As a pretty avid and addicted book reader, I’ve randomly decided to devise a list of the best and most memorable books I’ve read this year. Maybe you’ll find your new favourite book in this list, or a book will entice you and then we can both fangirl over the book together! No? Just me then.
These are the books that I consider to be the best I’ve read this year, in my opinion, and that have been published in 2011. Some are debut novels from authors or part of a spectacular series, so enjoy this list. It is in no particular order because choosing my favourite book of this year is like choosing which David Bowie song I love more; it’s not possible!
The first cab off the rank…
Possession by Elana Johnson
I found this book online through Amazon when I occasionally browse online for new books to pick up, and I was instantly intrigued. Being a huge fan of The Hunger Games, it resembles the ironclad fist government that is seen in THG, but that’s where the resemblances end. The novel follows the story of a girl named Vi, who lives in a government controlled world of ‘Thinkers’ who brainwash the population to prevent things such as uprising and rebellion. But Vi is a bit of a rule breaker, and knows that plugging into transmissions every night is continuously brainwashing everyone.
In this controlled environment, ‘Thinkers’ determine matches for every boy and girl to create perfect children, and Vi is paired with her best friend, Zen. Through her rebellious ways, she meets Jag, another rule breaker. What ensues is a love triangle, but that’s just one of the many plots in this amazing book.
As the story continues on, Vi has to run for her life with Jag, and together, they end up learning things about themselves that they never knew; they realise how powerful they truly are, and that this power, can defy the government.
I couldn’t put this book down, and when I had to, it was much too hard to depart from reading about this amazing world Elana Johnson has created. There are some big twists and turns in this book that left me gasping and in absolute shock. If I hadn’t borrowed it out from the library and owned it, I would read it again and again and again.
Recommended if you like: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Matched by Allie Condie, Akira, awesome sci-fi books and movies with romance and action.
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
This book is part of an amazing series by Cassandra Clare called The Infernal Devices which is a prequel series to The Mortal Instruments series which has kind of turned into a cult over the years. If you haven’t heard of either of these series, well, I don’t want to ruin the surprises for you if you intend to read them (which I hope you do because they are amazing!). But let me give you a run down of the books:
Both series of books follow the world of Shadowhunters, descendants of Angels (a technicality of this I’ll overlook so I don’t confuse you), designed to hunt and kill demons. The first series takes place in modern day New York City, but in this series, it is put into London circa the 1800s. Since the book has demons, it obviously has vampires, faeries, werewolves, and any other creepy fantasy creature you can think of, so it’s pretty fucking awesome. There’s even warlocks and witches! And of course, there’s love and romance. It’s fantasy and romance and action and cool shit all rolled into one!
Clockwork Prince is the second book in The Infernal Devices series and it did not disappoint. I had been waiting for this book for almost a year to come out so I could finally see what happens next, and honestly, it was such a huge shock to me. Cassandra Clare is an amazing writer and she had me gasping, sobbing, crying my eyes out, and laughing, all at the same time! It took me almost two days to get through this book because I had to take breaks to contain my sobbing/squeals (because I have no life and I love books and I get really attached to them).
If you want to read the first book of the series, Clockwork Angel, you can without having to read the first series, The Mortal Instruments.
Recommended if you like: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith, The Secret Circle series by L.J. Smith, The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and any fantasy/romance/action novel you can think of!
And carrying on with Cassandra Clare…
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Continuing on from what I’ve said above, The Mortal Instruments series focuses on modern day New York City, and the demon hunters of that city. As well as vampires, werewolves, faeries, witches, etc. It’s the fourth book of the series and there’s still two to go!
Just like Clockwork Prince, this book had me reading non-stop and continuously being shocked and surprised by the developments in plot and characters. The main romance is between Jace and Clary, and Simon, Isabella and Maya. And of course, Alec and Magnus, the resident gay couple.
I remember when my friend got me into these books. It feels like ages ago! I think I’ve been following the series since late 2009, and I can’t get enough.
There’s not much else to say about this book without ruining the previous books in the series, so if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments, I suggest you do with City of Bones. It’s also being made into a movie, the first book, with Lily Collins and Jamie Bower playing Clary and Jace, so I’m pretty fucking excited, even though it won’t come out until 2013!
Recc0mmended if you like: The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith, The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, The Secret Circle series by L.J. Smith, The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, hot brooding guys, and mystery/fantasy/action/romance all rolled into one!
Now, we move on to…
Divergent by Veronica Roth
So I literally just finished reading this book in the early hours of this morning because it was that good. I started reading at around 4pm yesterday afternoon and couldn’t stop reading; I just could not put it down. It was so addicting!
The story revolves around Beatice Prior, living in a city divided up into Factions. Factions contain people with different personality types that the government developed so everyone has their place, and personality traits that previously destroyed human society, are eradicated. In it, there is a tradition where teenagers from each Faction can change into a different Faction if they feel that they are better suited there. That is what Beatrice does, and from there, the plots erupts into a story about romance, love, the choices we have to make, and the consequences.
I went into this book having no idea what to expect, and came out at the end emotionally raw from all the crying and sobbing I did near the end of the book. It had such a tremendous impact on me. The chemistry between Tris and Four (I won’t put his real name here because that will give it away) is electric. I found Four to be so different from all the other male protagonists I’ve read in Young Adult novels.
Divergent also has a similar feel to The Hunger Games, with the different Factions and the fight of survival Tris goes through during the book, but I found it to also be significantly different, in a good way, with the characters and the concepts, and even the tragic scenes which had me sobbing. In The Hunger Games trilogy, there are a lot of deaths, some of which moved me to absolute tears, and with Divergent, I found myself sobbing so much more. I don’t know why, I just did. I always hate it when people compare The Hunger Games to anything because I’m such a huge fan, but I found that in Divergent, the stakes are so much higher because Tris is so different. Although Katniss Everdeen in THG is the symbol of the revolution, she was never different to anyone in anyway; she just knew how to survive pretty damn well. With Tris, it’s different; she never thought she could survive, and because she’s so different, she has to.
If there’s one book you should read from my list, read this book. I’m not recommending this just to fans of The Hunger Games because I don’t think anyone should be deprived of Veronica Roth’s amazing book. This is just the first book to the trilogy, with the next book, Invergent, coming out May 1 next year. Excited is just a tad emotion to what I’m feeling for that release.
Recommended if you like: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, Crossed by Ally Condie, Possession by Elana Johnson, and pretty much any dystopian romance novel/movie with kick ass action and suspense!
Next on the list…
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
So I brought this book on a whim during late night shopping, and when I read the blurb, I thought it would be a nice little cliche Y.A. lit story about losing someone you love and how you deal with it and get over it. It’s all those things and more.
The story revolves around Harper, who just lost her sister to a painful suicide. Her sister, June, dreamed of moving to California as soon as she graduated high school, which was a few weeks before she kicked the bucket. When Harper’s divorced parents receive the ashes, Harper decides to take them to California without her parents permission, like the teen rebel she is. That’s how she meets Jake; he was her sister’s friend, and he has a car, so he drives Harper and her best friend to California. That’s when all the mishap and adventures ensue.
This book has a lot of references to music; it even has playlists at the back that ties in with the story during different moments and I love that. I love it when authors use music in their novel to tie it all in with the characters and the plot. And since I’m a very big music-loving girl, this book is perfect to me. It’s poignant, but hilarious and awe-inspiring at the same time. Harper is sassy and opinionated, and there’s lots of swearing in it, so when reading this, I felt I could relate to Harper so much more.There’s a scene in the book that I particularly love which caught me off guard because of the word Hannah Harrington uses… and I loved it.
This novel, despite me making it sound cliche, is amazing. It’s not as cliche as you really think it would be. There were many surprises in it for me, both great and small. I really just love all the music references and the fact that the male and female protagonist both smoke. haha!
Recommended if you like: Any novels by Sarah Dessen, any novels by Meg Cabot, lots of music and you’re a music junkie, romance/love/drama/funny shit, The It Girl series by Cecily von Ziegescar, The Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegescar, any YA lit novels with swearing and nudity, just any YA lit really.
Speaking of Y.A. romance lit…
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is my favourite Young Adult, and overall, writer. I just love the way she writes and the characters she creates. Her stories all address different questions about things and they all answer them in different ways each time. The way she writes is how I want to write my novels one day. She just inspires me so much and I was so excited to read this book.
The story centres around Mclean, who constantly moves around with her father, and everywhere she goes, creates a different persona, reinventing herself. Then she meets her neighbour Dave and that’s pretty much the end. I’m kidding! There’s obviously a lot of things that happen in the book and I kind of want to keep it a secret if you’re a new Sarah Dessen fan, or you’ve never heard of her and want to read her books.
The story is just really… different. Not in a way like The Hunger Games or Divergent where the world is different and futuristic, but What Happened to Goodbye is different in the way Sarah tries to make every character unique and special. Every single time I read a Sarah Dessen book, I learn something new. I just love when an author can bring many new perspectives to a situation that might otherwise be black and white.
Sarah Dessen is such an inspiration. That’s all I’ll really say.
Recommended if you like: Good Young Adult literature books, any books by Meg Cabot, any novels by Cecily von Ziegescar, romance and drama.
And last, but not least…
Matched by Ally Condie
I didn’t expect much from this book. You know how they say never judge a book by it’s cover? Well, that’s what I do. I also judge books by their thickness. Nothing wrong with that; it’s just how I pick and read books. Needless to say, this novel took me by surprise.
The debut novel in a series by Ally Condie focuses on Cassia in a world where you have no say in anything really. The government chooses who you marry based on compatibility, your job, your food, what you do in your spare time; it’s very controlling. Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander, but when she puts in the data disk to find out more about him, another picture comes up of a boy named Ky. This causes Cassia to question what the government does, and why they get to choose who she can be with.
I know what you’re thinking: Ziggy, this sounds very similar to Possession crossed with Divergent! And, in some aspects, it is. All three books are based in a futuristic society after our current one was destroyed, and all tackle rebellion and the idea of revolution against a dictator-like government. But unlike Possession and Divergent where both protagonists are different to everyone else in their society, Cassia is fairly normal. She just gets roped into and gets the idea that the government can’t choose everything for them.
The book is the first in the series, with the second book Crossed, having been released in early November. But I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet because I’ve been busy! I really want to read more though. The relationship between Cassia and Ky is very sweet and I love it.
Recommended if you like: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Possession by Elana Johnson, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and any kick ass YA, dystopian lit you can think of!
So that’s it! And yes, all of my best reads of 2011 are Young Adult literature books. I just love that genre so much. I’ve been reading it ever since I was 12 pretty much, and it’s also the genre of stories I write, so I love it. I’ll probably still be reading YA lit when I’m 50 years old, but whatever; it’s good. I do read other genres, but YA is my favourite. :)
Comment and let me know if you think any other books are worthy of being the best reads of 2011, and if you have any suggestions for me ;)