different way, with the characters' experiences in my mind.
"The Big & Best of 2012: A Year End Celebration Presented by T-Mobile" goes LIVE at 12 p.m. ET on 12/12/12. Watch at BigAndBestOf2012.com for eight hours of live performances from stars like Bruno Mars and Miguel, surprise guest appearances, prize giveaways, special editions of "RapFix Live," "Big Morning Buzz Live," "MTV After Hours," "You Oughta Know" and much more!
Have you read any of Melissa's favorite books from this year? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!