Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Five -- My Favorite Books of 2011

I hesitate to say the "Best" books of 2011, because the word is so subjective.  When thinking of "best" I encounter a difficulty choosing between a story I adore, a concept that is truly unique and simply stellar writing.  Plus I know I've read too few books really to be able to suggest that I know which books of 2011 were the "best".

Caveat over.  On to the books!  In no particular order.

1.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  I blogged about this book back in June over on the YA Muses.  And I can't stop thinking about it.  It covers a segment of history about which I knew nothing, follows the story of a strong and compelling protagonist and tells a story of such poignance and power that it lingers many months in the mind.

2.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.  If you haven't read Anna and the French Kiss or its companion/follow-up, Lola, walk away now and go find a copy.  Feel-good romance and detailed characters you feel you know.  I was so glad to see Anna and St. Clair in Lola, but equally glad that it really told Lola's tale.  She's a character you need to meet.

3.  Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.  I wasn't sure I would like this book at first, but it ended up being another one that seized me and wouldn't let go.  An somewhat unreliable narrator who knows he is unreliable but who the reader can look past and see the truth before the character himself can.  So cleverly done, I need to read it again to see how Herbach did it.

4.  Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace.  I love boarding school books.  And this one is set in the 80's (my favorite decade?  No, I guess the 90's were better) and in Zimbabwe.  I felt attachment to this novel before I even read it, and since reading it, I feel I know Zimbabwe better.  History -- only 30 years old -- that few people know or understand brought to life in a novel that could be contemporary.

5.  What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen.  I love Dessen's novels, and this one did not disappoint.  Beautifully rendered, with fully-developed characters each with quirks and faults and truth.

There are many more books out there that deserve to be on this list.  And I'm always on the lookout for recommendations from others!  Let me know what you've read this year, what's surprising, what made you cry, what changed you.  And, of course, what you're looking forward to next year!


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