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Best YA Novels of 2011

So here we are featuring another rundown of the best YA novels of 2011, chosen by some of the most passionate and enthusiastic bloggers on the planet. Seriously, if you’re not following these blogs and have an interest in YA, then you should be!

Human.4 by Mike A Lancaster

Easily one of the best Science Fiction books I’ve read this year. Human.4 takes a page right out of The Twilight Zone’s book. The plot is simple enough. Kyle agrees to be hypnotized as part of the town’s talent show only to wake up to broken technology and everyone acting like he doesn’t exist. The truth ends up more terrifying than he could have imagined. To me it feels like an “old school” Science Fiction book which I love! Everything about it is what I love about Science Fiction: crazy storylines, really cool technology, man vs. machine ideology. It’s Science Fiction at its finest. Sci-fi fans, I can’t urge you enough to go buy the book!

This recommendation is from The Cheap Reader, who can be found on Twitter.

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

It is a beautiful yet harrowing book which looks at the treatment of the Lithuanian people under Stalinist rule. They were treated in much the same way as the Jewish people under Nazi rule but it is a horrific event in our recent history that very few people seem to know about. Just watching Ruta’s video which introduced the book was enough to do it for me as you can see how important the subject is to her as the book is based around events that happened to members of her more distant family in Lithuanian. What makes this book perfect for me is despite all the horrors the main character Lina faces she still carries around in her this overwhelming notion of hope for a better future which for me was the entire message of this book … that even in the most awful conditions the spirit human kindness and goodness still exists and can’t be stamped out by even the most tyrannical of oppressors.

Thank you to The Overflowing Library for this choice – it sounds amazing! Kirsty is on Twitter as well.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

This has been my most anticipated book of the year! The love story of Patch and Nora has been so addictive, I just can’t get enough! I fell in love with Patch all over again! I devoured every page in Silence. I knew it was going to be an amazing read right from the opening. I went through so many different emotions, in the span of couple of chapters. Anger . . . Pain . . . Sadness . . . Relief . . . It was easy getting back into this storyline. In Silence we are introduced to new characters, as well as a visit from characters we have already grown to know and love (or hate?!). There were a few points in the book that had my heart pumping (love it!).  I can also pinpoint WHEN I fell in love with Patch again . . . dancing at the club. The whispers, and the twirling, and the sexy half smiles, and the hands (squeeeeee!) There was one line in the book, where I had to put the book down, and just smile and sigh. I won’t say what it is, but when you come across it, you’ll do it too! And honestly, I found myself giggling like a school girl at certain parts. And yes, they revolved around Patch’s unforgettable one liners. You know the ones!  Whether you are just beginning this sage from the beginning, or are waiting for book #4, you will be so engrossed in this story, and you’ll be wishing for your own Fallen Angel.

I’m sure that everyone who has been following this series will be thinking much the same as MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter. If you feel the same, then follow MaryAnn on Twitter and let her know!

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

It’s impossibly difficult to only choose one favorite in 2011. But, the first book that came to mind was The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta. This book is amazing, powerful, emotional, heartbreaking and hopeful. And, honestly, it’s Melina Marchetta. What more do I need to say?!

Short but incredibly sweet there from Basically Amazing Ashley, who is on Twitter.

Department 19 by Will Hill

This was an easy choice for me. Will Hill did a few things with his YA debut, and my favourite amongst them was give me my monsters back. When I was a kid, vampires, werewolves, and assorted other beasties all frightened me. In DEPARTMENT 19 they do that again, and with a flowing prose that won’t allow you to put the book down. If creatures could crawl off the page, sneak across my sheets and steal away into my dreams they certainly did here. A fast-paced, action-oriented romp through history and modern day that simply doesn’t stop for breath. I found myself reading at 3 A.M. many a night after the world had gone to sleep and I just didn’t want to leave Hill’s world. An absolutely amazing debut, written by quite a storyteller, DEPARTMENT 19 is definitely my favourite YA title of the year.

Scott from the team at Iceberg Ink wrote this for us. He is on Twitter and Facebook.

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner

My pick for top YA novel of 2011 is Sally Gardner’s The Double Shadow. Set during the Interbellum and the Second World War, this is a story about the importance of memory. Amaryllis’ and Ezra’s (love) story is just the top layer of this complex narrative, which shows the reader not just how much memory and identity are interwoven, but also how dangerous it is to lose or get trapped in your memories and I found it fascinating. I fell in love with Sally Gardner’s characters – even some of the baddies! – and the way her narrative made me think about things, not just the book itself, but also how its themes applied to my own life. Historical with a speculative bent, The Double Shadow was a haunting book, which I had a hard time putting down and couldn’t wait to pick back up!

Thanks to A Fantastical Librarian for this recommendation! (Twitter)

A massive thanks for all these contributions – we hope you’re busy adding titles to your Christmas wishlists! (we certainly are…)

If you would like to get involved and tell us your favourite YA novel of 2011, please send an email through using the form on the website!

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.

This is from Emma, who runs the blog Book Monkey and can be found on Twitter.

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.

Thanks, Sarah! (who runs The Book Life and is on Twitter.

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.

This is from the ladies at The Book Sisterhood who can be found on Twitter.

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…

Thanks to Vickie of Coma Calm for this one (find her on Twitter here).

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.

With thanks to Jessica at Book Sake (who is on both Facebook and Twitter!)


We have many more responses on the way, so keep checking back – and please do add your own suggestions in the comments below!