Jessie Humphries, author of the Ruby Rose series, shares her picks for the most memorable books of 2014.
As precocious little girls—whenever my sister and I were feeling especially cantankerous—we would tease each other with “You’re such a cow face.” You see, somewhere along the way, someone told us that there are two shapes of faces: a roundish cow face or a longish horse face. We decided we’d rather have the latter, probably since My Little Pony toys were all the jazz.
Later on, we learned that it’s okay to have a long or round or whatever shape face we happened to have at the time (depending upon freshman-fifteens, breakups, babies, etcetera). Actually we learned that this information was a bunch of horse sh*! (or cow sh*! depending on your view), but it’s managed to stay with me all these years just the same.
Well, it turns out that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse…and my birth year is also Year of the Horse…and I’m writing this post just after a trip to Chinatown in San Francisco where I bought a Year of the Horse calendar…so I’ve claimed 2014 as my year. (You see my line of thinking is a lot like Lombard St.—the windiest street in San Fran and the world.)
And you know what? So far, so good. Not only has 2014 turned out to be the year I debuted as an author, but it’s also a year full of amazing reads. Here are some of them:
Gilded by Christina Farley The stunning first book in the contemporary fantasy series. (Book two, Silvern, which also released in 2014, is equally beautiful.) This series has it all. Gorgeous cover: check. Fascinating mythology: check. Main character that knows how to fight: check. Rich Korean culture: check. Hot boys/hotter immortals: check.
Remake by Ilima Todd A dystopian book unlike any you’ve ever read. In a society where children are raised androgynously, they are forced to choose once they’re seventeen years old. This book is controversial, emotional, provoking, and powerful—all things I happen to love.
The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle A time travel novel to blow your mind. It’s like a history lesson wrapped in bacon, dipped in chocolate, and deep-fried in sweet donut batter. (The bacon being the sizzling storyline, the chocolate being the rich historical detail, and the deep-fried batter being the twists and turns that make your blood pressure skyrocket…and then leave you wanting more.)
Elevated by Elana Johnson A contemporary novel set in an elevator and written in verse. I acknowledge that the idea of an entire book being written in poetry is scary. Scary-boring or scary-intellectual. Maybe even scary-bad. This book defies all those concerns you may have had.
Push Girl by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill An inspiring and real contemporary novel about how life can change in an instant, based on the life of Chelsie Hill, one of the stars of the Sundance Channel’s unscripted series "Push Girls."
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee A fantasy full of magic, mythology, and intrigue. This is the kind of story that begs to be made into an HBO series. I’d love to see some director take on the challenge of visually creating the world Miss Lee built with words alone.
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker A supernatural story set in the swamps of the Deep South. The atmosphere in this book is so pervasive that I can feel the sticky atmosphere lingering in my soul as I type these words. We got gators, we got strange happenins, and we got secrets. Eerie and beautiful, this gothic fairytale story will haunt you long after you read the last page. Excuse me while I go round myself up some moonshine or mead and read it again.