Best Books of 2011: Paranormal/Dystopian YA Fiction

Welcome to another edition of my Best Books of 2011 list! This second half will feature the ten paranormal/dystopian novels that I’ve spent the last few months talking about. You’ll find no vampires or werewolves here, but none of these characters are any less endearing or brilliant.

When I first drew up my initial list, I didn’t realize that both of my number 1 picks had to do with love in all its painful, tarnished glory. Where The Lover’s Dictionary was pensive and melancholy, my p/d choice is intense and explosive. In a way, every book I’ve adored this year is related to that beautiful and unavoidable emotion. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do. Happy reading!

10. The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater

“Novels like The Scorpio Races remind me of why I fell in love with literature–there is no better feeling than being led into a world so beautifully sketched out that you forget to breathe.” — Read the rest of my review here!

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

My review of this book will be posted in the new year, but trust me when I say that this is one of the most creative and creepy novels you’ll ever read.




8. Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi

“…out of the hundred-something books I’ve read this year, Juliette is one of the strongest voices I’ve encountered. She is determined and passionate and intelligent…” — Read the rest of my review here!

7. Wither, Lauren DeStefano

“The places, people and emotions she writes about become breathing characters on the page, infecting the reader with an undeniable need to see them get what they deserve. The entire novel is an exercise in melancholia, but the writing style DeStefano works with prevents it from sinking into depression. ” — Read the rest of my review here!

6. The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson 

“Maureen Johnson expertly ties together her own mythology and sprinkles it with a healthy dose of historical accuracy, making for a romp of a tale. Of course, the reader is haunted (it’s just too easy) by a question right at the start: what is “the name of the star?” The answer is a brilliant play on words that all readers will enjoy.” — Read the rest of my review here!

5. Lost Voices, Sarah Porter

“In Lost Voices, the melodies are haunting and flow through every word. It is up to the reader to decipher the true nature of those words and see the beauty beneath it all.” — Read the rest of my review (and an interview with Sarah Porter herself) here!




4. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson 

“It’s obvious that Rae cared about her story enough to make sure that it received the best treatment possible, and the writing is simply superb. The kingdoms are beautifully described, the characters full and vibrant and the dialogue smart and intense. The work she put into crafting Elisa’s story is inspiring and intimidating, and I’m so glad that I got the chance to read this book.” — Read the rest of my review here!

3. The Space Between, Brenna Yovanoff

“The Space Between is a dark, complicated story but Brenna Yovanoff’s writing is a glimmering light in the shadows that the reader must endure.” — Read the rest of my review here!




2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor 

“Laini Taylor took a tired cliche of YA fiction off the shelf, tossed in a healthy dose of horror and fantasy, and gave me one of the most compelling and mind-blowing novels I’ve read in the last five years.” — Read the rest of my review here!

1. Delirium, Lauren Oliver

“Falling in love is beautiful, but it is also painful. The ending of this book is much the same way. It’s difficult to describe that pain without spoiling the novel, but suffice it to say, the last pages of your copy may experience heavy torrents. It’s the kind of ending that makes you throw your book across the room, even as you want to hold on tight.” — Read the rest of my review here!


Categories: Lists

4 replies »

  1. I’ve only read Delirium. Which is a phenomenal book, and I’m glad it made #1 on your list. But… dammit, I need to read all of these other books. (The Space Between and Wither are on my immediate TBR list the second I want a break.)

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