As we all look forward into 2012 and tomorrow we'll all be celebrating the New Year come midnight I thought it only appropriate to take a minute and reflect back on some of the great books moments of 2011. It was a great year in books for me.
2011 was the year I rediscovered YA. I can't remember how exactly I came across the series or why I suddenly decided I should read the books but for whatever reason I went to the book store and picked up Vampire Academy. I sat in my apartment during one of my days off from school and devoured the pages. I remember gushing to my best friend about them and then she promptly went out and picked up a copy and devoured it. Both of us were soon on the hunt for anything and everything YA that had come out recently that we'd missed. I hadn't read the genre since well before I stopped being a teenager myself and can honestly say that if books like the ones I read now were out when I was a teenager I would have been the happiest book enthusiast. The diversity in genre and storyline and the way that some others write with such heart makes me so happy to know that there are teens out there now reaping the benefits of such great words!
Aside from YA, I read a lot of good fiction this year and I branched out a little bit into horror and suspense books which I hadn't previously been interested in. I think overall I was good at reading a little bit of everything depending on my mood and I rediscovered the world of romance and paranormal fiction which have always been two favourite genres of mine.
As an homage to the great book year I had, I've decided to do a little countdown of the best of the best. Let me say this was a hard decision to make. I've narrowed the books down to five - the ones that hit me hard and that I still remember now, months after they've been read, the ones that made me laugh and cry and go nutty over, the ones I wouldn't shut up about!
Here we go!
Best Creepy Paranormal that Kept me Reading into the Wee Hours
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
I adored this book. I bought it on a whim, partly from fellow Goodreads reviews and partly because I thought the cover was so interesting. I loved this book. The descriptions of place were remarkable. I felt the heat, the sun the sand, everything. I also fell in love with the characters and loved that this book didn't tie everything neatly together. It's a hard and sad story to tell for the hero and heroine and I can't wait to see what Stevens has in store for them in books 2 and 3!
I recommended this book to anyone who would listen.
Best Make me Laugh Through My Tears
One Day by David Nicholls
I originally started reading this book so that I could go see the movie. I remember hearing good things about it when the book was first released but never had an interest then and didn't even really know what the book was about. Well, I dragged this book along with me everywhere and burst into both laughter and silent tears in public places and at work. I could not stop reading this one and even though I both loved and hated the characters and had moments where all I wanted to do was smack Dexter upside the head, I pushed past that and realized that beneath the surfaces, these two character are real! They've got heart and opinions and are full of mistakes and like Emma and Dexter love each other - the good and the bad - so to does the reader.
Never did see the movie...
Best Book I will Never Forget: Beautiful Prose and Depth
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Among other things, 2011 brought me Melina Marchetta. I read all her contemporary books within a span of a summer and loved each one more than I can say. This woman has such talent. Beautiful prose, depth of characters and language. Marchetta's books find a way into your heart and stay there forever. It was hard to pick just one that was my favourite, but I realized as the months past that the one book I kept reflecting back on and talking about was Jelliccoe Road. It was the third book I read of Marchetta's but I can say without a doubt it is a beautiful piece of fiction I will keep as one of my all time favourites and re-read again. The ending actually reduced me to tears. No word of a lie I remember lying in bed curled up and grabbing a tissue. Sounds pathetic but it was the sign of a great book for me because I can get misty eyed and sad, but real tears are hard to provoke from me when I'm reading a book!
Best Book to Obsess Over and Talk Endlessly About to Anyone who will Listen
(sorry mom, Chels...the world)
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments Series) by Cassandra Clare
I found Jace and Clary in 2011.
I know I may be behind the times a bit, but this was one of the first YA books I read in January of 2011. A big snowstorm had hit Montreal and the weekend came where I had four days off to sit in my apartment and hibernate. I was on Goodreads - as per usual - and decided once and for all to click on this book and read the description. I have to say that I had seen the cover many a time but was always put off because I thought that it was a fantasy book or some sort of sci-fi. Boy was I wrong and boy did I have a good weekend! I read the description, read some reviews and was immediately intrigued. I got on my boots and coat and trudged through the snow-laden streets to Chapters to by the first in the series. I spent that whole weekend devouring these novels. I didn't get out of bed, didn't watch TV, barely found time to text with my best friend, unless it was to tell her that the books where AMAZING! I think Chelsey (Chels and a Book) has put up with more gushing and fan girl shrieking from me that anyone. I LOVE this series and devoted a weekend to reading them! It was the perfect way to ring in 2011.
Best Paranormal, Suspense, Romance with a Unique Story that has Stayed with Me All of 2011.
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Nevermore was AWESOME. It was never dull or predictable, never strayed into stupid unbelievable territory. The characters were great and worth rooting. Immediately you think that Isobel is going to be the spoiled brat cheerleader who always thinks about her hair and boyfriend, and this is what Varen thinks as well, but both readers and Varen soon find out that there is much more to Isobel and much to admire in the girl. Likewise with Varen, he's smart, caring, kind, shy, quiet and has a dark secret. This boy is in turmoil and together, the two form a tenuous friendship that soon turns into so much more.
I can't praise Creagh enough for this story. It was so unique and never fell into the predictable arena that so many YA books have been guilty of. The love story was well balanced with the suspense and mystery, the Poe references important but not overshadowing. The use of Edgar Allen Poe's work itself to create the paranormal world to this story was brilliant, and something you won't find in any other paranormal YA book on the shelves. No vampires of werewolves or zombies or dead girls in this one - well maybe some dead girls but...
This book stayed with me long after I'd read it, and I actually didn't realize how good it actually was until I realized that I couldn't stop thinking about it.
A definite re-read for 2012 before the second novel in the series comes out!
So there you have it, my world in books for 2011, or a slice of it.
I recommend each and every one of these so highly and although there are so so many more I loved and gushed over, I couldn't fit them all in.
Here's looking at 2012, and all the books we all have yet to discover and enjoy.