The Compulsive Reader: Best Books of 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Books of 2011

Another year is done! I hope that you will have a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and that next year is full of great books. But before we move on to 2012, I thought it'd be fun to go back over the past year and pick out the best books of 2011. These are, of course, only my opinions, but they were surprisingly easy to pick out because these ten books were jsut so outstanding. If you haven't read any of them, then I highly encourage you to do so!

Here are the ten best books of 2011, in no particular order: 

This one is a no-brainer. Taylor's writing is beautiful and magical, and the plot of this gorgeous book is so full of twists and turns and unexpected developments. I can honestly say that I didn't anticipate a single thing in this book--Taylor surprised me every step of the way. This book is an excellent blend of fantasy, reality, and forbidden love.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I've come to love everything that Stiefvater writes, but I was especially charmed by the little island of Thisby and main characters Sean and Puck. This is such an imaginative and mystical book, similar to the world we know, yet apart from it at the same time. I was completely transported.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Sara Zarr's latest book really hit home for me. The story of two very different teen girls, connected by one unborn baby, is just so real and complicated and human. I loved how they struggled to let go of grief, searced for a place where they belong, and strve to do the right thing. How to Save a Life is a book that is as affecting and powerful as its deceptively simple title.

I am a huge fantasy fan, and Rae Carson's debut novel is one of the best fantasy books I've come across since I fell in love with Tamora Pierce and discovered Kristin Cashore. The heroine goes through a spectacular transformation from a shy, overweight, and dubious girl to a young woman who is strong and finds her courage. It's an excellent start to a trilogy, and I can't wait for the next book in 2012!

Stay by Deb Caletti

I'm a rather new fan of Deb Caletti's, and earlier this year I was completely taken with her latest book, Stay. The heroine, Clara, is very lost at the beginning of the book but she is resilient and strong. I loved Caletti's message in this book; sometimes we mess up, sometimes we lose our way. That doesn't mean that something is wrong with you, or that you can't move beyond your issues. As always, Caletti is inspiring without being preachy.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Asher and Mackler get a gold star for this awesome, awesome premise. But what makes this book really great is the relationship between main characters Emma and Josh, and the lessons they learn about the danger of trying to change a future that is uncertain and not taking advantage of today. This is a funny and optimistic book about learning to deal with things you can control and letting go of the things you have no power over.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Out of all of the books that have been published since dystopia became popular in YA, Divergent is the only one that measures up to The Hunger Games. Roth's fascinating and dangerous post-apocalyptic Chicago is an amazing setting, and the characters' journies are absorbing. I wasn't able to put this one down!
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Bray's books are kind of hit and miss with me, but oh my word, I LOVED Beauty Queens. It's such a hilarious allegory of the modern teenage culture. It's all about girl power without being preachy or cheesy, and there are pirates, explosives, and sparkly items. I dare you to try to put it down.
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

The title hooked me immediately with this book, and the premise--a girl living in 2083 NYC where coffee and chocolate are prohibited--sealed the deal. Main character Anya Balanchine wants nothing to do with the mob delaigns of her extended family, but she'll find that it's not so easy to avoid, especially when her past is already so intertwined with illegal dealings and violence. Zevin has written a fascinating and unique book here, and I can't wait for the sequel!

King is known for writing books that are different and a little wacky. I loved her last two books, The Dust of 100 Dogs and Please Ignore Vera Dietz, but I wasn't really sure abotu Everybody Sees the Ants. I am so, so glad I read it. It's such a real and personal book about a teen guy who has been bullied for half his life, and how he finds his courage in the most unlikely of places. Every teen should read this (and King's other books).

What are your favorite books of 2011?


Anonymous said...

Yay for Stay! :) Admittedly, I wasn't really blown away by the book, but it's good. It has good lessons.

Melanie said...

I've read two of these books, The Girl of Fire and Thorns and How To Save a Life. While neither of these books made my favorite list, I did enjoy reading them. I'm getting a copy of The Scorpio Races soon, and I'm very excited!

Ayuni said...

I try to find all of these books in Malaysia....

Anonymous said...


theres my top everything for the year yay!

awesome list hopefully I can get to divergent and the daughter of smoke and bone this coming year

Anonymous said...

This is cool, have you done this every year?

I really really loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone too!

Melanie said...

How many books did you read this year?