Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm sorry, I can't hear you... and my TOP READS of 2011!

The thing you need to understand is I have abnormally small ears.  Like tiny child ears.  I mean they work and everything (usually), but I still get ear infections (yes, as an adult) and they tend to get all clogged up. In a bizarre medical mishap on Thursday, my ear drum suffered some trauma as it was being irrigated and I have lost the hearing in my left ear.  I believe this will be temporary.  There was also a lot of pain and some embarrassing sobbing as I drove home, but after two days of being confined to bed with dizziness and pain, I have made it to the couch and am ready to share my favorite reads from 2011!!

In no particular order, here are the ten best YA/MG books I read for the first time in 2011:

Withering Tights (Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, #1)
1. WITHERING TIGHTS by Louise Rennison 
I LOVE LOVE her books.  In this one, she introduces a new main character, the adorable younger cousin of Georgia Nicolson, Tallulah Casey.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)
The scariest book I have read in years.  I had to sleep with the light on.  The two sequels were fantastic as well. All three are must reads.

Divergent (Divergent, #1)
3. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.
A champion entry into the dystopian genre.  Tris was one of my favorite female characters of the year.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Just so good.  So good.  I laughed and cried (a lot of both).

Anna and the French Kiss
5. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
As I mentioned in my previous post, this was my favorite contemporary novel of the year (yes, I know it came out in 2010, but I just read it).  The characters and romance were terrific.

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)
6. BORN AT MIDNIGHT by C.C. Hunter
This and its sequel (AWAKE AT DAWN) were my favorite paranormal books of 2011 by a landslide.  This was one of those novels that I finished and immediately turned to page one to start again.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
7. WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan
This book got its hooks into my heart in chapter one and held tight the entire way through.

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)
8. THE SON OF NEPTUNE by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is the boy I wish I knew in middle and high school. I could not contain my happiness that he returned in this new series.

9. SHELTER by Harlan Coben
My favorite mystery of 2011, by one of my favorite adult novelists- the masterful Harlan Coben.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls, #2)Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls, #3)
10. THE GALLAGHER GIRL novels by Ally Carter
Okay, so this is cheating, but these four books were my FAVORITE overall of 2011 and since they are a series, I am combining them for one spot on my list.  I am counting the days until the 5th book in this series debuts in March!!

So, those are my favorites, if you haven't posted yours- feel free to leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of 2011- Best YA Contemporary: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
Just right this second I decided I will join my fellow bloggers in setting out my favorites of 2011 (meaning when I read them, not necessarily when they were released), and I will start with my hands-down favorite contemporary novel.

It had been so long since I had read a truly wonderful truly contemporary (i.e. no paranormal, no dystopian, no fantasy, no mystery) YA novel, until I finally bought Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS a couple of weeks ago.  What can I say, but j'adore! I have recounted here that although I myself am an over-recommender, I often get resistant to reading books that are continually recommended to me (especially when its my dad doing the recommending- sorry dad, no excuse) and so although this book had been on my "to-read" list for the better part of the year, I didn't actually pick it up until December.

And I'm an idiot.  Books are lauded for a reason and this one was no different.

I loved this book.  To quote my sister, "I am so in love with St. Clair, I feel like I'm cheating."  This was everything that is wonderful about contemporary fiction and exactly what I feel like I've been missing since Steve Kluger's MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR several years ago.  The characters, and most importantly their dialogue, felt so real and I was desperately involved with them from the opening pages.  All of the relationships- friendships, familial, and romantic were done perfectly.  And like my sister I can add Etienne St. Clair to the list of characters residing in my heart.

What were your contemporary favorites in 2011?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Ava's Holiday Gift

This is my first time participating in YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday! The prompt today is "What would be the ideal holiday present for your main character?" 

So, my main character is Ava from AN UNEXPECTED KINGDOM. She is a sixteen year-old who spends the first part of the book as a high school sophomore and the second part of the book as a sword-fighting savior of an entire country.  Clearly her gift requests from one year to the next would be pretty different.  As a result I am going to answer twice, once for Ava pre-destiny revelations and once for Princess Avanyarra (the fancey name for Ava after she goes to Leel). 
Pride and Prejudice

Ava's Gift:  First edition of Pride & Prejudice.  Since her mom and dad would not have the $85,000.00 that one went for, she would settle for this pretty cloth-bound version from Anthropologie.

Avanyarra's Gift:  Strong but flexible gloves to help protect against those pesky sword-related calluses (no link available!).