All posts on December 29th, 2011

Top 5 Recommended Books

Today in the best-of blog circus, I’ll be covering my top 5 recommended books of 2011! These books weren’t necessarily my favorites, but they’re easily the novels that I talked up more than any others.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Because of The Hunger Games, this was pretty much the year of the dystopian. As a YA author, I get asked about comp titles to big, buzzed books  a lot. If you recall my review of Divergent earlier this year, I didn’t think it was perfect, particularly in the world building department. However, what it was, instead, was solid. It has the same heavy emphasis on action as The Hunger Games, the same potential appeal to a cross-gender audience. And unlike some dystopian titles, it’s grown in esteem for me as time’s gone on. The reason was largely Tris, a strong sympathetic heroine who was very realistically rendered. Despite its flaws, I’d easily recommend Divergent to any dystopian reader–and frequently do!

4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Like Divergent, this title was one I frequently recommended to dystopian readers. It’s the beautiful prose and daring concept that distinguishes it from most dystopian titles for me–the story of a girl kidnapped into a plural marriage. Though, like Divergent, the world building wasn’t quite airtight, it nevertheless is a beautiful, lyrical, and absorbing read.

3. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

As an MFA grad, I frequently get asked about the literary merit of YA novels. It’s books like Imaginary Girls that prove to me that YA writers deserve literary props. Beautifully written, flawlessly conceived, and incredibly spooky, Imaginary Girls is a title that should work for any reader of adult lit fic in a pinch.

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This is yet another title I frequently pitch to readers of The Hunger Games–and one that I feel doesn’t get nearly enough press. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a complex science fiction story with incredible concepts underlying the adventure plot. With mysterious aliens, talking animals, and psychic men populating his world, Ness proves that YA readers can handle complexity in science fiction.

1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

2011 saw quite a bit of whining about how little YA SF is out there. And every single time, I found myself countering: pick up Beth Revis. Across the Universe is classic space opera, and enormously successful space opera, at that. This unsettling, ambitious book is one that should be on every sci-fi reader’s radar.

Check out what other writers recommended in 2011!

[Caroline Richmond] [Corrine Jackson] [Erin Bowman] [Kaitlin Ward] [Kate Hart] [Kathleen Peacock] [Kirsten Hubbard] [Kristen Halbrook] [Kristin Otts] [Lee Bross] [Lindsey Roth Culli] [Phoebe North] [Sarah Enni] [Stephanie Keuhn] [Sumayyah Doud] [Veronica Roth]