Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Best Books I Read in the First Half of 2011

I am still sick. Did I mention I was sick? Perhaps not. ANYWAY. I returned from LeakyCon feeling horrid and got sicker over about a day, and now I'm finally starting to feel a little better. And at the moment I am fortified with Dimetapp and a Frosty dropped off by a wonderful friend (I'm starting to think I should give my friends fake names like Maureen does. Should I?), so I am going to recommend to you the best books I read between January and June.

I told you about The Name of the Star yesterday, so I won't go into that again.

The Demon's Covenant and The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan - At some point I will write a whole long post about my love for this trilogy (starting with The Demon's Lexicon). But in brief: it's about a group of teenagers in England who have to deal with demons and magic in addition to normal teen things like siblings and school bullying and falling in love for the first time, and there's action and drama and romance and fantasy and OH the humor. These books always take me a while to read because I have to keep putting them down to laugh and/or cry.

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy - More teens and magic and family issues and romance! The two main characters are both completely awesome and their romance is slow and gentle and sort of realistic - it ends with "Hey, I'm going off to college! Let's grow up a little!" But in a hopeful way. And I don't know HOW I had never read Mahy before, but her writing is enchanting and she didn't even lose me in her long descriptions of magic (which often happens) and now I want to read everything she's written.

Jane by April Lindner - This is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre in which Rochester is a rock star. Literally. And it works shockingly well.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman - Mia is horribly injured in an accident that kills her family, and we learn about her through flashbacks as she decides whether to live or die. I put off reading this one for a while because of the whole "(semi-)dead girl talking" thing, but it was AMAZING.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This is an awesome YA romance with boarding school! And Paris! And a heroine with actual interests and hobbies and her own life, who isn't totally fixated on the hero!

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson - This is the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I liked it even better. Ginny has to really Deal With Some Things, and it's moving and funny and has great European settings. And OLIVER. Oliver is my favorite.

White Cat and Red Glove by Holly Black - Cassel is a teen con artist who grew up in the world of the magical mafia, and gets pulled back in by various family things, and there's the most compelling twisted romance ever. And he has an older brother, Barron, whom I love passionately.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - This is set in the same universe as Clare's Mortal Instruments series, but in Victorian England. Tessa gets pulled into the world of the shadowhunters while looking for her brother, and there's magic and romance and lots of action and a really fun setting.

Stay by Deb Caletti - I will say more about this one in another post, but I was completely captivated by this story that involves dating violence but doesn't at all read like an "issue book." There's a really relatable heroine and an awesome dad and a nice seaside town and a lighthouse and hot sailor brothers. It's a perfect "rainy summer day" book.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon - This is a fantasy inspired by Chinese mythology and culture, about a girl who ignores societal norms to go on an epic quest to find her father. There's also one of my favorite types of magic, and a wonderful slow-burning romance. Warning: This book will make you hungry.

So! That should keep you busy for a while. What are some of your recent favorites?


  1. Ahh IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT were so amazing, and I love The Demon's Lexicon series and CLOCKWORK ANGEL and The Curseworkers series. . . 2011 is such a good book year, it's going to be hard to pick favorites!

  2. I really REALLY loved Anna and the French Kiss, I also read the Skinned triology by Robin Wasserman (well, the first two. I don't have the third.)

    I loved Demon's Lexicon, but I chose a really horrid time to read them, because when a Harry Potter movie comes out, I feel compelled to read them again.

  3. Yes, give your friends fake names. At least the friends who may be mentioned often.

    Also, thanks for this list. :-)

  4. Mmmmmm, books. Thank you for the recommendations!