Friday, 23 December 2011

Our Top 12 Books of 2011


So we did this last year and Julie suggested doing it again this year...so yeah. Here are our top 12 books released in 2011.

Lanna:

These are in no particular order, for the record. It was kind of difficult to choose this year - I've read somewhere between 80-100 books in 2011 but a lot of them weren't 2011 releases (and of my favourite books I read this year, again, a lot of them were published before 2011). But yeah, I did manage to choose 12. 

Note: I don't have Photoshop on Tate yet, my new laptop = no banner type things with the covers of our choices like last year but the links will take you to the Goodreads pages.


This book was just really well written, one of the most original books I've read in a while and the way it's packaged is just gorgeous - it's a really well made book with the pictures inside and all that, it'd be worth owning just for that but it happens to be a great story too.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This book is amazing and heartbreaking and - just...amazing. And I think everyone should read it and I think it should be a movie and I think there should be more books about this subject because that part of history shouldn't be forgotten by the world.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

So I'm cheating a little by having this on my list. It isn't released until early 2012 in the US and it was released in 2010 in Australia - but it was one of my "Wow!" books that I read in 2011 (after whining about not being able to get it for about 6 months because it was only out in Australia and then it popped up on NetGalley and is being published internationally). I'm getting rambly, but the book is brilliant, it's beautifully written and funny and cute and just - I adored it.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I just loved the characters of this book and - it's hard to pin point why I loved it really beyond knowing for sure that I loved the characters. I just loved it. And the cover? Lovelovelove the cover.

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Two of her books would actually be on my best books this year but Finnikin of the Rock was a 2010 release that I just got around to reading this year. I've gushed about her books so much that people are probably sick of hearing about them. She's one of my top five favourite authors ever. I love everything about her books.

Exile by Jakob Ejersbo

This book totally took me by surprise. It's not one I would have chosen to read on my own - nothing about it would've caught my attention but I was randomly sent it for review and read it and it was really great. I didn't like the ending, but aside from that last chapter or so? It was fab. I was hooked from the start and it was about a culture so totally foreign to me that it was fascinating to read about.

Forbidden by Jana Oliver

I didn't want to include sequels in my list but it was unavoidable if I was going for my favourites. Forbidden is book two in the Demon Trappers series (note: it has a different US cover and title) and I just really enjoy this series. The world feels so...I dunno, I love it.

Deception by Lee Nichols

I think this is a 2010 release for the US, but it was just released in the UK in 2011 and I was sent it to review. I loved it, it had the same kind of charm that books like Paranormalcy and Hex Hall have and I'm so glad I read it - I probably wouldn't have unless someone recommended it to me and I trusted their judgement. The cover is kind of generic, doesn't draw you in really but the book is one of the better YA paranormals.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

This was one of the first 2011 releases I read and I loved it. As far as dystopians go, the world wasn't the best I've read but I love Lauren's writing and her characters and it was really well executed and the ending...well, I can't talk about that without spoilers. But if you like YA dystopians, check this one out.
Divergent by Veronica Roth

There is seriously only one thing that I didn't particularly like about this book (which I can't mention because of spoilers though) - one thing, out of the entire book. I loved the rest. The characters, the romance, the world - it's one of my favourite dystopian novels and I can't wait for the sequel and I really, really, really hope the movie happens and that they don't screw it up because it would make a brilliant movie too.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I had some issues with this book. I loved it, but I had to judge it as two seperate things. As a book about grief? Mediocre at best, but as a fun roadtrip romance novel? I really enjoyed it. And I really liked Hannah's writing and the way music was woven into the story. If you're looking for a YA book that beautifully and realistically deals with the loss of a loved one then I'd suggest The Sky is Everywhere or Broken Soup or Revolution or something like that, not this one. But judging it as something other than that, it was one of my favourite books released this year.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

This book was just brilliant. Original, awesome characters, awesome writing, awesome cover (which doesn't really factor into how good the book is but really deserves to be mentioned anyway). Definitely one of my favourite YA paranormal books, not just this year, ever. It's one of Julie's favourites too. :)

Annnd, I guess that's it for me. Julie and I had a few overlaps with our lists (like Divergent, Wither and Hourglass, so we split our mutual YAY-list so there'd be 24 different books).

Later.

Julie: 

 Okay, so, as Lanna said, there is mutual swooning of Divergent, Wither, and Hourglass, so I won't talk about them, but you should go pick those up now because if BOTH of us love it, then isn't it obviously super special?

Now, onto my actual 12 books!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh's writing is incredible. Beautiful. So totally unique. Tahereh probably wrote the best villain I've ever read as well. He's so evil that I actually like him for some twisted reason. The other characters are also amazing and wonderful and I want to hug all of them. This is a storyline I can read over and over again and I already have. Trust me, if you haven't, you should pick this up.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens is sarcasm and though provoking and beauty pageant contestants. It's everything that's wrong with the world wrapped up in the cleverest book I've probably ever read. It's the type of book that made me laugh out loud and nod along and feel empowered. I may have cried at one point as well. Libba's contemporary-esque books are different and probably somewhat of an acquired taste, but I just adored this book.

Between the Sea and Sky by Jackie Dolamore

Magic. Pure magic.  This book was beautifully written and so insanely romantic and adorable. The characters were distinct. The world was vivid. This book is just the ultimate fairy tale story. I almost felt like I was reading a retelling, yet it's not. It's an original story (let's not argue about how things today can't be original, kay?) and it most definitely did not get enough attention. Please, please, please. Order this with your holiday book money.

Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers

This is the sequel to Personal Demons and my love of that book is no secret. Well, Original Sin is probably even better.  I love Frannie and Luc and Gabe and Lisa and this series needs to be on your radar.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I read If I Stay and Where She Went at the same time. So, I can easily say that this book? Five times as good as If I Stay. I enjoyed the first book, don't get me wrong, but this one is just SO much better. Get into this series ASAP.

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Demonglass is another wonderful example of what a sequel should be. I remember choosing to read this book because I needed to restore my faith in humanity and this did it. It's funny and witty and charming, but also romantic and full of action and heartbreak. And Rachel Hawkins? That's a lady that can write a love interest AND a killer ending.


Another way too overlooked book. The world building in this book is so lush and vivid and fantastic. Some of the best I've read. The main character is wonderfully strong and she has to know herself before she can come into her powers. Heartbreaking and a shockingly fast read considering the size of the book, Rae Carson is an author to watch. Get into this series, guys. You won't regret it.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Remember how much I loved ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS? Yeah, I loved Lola more. Lola has a boy next door romance and another little bit of a love triangle and another difficult character and fabulous dads and we still get to see Anna and St. Clair. I'm also willing to bet Isla and the Happily Ever After will be on next year's list.  

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Beautifully written and full of complex characters, how could I not love this? I was totally sucked into the world and the writing is so lyrical and fantastic. I loved Rhine and her sister wives, I loved Gabriel, I even kind of loved Linden. I cannot recommend this book enough and I'm dying for Fever!

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

It's a Pride and Prejudice retelling done in this totally genius way. Why aren't there more Pride and Prejudice retellings in YA (no there aren't enough, there's never enough!)? This is like reading the book itself, in a way. And it involves music-y stuff! Win, win, win!

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The characters didn’t stand out to me, but the story line was incredible. The story was fascinating and I’m super excited to see where it ends up going. Kimberly is also amazing at telling relationships, whether they be siblings, friends, or love interests. The way people related to each other was really cool to watch.

The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

Sinda was a strong, independent character and her best friend Kiernan reminded me of Gordo from Lizzie McGuire. The world building was incredible and the story had twists and turns and genuinely was a mystery. It wasn’t something just easy to solve. And top to it all off, it’s a fantasy book! There just aren’t enough fantasy books!
 
I'll also throw out honorable mentions to The Night Circus, Shut Out, Possess, and Virtuosity. 

I've also read a number of 2012 books that I LOVE, and I want to make sure I mention them to you now because I'm not sure they can all make the 2012 list since, you know, the year hasn't started yet so I'll have a lot to read. Born Wicked, Incarnate, Everneath, Under the Never Sky, Don't Breathe a Word, Innocent Darkness and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight are amazing and should not be missed this upcoming year!

So, what are your top books?

--Julie

5 comments:

  1. I also agree that DELIRIUM didn't have the best world. I was a bit disappointed by it.

    I agree with Julie, though, that WHERE SHE WENT is better than IF I STAY. I think the writing got a little better and she improved her story.

    Awesome post, guys!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still need to read a lot of the books on your list. I will have to move them up on my TBR pile. I loved Shatter Me, Delirium, and The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer as well! =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I liked Miss Peregrine; I really liked Hourglass; Wither was fantastic; I ADORED The False Princess.

    But Beauty Queens by Libba Bray! *hearts*

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a lovely list! confession: I havent read a LOT of these titles.. shame... I know- but I am getting there!

    your blog gets better everyday
    xo
    Jade @

    http://onceuponawanderer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've only read one of these books (Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children) and I thought it was great. This list has given me lots of ideas for books to read - good job :)

    ReplyDelete

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