Goodreads Blog

The Winners of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards

Posted by Jessica on December 04, 2012 603238

Drum roll, please...the readers have spoken! More than 1 million votes have decided the winners of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards. Now in our fourth year, the Goodreads Choice Awards are the only major book awards chosen by readers. No secret committees or panels of insiders—we let our members pick the best books of the year. After much anticipation, it's finally time to reveal the winners!

View the winners & runners-up in 20 categories »

The Best Fiction category is always hotly contended and this year went to J.K. Rowling's first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. Decorating a debut of a different kind, Susan Cain won Best Nonfiction for her first book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Meanwhile, the winner of the Mystery category was an open-and-shut case for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Veronica Roth came away with multiple awards in 2011, and this year was no different. She scored a double win with Best Goodreads Author for the first time and Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction for the second time (this year for Insurgent, last year it was for Divergent).

It was a photo finish in Historical Fiction, our tightest race, with M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans) just inching out Hilary Mantel (Bring Up The Bodies). Living in England must set the right mood for writing historical fiction.

England was also a winning factor in Best History & Biography, with Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith taking the crown in that category.

Cheryl Strayed completes a banner year (from Oprah's Book Club 2.0 to a Reese Witherspoon/Nick Hornby film adaptation in the works) by winning Best Memoir for her book Wild. She was also a finalist in the Nonfiction category for her book of advice, Tiny Beautiful Things.

Two bloggers flexed their book world muscle with Jenny Lawson winning the Best Humor category for Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Ree Drummond capturing the Best Food & Cookbooks award for The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

In the Romance category, Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James dominated the field, tying up a year when her trilogy has made headlines—and generated huge sales—around the world.

And our oldest winner is 77-year-old, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver for her latest collection of poems, A Thousand Mornings, which won reviewer remarks, "A Thousand Mornings reminds us to not let a regular old day pass you by without noticing and being grateful for the wonder and the splendor."

Everyone at Goodreads is grateful for the "wonder and splendor" of all our winning authors—a heartfelt congratulations for writing the books readers loved the most this year! And thank you to everyone who voted and cheered on your favorites from the Opening Round to the Finals. View the full results to see the vote breakdown for all nominees and add some highly commended reading to your to-read list.

Congratulations to our winners! »

View all categories »


85 likes · like

Comments (showing 1-50 of 225) (225 new)


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Well, that's pretty mortifying. Apparently people need to learn what romance actually is. (Not to mention ethics...)


message 2: by Syahira (new)

Syahira Sharif Urgh.. I vote for lothaire. This is horrific. And i thought insurgent was bad


message 3: by Anachronist (last edited Dec 04, 2012 05:50AM) (new)

Anachronist Yuck. Now I will never take any kind of award into consideration while buying a book. You spoiled it for me.





Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Anachronist wrote: "Yuck. Now I will never take any kind of award into consideration while buying a book."

That happened for me when I saw a boast of winning that "award" splashed across the cover of The Fan Fiction That Shall Not Be Named.

Of course, the same goes for "New York Times Bestseller" now.


message 5: by Tacuazin (last edited Dec 04, 2012 06:13AM) (new)

Tacuazin Dunno... I'm a bit perplexed about the results. I'm all for democracy and the importance of the readers' opinions, mind you, but I've read / attempted some of these winners and I don't think they are anything to write home about.

Oh, well, I guess the majority has spoken.

But 50 shades? seriously?


message 6: by Sarah ♥ Vutch forever ♥ (last edited Dec 04, 2012 06:06AM) (new)

Sarah ♥ Vutch forever ♥ Yeah, 50 Shades... What a shame!

Shows that it's about popularity and not quality.


message 7: by Sophia T. (new)

Sophia T. (♥ Dimitri Belikov) Syahira wrote: "Urgh.. I vote for lothaire. This is horrific. And i thought insurgent was bad"

Totally agree!!!!


message 8: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist Alicia wrote: "Of course, the same goes for"New York Times Bestseller" "

You are right. As far as I remember practically every Dan Brown's 'masterpiece' has been such a bestseller once...


message 9: by Louize (new)

Louize Sarah ♥ Vutch forever ♥ wrote: "Shows that it's about popularity and not quality."

I second that!


message 10: by Merary (new)

Merary I'm actually quite okay with the results of Best Fiction and Best Young Adult Fiction (the rest I really don't care).
But, really? Fifty Shades actually WON? What do people see in those books???!! They're not even "romantic"!


message 11: by Teresa (last edited Dec 04, 2012 06:31AM) (new)

Teresa B. Umm..paranormal fantasy.. ilona andrews was on there and Shadow of night won its mediocore at best..uggg...I read the first book and didn't even continue it


message 12: by Irena (new)

Irena Alicia wrote: "Well, that's pretty mortifying. Apparently people need to learn what romance actually is. (Not to mention ethics...)"
My thoughts exactly.


Rebecca ♥ Mat Cauthon ♥ Is there no book of the year category?


message 14: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Awww, the False Prince didn't win for Middle Grade and Children's. But the Mark of Athena did, which I would have voted for if the False Prince hadn't been there. :D


message 15: by Jane (new)

Jane Alicia wrote: "Well, that's pretty mortifying. Apparently people need to learn what romance actually is. (Not to mention ethics...)"

This is one of those times when Goodreads needs a like button. I find it really sad & disturbing that Fifty Shades is "romance" for that many people.


message 16: by Teresa (new)

Teresa B. Agreed about fifty shades.. I'm not a huge romance fan but the ones I do like are strong women who go through things with a strong guy and they end up together in the end..not fifty shades


message 17: by Makii (new)

Makii Yo.... mis votaciones no han coincidido con ninguno de los ganadores! Creo que los ganadores son buenos libros, pero de los que voté, no se si los que salieron eran los mejores en su categoría!


message 18: by Katie(babs) (new)

Katie(babs) Freed for best romance? How is a best romance of 2012 when it came out in November 2011? I guess people do love reading their Twilight purple prose fan fiction.


message 19: by Jodie (new)

Jodie I am surprised.. the results were unexpected as usual but well congratiulations writers!

But kid me not.. Fifty Shades as best ROMANCE?


message 20: by Stefani (new)

Stefani 50 Shades as a romance, hahahahahahaha that's hilarious! A lot of these voters have such a sense of humor!!

In all seriousness though, The Twelve..really? I mean I loved The Passage and all, but I am reading The Twelve right now and I can only stand about 5 pages at a time before I literally fall asleep. BEST horror? Not hardly.


message 21: by Joanne (new)

Joanne When winners are chosen by a panel, they are usually required to read all the selections to be fair, but when everyone votes, especially for new books, I bet more than half of the votes are from people who only see one book they've read in the category, liked it, and so vote for it. Which makes it more of a popularity contest. Chances are whichever book has been most read will get the most votes.


message 22: by Tacuazin (new)

Tacuazin Stefani wrote: "In all seriousness though, The Twelve..really? I mean I loved The Passage and all, but I am reading The Twelve right now and I can only stand about 5 pages at a time before I literally fall asleep. BEST horror? Not hardly"

I soooooo agree!


message 23: by Lhethal (new)

Lhethal 50 shades! Romance?!?!?!?!?!? *Barf Moment*
It's amazing how people lap up stuff like that. I'd rather see the award stored in an errrr-red-room than 50SOG/F/D carrying it away.


message 24: by Rose (last edited Dec 04, 2012 08:22AM) (new)

Rose Can't begin to convey my disappointment at 50 Shades winning Best Romance. Nora Roberts would've been a far better pick to win that category this year, among others. Ugh.

I'm actually glad to see some of the winners, like J.K. Rowling, John Green, Gillian Flynn, Susan Cain, etc. But I'm really surprised at Veronica Roth/Insurgent winning two categories.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I thought this site was for serious readers... judging by these results, I couldn't be further from the truth, when trashy novels win stuff :(


message 26: by Syahira (new)

Syahira Sharif Fifty shades is fake romance and appropriately erotica. Shouldnt we have a category for it instead? Besmirching romance genre in totality.


message 27: by Shanna (new)

Shanna A bit harsh in the responses- I understand not agreeing with some/any of the winners but my goodness.

Fifty- that surprised me as well, it is neither romance nor was it published in 2012 so that was surprising. Though, cannot be upset about it- any book that gets the masses reading, good/bad/whatever cannot really complain about. The Harry Potter for young adults/adults in terms of generating readers not quality.

Nonetheless, CONGRATS to the winners.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Strange how a book published in 2011 can win the 2012 award.


message 29: by Teresa (new)

Teresa B. If I had a dollar for everyone who knows I read and assumed I read and loved 50 shades I would be rich... its the "it" book for whatever reason..Everyone thinks thats the book to read and the best out there


message 30: by Stefani (new)

Stefani Bekka (Pretty Deadly Reviews) wrote: "Strange how a book published in 2011 can win the 2012 award."

Basically the way GR runs it, it is run from November to November. So anything from November 2011 to November 2012 is eligible for the 2012 awards.


message 31: by Elevetha (new)

Elevetha Wow. Disappointing.


message 32: by Elevetha (new)

Elevetha Alicia wrote: "Well, that's pretty mortifying. Apparently people need to learn what romance actually is. (Not to mention ethics...)"

Truth^^^^^^^

Isn't it depressing? The state of most people's sad little minds....


message 33: by Marina (last edited Dec 04, 2012 10:14AM) (new)

Marina Well, damn.
"Bring Up the Bodies" lost by 500 votes :(


message 34: by Mau (new)

Mau Congrats to the winners. However this won‘t affect my choice of books. My choice would still depend on the story line, whatever catches my interest then i‘ll grab a copy and read. Happy reading everyone!!!!


message 35: by Aaron (new)

Aaron The Rowling and 50 Shade win just confirmed that this is an anti-award of books to avoid.

As we say around my part, "Woof".


message 36: by Janelle (last edited Dec 04, 2012 11:00AM) (new)

Janelle Joanne wrote: "When winners are chosen by a panel, they are usually required to read all the selections to be fair, but when everyone votes, especially for new books, I bet more than half of the votes are from pe..."

My thoughts exactly. It's hard to pick a real winner because chances are that very few people have read more than a few books in each category. Not exactly fair. Clearly this is more of a popularity contest than anything else...quantity beats quality in a couple of cases here. Oh well.


message 37: by Jeremy (last edited Dec 04, 2012 11:05AM) (new)

Jeremy Hooper I'm still bummed there was no category for best incorporation of "Zygote" into a title. My book would have been a shoo-in :-)

Congrats to the winners. I'll stay out of controversy (all 50 shades of it).


message 38: by Tracy (new)

Tracy It can't be anything but a popularity contest -- because she (E.L. James) cannot write a complete sentence. She needs competent editor. The subject matter may be titillating, but there are so many other books out there that are so much better written. My vote? UGH!


message 39: by Jaime (last edited Dec 04, 2012 11:37AM) (new)

Jaime B. Alicia wrote: "Well, that's pretty mortifying. Apparently people need to learn what romance actually is. (Not to mention ethics...)"

i agree. the writing itself is just AWFUL.. im confused as to how it could have won.. what type of criteria do they they use.. just because somethings popular doesnt make it good!


message 40: by Paula (new)

Paula Oliver I think it's a popularity not on actual goodness because everything I read says Fifty Shades of Hell sucks.


message 41: by Jaime (new)

Jaime B. Tracy wrote: "It can't be anything but a popularity contest -- because she (E.L. James) cannot write a complete sentence. She needs competent editor. The subject matter may be titillating, but there are so many ..."

the fact that she won makes me not take these awards seriously anymore :/


Sarah ♥ Vutch forever ♥ ScarletBea wrote: "I thought this site was for serious readers... "

Well, after you spend some time on GR, you might realize that the serious readers aren't necessarily in the majority. LOL

Syahira wrote: "Fifty shades is fake romance and appropriately erotica. Shouldnt we have a category for it instead? Besmirching romance genre in totality."

50 Shades shouldn't win, no matter the category.


message 43: by Kris (new)

Kris at Book Wishes I agree this is a popularity contest I thought goodreads was a site I could trust. People really vote for these, not me I voted for different books. Oh well


message 44: by Teresa (new)

Teresa B. well if there was a catagory for erotica alternative lifestyle maybe 50 shades..lol..romance..no


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) I agree, it doesn't matter what the category is, it should never be Fifty Shades. It's not a book. It's a fan fiction. And it's terribly written in every way. There is a ton of BDSM erotica out there that is actually BDSM and is well written (i.e. doesn't read like it was written by a semi-literate 12-year-old who just found out about sex).


message 46: by Mikko (new)

Mikko Peralta Where's Junot? And why shades in romance?


message 47: by Tanja (new)

Tanja Berg I'm relieved to see that I'm not the only one sorely disappointed with the results.


message 48: by Terri (new)

Terri Jacobson I also was terribly disappointed and confused by the results, and I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Not much here for serious readers.


Jewels ♥ My Devastating Reads Interesting results....


message 50: by Marran (new)

Marran I actuallt like 50 shades but I would not call it a romance nor did I wote for it... and I don't understand Jk Rowling either...people didn't like he new book all that much but she won reagardles..why and how?


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