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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Class of 2011 YA Superlative Blogfest Day 1

When I was in high school, reading the class superlatives ranked up there with summer vacation, snow days, and pizza Fridays in the lunch room. Which is to say, it rocked.

So Katy Upperman was all like, “Hey, we should do superlatives for all books published in 2011.” Because Alison Miller, JessicaLove, and I were all voted Most Likely to Create Superlatives for Inanimate Objects in high school, we said, “Totally.” And Katy said, “Let’s do it.” And we made our voices all tough and serious and said, “Consider it done.”

This, dear friends, is what happens when four bookish brains take on class superlatives: The Class of 2011 YA Superlative Blogfest.

Cue the theme music.

Today’s we’re focusing on the best in major genres. Each of these books was published in the past year (unless I cheated, but more on that later) and is tops in its class. So without further rambling, my list:

Favorite Dystopian

True, the idea of a society believing love was a disease is completely unbelievable. Once I put that misgiving aside, though, I was drawn in by Lauren Oliver’s gorgeous prose, great romance, and characters who came to life on the page. The ending made the book for me, though I’m sad Delirium is a trilogy. It would be perfect as a stand-alone novel.

Favorite Science Fiction

Across the Universe has one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in a while. By the time I was halfway down the first page, I was sucked in. Beth Revis does a great job creating twists and turns (though there’s a certain scene I could have done without) and building the world of the Godspeed. Nearly a year after reading the book, I can still feel the atmosphere she created.

Favorite Fantasy

I would just like to acknowledge the fact that I’m cheating. See, when I went over all of the books I read that were published this year, I realized I hadn’t ready any fantasy. HOWEVER. I recently read Finnikin of the Rock (it released in 2010), and holy cow. It’s pretty much a given that I’ll like anything Melina Marchetta writes, but I was still surprised at how much I loved this book. A month after finishing it, I’m not certain I ever read it. I get the feeling that I traveled to Lumatere and hung out with Finn and Evanjalin.

Favorite Contemporary

This book’s existence made me nervous. I loved If I Stay. Fiercely. And, well, I figured there was a better than average chance this sequel would ruin the awesomeness that was the first book. So, um, yeah. I was wrong. Where She Went was everything I wanted in a sequel—and then some.

Favorite Action/Adventure

Yes, technically Variant is a sci-fi dystopian novel, but there’s plenty of action and adventure, so I’m calling it my favorite in that category. Plus, it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want. Though it reminded me a lot of The Maze Runner, I really enjoyed Variant and the twists the plot took. My main complaint? The totally awesome ending that I loved big time was also a cliffhanger. Such tease, Robison Wells.

Favorite Historical Fiction 
Can you believe I haven’t read any 2011 historical fiction? And, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t think I read any historical fiction period—regardless of its pub date. True, this is probably my least favorite genre, but still. I think it goes without saying: Historical Fiction for 2012 or Bust!

Favorite Comedy

So this wasn’t my favorite comedy if you count all of the non-2011 books I read. (Nope, it would be this book.) But I was surprised at how much I really liked Drink, Slay, Love—especially since it stars vampires. And, guys, I’m so over vampires. Here’s why I liked it: This isn’t a book that takes itself too seriously. The main character, Pearl, is a teenage vampire who loves blood. (Yes, a vampire who isn’t a vegan!) She’s forced to attend high school with humans (or, as she calls them, dinner) in order to lure them to a big bash her vampire clan is having. The voice is great, and Pearl’s observations about humans are hilarious.

Because no review of a humorous book is complete without a quote, here you go:
“To you,” he said, “I surrender my heart and soul.”
She rolled her eyes. “Very romantic, considering you have neither.”
Favorite Mystery

To be honest, this is the only true mystery I read from the 2011 lot. Sure, a lot of the books I read had the element of mystery, but no others were completely focused on the mystery. Which is too bad. I really enjoyed The Liar Society, which is like Nancy Drew with attitude. The mystery was well done, but that’s not what made me like this book so much. The main character, Kate, is snarky and hilarious (yep, the book was a contender in the Favorite Comedy category) and, truthfully, my favorite part of the book. All in all, it’s got suspense, mystery, and a great protagonist who makes the story super fun.

Favorite Romance

This was what I like to call a no brainer. Stephanie Perkins writes the best romance. That is all. (This is where I spend more than one sentence telling you why you should read this book.)

Favorite Paranormal Romance

Here’s the strange thing: Paranormal isn’t my favorite genre yet three of the best books (in my opinion) published in 2011 are in this category. Which means I had the sucktastic job of picking among them. So you should know that, though they were ultimately cut, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and A Need So Beautiful were two of my favorite 2011 reads. Still, I liked Chime best of all. I won’t go on and on, but if you’re curious, you can read my review of the book.

Favorite Family Drama

I love Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy (which includes The Summer I Turned Pretty and It’s Not Summer Without You) and We'll Always Have Summer, the final book, was the perfect ending.

Favorite Genre Bender

In my review of Maggie Stiefvater’s latest book, The Scorpio Races, I said it was unlike any other book out there. I meant it. There’s a paranormal aspect, sure. But it also felt like a fantasy, too. And then something else, something I can’t put my finger on. I say forget about the genre. It’s a great book no matter what you call it.

That’s all for today! To play along, leave a link to your blog below. Then hop from one blog to the next to see how your superlatives match up to everyone else’s. (This is also the place to look for great book recommendations. Nudge, nudge.)

Check back tomorrow when we’ll pick our favorite characters in 12 new categories. (Get the whole list here.)

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