Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

In the Order in Which I Read Them:

(I tried to make this into a list of ten books, but I failed miserably. Instead, it's a list of twenty two, because I turned that age this year. Thanks to my best friend for helping make this slightly cutesy.)

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Steampunk  shadowhunters in Victorian London. The beginning of the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series. Enough said.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Pure awesomeness. I still have to see both movies.

3. Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Don't let the name fool you--this book was serious and brilliant. Lyga tells the story of a relationship between a teacher and her 12-year-old student and how that relationship affected his teen years. Well-written and not at all like the teen drama rose-colored student-teacher relationship stories that have been done on nearly every contemporary teen show (i.e., Dawson's Creek, Pretty Little Liars, Life Unexpected, Gilmore Girls, etc.)

4. Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette by Ronnie Spector
I make no apologies for how much I enjoyed Ronnie Spector's autobiography. I have a strong desire to know a lot about music icons from the 1950s and 1960s. Next up, Darlene Love.

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Part of the reason I loved this book so much is I read it right after I took my own cross country road trip, but it doesn't mean it's not awesome. Great contemporary read that takes place in various locations across America.

6. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Beautifully written book about a connection between a middle aged woman and an aging rock icon. Probably my favorite Nick Hornby read so far.

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I loved the multiple points of view and the relationships between all of the women. Hilly Holbrook is a scary beast.

8. Red Glove by Holly Black
The second installment in the Curse Workers series. May have surpassed its predecessor, White Cat. Cassel Sharpe is one of my favorite narrators and I am constantly impressed by Holly Black's ability to write the inside of a boy's mind so that he doesn't sound like a teenage girl. I'm looking so forward to rereading the series in anticipation of Black Heart next year.

9. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Paranormal historical fiction about Violet, a girl that has the ability to talk to ghosts while her mother pretends to have the same ability to con people out of their money. Great historical read and different than the normal paranormal romance nonsense.

10. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Right after I read this one, I was confused about how I felt for it. I didn't speed through it, but I realized later that you need to take your time with this book. The descriptions are beautiful but not overly flowery. And Karou is a great heroine, a badass that isn't afraid to admit that she just wants people to want her, as Cheap Trick says.

11. Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
I was wary of this one because of the amount of religion in it, but Walker was able to demonstrate the internal struggles of a girl growing up in an evangelical community without being overly religious or painting religious beliefs in a bad light. Impressively difficult balance to strike.

12. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
I liked this one even more than The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Told from two different parts in time, one in words and one strictly in pictures, Wonderstruck merges the two stories when the characters cross each other's paths in the present time.

13. Between by Jessica Warman
The book that proved to me that I could read books about girls that have already died and are watching the lives of their loved ones continue on without them. Plus, two mysteries! I loved it. And I still dislike The Lovely Bones.

14. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
These books never cease to amaze me. Brilliant and they just don't stop with the action. Time travel, 18th century Scotland, and a smartass heroine make this book brilliant. You won't even realize how long the book is (I certainly didn't, since I read them on the kindle).

15. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I recommend this book to anyone that has the remote chance of enjoying it. Perkins is a brilliant writer that creates fun, deep characters that aren't overly quirky, just entirely loveable.

16. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
See above. The companion book to Anna, Lola and the French Kiss brought back old characters to meet new ones. Lola and Cricket are adorable and transcend their cutesy names to be entirely fantastic.

17. Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Probably the saddest book I read this year, Going Underground tells the story of Del, a boy who gets a sexual predator label for sexting with his girlfriend during the summer before they go to high school. I felt unbelievably bad for Del, whose life was ripped away from him for what he thought was safer than the two of them having sex.

18. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
This is the first young adult magical realist book I've seen in a very long time. I loved the narration and was able to totally get over the fact that the Vietnam War doesn't interest me in the slightest. The story is about bullying and self esteem, but is entirely different than anything I've ever seen before.

19. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Told in the perspectives of a small town pregnant girl and the daughter of the woman adopting her baby, How to Save a Life was probably my favorite young adult book that I read this year. I loved Jill's voice and watching her cope with her father's death and having a pregnant stranger in the house. Such a great book.

20. Want to Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman
Creepy. Wildly creepy. This one is about the dangers of internet predators that prey on lonely teenagers feeling lost. Littman certainly was not afraid to show some very negative consequences for the victim in her book and I commend her for not holding back.

21. Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle
I just really liked this one. Three shorter stories that all connect to a train stopping due to weather on Christmas Eve. Best holiday-related book I read this year.

22. Shine by Lauren Myracle
A book about hate crimes, molestation, and drugs, all wrapped up into one backwoods town in which a girl tries to solve the mystery of who almost killed her former best friend. Very well-written. Also, taught me a surprising amount about crystal meth.

Hopefully I read just as many, if not more, brilliant books next year. I'm shooting for a list of twenty three.

Happy New Year!

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