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THE UK'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014

It's been an incredible year at NetGalley - and a great year for incredible reads. There have been so many wonderful books this year we really had a struggle to get down to our ten best of 2014 - but we got there in the end!
 

What we were looking for were books that were outstanding examples of their kind, whether from new authors or from brand-new talent. We hope that these books tell at least some of the story of 2014, and will give you lots of ideas for your own personal favourites of the year.

We'd also just like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support during 2014. Our members mean the world to us, and we hope you've enjoyed using the service over the last twelve months - and will be as excited as we are about all the new features planned for 2015.

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 BOOK OF THE YEAR
Station Eleven
By Emily St. John Mandel

  

When people first started raving about Station Eleven, I have to confess that I wasn't hugely enthusiastic. Another novel about a post-apocalyptic world felt like the last thing we needed. But Emily St. John Mandel's fourth novel blew us all away with its intelligence, understanding, fine plotting and beautifully rendered characters. Flitting across time, before a virus wipes out most of humanity and after it has wreaked its havoc, this is a book that defies categorisation. In a year full of great fiction, this was the book that stood out as one which delivered on every level.
 
Literature & Fiction
Picador
All the Days and Nights
By Niven Govinden
Dept. of Speculation
By Jenny Offill
After Me Comes the Flood
By Sarah Perry
   
For our money the Man Booker Prize should have gone to Niven Govinden's fourth novel, All The Days and Nights. A rich, almost dreamlike prose makes this tale of an artist at the end of her life and her husband's disappearance both poignant and spiky. This is a short novel, but one that lands every dramatic as well as literary punch.
 

Literature & Fiction
The Friday Project

  

Dept of Speculation was one of those books that manages to quietly creep out of the literary darkness and into the light of critical adulation. Not much happens in this quiet novel of parental and romantic love, but the elliptical and hypnotic prose places you right at the heart of one woman's seemingly ordinary life. Exquisite and unforgettable.

  

Literature & Fiction
Granta
 

After Me Comes the Flood is a debut novel that augers well for a great career ahead for Sarah Perry. But this is more than just a statement of intent, or sign of promise: Perry is a fully formed and brilliantly accomplished writer - as this book testifies. Odd, unusual and quite unlike any book this year, this tale of a strange community will have you hooked.

  

Literature & Fiction
Serpent's Tail
 
 
The Murder Bag
By Tony Parsons
Dear Daughter
By Elizabeth Little
Half Bad
By Sally Green

 

Tony Parsons' move from novels such as Man and Boy into the world of crime was always likely to be controversial. It was a relief, therefore, that the book itself was a thrilling and compulsive mystery - with a great central character in Max Wolfe. The next instalment follows next year, The Slaughter Man - and we can't wait!

  

Mystery & Thrillers

Century

  

Dear Daughter is an ingenious twist on the literary thriller, with a voice that can't fail to hold your attention. Janie Jenkins was convicted of killing her mother, but on release from jail, she's determined to discover exactly what happened that night. It's a propulsive and surprising mystery that will keep you turning the pages long into the night.

  

Mystery & Thrillers
Harvill Secker
 
 

Heralded by The Times as the inheritor to Stephanie Meyer's crown, Sally Green's mesmerising tale of one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches was the YA title of the year for many people. Chilling, clever and always compulsive, this is a truly immersive experience, and one that will have you counting the days to the sequel, Half Bad.

 

Teens & YA
Penguin
 
 
The Visionist
By Rachel Urquart
The Martian
By Andy Weir
A Place for Us
By Harriet Evans  

 

Massachusetts, 1842. Fifteen-year-old Polly Kimball sets fire to her family farm, killing her abusive father. With his fiery ghost at her heels, Polly and her young brother seek refuge in a local Shaker community - the City of Hope. It's an intriguing premise, but one that is exceptionally executed by Rachel Urquhart. Unnerving and utterly engrossing.

 


Literature & Fiction
Simon & Schuster

  

Think Robinson Crusoe on Mars and you've got the measure of this intensely realised and breathless sci-fi fable, which has been a huge hit with readers for its tension, realism and unshakable suspense. If you've been looking for something that can replicate that big screen space opera in book form, you've found it here.

 

Science Fiction & Fantasy
Ebury
 

Harriet Evans has long been one of our most admired writers of contemporary life, but this is something of a departure. Set around the country house of Winterfold, this intimate yet daring family saga is an epic in four parts, each as compelling as the last. Once you read the first part, you just won't want to stop.

    

Literature & Fiction
Headline Review
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