Best YA Novels of 2011
As we’re reaching the end of 2011, here at Strange Chemistry we thought it would be great to reach out to those YA bloggers around the world and ask them what their favourite YA novels of 2011 had been. After all, they are the experts! You’ll see a few of these posts on the run up to Christmas, as we gather together the responses and celebrate the very best in YA fiction.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
It’s not very often you come across something as unique and special as this book. It’s a wonderfully chilling story interspersed with hand-picked real vintage photographs that will captivate every corner of your imagination. It feels like a work of art in your hands – a beautifully produced hardback with nice thick pages that smell divine, and a secret signature hidden under the cover of the book. It takes a book like this to make you realise just how much an e-book pales in comparison, and how important it is to keep the printed book alive. I can’t even describe just how much I loved this book, and I recommend it to my customers at Waterstone’s on a weekly basis! I guarantee you will not have read anything like it before.
Catching Jordan by Mirand Kenneally
My absolute favorite YA this year is a contemporary novel, “Catching Jordan” by Mirand Kenneally. I’m a lover of contemporaries in general, but this one caught my eye because it was about a girl who was captain of her highschool football team. I don’t really know much about football and have never had the desire to educate myself on it, but even the football didn’t keep me from enjoying this book. I loved the main character, Jordan. She was strong and fought for what she wanted, which I think is so important in a character written for teen girls. I also really appreciated that the characters weren’t perfect, they all made mistakes and had flaws, which made the story feel more real and relatable. And really, any book that can make me want to re-read it immediately, is a winner for me.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Thank you for asking us. In my opinion I believe the best book of 2011 has to be Divergent by Veronica Roth. I think Divergent is an exciting, exhilarating read. Dystopian is one of my favourite genres to read in YA fiction and this book was very unique. It was fast paced and I was constantly kept in suspense as to what was going to happen next. I loved the main character Tris and the male protagonist Four. I also liked how Divergent didn’t focus so much on romance like many other YA novels. I look forward to reading Insurgent next year.
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
I am obsessed with this book. I think I’ve read it three times this year and no-one can work out why I love it so much, when I hate books such as Dead Beautiful and Die For Me. I think it’s because of the boy. Unlike the majority of YA paranormal/fantasy books, the boy in this seems to have more of a personailty to me – maybe it’s because he’s all tortured and I want to look after him! Moving on from the boy, this has all the elements I love – a bit of Greek Mythology (well, a lot), friends and enemies, friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming friends, Gods and Goddesses, I could never guess where the plot was going. It was so much fun trying to work out who was which God/Goddess! I spent a lot of time googling them and trying to match the personalities to their Greek God counterpart. Where’s my copy, I need to go have a re-read…
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Zombies + Humor + Steampunk + Romance + War = Brilliant
Every aspect of the story is essentially believable (if you can get past zombies first of all). While it isn’t overwhelming with steampunk-ed-ness, there is just enough to make you remember this is a different time and they have some cool stuff going on. The romance isn’t over the top or in your face, but it comes on gradually, none of this “instant love” stuff that is common in young adult novels. These characters actually get to know one another. The main character, Nora, is great; she is not whiny like many female teen characters are written. She is all about taking charge and kicking some butt when need be – but she isn’t obnoxious at all. There are even some moments where I laughed out loud. It’s pretty long for a YA book, but well worth it. It’s not just mindless, undead action like a young adult zombie book could be.
We have many more responses on the way, so keep checking back – and please do add your own suggestions in the comments below!