For the last couple of years, I have painstakingly agonized over reviewing all of the books that I read that year and carefully chose one great book for many, many different genres or categories. This year, I'm simplifying!
I realized the other day that I already had a great system in place for my "best of" choices... my GOLD STAR reviews! Duh. LOL.
So, without further ado, and in order only by alphabetizing the title (not reflective of one being chosen over another), here is my BEST OF 2011 list:
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Adult Epic Fantasy - Martin is a master storyteller! He manages to weave a huge amount of characters and storylines together, seemingly effortlessly, to create a whole new, intriguing, and compelling world.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
YA Romance/Realistic Fiction - Her debut novel blew so many people away! Perkins is the only author with not only two books on my list, but they are her *only* two books! Phenomenal. Anyway, the Parisian setting, the swoon-worthy boy, the realistic emotional journey... this book is a winner.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
YA Realistic Fiction/Satire - So, so ridiculously funny! This book is the perfect satire of everything our society has become known for, plus it has reality TV pirates, exploding makeup, and girls who learn that they can kick butt. Awesome.
Clarity by Kim Harrington
YA Mystery - Fast paced and compelling. Fern's psychic perspective was so fascinating. I couldn't put this one down...so looking forward to Perception!
Darkness Becomes Her Kelly Keaton
YA Dystopia - The Setting. OMG, the setting. Lush, creepy New Orleans. Creepy characters, creepy society, creepy setting, I COULD NOT put this book down. Literally. One sitting - done.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopia - This, this is the next best dystopia after The Hunger Games. I can't wait for the follow up, to see what Tris does next. Excellent.
Everfound by Neal Shusterman
YA Dystopia - The finale of a phenomenally done trilogy. Shusterman manages to raise so many fantastic moral questions and totally sucks readers into his characters' (after)lives.
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
YA Science Fiction- Time travel romance. Need I say more? This one had me sighing as I read. (Though more for the secondary guy character... don't tell!)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
YA Romance/Realistic Fiction - Perkins' sophomore novel proves that she is a master at romance. I liked this one even better than the first. The characters are phenomenal and unique!
New York to Dallas by J. D. Robb
Adult Murder Mystery - I love this series hard. Robb not only creates fascinating murder mysteries, but also has a whole world of character development going on outside of the murders. Eve and Roarke's relationship scorches readers right off the pages. This particular book in the series delves deeper into Eve's past and had me bawling. SO GOOD!
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
YA Historical Fiction - The companion to The Wednesday Wars, Schmidt does an even better job here! Doug is a character that will pull at your heartstrings, and you will cheer him on the whole way through.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
YA Historical Fiction - The biggest tearjerker on my list this year. A phenomenal blend of information about the French Revolution and the angst and grief of a girl who has lost her little brother. Wow.
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
YA Science Fiction - A zombie book that is full of heart. The frontier setting made for a great "western" feel. The characters were phenomenally well drawn. This was another book that proves the zombie genre is not so much about the zombie attacks as it is the survivors.
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
YA Science Fiction - The ultimate in questioning what humans would be willing to do to survive. Suspenseful, compelling, heartbreaking...I was on the edge of my seat right until the very end.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
YA Fantasy - This book reminded me so strongly of my all time favorite book, Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. It has a strong, flawed heroine. It has a wonderfully well developed new fantasy world. It has an intriguing new religion. I'm thoroughly looking forward to book two!
Now, this is my list as of today. There are still a little under two weeks left in 2011. I may have to add a title, I'm not sure... We'll see.