Books of 2012: Top New Releases

2012 - Book Releases

Well, now that 2012 is over, it’s time to sort out the bookshelf. As always, a list like this is hard to put together – and there are so many that can slip through the bookshelf cracks over the course of a year. However, whether because of unique writing, exciting stories, or sheer popularity fueled by curiosity, the books on this list will be the ones we’re unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz (Released July 31, 2012)

Odd Apocalypse by Dean KoontzDean Koontz is infamous in the thriller genre – among others. He returned this year with the welcome release of a new book in the Odd Thomas series: Odd Apocalypse. Now, if you haven’t read the early books in the series, you might be a little lost – but the main over-arching plot is simple enough: Odd Thomas is a young short-order cook who spends most of his time talking with the dead –  shadows known as bordachs that feed on humans’ pain. In Odd Apocalypse, Odd Thomas returns with Annamaria. The two head off to spend some time at the Roseland manor – only to quickly realize that there are more sinister happenings at Rosewood, and it’s up to Odd to help.

Back To You by Priscilla Glenn (Released October 20, 2012)

Back To You by Priscilla GlennThis author may be one you haven’t heard much about – yet – but judging from her debut novel Back To You, we are expecting that to change fairly soon. Back To You tells a story of old friends grown apart thanks to a betrayal at which we can only guess. Readers attempt to piece together the former friendship between Lauren Monroe and Michael Delaney, who finds his way back into her life when his daughter is enrolled at the pre-school where Lauren teaches. As we navigate their awkward interactions, we are left largely in the dark about the unforgivable act that led to their separation so many years previously.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Released May 1, 2012)

Insurgent Veronica RothVeronica Roth flew onto dystopian-readers’ radars with Divergent back in 2011 – undeniably a hit for the first-time author. Though it may have taken a while to catch on, by the time Insurgent was released in May of 2012, readers were hooked and eager to read more about the adventures of Tris and Four. Fortunately, for the most part, Tris and her group of “insurgents” brought the excitement and maintained the fast pacing readers expected from Roth. What did Insurgent bring to the table? A few surprising twists that left some fans shaking their heads. Regardless, we’re all eagerly anticipating the next release in the Divergent trilogy.

The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro (Released May 1, 2012)

The Passage of Power by Robert CaroThe Passage of Power is the latest release in the series chronicling Lyndon Johnson’s life as told by Robert A. Caro. Once finished, this series is going to be one of the largest undertakings of any politician’s biography – and will have taken several decades to complete. As it stands, the first book in the series was released three decades ago, and this fourth book is not the end. The Passage of Power follows LBJ through the years 1958-1964, taking the reader through the Senate, to the Vice-Presidency, all the way through to President Johnson’s inauguration after Kennedy’s assassination. Caro lays bare the entire story from LBJ’s perspective, offering readers intriguing insights into the feuds and political maneuvers occurring behind the scenes.

 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Released May 24, 2012)

Gone Girl Gillian FlynnMuch like another book released this year [see Number 2], Gone Girl arguably lacked even one likable [or even remotely honest] character. In spite of this problem, Gillian Flynn managed to weave together a thrilling story about a missing woman Amy – and the only suspect for her disappearance: her husband Nick. Splitting the story-telling between Nick’s narration and passages from the missing Amy’s diary, this is one book that kept readers on their toes. We were left with no choice but to just do our best to keep up with the twists and turns – while trying to figure out what was truth and what was just a cover-up.


50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Released April 3, 2012)

Fifty Shades EL JamesAs much as it pains me to put this book on the list – it can’t be denied that 50 Shades of Grey was a popular book this year. The Twilight-fan-fiction-turned-bestseller told a story about the sexual antics of Christian Grey and Ana Steele – and caught the attention of a far wider (though no less feminine) audience. For better or worse, there were very few people who didn’t hear about this book – even if you lived under a rock, as the saying goes – and, for a while, it seemed as though we would never hear the end of it. For now, the hype has died down a bit… but we’re sure it’ll make it’s way back to our attention once the casting for the movie begins – if it ever makes it that far.


Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly (Released October 1, 2012)

Killing Kennedy Bill OReillyWe certainly seem to have an obsession with country leaders – and the past couple of years really target that fascination. From the Lincoln movie release [and multiple Oscar noms] to Seth Grahame-Smith’s book (and subsequent movie deal) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, former president (and possible supernatural being) Abraham Lincoln has held our attention for quite some time. However, the focus of this favorite goes to Bill O’Reilly’s follow-up to Killing Lincoln – taking attention away from Lincoln and passing it on to the drama and tragedy surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Like Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy did not disappoint – and will positively demand your full attention. Coincidentally, this book also compliments book number 7 on this list rather nicely.


 Building Stories by Chris Ware (Released October 2, 2012)

Building Stories Chris WareIf people around you aren’t already talking about Building Stories, trust that they will be soon. This book lands high on the list for multiple reasons, but let’s start with the story itself. Building Stories tells readers about the residents of a Chicago apartment – with each character being distinctive with their own voice, ranging from sarcastic, to hopeless, to wonder, and more. Now, for another key reason this “book” made the list: author Chris Ware got really creative with the delivery. Instead of a standard book with a front and back cover, and some text thrown in the middle of them, Building Stories takes its name literally – as the book is actually a box of scraps, booklets, actual books, and even a board styled after old-school gameboards [remember those?]. You’ll feel like a kid again [if you aren’t one still] as you explore the box of stories that is Building Stories

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Released September 27, 2012)

The Casual Vacancy JK RowlingEven if you weren’t a Harry Potter fan, you couldn’t help but be curious as to what Rowling’s next project would entail. Following the insipid residents of Pragford as they go about filling a new vacancy on the town council, JK Rowling’s new book set off a craze of mixed reviews. Rowling certainly took a different route with both the storyline and characters living in Pragford – the majority of which turned out to be pretty unlikable. Regardless of what you though of the book, it was undeniably one of the most highly-anticipated book releases this year. Though not exactly what we expected, this one flew off the shelves if for no other reason than for people to explore life after Potter.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Released January 10, 2012)

The Fault in Our Stars John GreenYes, I know. It’s a “young adult” book taking the number 1 spot – but I challenge readers of any age to read this book and maintain that it should only be for those in the YA classification. Though not the first book veteran author John Green has penned, it is certainly the book that garnered him quite a bit of attention beyond that of the core group of “Nerdfighters” already familiar with the greatness that is the Green family. The Fault in Our Stars told a lightheartedly heartrending [before reading it myself, I hadn’t thought that combination was possible either] story about Augustus and Hazel Grace – whose sole mission seems to have been to make readers laugh and cry with equal abandon – fight for time, and their place in life, while navigating their new-found relationship.

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