Top 14 Books of 2014

It’s December 31st, and I’m still reading. I have four more books to finish to make my numbers goal for 2014: 200 books. Those last four, while good, won’t make my favorites list, so I’m ready to post my annual reading wrap-up. Because I also read nearly 700 picture books this year, I decided to make a separate list of my top 20 picture books of 2014. (Thanks, Carrie, for the idea to write about each title in no more than 14 words!)

14. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon. 

dory fantasmagory

Dory is cursed with mean siblings, blessed with vivid imagination. Heavily illustrated charm.

13. Jane, the Fox, and Me, written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

jane the fox and me

Gorgeous graphic novel about being the victim of mean girls. Guest appearance by Jane Eyre.

12. Syllabus by Lynda Barry.


This book got me drawing and doodling and thinking more creatively.

11. The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal written by Sy Montgomery and photographed by Nic Bishop.

tapir scientist

My favorite nonfiction PB team tackles the mysterious tapir. Plus cutest baby animal EVER.

10. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins.

criss cross

I’m going to go ahead and call this Virginia Woolf for middle grade. Brilliant!

9. How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson.

how i discovered poetry

Portrait of the artist as a young black girl. Important. Moving. Gorgeous poetry.

8. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm.

fourteenth goldfish

Surprisingly profound meditation on meaning of life with science and plenty of funny.

7. El Deafo by Cece Bell.

el deafo

A disability memoir AND the most universal, humane, and relateable book of the year.

6. Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood.

jinxs magic

Jinx made me fall in love with fantasy. Great characters, plot, setting, writing.

5. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero.

gabi a girl in pieces

A drama-packed senior year chronicled in diary form. Strong voice. Intelligent character.

4. A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban.

a crooked kind of perfect

Wisdom. Hope. Friendship. Family. Love. Plus plenty of quirk and gorgeous sentences.

3. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast.

can we talk about something more pleasant

Brutal yet hilarious look at aging, elder care. Only Chast could pull this off.

2. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina.

yaqui delgado

Bullying is just the tip of iceberg in this complex, rich, YA novel.

1. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.

this one summer

Bittersweet. Painful. Just like childhood ending. Incredibly beautiful art.











7 responses to “Top 14 Books of 2014”

  1. jarhartz Avatar

    Love this post and the short but perfect synopsis of each book. I loved many of these books but have to purchase some right now. Authors should pay you! I just finished and cried (face wet) with Rain Reign. If you haven’t read, put it on the TBR pile for next year. Happy reading….

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have Rain Reign on my #MustReadin2015 list already! So glad to hear that you loved it. I love a book that makes me cry!!

  2. thereadersammy Avatar

    Interesting list !!

  3. carriegelson Avatar

    hurray for Jinx – loved seeing how you described each book – left handed typing – sorry brief and no capitals

  4. […] I reviewed my reading year and selected the Top 14 Books of 2014 […]

  5. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I haven’t read some of these! I pinned this post so I can check them out later 🙂 Thank you for your list!

  6. My Sweet Summer | I Was a Teenage Lit Major Avatar

    […] “This One Summer” evokes this feeling from me like there’s so much under the surface that I’m not quite scraping up. It’s there. I know it is. It’s hidden right under the sand. But even just looking at the surface, I enjoyed “This One Summer” thoroughly. I think it would make a great staple for Young Adult lit classes, as well as those looking to break into graphic novels. It’s more serious (to me) than something like Laura Lee Gulledge’s “Page by Paige”, has an art style I’m in love with, and despite having weighty elements, isn’t serious to the point of inspiring depression. I’d say give it a go. It was, after all, one of Dr. Ellington’s favorite books of 2014.  […]

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