Best Fiction of 2012


Elaine Szewczyk, Editor

The 100 books on this year's fiction list encompass a range of categories. Debuts, story collections, thrillers, mysteries, translations, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction—there's something for every taste. Among the highlights of 2012: Ben Fountain's superb first novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (read this book, tell your friends!); French author Philippe Claudel's The Investigation, a moody (and funny) tale for Kafka fans; and master artist Chris Ware's Building Stories, a gorgeous book that you'll piece together like a detective. We hope you enjoy them all.

SOMEBODY TO LOVE by Kristan Higgins
Released: April 24, 2012

"Romance star Higgins pens a near pitch-perfect blend of comedy and touching emotion with this delightful winner."
When heiress Parker Welles learns she's lost everything due to her father's insider trading scheme, she hopes renovating a cabin in Maine will be a partial answer to her financial woes; the last thing she wants or needs is daddy's attorney and right-hand man, James, helping her salvage her inheritance—or her heart. Read full book review >
EXPEDITION TO THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON by Mark Hodder
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Enthralling, dizzying and as impressive as they come."
Third entry (The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, 2011, etc.) in Spain-resident Englishman Hodder's time-travel/alternate-reality/steampunk saga; though originally billed as a trilogy, the ending here leaves considerable scope for further augmentation. Read full book review >

THE SURVIVOR by Gregg Hurwitz
THRILLERS
Released: Aug. 21, 2012

"A fine thriller that succeeds on every level. How often do you read about a hero who just wants to die in peace?"
Hurwitz demonstrates his mastery of the thriller genre. Read full book review >
THE BROKEN ONES by Stephen M. Irwin
THRILLERS
Released: Aug. 7, 2012

"A flawlessly assembled thriller."
In the strange, devastating aftermath of Gray Wednesday, when the Earth's poles suddenly switched, the world is in even greater chaos, climatic distress and financial ruin than it is now. Read full book review >
ZOO TIME by Howard Jacobson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 16, 2012

"Guy's not a lucky guy, to be sure, but if there's justice, Jacobson will enjoy best-sellerdom in his place with this latest romp."
Bad-boy funnyman Jacobson waxes pensive and topical—but no less mirthful—in his latest assault on the foibles of modern life. Read full book review >

AEROGRAMMES by Tania James
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 5, 2012

"At every turn, James' prose is crisp, observant and carefully controlled; unlike the narrator of "Escape Key," who grows increasingly aware of his fiction's shortcomings, James projects a deep emotional intelligence."
A well-turned set of stories defined by emotional and physical separation, particularly in the Indian-American diaspora. Read full book review >
THE KILLING MOON by N.K.  Jemisin
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 1, 2012

"Tends toward the claustrophobic at times, but superior and fulfilling."
New ancient Egypt-flavored fantasy from the New York resident author of The Broken Kingdoms (2010, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older."
A Swedish debut novel that will keep readers chuckling. Read full book review >