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Goodreads users select best books of 2012 -- FIRST LOOK

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The annual Goodreads Choice Awards are basically the People’s Choice Awards of books. Users of the literary social network voted on their favorite books of the year in 20 categories, and this year, there were some surprises — J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy as best novel? — and some slam dunks (Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl for Best Mystery, John Green for Best Young Adult, and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild for Best Memoir). Once again, Veronica Roth proved that she’s pretty much unbeatable when it comes to reader-voted prizes, winning the Best Goodreads Author award for the first time and the Best Young Adult Fantasy award for the second time with Insurgent, sequel to Divergent.

The closest race occurred in Best Historical Fiction, with M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans narrowly beating out Man Booker-winner Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel most likely benefited from a large and devoted fanbase, as Casual Vacancy only became a finalist due to write-in votes — its Goodreads user rating of 3.32 stars wasn’t originally high enough to qualify it — yet it won the biggest honor.

Susan Cain’s Nonfiction win for her best-seller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking made me smile — partly because I could picture a bunch of Goodreads bookworms really relating to it, and also because introverts, a sizable but often ignored and misunderstood demographic, have had a big year in 2012 with the publication of Quiet, Sophia Dembling’s The Introvert’s Way, and a buzzed-about feature in The Atlantic.

See the entire list of winners below:

Best Fiction

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Best Nonfiction

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Best Goodreads Author

Veronica Roth

Best Mystery

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Best Historical Fiction

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Best Memoir

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Best History & Biography

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

Best Fantasy

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

Best Paranormal Fantasy

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Best Romance

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Best Science Fiction

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett

Best Horror

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Best Young Adult Fiction

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Best Humor

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

Best Poetry

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

Best Food & Cookbook

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond

Best Graphic Novel & Comic

The Walking Dead, Vol 16: A Larger World by Robert Kirkman, Illustrated by Charlie Adlard

Best Children’s Book

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Best Picture Book

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer

Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.

Read more:

Amazon picks its 10 best books of 2012

Publishers Weekly picks top 10 books of 2012