Just popping back in long enough to put up the obligatory blogger’s year-end “Best of” list… so without further adieu, I give you the best books I read in 2011.
These may not necessarily be titles printed in 2011. Some even come out in 2012. You know me, I jump around. These are all Young Adult titles.
KRYS’S 2011 TOP PICKS
1. Blood Magic – Tessa Gratton. I’m sure this one surprises no one. This book is so good it inspired a year-long reading challenge on the blog. It sizzles, it’s radiant. It’s everything right. It’s awesome contemporary Southern Gothic Young Adult romance… etc. etc. It’s gritty and it’s real and has a pretty damn good love story too. I was annoyed I had to do other things while reading this. I love Silla and I love Nicholas even more.
2. Cinder – Marissa Meyer. Hot off the presses is Meyer’s debut book, the first in a series based on fairy tales. I love how jaded and real Meyer’s Cinderella is. Cinder is an ideal heroine for young women to be reading in this age of drippy female leads. Cinder is all strength, and quick wit, and spunk, and sardonic mouth, and action. She is the kind of character who gets business done and takes names later. I absolutely adored this character and I loved how Meyer maneuvered her story within the story.
3. Divergent – Veronica Roth. I could throw the entirety of a thesaurus at this book for words that mean extraordinary… but I’m not going to. Suffice it to say it’s amazing. Dystopian novels in the wake of The Hunger Games are hit or miss. Some are great, some are not. This one is worth the hype.
4. A Touch Mortal/A Touch Morbid – Leah Clifford. Mortal is one of the strangest books I have ever read. I went into this knowing very little about the plot other than it is “very dark” and about fallen angels. Ok, I’ll bite… how is it about fallen angels? Well…. it is…and it isn’t. It is, however, a great book. And the sequel, which releases February 28, 2012, is equally good.
5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor. I fell utterly, madly in love with this book… this story is, for all intents and purposes, shocking. And beautiful. I can’t really even begin to describe it as it is one of the oddest mythologies I have ever come across in any series, let alone a YA novel. It’s completely its own unique masterpiece. I’m a little in awe of this book. It’s breathtaking.
6. Wither/Fever – Lauren DeStefano. The premise is pretty interesting. Rhine lives in a not-too-distant future where Males only survive to their 25th year, and Females live to be 20. This changes the dynamics of puberty and marriage, which quickly blur to be one in the same. It’s an intense and fabulous book and Fever, which releases February 21, 2012, is even better.
7. Incarnate – Jodi Meadows. Ana lives in Range where people are reborn over and over again. With each rebirth memories are stored in the consciousness fostering a close-knit community within the people. Ana is the first to be born a Newsoul, a person with no former lives and consciousness. Ana is an exceptional heroine. I fell into place with her as the narrator very quickly… and I ridiculously, ardently, stupidly adore Sam, the older soul who is helping her navigate things. *Releasing January 31, 2012.
8. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi. I won’t ruin this for the lot of you with an over spoiled description. Rest assured, it develops into Dystopian awesomeness with a nifty science fiction/superhero edge… and a really creepy villain… like, top-notch creep. Like, haunt your dreams kind of creep. The story itself feels a little X-men, Juliette herself is very Rogue. However, Juliette’s back story is something else entirely. There are moments in her history that are really evocative, sad and sharp. She feels completely alone in a world where no one wants her.
9. Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake. Amazing reading. It’s the sort of book that comes along once in a while and lights up the imagination like an atomic bomb. I read it as fast as I could, all shudders and creepies running up and down my spine. I half expected that Anna was standing behind me breathing eddies down my neck while I was reading. She’s magnificently described – all ichor and veins and sensual tendrils of hair. Equally charismatic is our hero Cas, who spends the entirety of the book tilting at windmills like an avenging dragoon. His journey through this is fascinating. And gory.
10. Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson. Elisa is the second Princess in the kingdom of Orovalle. She has spent her years devoted to religious studies of the Scriptura Sancta. Due to a religious prophecy Elisa was endowed on her naming day with a Godstone in her navel, the sign of the chosen one of God. Elisa’s journey is captivating and remarkable. The religious mythos that Carson has created is layered, and complex, and engrossing. It’s very rich, and very, very addictively readable.
Also, because I know you people will ask, I read mostly young adult this year. The dozen odd titles I ACTUALLY FINISHED that were not YA and were Adult didn’t generate enough to warrant consideration into the best of. However, if you haven’t read Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan books I suggest you run out to your local, independent bookstore and purchase a copy of Storm Born. Oh, and I finished the Weather Warden book by Rachel Caine. Pick one of those up as well, the first book is called Ill Wind.
Aurian by Maggie Furey is quite good too, but alas it is long out of print. Good luck!
– Follow the Reader –