Welcome to part 1 of my Best Books of 2011 list! To kick things off, I’ve drawn up a list of my top ten contemporary YA novels. While some of them got lots of buzz this year, other have been relatively quiet, but each of them are brilliant books in their own right.
I will admit that before this year, I read very few contemporary novels. Everyday life was all well and good, but it didn’t appeal to me. I’m grateful for the awesome recommendations I’ve received and the risks I took with certain books. Each of these novels have affected me in immeasurable ways, and I hope that if you haven’t picked them up yet, that you do so immediately. Happy reading!
10. The Future of Us, Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
“My generation (the 20-something crowd) will definitely enjoy the throwbacks to our childhood games and experiences.” — Read the rest of my review here!
9. Wintertown, Stephen Emond
“With vibrant and quirky characters, Wintertown will charm every reader. Stephen Emond writes a story alive with hope and reminds us that our best dreams aren’t always the ones we set out to have.” — Read the rest of my review here!
8. Small Town Sinners, Melissa Walker
“It’s not in their nature to do a 180-degree turn from being model children into little monsters. The novel’s focus is on the grey areas of morality and how each person reacts accordingly.” — Read the rest of my review here!
7. Past Perfect, Leila Sales
“Definitely check out Past Perfect if you’re looking for a thoughtful romp through a historical reenactment town. You’ll never look at period costumes the same way again.” — Read the rest of my review here!
6. Bunheads, Sophie Flack
“Hannah’s choices have the potential to be polarizing–there will be those who think that she sacrificed too much or too little–, but I think that’s where her story is most powerful. Art is never easy, and neither is life. Sophie Flack did a marvelous job of reminding her readers of that fact.” — Read the rest of my review here!
5. Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma
“Forbidden challenges its readers to hear the voices of two children who are caught in circumstances they cannot control, who are making decisions we may not understand or approve of, and that is all. It’s enough.” — Read the rest of my review here!
4. Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins
“Cricket was everything I could ever want and more. He’s an inventor! He helps his figure-skating sister! He studies star charts! There may not be enough exclamation points in the world for me to keep going. This is why I love Stephanie Perkins’ characters: they’re never exactly who you think they are.” — Read the restof my review here!
3. Stolen, Lucy Christopher
“In this story, only Gemma and Ty hold all the cards. Christopher is a masterful narrator, dancing between the shades of gray that make up this novel.” — Read the rest of my review here!
2. And Then Things Fall Apart, Arlaina Tibensky
“About thirty pages in, I put the book down, went to my mom and declared, ‘I love this book. I’m not even halfway, but I am so crazy in love with Keek and her story.'” — Read the rest of my review here!
1. The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan
“We all know the saying ‘Every word in the dictionary means love’ or a variation thereof. Levithan takes on that challenge and what he comes up with is a painfully beautiful story of love.” — Read the rest of my review here!