Best of 2011
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - We think this is Ms. Stiefvater’s finest book yet, and our pick for best young adult book of 2011. Atmospheric, emotional, romantic and exciting, this story alternately plucked our heartstrings and made us clutch the edge of our seats. The characters there were like family by the time we finished, and we loved the island every bit as much as Sean and Puck. Only Maggie Stiefvater could take flesh-eating water horses and write a story about them that makes you not only love them, but feel lucky to have lived in their world for a little while.
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore - This is one of those unexpected stories that you pick up and puts a huge smile on your face. Amy Goodnight and her mad cap friends lead you on a ghostly journey a la Scooby and the gang and their sleuthing will unveil a masked villain. But wait, there’s more…this book is replete with humor, magic, the obligatory hot Texas Cowboy and great one-liners.
Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories ed. by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones – This one was the hardest to read, but also shows the consequences of cruelty. Heather Brewer, whose story was, for Sarah, the hardest to read, said how painful it was to write, but how she needed to share it. Heather is such an awesome person who seems to have truly moved passed such awful experiences and can revel in the fact that she’s probably the most famous person ever to come out of that school! We also totally love that Heather is now going on “Anti-Bullying Tours” with her friends, A.S. King and Jackie Kessler -rock on ladies, rock on!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – We loved this wildly imaginative and intricate world of a girl who was raised by grotesque creatures that live hidden alongside our world. Throw in a huge war between the creatures and angelic-looking beings, star crossed lovers, and a girl who collects teeth – whoa. We can’t wait for the next installment of this series!
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - This book is golden. Sydney and Adrian have a way of creeping into your heart and pulling all the right strings, to make them both endearing characters for years to come. Plus, the storyline is solid and interesting and the great thing is you don’t have to be familiar with the Vampire Academy series.
Red Glove by Holly Black – All young adult books should be this smart and sexy. The world of the curseworkers as mafia is believable and fascinating, and as scary as The Godfather. The mystery is full of twists and reversals, as Cassel tries to keep from being used by the mafia as a killer and by the government as a stool pigeon. Oh, and also wait for the curse to wear off the girl he loves … so she WON’T love him anymore.
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen – It’s no secret that Sarah Addison Allen is one of our favorite authors. Combine that with a mystery, magical storytelling and compelling relationships and you have a story that will live in your heart for years to come. It’s a must read with a cup of coffee always within your reach.
Liar’s Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce - This smart sequel to StarCrossed has everything a true fantasy lover wants; fantastic world building and undeniably great characters. Digger is an excellent female lead; she’s tough, a crime fighter and she does it all in a skirt! Plus, the ending and the romance are “AHHHHHHH!!!!” worthy.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – We love a unique story with twists and turns all throughout. We couldn’t get enough of the distinctive ability of Mara and the relationship she has with Noah. Gotta love a creepy book that makes you freak out when you read the last page and realize there’s a sequel. Ahhh!! Is it here yet? Is it here yet?
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt – We blogged about this awhile back, and still cannot get over it. It was a National Book Award Finalist, and since we haven’t read the winner so we can’t say for sure, but we don’t know how any other book could blow us out of the water more than this one did. The story is so simple, yet the metaphors so rich — we love that this book isn’t about a major epic life ordeal, but tells a damn good story that made us laugh out loud and cry cathartically.