Best of 2011: Recommended YA books

This post is part of Sarah Enni‘s Best of 2011 Blog Circus. Up today: the top five YA books recommended this year.

This list is not the same as my top five favorite releases of 2011, mostly because books that I tend to recommend the most, to almost anyone, are always a bit more commercial, with larger mass-appeal. And this year, some of the books I recommended the most were not released in 2011. Here’s the top five books I told anyone and everyone to read this year when it came to YA:

Honorable Mention
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

To start, an honorable mention, to THE SCORPIO RACES. I’m sure you all knew this would be on the list based on yesterday’s post! It is definitely more literary than commercial though, and while I’ve recommend it left and right these last few weeks, I understand that it is probably not for someone who only likes books full of plot twists and heart-pounding action. And at the same time, I’ve only had about a month to recommend this, since it just came out in November. This time next year, however, this novel may be #1 on my list of recommended reads.


Plain Kate by Erin Bow

This book was recommended to be my the ever-lovely Caroline Richmond, and while I love this book, it is a little different (hence why it is #5 on this list and not #1). The book has a distinct Russian feel to it, gorgeous prose, a sympathetic and mysterious “bad guy,” and Taggle, the most amazing talking cat to ever grace the pages of YA literature. This is a truly unique tale.


Blood Red Road by Moira Young

This book has some odd prose (loosely written, with a distinct dialect and no dialog tags), but I’ve recommended it to a ton of people and told them to power through if the style upsets them because this is such a ride. I loved this world, and Saba, and hey, who doesn’t like a fast-paced, action-adventure story? I’m certainly a sucker for them.


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I have always been a fan of fantasy, and somehow, this book (and series) slipped under my radar. I finally read Graceling earlier this year, and now I’m like a walking spokeswoman for the Seven Kingdoms. This novel is amazing, full of compelling characters and a world so rich it practically spills from the page and into your lap. I can’t wait for BITTERBLUE!


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This is definitely a girl book, and being such, I think I’ve recommended it to any girl that will listen to me long enough to pitch it to them. (I’m pretty sure I got ever girl in my office to read it. My copy was on loan and circulating for several weeks straight.) This is an incredibly striking tale about grief and recovery and first love. The characters are phenomenal and flawed and real. I want to reread this book again and again.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have been recommending THE HUNGER GAMES to anyone with a pulse since 2008, when I first read it, and the entire series to everyone since last fall, when MOCKINGJAY came out. I think I may be single handedly responsible for my office reading this entire series, and I’m damn proud of that. My copies again were sent out on loan, and it is the best feeling to share a book with a friend and to have them return it to you, grinning and rambling about fictional characters and plot twists and mumbling ThankYouForLettingMeBorrowThisOMGitWasAmazing. I’ll keep recommending this series to every single person until I find a story that I feel more strongly about. And I don’t see that happening any time soon, but maybe I’ll be surprised.

What books did you recommend the most this year? Remember, these don’t have to be books published in 2011, just the ones you told everyone they had to read.

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