Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Year in Review: Part 1

It's that time of year! If you ever read or watch anything at the end of the year, then you know that nearly everyone creates and distributes their own "best-of" lists. I'm a huge fan of lists. I cannot function on an errand day without a list. So, over the next few days, you'll see my contribution to the already overwhelming number of lists out there. All lists are in no particular order.

Top 10 YA books:
- Okay for Now by Gary M. Schmidt
 A truly excellent addition to the world of historical fiction for young people, Schmidt executes this tale of hope, loss, growing up, and art.

 - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Probably the best book I read all year, I have recommended this to everyone at my library. Taylor is a truly gifted writer and this gorgeous tale of angels, demons, love and Prague literally makes me hunger for more of her writing.

- The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Well-crafted verse novel that details one extraordinary day for two ordinary teens. Contemporary and sweet without relying on melodrama for the emotional kick.
- Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
The only book on this list that I didn't review for the blog, this was a wonderful ending to one of the most enjoyable series in recent YA lit. Funny, exciting, touching, nerve-wracking and just plain well-done, I'm so satisfied with Westerfeld's end to the trilogy.

- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Taking place over just one 24-hour period, Smith delivers this charming example of contemporary romantic YA at its best.

- The Watch That Ends the Night by Alan Wolf
A haunting and thoroughly engaging novel of the Titanic. More truly well-done historical fiction that makes such a large tragedy intensely personal.

 - Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link
Yes, it's true - steampunk is very trendy nowadays. But this collection proves that it's for good reason. Fascinating exploration of the varieties of steampunk.

- Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The more I think about this book, the more I love it - a true sign that it deserves a spot on this list. Ryan proves that not all teen sci-fi must be post-apocalyptic nor must it be post-apocalyptic to be excellent.

  - This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
Dark and creepy, Oppel expands the Frankenstein myth flawlessly. Cannot wait to see what else might be in store for Victor.

  - Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Witty and fun, Murdock is at her best creating this magical and delightful fairy tale. Romantic and whimsical and just highly entertaining.

Honorable Mentions:
These books have older publication dates but I read them this year.

 - Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
This book was too good to be true when it was published and I was thrilled to discover that it did no disappoint. I will re-read this for years to come. More like this please!

 - Your Own, Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill
Everything that I fictional biography should be. Hemphill perfectly captures the spirit and style of her subject and write some wonderfully beautiful poetry at the same time. 

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