Best Fiction Novels of 2012

With the New Year come accolades for the best novels of 2012.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
ThumbnailDuring the Iraq War, two soldiers, buddies since boot camp, protect each other from outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger.




Broken Harbor by Tana French
In the aftermath of a brutal attack that left a woman in intensive care and her husband and young children dead, a cop and his rookie partner struggle with perplexing clues.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
After surviving and pandemic disease that has killed everyone he knows, a pilot living in an abandoned hangar hears a random radio transmission that compels him to seek out other survivors.

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
ThumbnailTaking a teaching job in an isolated community after her husband’s death, a woman finds a hidden journal that leads to mystery and death.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The fall of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, is recounted through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s all-powerful secretary.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
Set in Cambodia, a seven-year-old girl’s childhood is shattered by revolution, the death of family members, starvation and forced labor.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
ThumbnailWhen a famous, but agoraphobic, architect goes missing the day before her family plans to leave on an Antarctic trip, her teenage daughter collects invoices, correspondence, and emails in an attempt to find out where she went.




The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig
A twelve-year-old boy comes to live with his father, the popular owner of an Arizona saloon, where he entertains himself in the bar’s backroom pawnshop while eavesdropping on the confusing adult world.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
A man, who has lost virtually everything meaningful in his life, becomes caregiver to a fiercely independent teen with muscular dystrophy and the two embark on a road trip to visit the boy’s ailing father.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
ThumbnailIn 1988 on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, a thirteen-year-old boy is determined to find the assailant after his mother is brutally assaulted and falls into depression.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
In 1962, a beautiful young starlet escapes the insanity surrounding the filming of Cleopatra, taking refuge in a tiny, dilapidated Italian costal hotel where the proprietor is instantly smitten.

Magnificence by Lydia Millet
Adrift and guilt-ridden after her husband’s death, a woman finds unexpected comfort when she inherits her great uncle’s Pasadena mansion filled with taxidermy animals.

Dear Life by Alice Munro
ThumbnailFour autobiographical stories set in small-town Ontario illuminate how simple twists of fate can turn a person from their accustomed path.




The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
At the turn of the 20th century, a middle-aged man’s solitary life tending to his orchards is disrupted when two runaway, pregnant sisters arrive in need of care and protection.

Previously published on January 11, 2013 in the Lititz Record Express