I’m loving all the Top 5’s over at Sarah’s post!
With no further fanfare, here are mine:
Chime: Above and beyond the literary merit, it’s just an awesomely haunting story. We need a name for this kind of book—I group this one with Galen Beckett’s Durrow Street series and a few others. Historical urban fantasy?
The Returning: I know you all know this by now, but I love this one. I fear no one else read it and it’s probably going to go out of print right away so I am just going to keep talking about it until that changes. Please read this and love it too.
Welcome to Bordertown: It’s not a real contenda for the Printz; mixed author anthology, uneven quality, and so on. But it’s important and beautiful, and Bordertown saved me when I was a teen, so I am excited to pass it on to my teens, whether or not they need saving.
The Piper’s Son: Heartbreak, redemption, and don’t you love a love story that isn’t easy? I think that’s one the things Marchetta does better than almost anyone. Love is messy and a comedy of errors (sometimes tragedy) and it doesn’t always go so well. Tom and Tara Finke’s story may be only one element of this novel, but even if I didn’t love the rest of the book, that alone might earn my vote. Plus, Ben and the mullet brothers and Anson Choi.
For my fifth book, I’m going to have to agree with Sarah and say The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making, although the fact that I just finished rereading this one might have artificially elevated it in my rankings. I also considered The FitzOsborne’s in Exile and The Name of the Star and a few others for position five, so clearly there were a great many books I really enjoyed. And in the end, perhaps my fifth fave from 2011 will be one of my Top Five 2011 Books I Haven’t Read Yet But Really Really Want to Read ASAP:
The Scorpio Races, which is such a me book (just need to steal it back from Sarah or the student who snagged my final copy). Also, I have a little crush on Maggie Stiefvater, between her super smart TEDx talk and those gorgeous trailers she did for Shiver and Linger. And oh my goodness, when I went to YouTube to grab the links, I found the one for The Scorpio Races. Seriously, can I be her when I grow up?
Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff, because I do love me some Tamora Pierce, even if the Tortall saga has gotten a bit formulaic over the years.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs). Okay, so I’ve heard the writing is nothing special on a sentence by sentence level but the book is supposedly a sheer delight, per teens and adults.
Finally, as a bonus, since Sarah opened adult up for mention and since my other online hangout is over at Adult Books 4 Teens reviewing SF/F, my Top 5 Adult Genre Titles Published in 2011:
Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey: this series is one of my all time favorites, and although they really aren’t appropriate for a YA or school collection, they do actually have quite a bit of YA appeal (the characters are all teens for at least some portion of their individual trilogies) and every year I find myself recommending these to a handful of my more mature readers (usually seniors).
Again, agreeing with Sarah, I have to say Pat Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear, which is beautifully written, intricately plotted, nuanced as hell, and good for sophisticated teen readers too.
On the more fun side, Chris Wooding’s Black Lung Captain (second in the series but better than the first): super fun steampunk/Firefly hijinks and I think only pubbed as adult cause there are no teens and there is drinking and smoking, but I still maintain the primary audience for this one is probably teen boys.
And because I am not immune to trends, Erin Morgenstern’s highly lauded The Night Circus: loved it, plus it’s the most popular book in my library aside from Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One, which I liked more as a librarian than as a reader, hence it’s noninclusion here (well, except that I snuck it on anyway, and aren’t I a tricksy one?)
Finally, and really out of the box, Johannes Cabal The Detective (Johannes Cabal book 2) by Jonathan Howard; I read the first and second volumes this year and adored them. They are strange and dark and funny and a delight. I think they have crossover appeal, but they’re for a certain kind of reader so it’s not wide appeal at any age group. However, if you like—huh, I can’t actually come up with a readalike. If you like weird dark stuff and absolutely unlikable protagonists, and you think Faust is a story for the ages and isn’t it a shame how kids today don’t understand what the phrase “a deal with the devil” means, then this is one for you.
Looking forward to hearing everyone else’s top 5 faves! You will note that comments are closed over here; in an effort to keep everything together, please comment over at Sarah’s list instead. And if you have a prediction, we’ll be posting our thoughts as to the top contenders fr the gold and honors later this week, so stay tuned and then chime (hah!) in.