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 Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison 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.
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.
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: