Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanI think anyone could guess that this one would be on my list, because I'm a pretty big Percy fangirl (review). After a lot of recommendations, I finally gave in and devoured the series and instantly fell in love with Rick's writing. Percy is a great character to follow around when we find our way in the world of demigods and go into battle with monsters and whatnot. I would list the entire series here, but I thought that might be a bit much.. One thing's for sure: I'll be re-reading the series during 2012!
After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
Before I Fall by Lauren OliverThis book blew me away (review). Lauren's writing is beautiful and I teared up several times while reading and toward the end I properly cried. The story is touching and even after reading as much as I did this year, this remains my favorite book if I had to pick only *one*. Kent is one of my favorite character ever, and I think I should pay him another visit in 2012.
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsOMG, where do I start with The Hunger Games? This one was such a rollercoaster ride (review). I've never read a book that made me feel so anxious and queasy in my stomach while reading it. It was like I was in the games, or maybe watching it closeby but oh jeesh I was such an emotional wreck. I felt exhausted when I was done because I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved it. The entire trilogy is awesome, but the first one is my favorite. And I know I'm talking about books, but I just want to say that I cannot wait for the movie to come out!!
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.
Starcrossed by Josephine AngeliniWhen I got my (very first ever!) ARC for Starcrossed, I was over the moon. I quickly fell in love with the story and read it at every moment possible (review). I have to say, after that ending, I'm curious how Josephine is going to work that out...
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history. As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.
Sing me to Sleep by Angela MorrisonThis is one of the most heartbreaking books I've read this year (review). I got so emotionally distressed that I had to put the book away to calm down, and I wasn't able to continue reading until the next that. That's how much impact the book had on me. It's raw, emotional, and a heartbreaking story that instantly won me over. A book that is able to make me feel so emotional, can't be anything besides brilliant.
Beth has always been "The Beast" - that's what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth's only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she's selected to be her choir's soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.
When Beth's choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek's untethered passion - for music, and for Beth - leaves her breathless. Because in Derek's eyes? She's not The Beast, she's The Beauty.
When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?
The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek's been hiding a dark secret from her ...one that could shatter everything.
Divergent by Veronica RothOne of the most hyped titles has made it to my favorites list! Divergent was a rollercoaster ride full of dystopian goodness (review). I loved this one and it's easily one of my favorite books I've ever read so far. It's full of action, and I love how Roth built up her story. It certainly didn't feel like reading a debut novel, that's for sure! As for now, I'm (very) impatiently awaiting Insurgent!
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
Nevermore by Kelly CreaghDark and twisty, Nevermore explores a world where Varen's stories (based on Edgar Allen Poe's work) come to life. It was deliciously dark and I loved every word of it (review). I was a bit disappointed when I found out they had pushed the publication date for the sequel, Enshadowed, back to August, but I'm still pretty excited to find out what's in store for Isobel and Varen :)
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look. Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares. His life depends on it.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsOh, how Etienne blew my mind.. I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading Anna, but I know I wasn't expecting the goodness that Stephanie Perkins created (review)! It was awesome, and even though it was completely cliché and cheezy at times, I wasn't bothered one bit! It was perfect! One of the best contemporary books I've read so far.
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady CrossOh, Griffin, how I love you.. The Girl in the Steel Corset blew my mind and is the best steampunk I've read this year (review). Starring a kick-ass heroine and a great (hopefully) love interest, this book was full of all the good stuff. Lots of action, but also the good historical stuff made it an exciting story and I cannot wait to read the sequel! I want me some more Griffin..
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one except the "thing" inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch... Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help-and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.
I'm Not Her by Janet GurtlerRaw and emotional, this novel blew me away and broke my heart in the process (review). It's one of the stories that got me the most emotional this year and to think that this is a debut novel came as a complete surprise for me. It was so good - Janet Gurtler knows how to touch her reader and make a connection. I can't wait to read more of her work.
Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?
The Son of Neptune by Rick RiordanAnother Rick Riordan book, you see this right! The Son of Neptune is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series, but I loved this one more than the first book (review). It was so awesome - made of everything Rick Riordan is good at. It was funny, had loads of adventure and intrigue, and great characters. I laughed out loud several times and I'm very excited to be in the middle of a series - I've never experienced that waiting for a new title before - and I'm already impatient to get my hands on the next book in the series!
Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa tol him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn't ring and bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.
Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem - when the Voice took over he mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for and evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.
Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it. He doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery - although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely - enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go was different from everything else I've ever read (review). The writing style is brilliant, even though it takes some getting used to, but it's so perfect for the story! It was action packed and I loved the concept of being able to hear everyone's thoughts combined with the world Ness built for the story. It's such an amazing story, and I cannot wait to finally dig in to The Ask and the Answer.
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
Lock and Key by Sarah DessenThis Sarah Dessen book blew every other book I've read by her so far right out of the water (review). She writes about troubled teens more often, but there was a connection between Ruby's story and me that just left me heartbroken, crying my ugly cry because I felt so close to the words. Lock and Key instantly became one of my favorite books I've ever read.
Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
These are my favorites of 2011! Most of them weren't published this year, but they were amazing and deserve to be in the spotlight. I've read a lot of good books, but the books mentioned in this post are the cherry on top of the deliciously yummy chocolate cake.
What are your favorite books you've read in 2011? Please share! :)