Monday, December 26, 2011

My 2011 YA Favorites

Putting together my list of favorite books this year was harder than I thought. I have a tendency to overweight the books I've read recently, so in the interest of fairness, I'm listing them alphabetically by title. I'd been hoping to come up with a list of 10, but after a couple days of winnowing, I think we're going to have to go with a top 20.

Across the Universe
by Beth Revis
January 2011

Amazing! There are no words.

by Courtney Allison Moulton
February 2011

Bad-ass heroine! I loved this one.
by Sophie Flack
October 2011

It's about the super-competitive world of ballet, but it's not your typical anorexic ballerina book. Loved it.
Darker Still
by Leanna Renee Hieber
Sourcebooks Fire
November 2011

It really takes you to another magical era. It's insta-love, but it works.

by Lauren Oliver
February 2011

Loved that this book was set in Portland, Maine. Fantastic dystopian.

The Demon Trapper's Daughter
by Jana Oliver
St. Martin's Griffin
February 2011

Set in Atlanta, Georgia! In and around some of my favorite neighborhoods: Little 5 Points, Oakland Cemetery. Awesome.

by Pam Bachorz
Egmont USA
January 2011

A weird, weird book that really makes you think!

by Ann Aguirre
Feiwel and Friends
April 2011

I didn't think I was going to love this dystopian as much as I did, but it swept me away.
The False Princess
by Eilis O'Neal
Egmont USA
January 2011 

The lost princess trope turned on it's head - turns out this princess is secretly a peasant. You know I wouldn't rave about this one unless she also had secret magical powers, of course!
Hurricane Dancers
by Margarita Engle
Holt, Henry & Co.
March 2011

Historical fiction, narrative poetry. So well done.
Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
February 2011

Heartbreaking refugee story told in narrative poetry style.

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance
by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
Walker Books for Young Readers
February 2011

Clever and funny, with lots of Shakespeare sneakily worked in.

A Long, Long Sleep
by Anna Sheehan
August 2011

Wow! Science-fiction Rapunzel, but more than that, it's about how to recover from having a crazy family and find the people in the world who care about you.
Lost Voices 
by Sarah Porter 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's 
July 2011

I've been obsessed with mermaids for years, and am so glad that mermaids are becoming a trend. This story, about a group of dysfunctional, cruel teenage mermaids is the cream of the crop.
Red Glove
by Holly Black
Margeret K. McElderry
April 2011

A stunning sequel to White Cat! Can't wait for the third in this trilogy.
by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Amulet Books
April 2011

I read this book by accident, having actually been recommended a book by the same name by Dan Santat. This ended up being one of my favorites of the year! And I discovered a new author, Jack D. Ferraiolo, who is offbeat and hilarious. I, for one, welcome our robot clone King of Paraguay overlords!

by Cynthia Hand
January 2011

Here's another book that took me by surprise - it was so much more stunning than I expected.

The Vespertine
by Saundra Mitchell
Harcourt Children's Books
March 2011

Terrific historical fantasy.

by Lauren deStefano
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
March 2011

Incredible dystopian! I can't wait to find out what happens next!
Words in the Dust
by Trent Reedy
Arthur A. Levine Books
January 2011

A moving tale about the struggles of a disfigured girl in Afghanistan.


  1. I read a few of those myself, and I totally agree with you regarding Holly Black--she's great!

  2. I love Bunheads too. It felt very real - probably because it was a fictionalized autobiography. I liked that the author didn't always portray her protag in the best light. Cattiness feels real among girls some time.

  3. @ Crowe - It's funny, because Holly Black is hit or miss for me, but I love this series so far. I can only predict a tragic ending! Her characters seem so doomed. Doesn't matter, I want to read it anyway.

    @ Alison - Yeah! It was catty - but not in that ABC Afterschool Special fake way. Felt really, really real. Loved that book. Pursuing a career in the arts in L.A. for over a decade, so very much of that "frenemies" relationship between the girls rang so true. Great book.

  4. You were the one who first interested me in Enclave when you posted a trailer; I loved it! And I'm about halfway through Inside Out and Back Again right now and find myself only reading a few pages at a time, trying to back it last...



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