Best of 2011: YA books

This post is part of Sarah Enni‘s Best of 2011 Blog Circus. Up today: the top five YA books released this year.

I read just over 50 books this year. Only about half of those were released in 2011, so know that I’m not selecting from a super large pool. But even still, these books did something to me. Floored me, slayed me, shocked me, moved me. They made me feel in ways that other books did not.

My top 5 favorite YA books of 2011

#5
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE was so gorgeous and so very different. It was one of those books that took unexpected, unconventional turns, but I enjoyed every second of it. From my original review:

I’m not going to lie, this book was weird. Like, super weird. There were several times where I found myself mumbling “what?” – not because I was confused, but simply because I did not see a twist or plot device coming and had no clue how it would play into the story and tie up in a neat bow at the end. But one thing I decided upon early one was this: I trusted Laini. I think this comes back to what a fantastic writer she is. No matter how weird things got on the page, I knew I was along for the ride, and I had complete faith that everything would come full circle. And it did.

 

#4
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

What a perfect sequel. The stakes are raised, the story is just as compelling, the emotions just as strong. From my original review:

I don’t know how it is possible, but I think I might have liked this even more than IF I STAY. Adam’s situation is so achingly real. Mia’s recovery as well. And watching their journey come together over the course of a night in NYC is magical. I didn’t cry (surprising, since I bawled during IIS), but this book moved me to no end.

 

#3
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

I loved this book so very much. It is a fast-paced, action-adventure thriller, and putting this book down to do things like sleep, or go to work, proved difficult. From my original review:

[This] is one heck of an adventure. Dusty dunes and cage fighting, boats that sail on sand and parched lake-beds that need crossing, not to mention a brilliant cast of characters and a heart-pounding, action-filled finish. Saba is an incredible character with some terrible flaws, and while this book is heavily plot focused, her growth does not go unnoticed. She starts out with a singular goal of finding her brother, and while this goal never falters as she travels, she learns to open up to others for the first time in her life – the younger sister she has always blamed for the death of her mother, the Free Hawks, a group of revolutionaries that get her out of a pickle, and Jack, a boy that is perhaps a bit too handsome for how long he holds her gaze. Read this so we can gush about it together. Please?

 

#2
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Is it possible to talk about this book without swooning over fictional characters? Absolutely not. This book was pure gold. From my original review:

Somehow, this book managed to make me seventeen again, pining over [Cricket], dissecting everything he said, decoding every glance or shoulder shrug…Cricket is a tall, gangly tinker-er, making odd contraptions and inventions all while wearing pants that never fall quite as long as they should. He is also so darn sweet it will break your heart. Every time Cricket or Lola were on the page together I sat there smirking and thinking, kiss! kiss! How does Perkins do this to me?…I spent a solid five days after reading this book replaying the ending in my head and smiling to myself. I am a permanent fan from here on out. Stephanie, keep writing these, please? I will read every last one.

 

#1
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It is not possible for me to talk coherently about this book. It was my favorite read of 2011 for a variety of reasons, but mainly because Sean + Corr = magic beyond words. I’ve recommended this book to pretty much anyone who will listen, and even gave away a copy of it on my blog. I just keep thinking about it, even now, weeks after having finished it. It is one of the most beautiful and magical books I have ever read. From my original review:

This book slayed me. It cut my heart out of my chest and left me breathless. What an absolutely beautiful story about love and sacrifice and the things that bind us together…Corr and Sean made my heart break. Puck and her horse, Dove, are lovely as well, but the sacrifice and love and undeniable connection shared between Sean and his steed makes me consider if the saying “man’s best friend” should be extended beyond dogs and into the realm of horses…This book had me in tears. Big, shameless, happy-bittersweet-heartbreaking tears. I. Love. This. Book.

Also, I think it is worth showing my status updates on goodreads while I read this tale, not only because they are somewhat comical, but because they far too accurately illustrate my immense love for this book:

So THE SCORPIO RACES gets my vote for “Best YA Book of 2011,” hands down. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should. So. Much. Awesome.

What about you? What book released in 2011 was your favorite read?

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