Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best Books of 2011

I'm a bit late in posting my list this year (I always try to post on New Years Eve) but making a best list is hard! This is my personal best of of the year list. I limited it to books released in 2011, but have another list for "older" books. These are my personal favorites of the year:

Best Books of 2011

10. Recovery Road by Blake Nelson-A realistic and heartbreaking (and still hopeful) look at life after rehab. This was a read in one sitting book for me. The characters stuck with me and I was investing in Maddie's recovery.

9. Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker-This is a story about faith, first love, and searching written in a wonderfully realistic way. I was impressed with the story and the characters and again, it's a book that stuck with me.I wish all books featuring religion were this balanced.

8. Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt-Blending humor, romance and serious family drama, this was a book that I read, then immediately booktalked to all my teens. It's heartfelt and hilarious at the same time-plus it has an adorable romance with one of the best scenes ever (when they're in the Revolutionary War bunkers-too cute!)

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth-There were a lot of dystopian novels out this year, but Divergent is one of my favorites. The story is engrossing,  I wanted to know more about the world Tris was in, and I connected with the characters. There are some truly haunting scenes that make this a creepy dystopian and I was hooked. Plus, no love triangle!! (Thank You Veronica Roth!!)

6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano-Even though Wither is a dystopian future, the novel had a historical feel to it which I really liked. It was the perfect read after my Downton Abbey obession and it combined my weird fascination with the sister wives thing. Plus it added it lots of mystery and questions and I was hooked. I can't wait to find out what happens!

5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman-It's the sequel I didn't know I needed yet Gayle Forman knew I needed to read. Revisiting with Adam and Mia was wonderful and heartwrenching. This book is emotional! There was a magic moment where I wasn't sure what I thought and then suddenly everything clicked and I needed to know more and I needed Adam and Mia together.

4. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King-A.S. King is amazing! Who else could combine a POW/MIA grandfather that's visited in dreams, animal-like parents, crazy aunts, ninja girls, bullies, and party ants and make it work in a way that you never want to put the novel down? It sounds like a crazy premise, but it works and the way everything weaves together is wonderful!

3. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin-This is my guilty pleasure book of 2011! It's the "curl up in a bubble bath, eat chocolate, drink wine and read this book" book. I was hooked on the gangster style future and there's just enough mystery and romance to keep me wanting more.

2. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick-Of course I'm going to love any book that references my favorite book, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! But more than that, the parallel plotlines weave together in an almost magical way and the illustrations are top notch. A wonderful amazing book that took my breath away.

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor-Lush, gorgeous writing, an imaginative world, and an inventive take on starcrossed lovers. I was hooked on this book from page one. I want to live in the world that Laini Taylor creates. The characters all seem so real and it's one of those books that puts you in a "reading fog" (you know, where you have to adjust to the real world for a moment after you stop reading). A fantastic book-I'm ready for more!

Best Books Read That Were Published before 2011

5. What Happens in London by Julia Quinn-I rarely read adult fiction, but I read this for my adult lit class and laughed so hard. It's a very, very funny regency romance. I recomended it many friends who also enjoyed it.

4. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool-OK, Newbery Committee, you picked a good book!

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King-Like I said, A.S. King equals amazing! Plus, any book where the father/daughter remind me of Keith and Veronica Mars, I'm sold.

2. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John-Why did I not read this sooner? Fantastic book about coming into yourself, music, friendship, family, and what it takes to make a band.

1. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson-LOVED this book! One of my new favorite romances, this will be a book I turn to and read again when I need something to cheer me up. Amy and Roger's romance must last, because if it doesn't, I will cry. I laughed and even cried a bit through this one and it was a great romance that had so much more.


  1. Great list :) Five Flavors of Dumb was one of my favorites too! I really need to read A.S. King's books, I've heard they're awesome!

  2. Geez oh Pete - I haven't read a truly great book in way too long, and there are SO MANY books on these lists that I want to read!! For the record, I did just recently finish All These Things I've Done, but now I really wish I'd read at least a few chapters in the bathtub while eating chocolate :)

  3. These all sound so good, but my poor TBR pile is already so big. I think, I'm just going to have to take a reading sabbatical.

  4. I love seeing love for Sean Griswold's Head! Such a great book. Also, I definitely need to get Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

  5. Oh yay, you liked Moon Over Manifest too! It seems to be hit or miss for a lot of people-- but it was a hit for me. :)

  6. Wither has been on my radar (and my Nook!) forever. So need to get to that. Love that you pulled out a historical feel...hadn't seen it described that way. Also, eyeing up Five Flavors of Dumb...I'm just waiting for it to come back into the library!

  7. I LOVED "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour!" It was one of the first young adult books I read, and I stumbled across while scanning the shelf at the library. I bought my own copy and it is on my shelf waiting for a second reading down the line :) I will definitely have to check out the other books you mentioned, as well.

  8. I'm such a big fan of Gabrielle Zevin that I'm almost embarrassed about not reading All These Things I've Done, yet. This is a great list!

  9. I swear, we have identical reading preferences! I just finished FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB a couple weeks ago...and adored it. I had the same reaction: "How in the world did I not discover this sooner?!" Of course, my previous job may be to blame - I'm still playing catch-up on the last two years of books... 8-)

    And you worded it perfectly re: WHERE I WENT: "It's the sequel I didn't know I needed." Heck, yes.

    And WITHER hasn't come on my radar until now...but your "Downton Abbey" reference sold me. Downloading it now...

    I'm starting to get awards announcement fever!

  10. Great list. I really liked Wonderstruck too. The story was so well done.

  11. I've seen and heard about Wither - your mentioning Downton Abbey made me finally request it!

  12. YES! I loved Amy & Roger; it's one of the very few 5-star ratings I've given since I started blogging. And *Where She Went* (another 5-star read!) and *Divergent* are in my 2011 top ten also. *Daughter of Smoke and Bone* and *Everybody Sees the Ants* are still languishing at home in my TBR pile.

  13. I'm a big fan of Five Flavors of Dumb, too. I reviewed it on my blog and it was one of my highest-rated posts of 2011.


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