Estelle: 2012 End of the Year Survey (Yay!)

2012 book year in review, favorite books of 2012

Oh man, how did we get to December 20th already? I feel like last December was just a blink away. (Is the accelerated speed of the year a sign of old age? I hope not!) I’m here with my answers to Jamie’s third annual year wrap up. I love this girl but gee, does she make my head hurt! I really tried to talk about a good variety of the books I read this year so hopefully you’ll have some strong recommendations to add to your own lists by the time you read this through.

Thanks for reading!

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Between You & Me by Marisa Calin
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Where You Are by J.H. Trumble
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kennealy
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – I had heard such high praise for this book, and almost bought it on multiple occasions. Thankfully I did take it out of the library and while I did like, it just didn’t hit me the same way I thought it would. I felt the narrator made me very detached from the story. (This might also have to do with me seeing another Peter Pan adaption on Broadway this year and falling head over heels for it. Not much could top that for me.)

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: Estelle reading a zombie book? Seriously, the writing was fantastic and I couldn’t put it down. Zombies or not.

Drama by Raina Telegeimer: My first graphic novel and whoa, did it make me smile so much? A theater nerd, stage crew, great facial expressions, a diverse cast. It was a highlight in my reading.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Check out my favorites list. More than likely if I spoke to you, I uttered one of those titles on multiple occasions.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I’ll be honest… if a book is a series, I’m not very likely to invest my time. But I did finish Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series this year and I think it’s really pretty brilliant.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Jennifer E. Smith, Melissa Walker, Adele Griffin, J.H. Trumble, Terra Elan McVoy, Colleen Clayton, Tara Altebrando, Marisa Calin. These ladies have become my go-to writers.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. I’ll be honest if I read the summary of the book somewhere else I don’t think I would have picked it up. But I was instantly intrigued when I heard him read a portion at the New York Teen Authors Festival in March. And I was not disappointed. Such an important literary achievement I think. Because hey, teen fiction can be literary!

8. Most thrilling, un-putdown-able book in 2012?

From What I Can Remember by Valerie Thomas and Stacy Kramer: read this on my cruise in June and omg, I was so sad I left it in my stateroom. (I couldn’t stop thinking about it.)

Also Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. Yep. Could not put that one down either.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kennealy; Graffiti Moon by Cath Crawley; Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Isn’t this gorgeous? I love the colors. So so much.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Garnet from Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin: she was so curious, so adventurous, and willing to be herself even when society wasn’t too keen on that.

Gabe from Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirsten Cronn-Mills is brave, a musical genius, and has the best personality. I just want to hug him and be best friends with him.

Jesse in The Difference Between You + Me by Madeleine George, such a strong character that is capable of being herself and feeling all things.

Chloe from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelly Coriell is such a freaking positive person who loves hard + loyally.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

This is so tough. See: #1. Let’s also add in Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo. I loved the mixed in views of women and women’s roles. This is something I think about a lot.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and perhaps any Aussie YA lit. I just think these authors have the right stuff, the perfect blend of the highs and lows of life. Attention to detail, character development. Amazing.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

“It’s your writing you guys. Follow it wherever it takes you. All you need to do is tell your truth.” — The Princesses of Iowa, M. Molly Backes

“I thought he should have realized sooner that important people don’t show up very often, and you should hold on to them when they do. Maybe I was smarter than he was all along, because that was something I’d always known.” – Other Words for Love, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

“He’s still just a small flower, and I feel like I’m becoming a strong tree. There will be storms, and he will need shelter.” You Have Seven Messages, Stewart Lewis

“In this universe, there are no time machines, no keys that can turn hearts back around.” Love + Leftovers, Sarah Tregay

“Somehow he’d become the one constant in this whole uneven chapter in her life, & the idea that could change was unsettling.” – You Are Here, Jennifer E. Smith

“When wanting collides with getting, that’s the moment of truth. I want to collide.” – Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley

“A year. A thousand kisses. And now a thousand one, a thousand two. There are so many other place we could have ended up, but I have to believe none of them would have felt this right. “All I want is you” is not entirely true. I want so much more, and with you I think I can get it.” – The Realm of Possibility, David Levithan

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (654 pages)

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan (210 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Stealing Parker (Miranda Kennealy) had many of these moments, as did What Happens Next (Colleen Clayton). Also! I managed to read a bunch on my trip to the middle of the ocean in June (Second Chance Summer, Unbreak My Heart, etc.) and I so missed talking to Ginger (GReadsBooks!) and Magan about books for days!

18. Favorite Relationship from a Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I loved the friendships in Paper Towns by John Green, and also Colleen Clayton’s What Happens Next. Also The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg made me miss my girlfriends so much. I loved all the girlie time spent and connects made in that book.

As for relationships, I don’t find many couples in these books to have a great balance of realism and magic (if that makes sense). The closest I’ve experienced this year were Andrew and Robert in Where You Are by J.H. Trumble, Sid and Corey in What Happens Next, and Sam and Jace in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

And how about awesome, supportive families? The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George, Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker, Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 from an Author You Read Previously:

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson was just fantastic. I truly believe she wrote the perfect book.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin was a huge recommendation from Magan. I had actually heard Paul read a portion of this book at the New York Teen Author Festival last year, and it just didn’t seem like my thing. But Magan wrote a glowing review, and bam, I read it and loved it. (Oh, and for the record, I have a ton of UNREAD books I’ve bought because of some solid reviews. So there!)

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Since Magan and I just started in November of last year, I feel like I discovered a bunch of blogs this year. These are a few of my favorites: Novel Sounds, Pure Imagination, Makeshift Bookmark, and Radiant Shadows.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?

A poem for Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregray, and pulling myself together to write well-justified reviews for Where You Are by J.H. Trumble and Endangered by Eliot Schrefer.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

So tough! Honestly, I enjoy any time I can reminisce with other readers about books from childhood like The Baby-Sitters Club. Nice to know people loved those gals as much as I did!

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

→ Rachel at Hello Chelly conquers women’s wants/needs in books + real life.

→ Elena at Novel Sounds muses over reviewing techniques.

→ Anna of Anna Reads sounds off in a fantastic post about adults reading YA books.

→ Tara of Fiction Folio talks about her need to change up what she is reading.

→ Rachel of Rachel Reads wrote a brilliant piece about the pressure to finish a book.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Last March, I had the best time attending a few events for the New York Teen Author Festival. My reading list just about quadrupled because I discovered so many new writers (or “new to me” writers) and I felt completely inspired by this genre and how diverse it is. (Plus I got to see David Levithan and Stephanie Perkins act out some of their books. Hilarious!)

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

Reuniting with Magan in March! So much fun. And also meeting Between You & Me author, Marisa Calin, for lunch during the summer. I was so nervous but she was so awesome, and I’m glad we got a chance to chat. And any chance I got to meet bloggers in real life — like Sash, Elena, and Alexa! (Wish we could do it all the time!)

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Surprisingly, the most popular post I wrote was about my favorite book quotes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I know I tend to read books that aren’t as popular or mainstream, but sometimes it’s a little sad that newer books don’t get as much attention. Like a post for Madeleine George’s The Difference Between You + Me, which I adored.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Honestly? My iPhone has been very helpful in my book reading. If I can’t grab a pen fast enough, I snap a picture of my favorite quotes. I also use the note function quite a bit. Last year, I mentioned Goodreads and while it has some bugs (still), I do like the scanning function to use at Barnes & Noble. So easy!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My original goal was to read 120 books this year, then 150, and then I raised it to 160. I’m just a few books off from 160 and I’m sure I’ll get there. I did not, though, read 6 classics like I wanted to back in January. I am ashamed and will try to make up for that in 2013. (Any suggestions?)

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Speechless by Hannah Harrington + The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando. I hate that I kept thinking I had so much time to pick these up.!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman. The praise is crazy! Also Jen E. Smith’s This is What Happy Looks Like.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Estelle loves the library

One thing I have to do is to stop buying quite as many books. I have to work through the piles I have in my bookshelves (and piled on the floor and on my window sills) and make more of an effort to borrow books from the library and from others.

I may start simple with book reading goals for 2013. I do want to read more adult books, classics, and just pace myself. This year was full of a ton of changes for me, and I think that’s reflected in the final few months of my reading.

And as far as writing goes, I need to be sure to keep things exciting and thought provoking for the people who are stopping in to read, and, most importantly, me. My work will suffer if I’m not excited. I know this. I’m hoping my brain clears and Magan and I can keep a roll similarly to our holiday posts with unique blog ideas! I think as time goes on we are going to be incorporating more of our other interests in RBR too, and that makes me happy!


Have to just take a quick minute to thank Magan for being such an amazing partner and friend. This blog is so much fun, and I love every minute of it because we are working together. Thank you thank you thank you for everything.

And to this amazing community that takes the time to comment on posts and send a tweet… the communication never ends and I love it. I feel so lucky, and I feel even luckier to call some of you bloggers such great friends. I can’t wait for 2013!

17 thoughts on “Estelle: 2012 End of the Year Survey (Yay!)

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Estelle, I have thoroughly enjoyed talking all things books with you over the past year. You have caused me to buy quite a few ebooks on a whim, haha. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts on what you read. As I’ve said before, your words have inspired me to be a better writer 🙂

  2. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook says:

    Are you talking about Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway? I really want to see that, but if I go to NYC again anytime soon, I will see Newsies again. I have seen it twice, but seriously, one can’t see it too many times.

    Anyway, back to Peter and the Starcatcher – that play is based on a book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson called Peter and the Starcatchers. Have you read? It is a MG book. It’s actually a series. I highly recommend them, especially as audiobooks which are narrated by Jim Dale!

  3. elena says:

    ikwym about aussie lit. SO GOOD and so poignant, how do they do ittttt. also holla for having the same fav book by an author we’ve read previously. LOVE morgan matson. <3 looooved meeting you, of course, and i really hope we can do it again soon! also, ha to the thing about if you talked to us, you've rec'd one of those books cos it's so true. i love that they're such estelle books and i love that you read books that aren't as popular. i appreciate that you bring them to my attention. x

  4. Cynthia says:

    Soooo many books on your survey that I haven’t read and must to my list. I did read Graffiti Moon though and loved it!!! I must get Second Chance Summer, it’s been highly recommended now by three people. =D

  5. Rachel says:

    Ahh you mentioned so many great books. But I did notice that out of the 9 you listed for “Best Book You Read In 2012” .. I only read 4 of them! I should fix that and read the rest 🙂 I’m especially curious about Endangered and Between Me & You.

    Also, thanks for the shoutout!

  6. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    Another great end-of-year survey! Just like Magan’s, I found myself saying “yes, yes, YES!” to so many of the books listed on your list. And those that I haven’t yet read are totally going on my TBR list, since we have such similar reading tastes.

    I hear you about reading some more adult literature though… I feel like I read a TON of YA this year, but not that many “big kid” books. Definitely on the horizon for next year, as well as reading some of those books that are just collecting dust on my shelves. I kind of have the opposite problem — I borrow books from the library instead of reading the ones on my shelves =P

  7. Hemborgwife says:

    You always have been intrigued about books out of my normal reading zone so I think your top books of the year will be on my list for 2013!

    Also in regard to classic those are not really my strong point either but I have loved finding books published in the 20’s and 30’s and seeing how much the world has changed!

  8. Lori says:

    I want to read so many of your favorites! Somehow I haven’t bought a book since October (I have no idea how this happened) but What Happens Next is going to be my very first purchase after Christmas. I’ve also had Dreamland Social Club on my shelf since it came out! I’m making it a priority in 2013. I can’t wait to see what you think of Speechless. I loved it so much!

    I think I’ve mentioned just a couple of times that I love you two and this is one of my most favorite blogs. So I’m thrilled that I’m on your list. 🙂

  9. J.H. Trumble says:

    Estelle, thank you for sharing your passion for books and for reading. all you do to promote great books and reading. My sincerest gratitude to you! Have a wonderful holiday season. J

  10. Lisa the Nerd says:

    Oh man, Graffiti Moon was really good, wasn’t it? I kinda forgot as I read it near the beginning of the year but I was ALL ABOUT IT.

    I’m totally with you with the simple challenges for 2013. But honestly allow me to give you a HELL YEAH for the 160 books you read this year! That is BANANAS and so rad.

  11. Alexa Y. says:

    Great answers E! I love how you chose an amazing range of books (most of which I haven’t read yet, but I promise I will!). As always, I want to give you the BIGGEST hug ever – you’re such an inspiration to me, and such an amazing friend. My life would be very different had we not met up early on this year, and I do mean that. Love you! xo

  12. Christina (A Reader of Fictions) says:

    Oh my, I’ve only read one of your top reads of the year! I guess I have some reading to do!

    Uh oh, Tiger Lily! I’ve heard a ton of good things too. I’ll probably wait for the buzz to die down some more before I dive in.

    This Is Not a Test surprised me as well, and I really hope you read more graphic novels!

    Huh. You don’t like series books? Interesting. I totally get it, but I could not give them up.

    From What I Can Remember made you sad? O_o

  13. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    AGAIN, I could comment on every single thing you’ve mentioned in this blog post. But I’m CHOOSING to mention This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. It’s funny that you mention YOU reading a zombie book! I would’ve picked it BECAUSE it was a zombie book. 2012 was the year that I began to read the contemporary genre. I challenged myself to read 12 contemps this year and I’ve read about 50 or maybe a few more by now, so YEAH, I think I’ve fallen in love with the contemps. I mention this because of Courtney Summers. Part of my love for contemps is my love for her writing. I started with her zombie book and have been working backward…her writing is just gorgeous. In fact, I think that book reads almost like a contemp + zombie = zombie lite.

    Fun blog post, E! Seriously, I could talk about everything, but I won’t. 🙂

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