Best Young Adult Books of 2011
Compiled by the Young Adult Librarian
As much as I try, I cannot read every young adult novel published in a year. These are my favorite books from all the books published within the past twelve months that I have read. Books are listed in alphabetical order by title except when an author has more than one book on the list.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Technically it came out in 2010, but I did not get a chance to read it until after I posted the 2010 favorites. I really liked the central relationship. Plus, it is set in Paris with all the yummy food and fantastic sites. This quickly became one of my favorite young adult books ever.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I was very eager to read the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss. I did not relate as much to Lola as she is more of a free spirit; yet, I liked her growth in the book as she discovers who she was. Boy next door Cricket Bell also helped.
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
I read the first two books in the Vampire Academy series but then could not keep up with that series. I missed the awesomeness of Adrian by not reading the later books, but Bloodlines more than made up for it. Sidney is a totally different narrator than Rose. She has spent her life being told about how terrible vampires are, and she is forced to modify her opinions once she is assigned to Jill.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Hunger Games ignited an interest in dystopian novels. Blood Red Road is one of the better additions to this genre. Saba is a tough heroine although she is not always sympathetic. Circumstances force her to become a cage fighter.
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Briony feels responsible for her twin sister’s death. While she tentatively forms a bond with Eldric, she deals with secrets from her family’s past. I liked the atmosphere of the novel and the blending or supernatural, romance, and mystery.
Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann
Kendall’s best friend disappears from their small town. Kendall manages her OCD and her feelings for the new boy in town while attempting to find out what happened to her friend. I like how the author incorporated the obsessive compulsive disorder into the story, and Kendall finds strength despite her symptoms.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor
Karou lives in Prague with the only family she has ever known – chimera. At first the reader might think the novel is just another paranormal romance, but the writing style and characterization elevate the story.
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
In the second book of the Body Finder series, Violet continues with her strange ability to find dead bodies while navigating her romantic relationship with her best friend Jay. I like how the author had realistic conflict in the relationship without having to add a love triangle.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Goodreads users just voted this dystopian novel the best book of the year. In a future Chicago, Tris decides against a life with the faction she has known since infancy, and she chooses to join the Dauntless. In my opinion, it was the best dystopian young adult novel I have read since The Hunger Games trilogy.
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Besides dealing with being bullied, Lucky deals with increasing tension between his parents. In his dreams, he visits his grandfather who was presumed dead in Vietnam and tries to rescue him. A.S. King’s book make me laugh but also make me cry.
Fateful by Claudia Gray
What could be worse than being aboard the sinking Titanic? Being aboard with werewolves! Surprisingly entertaining.
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
A departure from her popular Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet follows a teenage girl who lives in Victorian England. Her mother pretends she can communicate with the dead, and Violet soon discovers that she herself has the powers her mother lacks.
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Emerson uses her powers to manipulate time to help stop a murder that occurred six months before. A buzzed about book that was worth the hype.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Rory witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat after she is sent to a school in London. Although there is room for sequels, the author tied up the main story in this novel. A creepy story that you should not read too close to bedtime.
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Kat and her crew are back for another thrilling heist. Although certain relationships had not progressed as far as I wanted, I enjoyed the fast-paced story.
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
I enjoy the world of the shadowhunters, but I wish Clare had allowed Clary and Jace some of the hard-won happiness they deserved after the first three books. Still for the those characters alone the book had to be mentioned.
Corsets & Clockwork by various authors
If you are a fan of steampunk, you will want to pick up this collection of stories by many popular young adult authors. I really liked Kiersten White’s story and several of the other stories. On the other hand, there were a few that were barely steampunk.
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
More steampunk. Finley has a dangerous alter ego, and she finds people who can help her. The two sides of her personality are drawn to two vastly different men. I liked the action of the story but could have done without a love triangle.
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
The exciting conclusion to the Leviathan trilogy. I really like the two men characters, but I thought one of them should have made a different choice at the end of the book.
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is one of my all-time favorite authors. I eagerly awaited her story about a girl who changes her personality every time she moves; however, I did not love it as much as Dessens previous books.