Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Meandering Monday- Best Books of 2011 Part 1

OK, so I've finally compiled my Top 10 books of 2011 (I had to narrow it down from 26 titles), in order of publication date rather than importance because I could not do that. Here are 5 of the 10 (with links to my reviews after each one), the rest will be revealed next Monday. I'll also include a list afterward of books that almost made the cut because I want to showcase them as well.

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
"Ruby Oliver is in love. Or it would be love, if Noel, her real live boyfriend, would call her back. But Noel seems to have turned into a pod-robot lobotomy patient, and Ruby can’t figure out why.

Not only is her romantic life a shambles:
Her dad is eating nothing but Cheetos,
Her mother’s got a piglet head in the refrigerator,
Hutch has gone to Paris to play baguette air guitar,
Gideon shows up shirtless,
And the pygmy goat Robespierre is no help whatsoever.

Will Ruby ever control her panic attacks?
Will she ever understand boys?
Will she ever stop making lists?
(No to that last one.)"- summary from Amazon

My review can be found here. You can also listen to/watch me read an excerpt from the book here.

Leverage by Joshua Cohen
"The football field is a battlefield

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on-and off-the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy-including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes."- summary from Amazon

My review can be found here.

Clarity by Kim Harrington
"When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?"- summary from Amazon

My review can be found here. I also read an excerpt and interviewed the author!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
"Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, and it is only their incredible strength, love and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?"- summary from Amazon

My review can be found here.

I Am J by Cris Beam
""Hola, Jeni."

J spun. His stomach clenched hard, as though he'd been hit. It was just the neighbor lady, Mercedes. J couldn't muster a hello back, not now; he didn't care that she'd tell his mom he'd been rude. She should know better. Nobody calls me Jeni anymore.

J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost."- summary from Amazon

You can read my review here. I also read an excerpt and had the author by for an interview and guest blog!

And now, 8 books that didn't make the cut but were very close (the other 8 books will be revealed next week)!

1) Divergent by Veronica Roth
2) Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern
3) Hourglass by Myra McEntire
4) Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
5) Forgotten by Cat Patrick
6) Wildefire by Karsten Knight
7) Want to Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman
8) Misfit by Jon Skovron

Do you agree so far with my picks? What were your favorite books of 2011? Any guesses as to what books will show up next week?


  1. Okay, you just bumped Real Life Boyfriends up the list! and Between shades of Gray - since I already got them :D

    I'll try to check out the others.

  2. Cool list! Leverage sounds especially awesome.

  3. Seeing your list makes me smile. It reminds me of how many awesome books I picked up because of you last year. There are still a few on your list that I haven't read, but should pick up soon. Can't wait to see the next 5 that make the list!

  4. I haven't read any of these books yet - but I love the cover of Between Shades of Gray!