Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest DAY ONE

Today’s the day, the day I’ve been looking forward to for WEEKS!

Today is the first day of the The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest, a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements, hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me. The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest will span four days, beginning today and culminating this Friday, December 30th.

Hopefully you’ve already signed up to participate, but if you haven’t, that’s okay! Just draft today’s post (you can find the topics listed below or on the original post) and then scroll to the bottom of THIS post and add your link to the link list.

We can’t wait to drop by your blog and read about your Class of 2011 selections!

And speaking of selections, here are mine for Day One:

Head of the Class…

I’ve read SO MANY amazing 2011 YA books this year! Here they are, in no particular order:

Crossed, The Future of Us, Hushed, Want to Go Private?, The Scorpio Races, The Pledge, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Chain Reaction, Forgotten, Notes From the Blender, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Ripple, Hourglass, A Need So Beautiful, Chime, The Day Before, Forever, Moonglass, Beauty Queens, Boyfriends With Girlfriends, Forbidden, Wither, Divergent, Invincible Summer, Trapped, Where She Went, We’ll Always Have Summer, Cryer’s Cross, Across the Universe, Desires of the Dead, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Imaginary Girls, and The Liar Society

And here are the best of that bunch, categorized by genre:

Favorite Dystopian: Veronica Roth’s Divergent came to mind immediately. Still, I made myself scan back through all the dystopians I’ve read this year–there were several!–and… yep. Divergent was my absolute favorite. The world-building is fascinating, Tris and Four are compelling, and the pace is gripping and swift. Cannot wait for the follow-up, Insurgent. Honorable Mention: Crossed, a quiet mid-trilogy book with stunning writing and fantastic character development.

Favorite Science Fiction: I’m not usually sci-fi reader, and I know this one is fairly light, but I’m a big  fan of Across the Universe by Beth Revis. The first chapter was absolutely riveting. With each page I turned, I marveled at the detail of the Godspeed and the compassion I felt for Amy, Elder, and everyone else cooped up on that ship. The twists and layered mystery unfold masterfully.

Favorite Fantasy: I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy Franny Billingsley’s Chime (it’s sort of confusing, initially, and VERY fantastical), but I heeded the reviews of some taste-making friends and oh-my-goodness I adored this book. It features some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve encountered, and heroine Briony is absolutely lovable. Plus, Eldric… Yes, please!

Favorite Contemporary: Where She Went was the follow-up I was most looking forward to this year, and also the book I was most terrified to read. I loved If I Stay so much that the thought of a sequel tainting its perfection made me anxious. Turns out my fears were unfounded. Gayle Forman is brilliant. She took Adam and Mia’s story exactly where I wanted it to go, and she threw in a few surprises too. Plus, the end… Oh, the end!

Favorite Action/Adventure: Jus Accardo’s Touch could fit into the paranormal romance or mystery categories too, but one of the things I love most about this book is its exhilarating pace and constant sense of impending doom. Main character Dez is tough and hilarious, and love interest Kale is all kinds of tortured and adorable.

Favorite Historical Fiction: Eek… Cheater Alert! I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t read a historical fiction published in 2011 during 2011. I did read Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution (pubbed in 2010), though, and while not strictly historical, it is AMAZING. That’s why I’m breaking the rules to recommend it.

Favorite Comedy: I usually like my books serious, dark, and, um, turn-your-heart-inside-out depressing. But Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook was a pleasant change of pace. It literally made me laugh out loud. Death metal fan Declan should have been off-putting, but he was so freaking funny I couldn’t help but find him endearing. He has some of the best one-liners I’ve read. Honorable Mention: Beauty Queens. Obviously.

Notes from the Blender
Favorite Mystery: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann was a mystery with a dash of horror and a sprinkle of romance, and it was excellent. I actually had to stop reading more than once because I was home alone at night and totally spooked. There’s something very atmospheric about this book, something that leaves you feeling isolated and at risk. I still get chills thinking about the end. Honorable Mentions: Imaginary Girls, because for a good chunk of the book, I didn’t know what the heck was going on with Chloe and Ruby, but I sure was desperate to find out, and The Liar Society because it was chock full of suspense.

Cryer's Cross

Favorite Romance: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins has everything a fantastic romance should, times ten! A girl you can’t help but root for? Check. A boy who’s flawed but irresistible? Check. Countless obstacles standing in the way of our dream couple? Check. A setting that makes you want to hop on a plane? Check. That longing, hopeful, can’t-live-without-him vibe? Check, check, check! Honorable Mention: Desires of the Dead. I ♥ Jay and Violet.

Favorite Paranormal Romance: I’m not entirely sure how to classify Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races, but I do know that it most definitely belongs on my Best of 2011 list. The magical water horses fit into the paranormal realm, and while the romance is light, it’s definitely a factor, so… Favorite Paranormal Romance it is. This book was beautiful and intense and threatened to shred my heart more than once. I was completely and utterly romanced by Thisby and Sean and Corr and Puck and The Scorpio Races.

Favorite Family Drama: Jessi Kirby’s debut, Moonglass, is lovely. It’s set on the beach, protagonist Anna is vibrant and likable, and the issues she faces concerning her family are relatable yet heart-wrenching. Plus, love interest Tyler is, in a word, hot. Moonglass‘s ending is one of those that comes together in a way that’s surprising but entirely perfect.

Favorite Genre Bender: Daughter of Smoke and Bone completely blew me away. It’s part urban fantasy, part romance, and part paranormal, and it’s one of my newest all-time-favorite books. Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous, and the way she crafted her world and her characters… enviable. The ending is a little abrupt, but honestly, it just made me crave the sequel even more!

So, what do you think of my Head of the Class list? Did any of your selections match mine?

And if you’re participating in the Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest, please click on the image below to drop your link:


34 thoughts on “Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest DAY ONE

  1. Sophia Richardson says:

    If I’d had to choose a dystopian published this year (ruling out my two choices of The Hunger Games and Uglies), I would have had Divergent as my choice with AtU in the sci-fi slot like you. I’m seeing a lot of Where She Went votes, but I didn’t love If I Stay as much as other people obviously did– maybe the hype surrounding the book made me expect too much. Lola‘s getting a lot of love too, but I only just got Anna for Christmas! And I so can’t wait to read The Scorpio Races when it gets to my library: I loved the atmosphere of Shiver, and I keep wanting to set a story on a dramatic coastline. Fun to read and I can call it research! And a thousand times yes to DoSaB– love love love Laini Taylor. Her imagination and her gorgeous prose kill me.

    • katyupperman says:

      Sophia, I liked SHIVER a lot, but oh-my-goodness did SCORPIO totally blow it out of the water. SO amazing! Same with ANNA… Adored it, but LOLA = Loved it intensely. Actually, same with WHERE SHE WENT… I wonder why I’m loving all these follow-ups so much more? And yes, Laini Taylor is brilliant!

  2. Kitty says:

    I’m seeing “Divergent” and “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” popping up all over the place! 🙂 Definitely two of my favorites this year. Sadly, I have three books that I will likely finish in the next three weeks that probably belong on the “Best of 2011” lists – but I can’t claim them yet. (Does having them on my “promise I’ll read them really soon” list count?) I’m in the middle of “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare and my daughter got “Crossed” (finished it in one sitting yesterday) and “Scorpio Races” for Christmas – so I’ll be getting through those soon! Looks like I have lots more to add to my list, too. Thanks for co-hosting this, Katy. What fun!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks for joining in, Kitty! I’m having a blast hopping around and reading everyone’s recommendations. I loved both CROSSED and SCORPIO, and I hope you do too. Santa was good to your daughter (and you too!). 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I know! Can’t wait for INSURGENT! I hope you love SMOKE AND BONE. It’s one of my all-time faves now, and I don’t normally like fantasy much! Laini Taylor is brilliant!

    • katyupperman says:

      I noticed that when I was hopping around too! I had a hard time organizing my choices into the different genres; there were so many crossovers! I like that though, clearly. There’s so much room for creativity.

  3. Katharine Owens says:

    Great list- I have not read nearly as many books pubbed this year as you have– but some of these I know the authors and love them, or I have these and am waiting to dive in. I’m 100% in agreement on DoSaB. What a fab book. This reminds me, I’ve got to make my husband read it!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    What a great list of books! I’m still trying to convince everyone I know to read DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. REVOLUTION is on its way to my apartment–I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Rida says:

    I LOVE your list! I loved Divergent, and Revolution, and Across the Universe, and… yeah, almost every book on this list. And I’m SO happy that you read and loved Chime, too. It might just be my favourite book of 2011. I’m a fan of Eldric, too 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      CHIME is definitely among my top five of the year. I absolutely ADORE that book, and I wish more people would read it. You clearly have exceptional taste, Rida. 🙂

  6. Krispy says:

    I know exactly what you mean about the Scorpio Races! I just read it and loved it! While I was working on my post for the blogfest, I didn’t know where to put it, but I knew it had to go somewhere because it is a book I absolutely adore! 🙂 I ended up putting it under Genre Bender (Daughter of Smoke & Bone was my Fantasy pick). I was creeped out by Cryer’s Cross too, though it didn’t make my list, and Across the Universe was the ONLY YA Sci-Fi I read this year! I’m sad I didn’t cheat with the Historical Fiction because I read one this year that was published in 2009, but it was so good! It was A Brief History of Montmaray.

    I’m so excited to read Where She Went now. It’s on my TBR list, but I didn’t get to it. I think part of it was because like you, I loved If I Stay and I wasn’t sure what to expect from Where She Went. So it’s reassuring to read that you loved the 2nd book too!

    • katyupperman says:

      I haven’t heard of A Brief History of Montmaray, but I’ll definitely check it out. I’m always on the lookout for awesome historical fiction. And definitely read WHERE SHE WENT. I loved it even more than IF I STAY, which surprised me. Let me know what you think. 🙂

  7. Sophia Chang says:

    I finally got Chime for Christmas – I remember reading the first line at Krispy’s house and exclaiming, “I love it already!”

  8. Erin Bowman says:

    I am not at all surprised by your fabulous taste in books 😉 We had a ton of cross-over in our picks. I really need to pick up CHIME, though. I keep hearing so many great things about it.

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, yes! I hope you check out CHIME. I bet you’ll love it as much as I do. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. You’ll hear lots more about it as the week progresses. 🙂

  9. Juliana Haygert says:

    Nice, nice choices!
    Didn’t read all of the books you mentioned, but most are on my TBR list.
    I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone three days ago and can’t stop thinking about it.

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