Yes, bookworms, it is time once again for The Librarian Next Door’s Requisite End-of-the-Year Best Books I Read in 2011 list. This year, I read more than 100 books and narrowing down the best to a top ten list proved impossible. So I have my top 15 books, along with a few honorable mentions. I’ll present half the list today and the other half on Thursday.
As a reminder, this is a list of the top 15 books I read in 2011. While most of them were published this past year, some of these books may have been published in previous years.
The Girl Who Was on Fire edited by Leah Wilson, Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter and Overbite by Meg Cabot
15. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead – I’ll admit it: this one took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to enjoy this series as much as I did, nor did I expect the incredible level of intricacies, detail, complexity and world-building that Mead included. It was really well developed and the characters grew and changed in believable ways. I did finish the series just before the spin-off series was published, so that alleviated some of my concern about what would happen to certain characters, but there was still enough mystery left for me to enjoy figuring out what would happen. (Note: the series has six books; the link above goes to my review of the sixth and final book.)
14. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins – Oh, how I love Sophie Mercer. The second book in Hawkins’ Hex Hall series took Sophie’s story into a completely new direction, with even more secrets revealed and set up an incredible face-off for the final book, due in March 2012. Sophie is hilarious, snarky and fantastic and I especially loved her awkward yet loving relationship with her previously absentee father. I’m eagerly awaiting Spell Bound.
13. Abandon by Meg Cabot – So, I think it’s official: Meg Cabot can’t write a bad book. I haven’t read anything of hers that I didn’t like. With Abandon, she kicks off a new series inspired by Greek mythology and the legend of Persephone and Hades. In a year that seems like it was filled with Greek-inspired novels, Cabot’s book stands out for it’s intelligence, humor and thoroughly captivating writing and characters. (And if Hades is anything like Cabot’s John, I would totally – and literally – go to hell with him.)
12. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan – A book completely unlike anything else I’ve ever read, The Lover’s Dictionary surprised me with how engrossing it was. I mean, you’re essentially reading dictionary entries. And yet each one sheds a little bit more light on the story of the unnamed narrator’s relationship. Levithan has a way with words that draws you in and makes you believe in the story, even when you aren’t exactly sure what the story is.
11. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian – This is an example of one of my favorite kinds of books: the book I don’t like, but can’t stop reading, until suddenly, it all comes together and I realize that I love it. Natalie’s journey throughout the story is completely relatable, even when you don’t really like her. The pay-off in this novel is so completely satisfying that it makes everything that comes before it worth it. I may not have liked Natalie, but I did end up rooting for her in the end.
10. Everything I Know About Love… by Sarah Wendell – A love letter to romance novel fans, Sarah Wendell hits all the right notes in this little books. Reading EIKAL is like reading a pep talk from your best friend or getting kind words of encouragement from a trusted source. It’s an ode to all things romance and gives us romance fans the confidence to stand up and say with pride, “I love romance novels and I’m not ashamed of it!”
9. 11 Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean – A fabulous conclusion to MacLean’s Love by Numbers trilogy, this smart, funny and charming novel gives readers two of the most stubborn, infuriating and well-matched lovers. Watching Juliana and Simon spar is one of the best parts of this absolutely delicious book – second only to the steamy and swoon-worthy love scenes. It brings the story of the St. John siblings to a nice close and leaves readers anxious for MacLean’s next foray into Regency England.
Come back on Thursday for the rest of the list, numbers 8 through 1!
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